Personality Types by Don Richard Riso & Russ Hudson

I first discovered this book after a very dear friend of mine suggested it to me. One day we were sitting together for lunch and he challenged me that I did not know enough about myself. He presented me with this book and from that moment on it has been a fantastic part of my self discovery process of myself, and of others.

The enneagram is a fantastic framework for understanding more about ourselves, as no matter which point of view we discover fresh approaches on new and old ideas. This is particularly important as the Enneagram is an ancient psychological system used to understand human personality.

In the book, the authors state there are 9 different personality types and display various in depth layers of each personality type including levels of development, core dynamics and healthy and unhealthy characteristics of each type.

This level of specificity will allow therapists, social workers, personnel managers, students of the Enneagram, and general readers alike to use it with much greater precision as they unlock the secrets of self-understanding, and thus self-transformation.


Type One: The Reformer. The principled, idealistic type. Ones are ethical and conscientious, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers and crusaders, always striving to improve things but afraid of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They typically have problems with repressed anger and impatience. At their best, healthy Ones are wise, discerning, realistic, and noble, as well as morally heroic.

Type Two: The Helper.

The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but they can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are driven to be close to others, and they often do things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems taking care of themselves and acknowledging their own needs. At their best, healthy Twos are unselfish and altruistic and have unconditional love for themselves and others.

Type Three: The Achiever.

The adaptable, success-oriented type. Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for personal advancement. Threes are often concerned about their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their best, healthy Threes are self-accepting, authentic, and everything they seem to be--role models who inspire others.

Type Four: The Individualist.

The romantic, introspective type. Fours are self-aware, sensitive, reserved, and quiet. They are self-revealing, emotionally honest, and personal, but they can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with self-indulgence and self-pity. At their best, healthy Fours are inspired and highly creative, able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

Type Five: The Investigator.

The intense, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent and innovative, they can become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have problems with isolation, eccentricity, and nihilism. At their best, healthy Fives are visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time and able to see the world in an entirely new way.

Type Six: The Loyalist.

The committed, security-oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hardworking, and responsible, but they can also be defensive, evasive, and highly anxious--running on stress while complaining about it. They are often cautious and indecisive but can also be reactive, defiant, and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their best, healthy Sixes are internally stable, self-confident, and self-reliant, courageously supporting the weak and powerless.

Type Seven: The Enthusiast.

The busy, productive type. Sevens are versatile, optimistic, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also be overextended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but they can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with superficiality and impulsiveness. At their best, healthy Sevens focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming joyous, highly accomplished, and full of gratitude.

Type Eight: The Challenger.

The powerful, dominating type. Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, and decisive, they can also be proud and domineering. Eights feel that they must control their environment, often becoming confrontational and intimidating. They typically have problems with allowing themselves to be close to others. At their best, healthy Eights are self-mastering--they use their strength to improve others' lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and sometimes historically great.

Type Nine: The Peacemaker.

The easygoing, self-effacing type. Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are good-natured, kind-hearted, easygoing, and supportive but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to be without conflict but can tend to be complacent and minimize anything upsetting. They typically have problems with passivity and stubbornness. At their best, healthy Nines are indomitable and all-embracing; they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.


"If men knew themselves, God would heal and pardon them."-Pascal
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