On the Bookshelf – Reading People by Ann Bogel

Some of my earliest memories involve books – being read to, reading to myself, reading to my younger sister, confounding my Kindergarten teacher when I showed up knowing how to read (that part sounds positively antiquated now – when kids start Kindergarten they are well behind the curve if they do not know how to read!) I doubt there is a time in my life where I have ever not described myself as a reader. I am a bookish sort of person.

Fast forward to the mid-1980s and there was a period of time where my reading material of choice came in the form of teen magazines. If you are anywhere near me in age, you know exactly what I am talking about – Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, Teen, YM, Seventeen. I read them all from cover to cover every month, and the first thing I looked for in each issue were the “personality quizzes”.  At a time in my life when I was trying to figure out “who I was” those quizzes were little bits of gold. A couple of decades later, and I am still prone to being sucked down the rabbit hole of the 2017 version of those magazine personality quizzes – the online quizzes that seem to clog my newsfeed on Facebook every day. While I am no longer looking to those quizzes to tell me “who I am”, they are a pretty entertaining way to pass time while I am sitting and waiting for a kid (something I think I must spend at least 1/3 of my life doing).

So imagine my delight early this summer, when an advanced copy of a new book all about personality found it’s way into my hands. And even better than it being a new book about personality – it’s a new book about personality from somebody who is even more bookish than I am, and my go to source for titles to add to my reading list. That book is Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel.

Anne Bogel is best known from her blog Modern Mrs. Darcy where she covers a variety of topics including life, family, style and (my favorite) books. She brought the book portion of the blog to a podcast called What Should I Read Next – for the past year this has been the source of the vast majority of the books on my to be read list. Anne speaks and writes in a manner that is simultaneously accessible and enlightening. Both when I read her blog and when I listen to her podcast, I can imagine I am having a fantastic conversation with a wise and empathetic friend.

Having the background of the blog and the podcast, I picked up Reading People with high expectations. I was looking for it to be a book that would make the more complicated aspects of personality typing accessible, while also maintaining the warmth that I have come to associate with Anne. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed.

Early in the book, Anne points out that she is not a scholar. She considers herself to be a traveler on the path of understanding and has found viewing the world through the lens of personality is much like using a map to guide her journey.  She adeptly illustrates how understanding our own personality can be a stepping stone to minimizing our weaknesses and maximizing our inherent strengths. She also dives into how the personality frameworks can be used as tools for better communication with others.

The book is an amazing balance of extensive research and personal anecdotes. She draws the reader into who she its, what drives her, and how she has learned to use the knowledge she gained in researching personality to improve her life and relationships.  Reading People collects, explores, and explains the most popular personality frameworks, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, and others – all in a way that is accessible and engaging. It is an easy read, that encourages and inspires the reader to dig deeper. It is the type of book that has the capacity for a reader to have “aha!” moments multiple times in every chapter. This is some seriously great stuff.

If you have ever found yourself wondering “who am I?” or “what makes my child/spouse/boss/et cetera tick?” then this is a definite title for you to add to your own to be read list. Reading People will be released on September 19, 2017, but is available now for preorder. There are even some pretty cool perks if you do go ahead and preorder before the release date; including a free copy of the audio book and free access to Anne’s online class “What’s Your Reading Personality.”

And in case you are wondering….I am an introvert, INFJ, HSP, Guardian, my love language is acts of service, and I still have work to do before I can fully understand my cognitive functions, talent themes and Enneagram. Totally confused? Read the book !

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