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Book Summary: The Road Back to You – An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

Many people go through life on autopilot, making decisions based on who they think they are but never stopping to assess and discover their true selves. In this summary, you’ll gain insights from the Enneagram — an ancient personality type system — about how you and the people around you are wired. With this self-discovery tool, you’ll learn why you and others behave the way you do and how to understand your personality type to become a wiser, more compassionate version of yourself.

These self-discovery tools will help you become more so that you can give more.


  • Are interested in learning more about what makes people tick
  • Wish to know yourself better
  • Want to better co-exist with the people in your life

Has The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile been sitting on your reading list? Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary. In today’s day and age, self-care and self-reflection are a high priority. The thing is, knowing where to start on your self-seeking quest can be a tough thing to figure out. Should you turn to religion or a therapist, meditation or literature? Well, the Enneagram – a diagram that can help you reflect on your personality – is the perfect place to start.

This book summary covers everything from the history of the Enneagram to descriptions of each of the personality types represented by its nine points, as well as how they interact with each other. How will this help you to grow a further awareness of your emotions and behavior patterns? The answer is simple: you’ll only truly be able to work through your flaws and shortcomings if you truly understand why it is you have the tendencies that you do.

Through learning about the Enneagram, you’ll soon be able to think more analytically, allowing you to therefore make much better life choices in the future. In this summary of The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile, you’ll also learn

  • how recognizing your personality type will help you figure out the perfect job for you;
  • why perfectionists might not be so perfect after all; and
  • that it’s possible for a stressful situation to alter your entire personality type.


How well do you know yourself? You might think you know yourself quite well, but if you ever accidentally hurt others, buckle under stress, or struggle with confidence, then maybe you should take a closer look.

Book Summary: The Road Back to You - An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

Co-author Ian Morgan Cron discovered the Enneagram system at a point in life when he felt frustrated and disillusioned. He’d just resigned as pastor of a church in Connecticut because, after years of valiant effort, he realized that the role wasn’t right for him. He learned the hard way that what we don’t know about ourselves can hurt us, as well as others. With the help of a monk, Cron began to study the Enneagram system. As a result, he became wiser and more compassionate to himself and others.

Sound intriguing? In this summary, you’ll explore the ancient Enneagram system and the nine personality types identified by this system. Once you learn more about each personality type, you can identify where you fit and learn how to make the most out of your personality type.

The Enneagram System

The Enneagram is an ancient system with uncertain origins. Some think it was developed by an early Christian monk named Evagrius, who first described the seven deadly sins. Others trace the system to ancient Sufism or Judaism. In the 1970s, the Enneagram system made its way from Chile to the United States, arriving at Loyola University through the help of psychologists and religious scholars. Since that time, countless people have found it to be a useful way of achieving selfknowledge.

But what is the Enneagram? Picture a giant clock that has nine ticks around it instead of twelve. This is the Enneagram diagram, and each tick represents one of nine personality types. The ticks are connected by arrows that dart from one side of the circle to the other, forming a series of interconnected triangles.

According to the Enneagram theory, each person has a true, underlying personality that drives their actions over the long term. However, depending on how stressed, safe, or energized you’re feeling in the moment, you might take on the traits of other personalities that are connected to your personality type by the diagram. This means that you should look for patterns in your dynamic personality rather than trying to put yourself in just one box.

The Nine Personality Types

The Enneagram system has nine personality types:

  • Perfectionist
  • Helper
  • Performer
  • Romantic
  • Investigator
  • Loyalist
  • Enthusiast
  • Challenger
  • Peacemaker

As you’ll see, different personalities can lead to very different behaviors, and it’s important to know which one you are so that you can predict how different situations will affect you. Knowing the ins and outs of these personalities can also help you understand others, making you more compassionate.


Perfectionists are committed to living the right way and improving the world. Famous perfectionists, such as Nelson Mandela, show an outsize commitment to leaving the world a better place than they found it.

If you are a perfectionist, you might struggle with anger when things don’t go as planned — and then struggle to express that anger because you see it as a personality flaw. You might be terrified of making a mistake, which can lead you to work crazy hours and triple-check everything you do. Additionally, you might have trouble deeply connecting with people because you’re afraid of being vulnerable and sharing your imperfections. You probably have a hard time relaxing because you’re haunted by the idea of work piling up if you stop for even one minute!


Helpers, such as Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, are motivated by wanting to be loved and needed, and would prefer to give than to receive support.

