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Ginger’s favorite enneagram books

I wondered if I dare write about this because almost anything I write, even the most non-controversial ones can receive what are, for me, amazing responses, and I don’t mean amazing in a positive way.
But this all comes with the territory and the good news is that people are free to say what they want. And I am just as free to say what my favorite Enneagram books are and why. I will, obviously, leave my own books out of the equation. I get asked all the time which are my favorites, so here they are (in no particular order):

The Wisdom of the Enneagram
by Don Riso and Russ Hudson
I really love this book. It is a classic and so well written. But what I love most is that it is incredibly useful to both people new to the Enneagram and those who are more familiar with the system. I know some people take issue with the 9 levels, whether there are 9 and whether the descriptions are accurate psychologically and spiritually. This issue has never bothered me because the contribution, at a mega level, is huge. The mega-message is that there are people of the same type at different levels of development (self-mastery) and so people of the same type may appear quite differently based on this. My organizational clients have found this part of the book very helpful.

Ennea-type Structures
by Claudio Naranjo, MD
Having a psychological background, I particularly like Enneagram books with a strong psychological foundation. Claudio, a psychiatrist, has that and more, and he is masterful in describing the types in a not-very-long book without missing the depth.

The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram
by Sandra Maitri
This is my absolute favorite book regarding the spiritual aspects of the Enneagram. I like her second book, too, but not nearly as much as this one. It is written in a spiraling rather than linear manner, so some people do have trouble following that way of writing, but if you can, I don’t think there is a better place to go for the spiritual aspects of the Enneagram. A first for me, I get more out of reading the book’s appendix than I do out of the body of the book.

The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge
by Beatrice Chestnut, PhD
The newest addition to my favorite’s list (it is the newest because it is a brand new book), Bea covers the system, the types, and just about everything else you can imagine. The book is long but not wordy, and pleasurable to read, like a really good meal for the mind. But, what is most outstanding is all the information on the 27 subtypes, the three versions of each type. You can’t find it anywhere else in English (not sure about other languages), and it is so very accurate, detailed, and useful.
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Martin Snapp
9 years ago

I note that you modestly omit your own books.

TJ Dawe
9 years ago

Very eager to read Beatrice Chestnut’s book – thanks for bringing it to my attention. I did Part III training at the Enneagram Institute this past Spring, which largely focussed on the instincts. I’m eager to explore that aspect of the Enneagram in greater detail.

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