Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given…
(Gal 6:4 MSG).
You have been fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14) And your personality is a reflection of God’s beautiful complexity.
The Enneagram is a great tool for exploring your personality and gaining insight into who you are and how you can experience personal, relational, and spiritual growth.
It is so powerful because its view of personality takes into account ancient, cross-cultural sources of wisdom with insights from modern psychology.
All truth is God’s truth and there is much truth about people and relationships in the Enneagram that, when submitted to the Bible, can help Christ-followers and all people to become healthier and more loving.
We’ve selected the 7 best Enneagram books to shepherd you on your journey to a more abundant, self-aware life.
Before diving deep, if you are looking for a fast answer, here are the top options to consider.
1.) Wisdom of the Enneagram – by Don Riso & Russ Hudson – Excellent for wherever you are on your Enneagram journey. This is a foundational book on the Enneagram.
2.) The Complete Enneagram – by Beatrice Chestnut – Wondering what your specific number and wing is? Chestnut’s book is crisp and clarifying in its exploration of each type, subtype, and counter-type.
3.) Enneagram Made Easy – by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele – Best for the Enneagram beginner. Baron and Wagele’s book is easy access! It has many helpful corollaries to the Myers-Briggs Test Indicator.
Now let’s journey through a more detailed survey of the very best Enneagram books…
The Top 3 Enneagram Books
Best: Wisdom of the Enneagram – by Don Riso & Russ Hudson
“The Enneagram does not put us in a box, it shows us the box we are already in—and the way out.”
Wisdom of the Enneagram is one of the leading, most popular Enneagram books . . . and for good reason!
Riso and Hudson are two of the world’s leading Enneagram experts. They are founders of The Enneagram Institute, and creators of the world’s most popular Enneagram test (RHETI).
In Wisdom of the Enneagram, they teach you how to identify your single, best-fitting Enneagram type.
Riso and Hudson help you find your “I am here” marker with precision.
Not only does this book impart wisdom, the authors’ insights are also fun. Riso and Hudson humbly help you understand yourself and others. They focus on giving you tools to parse out your personhood from your personality.
– Discover your type with engaging and insightful questionnaires
– Explore type-specific “Red Flags,” “Spiritual Jump Starts,” and “Wake-Up Calls”
– Strategies and practices tailored to your type
Runner Up: The Complete Enneagram – by Beatrice Chestnut
“One of our deepest unconscious patterns is the false belief that we already know ourselves well enough to understand why we think, feel, and act the way we do.”
The Complete Enneagram is best for when you can’t determine your type.
Beatrice Chestnut is a trustworthy Enneagram mentor. She served as president of the International Enneagram Association. Chestnut also was founding co-editor of the IEA’s Enneagram Journal.
In The Complete Enneagram, you’ll find unsurpassed depth on the subtypes for each of the nine types.
She thoughtfully outlines 27 personality types (yes, 27!). Not only does she provide an outline of each of the nine types, and their subtypes (or “wings”), she also introduces a personality modifier. This addition will help you differentiate if you are a:
– Self preserving type
– One-to-one type
– Social type
This is especially valuable if you are having a hard time determining your type. For each of the nine types, one of three modifiers creates a countertype.
Depending on the relationship between your subtype and countertype, you may not actually look like your type. This helps you move from confusion to clarity.
Furthermore, Chestnut helps you consider your “Shadow” framework. She describes this as beneficial to uncover “everything we refuse to acknowledge about ourselves that nonetheless impacts the way we behave.”
When we teach the Enneagram at Soul Shepherding, we focus on understanding your Enneagram map: your type, subtypes, stress line, and growth line. Chestnut’s book gives great insight into each of these areas.
– Clarity in determining your type
– Deep dive into every type, subtype, and countertype
– Explore Chestnut’s “Shadow” framework
Best for Beginners: Enneagram Made Easy – by Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele
The Enneagram Made Easy is best for a fun, easy entry to the Enneagram.
Sometimes the road to understanding yourself and others can feel hard and long. Sometimes the most refreshing thing to our souls in those moments is when someone can give us wisdom in a light-hearted presentation. You will find this in Baron and Wagele’s fun, introductory field-guide to the Enneagram.
This is the baby-step book for the Enneagram!