If you’re a helper with healthy boundaries, you create comfortable, safe spaces for others and form deep connections with friends. However, if you’re an unhealthy helper, you might frequently find yourself in codependent relationships or playing the role of the martyr, always putting other people’s needs above yours. You might also have a tendency to succumb to pride because you overestimate your value to others.


Performers are motivated by the need to be successful — or at least to appear that way. As a result, they tend to be image-conscious, obsessed with productivity, and afraid of failure. Famous performers include Taylor Swift, Tom Cruise, and Mitt Romney.

If you’re a healthy performer, you’ve learned to tie your self-worth to things beyond your accomplishments and reputation. Also, you’re probably good at adapting to different environments and connecting with a variety of people because you’re acutely tuned into how other people read you. But many performers push themselves too hard so that they’ll appear to be successful. Be careful that you don’t strive to fulfill goals that aren’t really yours or try to be someone you’re not, which will leave you with a feeling of emptiness that no accomplishments can fill.


Romantics — such as Amy Winehouse, Thomas Merton, and Vincent van Gogh — are creative, sensitive, and moody. Their motivation is to be understood, experience deep feelings, and avoid being ordinary.

If you’re a romantic, you may rarely feel like you truly belong. Like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you might think you have something truly special to offer society but that society doesn’t appreciate you for who you really are. On the bright side, you probably have a rich imagination and creative mind.


Investigators are analytical, detached, and private. They’re motivated by a need to gain knowledge, conserve energy, and remain independent. If you’re an investigator, you’re in good company with the likes of Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking.

As a healthy investigator, you have a long view of things, maintain a healthy balance between engaging and observing, and are willing to share with others. However, if you’re an unhealthy investigator, you might have a scarcity mindset and hoard time, space, and resources. You might find the world draining and think that you don’t have the internal wherewithal to help others or make meaningful connections.


Loyalists are committed, witty, and pragmatic. However, they’re often motivated by fear and a need for security. Do you own a copy of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook? This book epitomizes the mentality of loyalists.

If you’re a loyalist, you might have a hard time enjoying yourself because you’re constantly running “what if” scenarios through your head and waiting for something to come along and ruin your happiness. On the flip side, you’re probably a very competent professional because few things catch you off guard. Loyalists take a long time to commit to a relationship or community, but, as the name suggests, once they do, they won’t abandon it without a very good reason. As a loyalist, you understand how fragile and unpredictable life can be, so you’re likely to help bond people together by reminding them of what really matters.


Enthusiasts are fun, spontaneous, and adventurous. They’re motivated by stimulating experiences. Famous enthusiasts include Robin Williams, Mozart, and Stephen Colbert.

If you’re an enthusiast, you had fear of missing out (FOMO) before it was cool, and you’re always eager for the future. A healthy enthusiast embraces the idea that less is more and takes enough time to experience and appreciate the seemingly mundane aspects of being. However, if you’re an unhealthy enthusiast, you might always wait for “the next best thing” and jump from experience to experience, distracting yourself from pain with unhealthy habits.


Challengers are intense, confrontational, and commanding. They’re motivated by a need to be strong, and they avoid being vulnerable. Famous challengers include Angela Merkel and Martin Luther King Jr.

If you’re a healthy challenger, your intense convictions make you a great friend, exceptional leader, and advocate for disadvantaged groups. If you’re less healthy, you might suffer from a “me against the world” mentality and burn a lot of bridges with extreme statements and inflammatory behavior.


Peacemakers are laid-back and accommodating. They’re motivated by a need to merge with others, avoid conflict, and keep the peace. Famous peacemakers include Bill Murray and Renee Zellweger.

As a healthy peacemaker, you help mediate conflicts and broker agreements using your selfless, flexible, and inclusive qualities. But if you aren’t careful, you might become indecisive and dependent on others or suffer from a lot of pent-up emotions because you’re afraid that letting them out may hurt someone. You may also struggle to be a self-starter and run out of energy frequently.

Make the Most of Your Personality Type

Your personality started forming the minute you were born and was cemented during childhood. However, you can still grow profoundly by embracing your core personality. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your character.

What to do if you’re a perfectionist

Perfectionists will find true tranquility and fulfillment only when they surrender their compulsive need for perfection and stop stifling their emotions. Rather than fighting with your inner critic, acknowledge it, thank it for what it contributes to your life, and then try moving in a more constructive direction. You might also try to desensitize yourself to imperfection by engaging in activities you’re bad at and finding joy in the process of improvement rather than obsessing over results.

