The first sentence in Anne Bogel’s book, Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything (2017), is the most humorous statement I’ve read in a long while. This new study opens with a simple, yet profound truth: “The BuzzFeed-style quiz is taking over the internet, serving up answers to questions no is asking” (11). Bogel has a point.
Our culture has become crazed with the pursuit of largely meaningless tests and activities that all promise to teach us who we are.
As humans, we want to understand ourselves and the people we love. But as Bogel is quick to point out, taking a test on what superpower you have, which Hogwarts house suits you best or which Ryan Gosling character is your soul mate, gives you answers that are far from substantial.
Bogel’s book is written as a response to this personality craze.
It is a thoughtful, thorough and yet simplistic approach to the subject of personality – one’s thoughts, feelings and behavior – and each chapter presents a different personality framework for your consideration.
For example, Ch. 2 discusses the difference between introverts and extroverts; Ch. 3 delves into the issue of hyper-sensitive people; Ch. 4 covers the five love languages and so on. There is a chapter for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Keirsey’s temperaments, the Clifton StrengthsFinder and the Enneagram. Really, Bogel has a little bit of everything in her book, and she recommends skipping around, starting with whichever chapter sounds the most interesting to you.
So, that’s exactly what I did, and I was quite pleased with my rabbit-trail journey through the book. It is easy to read, it’s is full of anecdotal stories and, of most importance to me, each chapter concludes with ideas for application, things like coping strategies, survival guides, daily routines and more.
Bogel has a clear focus on relationships throughout the book.
Her hope is that you not only learn more about yourself, but also about the different personalities in your family, your loved ones, your spouse and your friends so that your relationships can thrive.
Her relational suggestions were certainly useful, but I found her links between personality and place to be the most provocative and outside-the-box. For example, in Ch. 2, Bogel talks about the role of personalities within the church. She talks about how many churches are oriented toward extroverts and discusses some of the struggles that introverts face within these environments, from the order of service to ministry activities.
Things to think about, and I’m glad I read Bogel’s book to even get me thinking about these things in the first place.
Check out Anne Bogel’s book here: Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything
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