They wittily engage the imagination with insightful doodle-style illustrations. If you are new to the Enneagram (and perhaps intimidated by other books), this is a delightful “front door”. But it isn’t just cartoons! The book also will start you out with helpful exercises for your number.
– Easily connect with the Enneagram through illustrations
– Simple bullet-point lists for each type
– Understand and identify your type with Personality Inventories
– Type-specific exercises to become the you, you were made to be
Recommended Books for Deeper Exploration
If you have explored the above resources and are ready for more, these next four will help you consider the Enneagram from even more angles.
Inside Out Enneagram – by Wendy Appel
Inside Out Enneagram is best for integrating the Enneagram with leadership & team dynamics.
When you understand who you are, the Enneagram can become a diagnostic tool for how you lead and relate to others. Appel draws on decades of high-powered corporate experience in her book. She considers how a relational understanding of self and others can transform the workplace.
Appel explains the Enneagram in the context of your interpersonal and business relationships. You will discover how to grow from your current leadership patterns to form greater relational connectedness. The Enneagram can help you lead with empathy, wisdom and effectiveness.
In this book, you’ll find wisdom to apply what you have learned about your personality to benefit your leadership and work.
– Gives a diverse portrait of leadership through Enneagram-type-based case studies
– Insightful T-charts help guard against misidentifying your type.
– Puts language to complex team dynamics through the framework of the Enneagram
– Provides you with real-world application with corporate research
– Helpful graphics illustrate how types work together and relate to each other
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective – by Richard Rohr
“So long as we all cling to our prejudices and identify with our preconceived views and feelings, genuine human community is impossible. You have to get to the point where you can break free from your feelings. Otherwise in the end you won’t have any feelings; they’ll have you.”
Rohr’s book is one of the top Christian Enneagram works.
If you are looking for an Enneagram book focused on a faith-informed perspective, Richard Rohr’s work is an excellent starting point.
Rohr’s examination centers heavily on the role of our ego and humility. His work will give you a clear path for how to draw close to God through discovering your unique personality. You will also find potential pitfalls that may naturally isolate you from God, others, and your integrated self.
Rohr reveals the Enneagram as a unique framework where your soul can be formed into the new, abundant person Jesus saved you to be.
– Easily digestible layout that moves from basic to deeper exploration
– Considers the context of community, how we bless others and need others
– Connects Bible characters to different Enneagram tribes
– Emphasizes the transformational potential of the Enneagram for spiritual growth
Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram – by Adele & Doug Calhoun, and Clare & Scott Loughrige
“Recognizing our Enneagram number is just the beginning of the journey . . .”
Spiritual Rhythms helps you develop your unique rhythm of life with God.
Have you felt charged up on inspiration and personal insight from the Enneagram, only to falter on practical next steps? Then Calhoun’s and Loughrige’s book may help in your spiritual journey.
The transformational power of the Enneagram doesn’t stop at greater self-awareness. In fact, it flourishes most when you practice heart-shaping rhythms.
The authors emphasize the Enneagram triads (head, heart, and gut) rather than specific number-types. This is a higher-level view of the Enneagram (instead of being type-specific). They provide a rich collection of spiritually edifying practices informed by your triad.
– A practical handbook of spiritual disciplines for your continued growth
– Focus on the identification of your Enneagram triad
– Helps understand each type with subsections such as “Who I Am” and “Who I Am Not”.
Understanding the Enneagram – by Don Riso & Russ Hudson
“We all suffer from a case of mistaken identity: we have forgotten our True Nature and have come to believe that we are the personality.”
Understanding the Enneagram is best if you struggle with type-misidentification.
Published shortly after their seminal work, Wisdom of the Enneagram, this book is excellent as a reference or for continued study.
If you are still wrestling with figuring out your Enneagram type, this book may be the resource that helps you gain clarity.
Riso and Hudson help you over the common hurdles that lead to type misidentification.
– Gives you the tools to become untangled from type misidentification
– Charts for different levels of growth and maturity in your type
– Helpful companion reference for your Enneagram journey
You may be at the beginning of your Enneagram journey. Or you might be ten books deep! Wherever you are, we trust these books will refresh your soul and guide you towards a more abundant life.
Here at Soul Shepherding, we exist to walk with you towards the best life that you can have with Jesus. We believe Jesus is the most beautiful embodiment of each of the nine types!