November 13, 2017

Reading People

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It deals with the different personalities of human beings and how knowing more about ourselves and others can help us with our lives and relationships. (Though one chapter left me uneasy and I will address that at the end of this post).

The book contains 10 chapters dealing with popular personality analysis of the day, such as:

Highly Sensitive People
The Five Love Languages
Keirsey's Temperaments
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The MBTI Cognitive Functions
The Clifton StrengthsFinder 
The Enneagram

I found Anne Bogel was clear and concise in her execution of explaining each of these. It was easy to understand, even though I hadn't heard of most of them.

In the introduction she makes it clear that our personality traits are not our character traits. I appreciated this differential.

She says here:

"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 - those 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...

...Compared to our personality traits, character traits are more malleable. Our personalities can only be managed (or tamed, some might say). Our character can be shaped, although this isn't easy and happens slowly, with effort."

Throughout the book she often reminds us that there is no right or wrong personality. We are all created the way God intended and the importance of learning about our personality is to be more understanding, not only of ourselves but of others who are different then us.

She says here:

"The promise is that when you understand yourself better - your strengths and weaknesses, emotional needs, and driving motivations - it is much easier to understand others as well, especially when they aren't like you."

For me, I would add that learning more about my personality is not only for my benefit, but for God's glory. I can use this knowledge to praise Him for the beauty of diversity He has created.

I enjoyed chapter two on introverts/extroverts and though I've read a bit about this in the past, I did learn something new, that there are not only different kinds of introverts and extroverts, but all of us have introverted and extroverted tendencies.

She says here:

"We all spend time introverting and extroverting; it's part of being human."

And here:

"While we all need to spend time introverting and extroverting (yes, these are appropriate verbs), our innate preference is reflected in our brain chemistries. If you're an introvert and you've ever had a baffling conversation with your extroverted roommate and thought, My brain just doesn't work like that, you're absolutely right. Your brain doesn't work like that.

Introverts and extroverts are literally wired differently."

We really are so uniquely made!

The chapter I got the most out of was on highly sensitive people. This only affects a small percentage of the population. 'HSP' does not mean overly emotional, but that some are physically wired in a highly sensitive way.

Anne says here:

"...a highly sensitive person (HSP) - that is, you have a highly sensitive nervous system. High sensitivity is a hardwired physiological trait that affects 15-20 percent of the population, across species, not just humans. These people aren't touchy or overly emotional; high sensitivity describes people whose nervous systems are more receptive to stimuli than those of the general population. 

This means they are more attuned to subtleties in their surroundings and are more easily overwhelmed by highly stimulating environments. their internal 'radar' for detecting external stimuli is quite good, but it takes energy to keep that radar operational, which can be exhausting." 

Anne gives an example of a highly sensitive child complaining about the feel of the inseam of their socks. That brought back memories and that's when I knew, I am a highly sensitive person. And after reading this chapter I finally see I'm normal! : )

The only thing in the book that didn't sit right with me was in chapter nine, 'Confront your Junk: The Enneagram.' I felt it was out of place with the rest of the book, because it really didn't deal with personality, but rather behavioral issues (sin).

As a Christian, to me, this method seemed to be suggesting ways to cover sinful behavior on your own.

She says here of the Enneagram:

"The goal of the Enneagram is to get the 'yuck' out of the way so we can be more ourselves, getting us closer to our true identities and purposes. The Enneagram helps us confront who we really are, what's going on beneath the surface, and what's motivating our behaviors instead of just polishing a shiny, happy facade."

I felt this particular test could give some people false hope in themselves. Digging to find goodness within themselves. As Christians, we know the truth, we can not set ourselves free from our 'yuck' with any test or practiced method, only God can truly set us free.

We can lay our cares down before Him, because He cares for us. It's that simple.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Also, near the end of the chapter I felt she misused Ephesians 5:13 which says:

"Everything exposed by the light becomes visible - everything that is illuminated becomes a light."

She says of it here:

"Thus, while there can be no simple explanations for people as individuals, it is still possible to say something true about them...

...It's uncomfortable to dive deep into the darkest parts of ourselves, but it's how we bring those parts into the light."

