January 1, 2010

Working with or without Mayonnaise

Bringing out the best at work without bringing out the Hellmans.
Bringing out the Best in Yourself at Work: How to Use the ENNEAGRAM System for Success

This book was written by: Ginger Lapid-Bogda, PhD, a therapist who had been practicing for 20 years before discovering the power of the Enneagram in the 1990s. She has since become an advocate of the Enneagram system, taking her consulting career in a new direction. “While the Enneagram may be used solely as a psychological tool, many prefer to use the system with the psychological and spiritual elements intertwined”(p.xix).

From page xviii, note that 3, 6, and 9 are stuck in their own separate triangle. Losers.What is in this book: A discussion of ways to apply the Enneagram system in a business environment. “No one knows the precise origins of the Enneagram, though its roots appear to lie in Asia and the Middle East and date from several thousand years ago”(p.xvii). This ancient technique was not widely publicized until two mystics and a psychiatrist started teaching it in the early twentieth century, but we can rely on their archaeological and anthropological credentials to give the Enneagram the same unimpeachable authenticity as Calgon and pearl cream.
The Enneagram system arranges people around a nine-pointed figure, assigning a number and a corresponding “style” to each point. It then makes use of geometry and mathematical relationships to show clear, intuitive linkages, like the way 1 leads to 4 but 8 leads to 5 while 4 leads to 2 and 7 leads to 1. It’s perfect for people who want something a little more decorative than a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator but think that the Zodiac is too fancy.

Page 90. More pinches than kindergarten.What is not in this book: A cookie-cutter approach that treats all personalities the same. People experience different “pinches” and “crunches” depending on their Enneagram style, and deal with them in a number of ways. For example, one Two notes that “’at family functions, I offer each person a foot rub. If the person refuses, I get quite upset and wonder why they don’t like me!’”(p.14) “Eights may amuse themselves by making comments to themselves about the events or by engaging in conversation about what they are observing, sometimes using profanity or body-based humor”(p.48), while “people often do not realize that Twos want to be explicitly thanked”(p.99). Readers can make use of this information to put others at ease, trading dick jokes with Eights and thanking Twos with the help of explicit lyricists like 2 Live Crew.

Would you recommend this book to The Prisoner? Yes. If Number 6 is concerned about being a free man, “the Enneagram provides a great step forward in helping people to develop their humanity at work”(p.xx). What better way to do that than to assign yourself a number?

Would you recommend this book to Tim Allen? Yes. If there’s one thing I learned from Home Improvement, it’s that he loves tools, and “The Enneagram is the single most useful, profound, insightful, and practical tool available to help us grasp the depth and complexity of the human personality”(p.xvii, emphasized by the author). Better yet, because “the Enneagram is the single most powerful tool available to help you develop your emotional intelligence”(p.xvi, emphasized by the author), it’s also a power tool.

Page 150 is the reason why I avoid sports.What was interesting about this book? The book’s section on teams will help a wide variety of people, no matter how they prefer to work together. “Some prefer low interdependence, akin to that of a golf team; some prefer medium interdependence, as on a baseball team; and others prefer high interdependence, as on a basketball team”(p.149), although people who prefer to avoid sports metaphors are shit out of luck. Understanding and applying the Enneagram is important because “gaining a true understanding of your personality frees you from being constricted by certain aspects of it, allowing you to use all facets of yourself to become more of who you really are”(p.260). However, this may not be a good idea if you really are a jerk.

Bringing out the Best in Yourself at Work: How to Use the ENNEAGRAM System for Success, by Ginger Lapid-Bogda, PhD (McGraw Hill, 2004, ISBN 0-07-143960-9)

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Keith said...

A fellow on Amazon called Martin Snapp tells me that this is a "Fantastic book! No technical jargon, no psycho-babble, just a lot of wise, witty, and perceptive insights. This will probably become the definitive work in the field, but it's written in a light, breezy style that makes it a fun read at the beach for the general reader. "

And so now I'm curious to how circular and bonkers previous works in the Enneagram field have to be for this to be the area's most concise book. I want to know more about how getting the proper feung shui understanding of my inner soul and being can maximize my profits in the third quarter.

Bitterly Books said...

The kind of person worried about finding technical jargon and psycho-babble present in their enneagram books is probably the kind of person who worries that excessive discussion of tack and saddles will ruin their My Little Pony picture book experience.

(BTW, Keith, thanks for being a long-time follower of Bitterly Books!)

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