Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel
3 words: conversational, personal, thoughtful
I knew right away that I’d love this book, because I really like Anne Bogel’s narrative voice. She writes the Modern Mrs Darcy blog, which is a very pleasant place to hang out. And she hosts the What Should I Read Next podcast, which is one of my favorite things ever.
Plus: this book’s about personality frameworks, and I dearly love those things.
So what we have here is the set-up for an optimal reading experience. Just put a big mug of coffee in one hand, some decadent chocolate in the other, and this book in my lap — and plunk me in front of my fireplace with my favorite snuggly throw, and we’re talking serious bliss.
I’ve been a personality fanatic for a while now, and I’ve read about Myers-Briggs, Strengthsfinder, and the Love Languages. This book covers those frameworks, but also lots of others… so that was super exciting.
If you’re not already into this stuff, this book is a welcoming doorway into the realm of personality frameworks. It serves as an enticing sampler of lots of different methods, each accompanied by personal stories and examples that make the book very warm and friendly.
If you’re already a personality framework devotee, this book will also make you happy, because the way it explores the various frameworks from a personal perspective provides some really surprising insights.
For example (and this is embarrassing, but we’re all friends here, so here I go…) the way Anne writes about Strengthsfinder made me realize:
Oh my gosh. Other people don’t have the same strengths I have, and I’ve always assumed everyone has them just by nature. And because I’m a Type 1 on the Enneagram, sometimes I’ve done some judging about that.
(Fortunately, I’m also an introvert and was raised to be extremely polite, so those thoughts I’ve kept to myself.)
Of course, I’ve also always judged myself lacking in strengths and tendencies that come easily to others, and I’ve wondered what was wrong with me.
And while there’s plenty wrong with me, some of those characteristics were simply strengths others possess in droves, which I simply ain’t got.
The lovely thing about this book is that Anne describes her own process of self-discovery with her personality, and she’s candid and kind about the situations that can arise before we understand what’s really going on.
For example, she writes about the way she and one of her children are set differently with regard to planning; she is casual and easy about allowing a day to develop organically, and her child feels more comfortable knowing the plan well in advance. (I totally get this.) By merely understanding where each person is coming from, problems: averted. Pretty amazing and powerful stuff. And the way she writes about these things is gentle and respectful of everyone in the scenario, and I really like that.
So reading this book felt like hanging out with a trusted, thoughtful friend who’s willing to serve as your guide to self-discovery and also willing to share her own missteps and ah-ha! moments… cuz none of us is in this alone.
Give this book a whirl if you like… personality frameworks, self-improvement blended with memoir, figuring yourself out, a friendly voice
Readers… what book most expanded your understanding of yourself? Fiction, nonfiction, it all counts…