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  1. #1
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Default The Enneagram - Understanding Yourself and Others in Your Life (Helen Palmer)



    This is my favorite book on the Enneagram. If I had to use one word to describe it, it would be "insightful". The first chapter, Background of the System is worth the price of the book alone. She lays out the context for the system as a whole, how it works and how it affects us in our daily lives. After 65 pages that describe the foundation of the system and the overall structure, she moves into the 9 profiles. The descriptions of each of the 9 types are excellent and include a paragraph on the instinctual subtypes (sx/so/sp) for each. There isn't a lot of focus on wings in this book, which I think is fine. Palmer's material is extremely well written, concise and clear. Palmer is both deeply knowledgeable and gifted at communicating that knowledge to others.

    Definite 5 stars.

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Sanjuro's Avatar
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    Helen Palmer's Enneagram really helped me peg the corner of the enneagram I belong on. She's the competition with Riso and Hudson for popular enneagram knowledge, and she's got a very different approach. I read this book immediately after reading Wisdom of the Enneagram, and some of her descriptions are markedly different than Riso and Hudson's work.

    Palmer actually attempts to take you within the mindset of each type--she doesn't necessarily list the associated issues and health levels of each type as Riso and Hudson do (she does leave some things out in my opinion), but instead tries to capture the essence of what makes each type what it is. She doesn't spend much time on subtypes, wings, tritypes, or anything other than the core type itself.

    I found her discussions of "attentional patterns" to be extremely apt and helpful for realizing that what goes on in my mind all day actually IS indicative of type, and moreover, I can clearly see myself in my surrounding types as well. Brilliant work.

    Worth noting that some of her descriptions are better than others. It's widely agreed that her 6 and 9 descriptions are HIGHLY accurate and recommended to those struggling to find their core type. A number of 4s have suggested that her descriptions thereof are less-than. It's only an introduction to the enneagram, so of course, use it as one of many sources.

    I personally found it rather oddly written, to be honest. Maybe this is my Ne-brain, but I struggled to focus on a number of the chapters, and some sentences were oddly repetitive, or even irrelevant. Still, it's an excellent introduction to the enneagram, especially if you're looking to get away from the Riso and Hudson model.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Helen Palmer maybe the competition with Riso/Hudson, but she lags far behind the competition. She would not have put in anything like levels of integration, these are Riso/Hudson's ideas.
    "If you try to build something that is idiot-proof, the universe will build a better idiot."
    I'm an extrovert trapped within an introverted soul.

  4. #4
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    Helen Palmer maybe the competition with Riso/Hudson, but she lags far behind the competition. She would not have put in anything like levels of integration, these are Riso/Hudson's ideas.
    She lags behind in popularity. Did you read the book?

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    She lags behind in popularity. Did you read the book?
    Yes.
    "If you try to build something that is idiot-proof, the universe will build a better idiot."
    I'm an extrovert trapped within an introverted soul.

  6. #6
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    Yes.
    Huh. I think levels of integration are a Riso/Hudson invention. Maybe it's the best thing about that book. So you like Riso Hudson better then.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Huh. I think levels of integration are a Riso/Hudson invention. Maybe it's the best thing about that book. So you like Riso Hudson better then.
    Riso/Hudson's enneagram, when applied correctly, can help you attain the next level of spiritual growth, but only if one doesn't merely project one's egoistic needs into it. That is to say, we cannot project our everyday state of awareness into a personal growth system and hope thereby to grow from it. The system will be reduced to that which we already are at the present spiritual level: a static, mechanistic being. The Riso/Hudson enneagram, on the other hand, is proposed as dynamic, and the idea for us is to spiritually attain to the same dynamic structure as a spiritual ideal. The Palmer enneagram offers more-or-less excellent, albeit static, descriptions of types, among other things.
    "If you try to build something that is idiot-proof, the universe will build a better idiot."
    I'm an extrovert trapped within an introverted soul.

  8. #8
    brainheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    Riso/Hudson's enneagram, when applied correctly, can help you attain the next level of spiritual growth, but only if one doesn't merely project one's egoistic needs into it. That is to say, we cannot project our everyday state of awareness into a personal growth system and hope thereby to grow from it. The system will be reduced to that which we already are at the present spiritual level: a static, mechanistic being. The Riso/Hudson enneagram, on the other hand, is proposed as dynamic, and the idea for us is to spiritually attain to the same dynamic structure as a spiritual ideal. The Palmer enneagram offers more-or-less excellent, albeit static, descriptions of types, among other things.
    I agree. A lot of people bag on Riso-Hudson, but when I first read those levels of health for enneagram four it was like looking at my life in abridged form. Talk about an epiphanic moment. Looking at the healthier levels gives me something to aspire to, and I recognize them within myself when healthier (just as I can tell when I'm slipping downward). For example, when healthier, I feel less like a four and just feel present, less bound by the constraints of personality. I feel like Riso-Hudson actually get that.

    I've read Helen Palmer and thought it was ok, but not transformative. It felt more like reading a book about MBTI to me.

  9. #9
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    did I hear an audiobook of this?

    if so then yes its my favorite description of the types.

  10. #10
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azure Flame View Post
    did I hear an audiobook of this?

    if so then yes its my favorite description of the types.
    I have the Riso-Hudson CDs on each of the types, which are pretty good. It's better than reading for some reason.

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