This makes me think she believes this verse is about us dealing with our 'yuck' (bad behavior) as she describes it, when in fact it is about our sinfulness and how the light exposes it to bring us to Christ, who is the light of the world.

Matthew Henry says of this verse:

"The meaning of this passage may be this: "All those unfruitful works of darkness which you are called upon to reprove are laid open, and made to appear in their proper colours to the sinners themselves, by the light of doctrine or of God’s word in your mouths, as faithful reprovers, or by that instructive light which is diffused by the holiness of your lives and by your exemplary walk.’’

Observe, The light of God’s word, and the exemplification of it in a Christian conversation, are proper means to convince sinners of their sin and wickedness. It follows, For whatsoever doth make manifest is light; that is, it is the light that discovers what was concealed before in darkness; and accordingly it becomes those who are children of light, who are light in the Lord, to discover to others their sins, and to endeavour to convince them of the evil and danger of them, thus shining as lights in the world." 

Overall this book was enjoyable and shed some light onto who I am (my personality). It's good to know I'm not alone, I'm normal, at least for my personality! : )

I do recommend this book, but I believe it should be read with discernment and wisdom.

Buy it HERE on Amazon


  1. Interesting how we seem to fit into these patterns of personality...

    “All those unfruitful works of darkness which you are called upon to reprove are laid open...”

    Um. This is like a headline from the news these days. It’s happening everywhere.

    1. It was very interesting to read about! Thanks for stopping by Sandi. : )

  2. This book keeps showing up in my newsfeed so I was glad to read your review today. I wasn't even sure what it was all about so now I know. I'm not sure that the author approached the enneagram chapter in a way that is true to its purpose. My son and daughter-in-law have read and studied the enneagram and what author says about pulling out the "yuck" isn't what I heard from my kids. Thank you for the review.

    1. Now I'm really confused when it comes to the Enneagram! I think I'll stay clear of it. : ) Glad you stopped by Mary!

  3. Thanks for the thorough review. It sounds very interesting and if I do end up getting it I'll be sure to be careful and read with discernment.

  4. I was on the launch team for this book. Really interesting to learn more about myself. Blessed to be your neighbor at Coffee for your Heart this week.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful book! I've read a lot of introverts and have heard a lot about the five love languages and a little about some of the others, but how good to have them all in one place. One friend has read multiple books about the Enneagram, but it seemed too complicated to me if it takes multiple books to figure it out, and that emphasis is definitely a wrong one. I read an article about Highly Sensitive People recently and was so happy to see someone put in writing what I was feeling. I am easily overwhelmed in settings where there is too much going on, even in restaurants where the din is way too loud. I had not seen this book before, but I am putting it on my TBR list! Thank you!

    1. I know what you mean! I often feel overwhelmed in a setting where there are a lot of people and a lot of noise as well, loud music can make me not only feel overwhelmed, but physically sick, especially if I have to stand around at a party and try to talk over it. It's exhausting!

      Thanks for stopping by Barbara and I hope you enjoy the book!

  6. I really appreciated your review. I think we need to be discerning about what we read and hold everything up to the plumb line of God's truth. Thanks for doing that!

  7. Looks like it's worth the read since it compares/contrasts so many of the different kinds of inventories. the Myers Briggs has helped us so much!

    1. It was definitely worth the read! Thanks for stopping by Sue. : )

  8. This looks very interesting: I like that all the personality inventories are all in one place. I've never done the Enneagram. Thank you for the careful analysis of the books strengths and the causes for concern. We must always compare things with scripture!

    1. It was nice to read about all the personality inventories in one place and the author did a great job making them flow together and make sense. : ) Thanks for stopping by Jerralea!

  9. This does look interesting and I like that it compares the different ones. And thank you for the critique on the one area of the book. I would still like to read but it's good to know ahead of time how it might conflict with the Word.

    1. Hope you find the book helpful, other than the one chapter I did. Glad you stopped by Susanne! : )

  10. I just checked this book out from the library. Your review made me anxious to read it. Thanks.

    1. Don't be anxious! It's a good book, just be prayerful, as we should be with everything we read. No book is perfect, except God's Word. Thanks for stopping by Theresa!


Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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