What is your “reading personality?” Drawing from my expertise on the Enneagram and from my book, Self to Lose, Self to Find, I speculate on what kinds of books those who identify with one of the nine personality patterns are most likely to read and enjoy.
Type Ones focus on Improvement.
They seek insights on how to “get it right” and how to encourage others to “get it right” as well. They read to find solutions and new ways of approaching areas of concern in their life. Type Ones enjoy honest human stories, like memoirs and historical fiction, especially if the characters overcome internal struggles and find new pathways for an improved life. This inspires them to do the same. Most Type Ones read informative or self-help books during the day, but will read something lighter at night to clear their minds of all their responsibilities.
Type Twos focus on Connection.
They are drawn to stories about people’s lives, whether fiction or non-fiction, and will emotionally connect with the characters. If a story makes them cry, it’s like a cathartic release valve on their often-unexpressed feelings. In this way, reading is a form of self-care, even though it’s hard to read when others need their attention. Type Twos don’t read many self-help books; they are already hard on themselves and feel a lot of guilt and sadness for not doing more. They usually read before bed, and fall asleep quickly after active days of caring for others.
Type Threes focus on Optimization.
They gravitate to purposeful material that is related to a particular theme or project they are working on. They desire to see good results for their endeavors, so seek information to work more effectively. They like to be well-informed and conversant and will purchase books recommended by someone they admire, all for the sake of connection and potential interaction. They generally read one book at a time, but read many on the same subject. Pleasure reading is rare; it feels like a waste of time if it doesn’t relate to subjects they care about.
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Type Fours focus on Depth and Meaning.
They devour stories of all genres and become immersed in everything about a story. This ignites their vivid imaginations which will stay engaged even when they aren’t reading. The characters become like personal friends and it’s hard to leave them behind when the book is finished, especially if the story doesn’t wrap up well. Because they long to understand what’s below the surface, they can feel like a “voyeur” on the secret parts of people’s lives. They don’t care for prescriptive self-help books, but are open to truths that will help them live more authentically.
Type Fives person focus on Information.
They are avid readers and often have numerous books going on at one time because they’re curious about so many different things. They will research one subject thoroughly in order to be well-informed and confident when they engage with others about it. They can retain a lot of data and will “connect the dots” between all the information they gather, even when it doesn’t seem to be related. They read fictional stories that engage their intellect and imagination, but not ones that are frivolous, poorly written, and mundane.
Type Sixes focus on Guidance.
They want to know how to live well and be prepared, especially from authorities they respect and trust, and who share from their own personal experiences. Their shelves are lined with self-help books on a variety of topics, giving them information on ways to improve every area of their life. They are inspired by personal stories, fiction or non-fiction, that highlight strong and courageous characters who face and overcome challenges. They avoid scary, dark, and heavy narratives that activate their own fears and leave them agitated. Light reading before bed helps them release the anxieties of the day.
Type Sevens focus on Enjoyment.
They are attracted to a variety of genres and topics, and will read several different types of books at the same time. They tend to read quickly and will skim through a book to capture the main ideas, and will move on if they are bored. If the subject and writing style are captivating, they will read more thoroughly. For informational books, they like to learn about various perspectives in order to be well-rounded. Adventuresome and imaginative fiction allow their brains to disengage from life’s responsibilities, but they avoid shallow stories. They aren’t fans of self-help books as they are generally happy with their lives.
Type Eights focus on Empowerment.
They desire to be well-informed on many topics in order to form solid opinions and to be able to defend and argue these positions with strong and reliable information. For them, knowledge gives them power to live their lives well and to contribute to society in effective ways. They often have a system to keep track of what they learn and will review this information to make decisions about their life and work. They usually read several books at a time, but rarely read fiction or self-help books which they view as irrelevant to their intense and purposeful lives.
Type Nines focus on Resolution.
They like to understand the underlying context and various perspectives about situations or people in order to find solutions that are agreeable and practical for everyone involved. If material is too complicated or hard to follow, they will read chapter summaries to glean the general ideas. Self-help books are accessed once in a while, but they usually trust their own instincts. They enjoy relational, realistic, and down-to-earth stories that keep their attention, but aren’t too stressful or take too much effort to follow. If a story is filled with conflict and mystery, they may read the ending so they can ease the tension and enjoy the unfolding narrative.