What to do if you’re a helper

If you’re a helper, learn to respect your own wants and needs and detach acts of kindness from your ego. You can do this by directly telling people what you need, saying no rather than yes from time to time, and performing acts of kindness anonymously. Ask yourself, “What needs attention in my life right now?” If you identify an area in which you’ve overexerted yourself, dial it back a notch.

What to do if you’re a performer

Trying to stop being a performer in America is like trying to stop drinking when you live above a bar. In today’s success- and image-obsessed culture, it’s hard to forget your image and focus on what really matters. To get more in touch with your true self, try to develop a practice of silence, solitude, and meditation. This is hard to do alone, so if possible, find a spiritual mentor or develop a close group of friends with whom you can be vulnerable. If you find it hard to dedicate resources to discovering your true self, take an inventory of what you’re sacrificing in your frantic race for success and ask yourself if it’s worth it.

What to do if you’re a romantic

As a romantic, you must first realize that there’s nothing wrong with you, even if you frequently feel like you don’t fit in. Start engaging in practices such as meditation that help you observe, detach from, and eventually regulate your emotions. Also, listening to others when they tell you about their unique struggles and challenges will remind you that you’re not the only one going through hardship.

What to do if you’re an investigator

The good news for investigators is that you don’t cling to your ego as tightly as most other people, which makes the transformation easier. As someone who is normally detached from your emotions, you’ll need to practice connecting with them rather than dismissing them out of hand. It’s easiest to do this by spending more time with other people. Doing so will help you identify emotions that you wouldn’t otherwise notice and appreciate the value of human connection.

What to do if you’re a loyalist

The key to growth if you’re a loyalist is to reconcile the fact that you’re usually safe with the idea that you live in a culture that’s never going to let you feel safe. Having a regular practice or hobby to keep you grounded will help you keep your cool — no matter what catastrophes the news is talking about. Also, you might benefit from keeping a journal of times when things went right instead of wrong. Finally, since you develop strong attachments, make sure that you’re in relationships and communities that leave you feeling positive rather than afraid.

What to do if you’re an enthusiast

Enthusiasts are at risk for substance dependence and unhealthy habits because these things help them temporarily escape boring or painful aspects of life. The key to your happiness is reflecting on the past, recognizing that it’s OK for things to be less exciting than expected, and understanding that simple aspects of life can bring you great joy. Appreciating everyday things and fulfilling your commitments can help you gain momentum in your growth journey.

What to do if you’re a peacemaker

If you’re a peacemaker, the belief that is the hardest — but most important — for you to accept is that you matter just as much as everyone else. Practice sharing your needs, opinions, and preferences with people you trust, as well as people you don’t know. Also, try keeping a journal of moments when you said no or did something that was inconvenient for others. If you struggle to be a self-starter, it might be useful to learn some project-management methods to help you take control of your day.

Dating back to antiquity, the Enneagram is a nine-point diagram used as a way of understanding oneself.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Enneagram”? If your immediate response is some five-pointed symbol to be set aflame in a Wiccan ceremony, then you’ve made a forgivable blunder. That’s the pentagram. The Enneagram, in contrast, has nine points and has nothing to do with the occult. However, like the pentagram, the Enneagram does have ancient roots. The Enneagram of personality types is an outgrowth of ancient Christian theology. No one truly knows its origins, however its thought to be connected to Evagrius Ponticus, a fourth-century Christian monk and theologian who is also often credited with having created the concept of the seven deadly sins. However, the Enneagram isn’t an idea that solely comes up in Christianity. Judaism, Sufism, and Taoism feature similar nine-pointed diagrams used for spiritual guidance. In the 1970s, the Bolivian philosopher Oscar Ichazo brought all of these traditions of ancient wisdom together into one to form the modern Enneagram structure. Later, it was imported to America by one of Ichazo’s pupils at the Aric school in Chile – an American psychologist named Claudio Naranjo. Naranjo, then taught the Enneagram to his students in California, one of whom was Father Robert Ochs. Ochs then, through his Catholic Jesuit teachings brought the spiritual ideas of the Enneagram to fellow clergy, spiritual leaders, and his congregation. So, what is the Enneagram, exactly? Well, its name comes from the Greek – ennea, meaning “nine,” and gram meaning “drawing” or “figure.” Its nine-pointed geometric design is used as an aid to self-knowledge. There are nine personality types that make up the Enneagram, and each of the nine points corresponds to one of the personality types. Then, each personality type of linked to a number on the diagram, and the number can then tell us more about how we see the world, including how we feel and behave. Each personality type also has links to other numbers across the diagram, and these connections can help us to understand how we act in certain situations, especially stressful ones. Finally, each of the nine personality types has two adjacent numbers known as “wing numbers,” both of which may further influence your type. At this point, you might be thinking, “OK, but how does this help me?” Basically, the goal of the Enneagram is to assist you in better reflecting upon your characteristic flaws, so that you can consciously get closer to your personal enlightenment. Not only that – you can also use it to better understand the behavior of your family and friends. By being able to understand and empathize with their outlook on life, you’ll be able to better communicate and have more effective conversations. In the next book summary, we’ll look at the first six personality types.

