Even though The Road Back to You came out three years ago, the audio version of the book remains a bestseller, and for good reason. This winsome and story-driven book was my introduction to the Enneagram, and my husband and I decided to listen to it as opposed to reading it. This way, he could listen to it on the way to and from work, and I could listen to it while out and about or puttering around the house or patio. Sometimes we listened to it together, but mostly we convened to compare notes on what we were learning. And what we learned was nothing short of life-altering.
The Enneagram, we learned, is an ancient personality type system with an eerie accuracy in describing how people are wired, both positively and negatively. Oh, I had heard of it before, but I had dismissed it as a fad or “not for me,” even though I typically relish insights into personality types. I had already figured out I was an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), ENFP (extroverted, intuitive, feeling and perceiving), a sanguine lady with the love language of gifts, so I thought I had myself well pinned down. But that was before the Enneagram. If I had a nickel for every time I have thought to myself, post-enneagram, “now I get it!” I would have at least a bowl full of nickels. Now I get it, about myself, and probably you, too. There are treasures of insight to be found here.
Cron, a therapist/Episcopalian minister, and Stabile, a retreat director and Enneagram teacher who studied with Father Richard Rohr, create an accessible approach—a practical, comprehensive way of getting into Enneagram wisdom. They explore its connections with Christian spirituality for a deeper knowledge of God and of ourselves.
Some reviewers have complained the book is not “deep” or esoteric enough, that it renders only a surface knowledge of the enneagram, in snack-sized bites for the masses. Well, it worked for me. Maybe because I am a 7—”the enthusiast”—on the Enneagram (every person is one of nine numbers), I enjoyed the fun of Cron’s dry wit and his storytelling approach with lots of anecdotes to illustrate every type. My husband and I both felt the book was an inviting and easy-to-understand introduction to the Enneagram. Maybe now we will move on to Richard Rohr (the guru of Christian Enneagram wisdom), but this was a fantastic primer.
Listening rather than reading in print has its pros and cons with this book. For reasons I still find abstruse, the numbers are not explained in order, which turned out to be a great benefit for me. As a 7, my number came at the very end, and listening took away the urge I had (which, based on reviews, is shared by many) to skip ahead and learn only about my number.
This move would have meant skipping tremendous insights into my family and friends, insight which gave me more compassion for them and helped me take things less personally. For example, I learned that a 1 (“the perfectionist”) is hardwired to find flaws in everything, not just my scrapbook detailing a trip to Costa Rica (ahem, true story). I realized my family member had not meant to hurt me; she was just being a 1, though perhaps an unhealthy one in that moment.
Cron narrates the book, and I was drawn to his warm, homespun and “real guy” voice. Since the main takeaway is to be yourself—and let others be themselves—Cron’s authenticity as a narrator works. And when the author reads their own work, something special and genuine transpires that simply cannot be replicated.
Still, I often wished for a hard copy of the book to highlight things, dog-ear pages, and just be able to look back at some of the key points. Many reviewers have gone on to buy the book to do just that, and I will do likewise. (IVP)