Book covers can say a lot about what is inside them. They can hook you and can cause an auto-reflex I call, have-to- have-this-in-my-hand syndrome, or H2H (Have to have). I walk through a bookshop on a mission. I must. Those pesky covers can stop me cold in my tracks, even if I have walked in with force of mind to go directly to the item of want. The fear of the book police (my wife) compels me to get out before my primal bookish urges cause me to divert, and ultimately walk out more poor in cash, but rich in literature (Do you really need more books?). Having read the digital copy of the book, “Reading People: How seeing the world through the lens of personality changes everything”, I had firm ideas as to what I would write in this review. Then I received the print edition, I found that, although I had already read it, I was compelled to hold it, stare and… smile. This work of non-fiction By Anne Bogel, displays a glass dome at its center containing a rose, set against a blue-green backdrop and a gold spine on its edge. The cover sparked additional thoughts and reflections.
Now, having discussed covers, this brings to mind another type of book that hooks. One that can give us some insight into ourselves through tales of others:
“The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his twenty-first year. If he could learn to love another, and earn their love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time.”
―Narrator. Beauty and the Beast
Anne Bogel shares her story of learning about herself, from her initial attempts as a teen, later as she matured into a young adult and into the present day as a wife and mother of four. I found her personal story relatable. A big part of learning about personality is learning to make peace with who we are.
– Anne Bogel, Reading People She expresses that in our youth, we think we know who we are and what the world is all about. However, as we engage life (Or it engages us) and meet its challenges, we face the reality of a world not so easily navigated. Some of the ideas she had about herself were not correct and weaknesses were exposed later. In this way she helps the reader understand, perhaps we did not know everything about the world we live in or, more important, everything about ourselves. There are epoch moments in life that can alter our perspectives and give us a paradigm shift. This book is one that can assist you with navigating those shifts. It is suggested that around your thirties is when best to start a deeper dive into this subject matter and if we wish to slay the beast that has caused error, the author suggests, we need to get real with ourselves. The rose Anne Bogel offers is one that will, help you better understand your personality, lead you to perspective on why you are who you are and perhaps not who we think we are). That rose is delivered in the form of personality frameworks and it is an offer difficult to refuse.
Just like the beast of the fairy tale, we’ve had to learn to love as well as several other life skills. We cannot do this well without getting to know and understand ourselves first. The Beast had to learn how to confront issues from his past, get to know his true self, grow within his strengths, and understand his weaknesses and how they impact each other. In the fairy tale, once he did work through these things, not without hard work and trial and error, the spell was broken. The author of Reading People shares that this process in real life can be messy. Thales of Miletus, one of the sages of ancient Greece, put it plainly: “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.”
– Anne Bogel, Reading People Mrs. Bogel further explains, personality frameworks are steps you can take toward a better understanding and knowledge one’s self and, even better, she guides you through the weeds of the processes, so to speak. Each framework, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, StrengthsFinder, and Enneagram are just a few of the toolboxes unpacked. They all are delivered in a manner that easily digestible. If just one of these frameworks are applied honestly and correctly, it is suggested, one can slowly open their eyes into windows of possibility for themselves. As each framework is discussed they are broken out in chapters and you are given further resources to dig deeper.
The Reading People book is not a cure for all that ails you. It is a reference guide of some of the many tools the author has uncovered and used herself, after years of effort. As she explains each, she does so with passion. Anne Bogel is an Author, Blogger and Podcaster. She is well known for her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, a Book Club and the podcast, What Should I Read Next. In her podcast she does, “Some literary matchmaking” or as I would describe it, she is a book whisperer. She patiently listens to readers, gains insight into who they are and what makes them tick. She will then suggest titles they might read next. The Reading People book ties neatly with her ability in book matching. Only now instead of helping mediate readers towards getting to know what best suites them in literary pursuits, she mediates in the form of personality frameworks.
Previous to this reading, I had never given much thought to personality frameworks. As you weave your way through this book you begin to see yourself differently, strengths and weaknesses appear in your mind. You may see applications toward resolution to some silly conflicts with a wife or your kids, friends or co-workers. I know this much: when it comes to understanding yourself and others, wishful thinking will get you nowhere.
If personality information is going to help you, you’re going to have to get comfortable with the true self that lies deep within you.’
– Anne Bogel, Reading People She helped me see how I respond to criticism, for better or worse, is tied to my personality type, in the case of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It was this observation her writing brought out that things started to click for me. Now, I’ve started thinking before I reacted to external input. I began looking into my own personality type (INFP). I’ve started researching some of the literature offered as a further resource. I have begun to learn more about myself so I can, perhaps, be less of the beast I know I can be at times. I’ve started a blog as a creative outlet, suggested by my personality type and its needs. Anne Bogle has written a guidebook to help you understand these personality frameworks and practical applications. It is waiting for you, if you are ready. This book is proof that by reading and reflecting on it, we just might deliver new versions of ourselves. The more I have pondered its content, the more the message has resonated.
– Be Well
Reading People: How seeing the world through the lens of personality changes everything. By Anne Bogel will be released September 19th, 2017 from the publisher, Baker Books. You can Pre-Order your copy today for bonus content at www.ReadingPeopleBook.com
Finally, I was provided an advanced reader copy of this title in exchange for my honest feedback. My hope is that, by the words I have shared, you see that I have done just that. I could not say anything less than honestly. I would not sleep well if I did otherwise.