The first six personality types of the Enneagram are in the categories of Gut Triad and Heart Triads.

There are three distinct categories, or triads, of the Enneagram. These are the Gut, the Heart, and the Head. Let’s take a closer look at the Gut first. The link between the different personality types in the Gut Triad is actually anger. Take type Eight, the Challenger. The Challenger is known for being the first one to speak up when she witnesses a wrongdoing. Their forceful nature makes them natural ringleaders, and their weakness is an inability to show vulnerability, which can often hold them back from forming meaningful relationships. Often, they demonstrate anger by seeking out verbal or physical conflict. Type 9, on the other hand, the Peacemaker, is the polar opposite. This personality type will avoid conflict at all costs. They’re always able to look at both sides of any situation, making this amiable Peacemaker a natural born mediator. However, since they never want to upset others, they tend to suppress their own anxieties and frustrations, which results in their not asking for, and therefore not getting, what they might need from relationships. The third type in the Gut Triad is type One – the Perfectionist. As you might expect from their name, Perfectionists are self-disciplined, moral, and detail-oriented. Improving themselves and the world is their prime concern. They have a tendency to view everything as right or wrong: black or white. When others break these rules or abandon responsibility, Perfectionists can grow angry. This anger is often then internalized as resentment. Conversely, the three personality types in the Heart Triad are defined by their feelings and emotions. Just look at type Two – the Helper. The Helper is an incredibly caring character. This personality type is super motivated by feeling needed by other people, making them self-sacrificing. On the other hand, Helpers tend to let relationships define them, often avoiding expressing their own needs. Oftentimes, they also feel that others owe them something in return for the care that they show. In general, they attend to everyone’s feelings but their own. Type Three is the Performer. Performers are known for setting huge goals and getting immense satisfaction when they achieve them. The more successful, productive, and efficient they are, the greater their sense of self-worth. The weakness of a Performer is self-delusion and an inability to own up to their own mistakes. Performers often struggle to identify emotions in themselves and others, and are highly conscious of their image. Completing the Heart Triad is type Four – the Romantic. This personality type is known for their natural tendency to be incredibly in tune with the beauty and tragedy in the world, making it so that they’re able to appreciate the entire spectrum of the human experience. Their weakness is a tendency to isolate themselves from others, which can lead to melancholy, unpredictability, and self-absorption. We read dozens of other great books like The Road Back to You, and summarized their ideas in this article called Life Purpose Check it out here!

The final three Enneagram numbers are categorized under the Head Triad.

Have you found a personality type that you identify with yet? If not, you’ll probably find yourself under the Head Triad. The three characters represented by the Head Triad are all motivated by fear. In this category, the first is type Five – the Investigator. People in this personality type find great pleasure in sharing their wealth of knowledge with each and every person they meet. These are fiercely independent people who are capable of logical and objective opinions. Their downfall, however, is a fear of having to depend on others. This means that they come off as defensive and cynical with a tendency to judge others. Type Six is the open and dependable Loyalist. Loyalists have a commitment to serving others in their families and communities. People in this personality type feel safe with rules and order, seeking out security and stability. They often worry about losing this security. They’ll regularly think about the worst that might happen, sometimes so much so that small anxieties can turn into extreme paranoia. Instead of displaying true fear during an actual crisis, type Six will turn every nagging fear into its own crisis. Completing the Head Triad and the Enneagram is type Seven – the Enthusiast. This type is the life and soul of the party, coming at life with a glass-half-full attitude. Type Sevens are people who are incredibly popular with their peers, but like the other types, they have their downsides. Enthusiasts struggle to commit to anything. They tend to chase pleasure in an attempt to avoid any negative emotions, and are known as being the type most susceptible to addiction. Motivated by a fear of negative emotions, they have a tendency to completely fill their calendars with social events and fill their homes with material objects. They often continuously set goals so that they can keep themselves distracted from reality. Now you’re familiar with the three triads and each personality type within them. But, if you still don’t feel that you fit within one type, don’t worry. The Enneagram is unique in that it allows for a more nuanced approach. To do that, we need to turn to the wing numbers.

