Review of Reading People by Anne Bogel
I first encountered personality typing as a Junior Counselor at camp with the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator was administered to me and a bunch of other teenagers as we were sprawled out on a concrete floor during our training. As it turns out, I was mistyped that day, but it was close enough to give me my first taste of feeling understood by a personality system. I was hooked.
Since then, I have been properly typed on the Meyers-Briggs system and dove head first into a bunch of other typing systems as well. My interest in personality typing has grown tremendously as I have found each system to be immensely helpful to my journey of personal growth and self-acceptance.
As a long-time reader of Anne Bogel's delightful blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, I was excited to hear of her debut book, Reading People. In it, Anne takes her readers on an introductory tour of some of the most well-known personality frameworks (including Meyers-Briggs, Strengths Finder, the Enneagram, and Love Languages) and explains how they work, and more importantly, how understanding your type (and that of those you interact with daily) can help your life.
Anne also spends a significant part of the book explaining how typing frameworks are useful as a whole, and what they can and cannot do. Some people are skeptical of personality frameworks because they fear being put into a box and interpret the results as a definitive diagnosis that determines a person's fate. Anne addresses this fear while emphasizing the significance of personality beautifully:
"While personality is a key part of who you are, it's just one of many things that make you you. Many important traits don't fall under the personality umbrella. Kindness, generosity, honesty, patience - these are all examples of character traits that interact with but are distinct from personality. It's easy to conflate character with personality; it's a common mistake."
So if personality doesn't predetermine all of who we are, what does it matter? Anne addresses this as well:
"I've come to think understanding personality is like holding a good map. That map can't take you anywhere. It doesn't change your location; you're still right where you were before. But the map's purpose isn't to move you; it's to show you the lay of the land. It's the tool that makes it possible for you to get where you want to go."
And in Reading People, Anne gives us access to many such tools. Reading People isn't a replacement for diving deep into any of the individual frameworks, but Anne gives readers a solid working knowledge of each to enable them to get something out of each system and to discover which might be most helpful to them and worth their time to investigate further.
This book is a great round-up for people like me who love personality typing and for those who are brand new to the topic or who are skeptical. For those of us who already love personality frameworks, it's like a chance to chat with another enthusiast and geek out for a while. Anne's style is friendly and conversational, and so, thanks to her podcast (What Should I Read Next?), I can hear her voice taking me through each chapter.
For those who don't know much about personality typing or who are skeptical, it's a great place to start. Anne outlines a variety of frameworks and breaks them down in really approachable terms. I especially love how she uses examples from literature, history, and pop-culture to illustrate each personality type. I'm hoping to get my skeptical husband to read it so he can know more about what I'm always talking about. And even if he never reads it, I've learned a lot about his personality from Reading People and it's already been helpful in some of our more challenging conversations.
If you are a personality junkie or a personality novice, Reading People is a great companion on your personality journey. It officially comes out on September 19th, but pre-order now for a slew of bonuses. Just pre-order at your favorite bookseller and then go to the Reading People website to enter your invoice number and you will receive access to Anne's popular "What's Your Reading Personality?" online course AND a free audio download of the book narrated by Anne herself. You won't want to miss these great bonuses.
I received a free copy of Reading People as part of the launch team for the book, but all the opinions are my own.