Thanks for joining us for the virtual book club on The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile! It’s easy to participate. Just read the book and then at your own convenience, add your thoughts to the comments section. You can respond to any of these discussion questions—or just say what you thought of the book.
And as a bonus, I’ll give away a free book to one lucky commenter!
I am a geek about personality types of all kinds—Myers-Briggs, the five love languages, even what your coffee selection says about your reading style. So suffice it to say I was fairly giddy when I starting hearing buzz about the Enneagram. A type system with a spiritual twist? Sign me up already! But the books I read just didn’t seem to click for me. I found myself unsure of my number (whatever that was) and confused about how this applied to my life.
Until I found The Road Back to You. This was the book I’d been looking for—one that brought the Enneagram from an esoteric level into real life. Ever since, I’ve been urging as many people as possible to read it—if only so we can share the same lingo (“Oh, that’s definitely what a 2 would do!” or “She must be a 7!”).
Discussion #1: The Spiritual Implications
One thing I found unique (and at times squirm-inducing) is that unlike other personality tests, the Enneagram doesn’t just pat you on the back and say, “Aww, you’re a golden retriever! Good for you! You are special!” It focuses not only on your strengths but also on your proclivity to sin. It’s not just about what you do but why you do it—your deeper motivations.
As I read, I found myself doing some gut-level introspection. Why do I do this? Why do I fall into this cycle with my loved one? And while this was convicting and at times uncomfortable, it was a growing experience for me to dig into parts of myself I take for granted and open my eyes to the unique temptations I face based on the way I’m wired.
To know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against Truth, and not the other way around.
Did you learn anything about yourself as you read this book? Did you buy the concept of the Enneagram—that each type has certain strengths but is also driven by a particular sin?
Discussion #2: What’s Your Number?
One thing that surprised me about the Enneagram is that it wasn’t a straightforward process to determine my number. With other personality tests, I tend to get pretty consistent results, but in this case I took several different tests and got several different numbers. After doing some research, I found that this is not uncommon. And according to people much more well versed in the Enneagram than I am, the wrestling you go through on your way to discovering your number is actually an important part of the process. It forces us to dig deeper into who we really are and what makes us tick.
After back-and-forthing for a while, I think I’m a 6 (the Loyalist), which means my besetting sin is fear. I read somewhere that the description that makes you most uncomfortable is probably the one you are, and that sounds about right!
The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.
What do you think your number is? Do you think it’s possible for people’s number to change over time?
Discussion #3: Diagnosing Other People
I know, I know—the authors urged us to worry more about our own number than other people’s, but I can’t help but diagnose everyone I meet now! Anyone with me? This may have downsides (I don’t want to box anyone in), but overall I’ve found the Enneagram to be helpful in understanding the people I love. When I can see what life is like through the lens of their unique disposition, I have more empathy and more ability to understand what they act the way they do.
For me to be a saint means to be myself.
Do you find yourself trying to type other people too? Has this book given you any insights into the people you love?
I would give this book 5 stars—not because it’s a literary masterpiece but because it has prompted hours of the good kind of introspection and some really meaningful conversations with friends. I recommend that you read it and then loan it to a friend. Then go get a big cup of coffee together and talk about until you get kicked out of the coffee shop!
If you want to learn more about the Enneagram, I also recommend the podcast that goes along with the book.
Remember: I’m giving away a free book to one lucky commenter!