There is always a dynamic relationship between each numbered personality type and two wing numbers.

You might feel like a Romantic at your core, but perhaps you don’t think you’re eccentric enough to fully fit into Type Four. The key to the perfect fit may be in your wing numbers. Just as a wingman stands behind you, providing moral support, the wing numbers stand on either side of your number, and act to strengthen your personality type with some of their own characteristics. To find your wing numbers, look to the right and left of your own Enneagram number. A strong understanding of all three of these types will allow you to truly tune into how you might define your own personality. To fully understand this, let’s return to the beginning of this book summary, and take a peek at type Four, the Romantic – in more depth. Romantics tend to be creative souls, such as actors, writers, artists and filmmakers: these are people who thrive on storytelling and melodrama. As children, they often feel misunderstood, but learn to make the most of their differences to help them stand out. Unfortunately, they often realize that this doesn’t lead to the thing they truly strive for: the sense that they belong. On either side of type Four are types Three and Five – the Performer and the Investigator. A type Four with a Three wing is called a “4w3.” As you’ll remember, Performers are competitive people, driven by goals. A Romantic who adopts these characteristics often feels that they must be the best at what they do, as well as being unique and special. Being image-conscious, 4w3 types will hold themselves in a way that tends to be more socially acceptable than a pure Romantic’s quirkiness, while their fixation on goals makes them more likely to bring ideas to fruition. Now, let’s look at a “4w5” – a Four with a Five wing. This type tends to be more reserved and introverted. They’ll often embrace the more eccentric side of their personality, and are proud of their uniqueness, but they don’t have the same need for recognition as the 4w3. Under the influence of the Investigator personality, a 4w5 often finds that too much socializing is exhausting, needing alone time after a long time interacting with others. They also tend to choose to deal with their emotions on their own instead of sharing them, or even acting upon them. Are you ready to go even deeper? Good. Because your type may be influenced by yet more numbers. In the next book summary, you’ll discover how stress can turn even a Perfectionist into a Romantic.

Each number on the Enneagram also takes on the characteristics of their security or stress number.

By now, hopefully you have a decent understanding of what your main personality type may be, and which wing number may best compliment it. That’s good, because it’s now time to look at your security and stress numbers. In situations where you feel safe and secure, your security number will give you its positive characteristics. This is how they’re linked: Perfectionists borrow the security traits of the Enthusiast; the Helper takes from the Romantic; the Performer from the Loyalist; the Romantic from the Perfectionist; the Investigator from the Challenger; the Loyalist from the Peacemaker; the Enthusiast from the Investigator; the Challenger from the Helper; and the Peacemaker from the Performer. To look further at how this works, let’s take the self-disciplined type One Perfectionist, with their internal critic. Perfectionists’ security number is Seven – the Enthusiast. Perfectionists are able to relax when they’re free of responsibility, for example, when they’re on vacation or when they’re hanging out with friends, allowing them to take on some of the traits of the Enthusiast. When they feel secure, Perfectionists become gregarious, self-confident, and adventurous. But, just as your number can borrow positives during the good times, it can also take on negatives during hard times. These negative characteristics come from your stress number, as follows: Under stress, the Perfectionist takes on the traits of the Romantic; the Helper takes from the Challenger; the Performer from the Peacemaker; the Romantic from the Helper; the Investigator from the Enthusiast; the Loyalist from the Performer; the Enthusiast from the Perfectionist; the Challenger from the Investigator; and the Peacemaker from the Loyalist. Now let’s take a look at how this works. For example, if Perfectionist has to stay late at the office, or is having relationship problems, under the influence of borrowed traits from the Romantic personality type, their self-esteem may suffer, and they will often fall into depression and grow incredibly sensitive to criticism. They’ll find themselves thinking that they’re simply not as good as other people. It may sound depressing, but knowing and understanding how your stress number influences your behavior is incredibly useful in evaluating which things you may find overwhelming. It’s a good idea to think about why it is you’re feeling the way you are so that you can stop yourself from spiraling into bad habits. The more self-aware you are, the easier it’ll be for you to make good decisions. To explain it as simply as possible: your security number represents how you would act on payday. Your stress number, on the other hand, is how you act when you check your account and find it’s all gone toward rent.

Each number on the Enneagram corresponds to a specific deadly sin.

