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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2009
I must admit I had reservations about this book - particularly the personification of the Enneagram (the literary device of 'E' writing the book). Having studied the Enneagram for some time and used it successfully with clients (as a way of helping them to understand better who they are) I didn't really expect to learn all that much that was new. I was dead wrong.

Firstly, the book has caused me to question my existing self knowledge to the point that I have actually changed my diagnosis of my number. There isn't really a way of expressing succinctly how profoundly liberating this has been - it's as if a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders and, as a result, many other things have fallen into place. One of the most useful features of the book is the author presenting the 'three centres' towards the beginning of the book - it was this that alerted me to my mis-diagnosis.

If you know nothing about the Enneagram this is a good place to start - but peversely it is also a good place to reflect if you think (like me) that you know a little more (especially if, as in my case, you find yourself misguided!). It's certainly not a place to go if you simply want a quick 30 second diagnostic - this book is about a lifetime process and the author makes it clear that it is not always an easy journey. But it is a journey well worth making with rich rewards to the soul and Simon Parke's book is a wonderful place to start.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2008
I was suprised by the negativity of some of these reviews. I am an Enneagram virgin so have nothing to compare but I liked this book and found it told me most of what I wanted to know. I then read Simon's follow up book 'The Beautiful Life' and then it all made sense. I found 'The Enneagram' to be keys to the toolbox and 'The Beautiful Life' to be the toolbox full of ways to help find what we're all looking for. I think it was John Lennon who said something like, 'Life is what happens to you while you are planning something else'. The same philosophy applies, Stop wasting time and wake up to the here and now. If you can better that, let me know.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 February 2009
Simon Parke writes a witty and amusing weekly column in the Mail on Saturday magazine about his experience working in a supermarket. Prior to that he was an Anglican priest for twenty years.

The Enneagram is a psychological and spiritual quest to find your identity in one of nine basic character types. Simon Parke, writing as if the Enneagram symbol itself is speaking, explains how the concept developed over the ages, apparently the 9 pointed symbol itself can be traced back to Pythagoras; and the ideas relate to teachings of Buddha, Socrates, and Plato, as well as Christianity - which he does not perceive as a conflict.

After identifying which of the nine types you believe you are, each of these is then entered into in greater depth. Unfortunately like many other self-help psychological books this is bigger on dissecting than putting together again, and the resulting advice can best be summed up by a return to Buddha: "the primary cause of our suffering is not our experience, but our response to it." We are advised to "respond, not react;" and "promote the pause."

This was an interesting book; with some briefly touched-on insights such as Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of human need - yet I feel it ended just where it should have begun. Almost the last words are "you have everything you need to proceed" - but I did not feel this to be the case.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2009
If you are looking for a book about the Enneagram I would highly recommend this one. I have a couple of other Enneagram books that other reviewers raved about but I didn't enjoy as much. I think a reason why people's opinions can vary so much on this book is that you do feel as if you are communicating with a Therapist, some will like this style others won't. All I can say is it had a profoud effect on me.

It helped me realise that I have been repeating the same behaviours over and over for years. Behaviours Parke refers to as compulsions. I have now stopped my compulsion and whilst it sometimes feels odd, I also feel liberated and free.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2011
I had not heard of this way of analysing personality traits before I discovered this book, and find it most intriguing and not too abstruse. By reading chapters 1-9 which each deal with a different set of character traits, both positive and negative, I at first thought I was a 2 but now can't decide whether I am more of a 3 or a 4. Whether to think yourself an 8 or 9 makes you a 'better' person that someone who considers themselves a lower number, I am not sure yet but intend to find out.

There are sections on philosophers ranging from Buddha via Jesus, Plato, Socrates to Gurdjieff with many fascinating quotations along the way.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in psychology in general, and finding out more about themselves in particular.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2008
I have been looking for a book about the Enneagram for a while, and I was delighted to discover this in the psychology section of my local bookshop.
However I was really disappointed with the way the book was written, Parke writes as if he were the enneagram itself, I really didn't like this style at all: it would be like reading a cookery book spoken from the perspective of a quiche, or a gardening manual through the eyes of a pot plant. Thhe book is presented in a series of letters 'My dear reader', 'yours truly....E', and for someonje who is urging us to become more authentic it all felt a little bit phoney. The author obviously has a good understanding of the subject matter, and I would have preferred a lot more analysis rather than pages of his flowery style. Furthermore when he is writing his letters to the nine diffferent personality types, larges swathes of hammy writing are repeated with minor changes for each type. I felt a bit cheated, firstly because the book isn't that thick, and secondly because I had trouble digesting it the first time round, let alone the ninth!
There is an extremely interesting book about this subject waiting to be written; this isn't it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2010
What I really like about this wonderful little book is that you don't just get the Enneagram creatively explained and explored - but you get to go behind the scenes of the human psyche. The show's great - and so is back stage!

I'm not sure if this is a wise commercial decision by the author. He avoids what I'd call 'the enneagram fluff'. Instead of party game or passing fad, here is eye-watering personal truth which feels like its roots dig down deep to the centre of the earth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2014
This book is very easy to read and in a way that facilitates "seeing ourselves as others see us." It is also very positive, more so than other personality type books that I have read, including others about the Enneagram. Ultimately, very enlightening!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2014
This is a great book for people coming to enneagram newer those who have already explored it a bit. It is a really helpful tool in using enneagram to delve deeper. I highly recommend it and have bought copies for friends who have also found it very helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2013
This is a really interesting book which my husband and I have both enjoyed. It is very helpful in building our self-awareness and understanding others more. Written in an interesting and accessible way. Thoroughly recommend it.
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