Over the last 15 years in particular, I’ve developed a sixth sense about what is likely to happen in the Enneagram world. Often, I keep these notions to myself, but then I see them play out on a wide-enough stage that startles but does not surprise me. Now, I’m starting to be more vocal about such things, willing to risk being wrong and feeling pretty confident that I am on the right track. I think this sixth sense comes from having been in the Enneagram community for so long; having been the IEA president and so had to pay attention to trends; my OD background that allows me to get a feel for the implications of trends; and perhaps plain old intution, which I am now honoring more.
When I first read the final version of Bea’s book, I knew it was going to be a very important book in the Enneagram world. I had sensed for the last few years that there would and needed to be a new Enneagram book that was modern, comprehensive, and well-written, and that also covered the 27 subtypes accurately and accessibly. Once I read it, I said out loud: This is it!
Here are some of the Amazon reviews (excerpted) that really give a flavor for why this book is really important:
The most psychologically astute Enneagram guide I have encountered.
Why this matters now: There are some truly great Enneagram books, some not-so-good ones, and many in between. It is impossible to write an Enneagram book without including the psychological. The problem with many Enneagram books is that the authors are either not psychologists or are not truly grounded in psychology. And some that are grounded in psychology sometimes appear too psychological to some readers or not-psychological-enough to people who know psychology. Bea has struck this tenuous balance so well.
Chestnut’s book is the best I’ve read on subtypes of the nine Enneagram styles.
Why this matters now: There is so very little written in English on the 27 subtypes and much of what is written is either too general for people to apply to themselves and others or it is not accurate. Subtypes come from the work of Ichazo, from Ichazo to Naranjo, and many people who write about subtypes or teach the subtypes have not gone to either source. As a result, much of what is “out there” on subtypes is a person’s conjecture or a report of what that person has learned from another person. It is not really grounded in the real theory and practice. Bea dived into the work of Naranjo, she is a psychologist and trainer so had ample people to study once she learned the “real thing,” and also studied a bit with Naranjo, just to check out what she knew or thought she knew. There may be other really good books on the subtypes in languages I don’t speak, but in English, this is it!
Chestnut’s personable writing style is a good match for the task as she combines extensive (and annotated) research, first-person self-descriptions, psychological theory and examples from great literature.
Why this matters now: Bea’s book feels very personable and real. It is just fun to read, like a glimpse into people’s lives without falling into simply a series of stories joined together by some theory. It is the opposite. The stories illustrate the concept or theory and she hits the target every time. This was a labor of love; it is obvious. Why is it obvious? Because what she has done here is not easy to do, takes time, focus, and you have to put yourself into the position of the reader while being the writer at the same time!
After reading numerous books on the Enneagram, this is THE BEST, most comprehensive & neatly organized!
Why this matters now: Bea’s book is really long, which is positive and negative. On the positive side, this is really a complete Enneagram book and you can learn more each time you read a section. On the negative side, nearly 500 pages can be daunting. But, it is so well organized that it is a joy to pick up rather than a burden.
This one is a must have for anyone looking into the Enneagram from a beginner to a long time practitioner.
Why this matters now: It would be too bad if someone didn’t suggest this book to a newcomer to the Enneagram because it is so easy to digest. But worse would be people who think they already know it all because they’ve studied the Enneagram for so many years. The Enneagram is always evolving and when smart people write about it – smart people who really work with many, many people so they have an ample database – I think we should all take notice. Most of the unsolicited comments I hear about the book are from people who really know the system. Hopefully, we’re all learning. Good going Bea!