While the characteristics of your stress number and your corresponding deadly sin might be similar, they’ll often manifest in different ways. Your stress number is a negative reaction, whereas your deadly sin is a negative motivation. You can’t escape it. Every personality type has a deadly sin – a shadowy side that needs to be tempered. The Perfectionist’s sin is anger. Because they hold themselves and others to such high standards, failure to meet these standards is simply inevitable. However, when something does fall short of what the Perfectionist was expecting, they often manifest this reaction in anger, or sometimes slow-burning resentment, which they often hold onto. For the Helper, pride is their downfall, as they often think they know what’s best for everybody else. Performers often risk losing their sense of self, as they become so used to projecting an image they want others to see. Their deadly sin is deceit – both of themselves and of others. The deadly sin of the Romantic is envy. Romantics are so eccentric and melancholic, so they often struggle to fit in with others in the crowd. Often, they find themselves jealous of people who are able to easily discover their place in society and happiness. As you know, Investigator types are highly self-sufficient. Life as this personality type requires a huge amount of energy and resources. However, in keeping this energy for their own use, they commit the sin of avarice. Loyalists, on the other hand, who crave safety and security, are guided by the sin of fear. Gluttony is assigned to the Enthusiast, since this is a type who will often gorge themselves on pleasure so that they can distract themselves from any feelings of negativity. They often go so overboard with this that they develop damaging addictions. The Challenger personality – aggressive and confrontational – is guilty of the sin of lust due to their desire to have power and control over the people around them. They often lean toward this tendency so as to distract themselves from their own weaknesses. Finally, the sin of sloth typifies the Peacemakers. Since this personality type is often concerned solely with the problems of other people, they’ll often grow slothful when it comes to dealing with their own issues. If it seems daunting to have to confront the most negative aspects of your personality, it’s important to keep in mind: every type has its own shadowy side. Simply recognizing your own shadowy behaviors is already half the battle. The other half of this involves ensuring that you keep this “bad side” in check, so that you’re able to be your best self. When you understand each side of your personality type, you’ll be able to get better at being compassionate toward others: compassion being the foundation of any close relationship.


As you begin your personal growth journey, remember to love yourself (and others) for who you are today, not just the person you hope to become. The Enneagram shows that you can’t change your experiences right away, but you can better understand the variety of human perspectives and start taking small steps to set yourself and others up for success using your unique strengths and weaknesses.

Finally, if you don’t find the Enneagram to be a helpful system, don’t give up on your quest for self-growth. The Enneagram is only one tool to help you know yourself and connect with your spirituality. The important thing is to find a way to grow in self-knowledge and wisdom.

The key message in this book summary:

The Enneagram is an ancient diagram whose roots reach back into Christianity. Through understanding it and your type, you’ll be able to gain greater self-knowledge, and understand the behavior of those around us. Through identifying your own Enneagram personality type, and learning how your type responds to certain situations, you’ll be able to make progress toward making better and more informed decisions in your life.

Actionable advice:

Help your coworkers find joy in their work using the Enneagram.

A wide range of workplaces, including Motorola, the Oakland A’s baseball team, the Vatican clergy, and the CIA have used the Enneagram to help their employees find greater satisfaction in their careers. So, why not get your colleagues to identify their type? This often does a lot of work in helping employees understand their personal work habits and therefore figure out what tasks they’ll be naturally great at. For instance, if someone is a type Five Investigator, she’ll naturally excel at analytical tasks, whereas a type One Perfectionist will work best when focusing on a single project.

About the author

As an Episcopal priest, trained psychotherapist, author, and Enneagram teacher, Ian Morgan Cron draws from a variety of disciplines to help people better understand their lives and develop a relationship with God. His books include the novel Chasing Francis and the spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me.

Suzanne Stabile is an internationally recognized Enneagram master teacher who has conducted more than 500 workshops. In addition to co-authoring The Road Back to You, she co-created the Road Back to You podcast. She and her husband, the Rev. Joseph Stabile, run a nonprofit, nondenominational ministry committed to the spiritual growth and formation of adults.

Ian Morgan Cron is a bestselling author, nationally recognized speaker, Enneagram teacher, counselor, Dove Award–winning songwriter, and Episcopal priest. His books include the novel Chasing Francis and spiritual memoir Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me. Ian draws on an array of disciplines—from psychology to the arts, Christian spirituality and theology—to help people enter more deeply into conversation with God and the mystery of their own lives. He and his wife, Anne, live in Nashville, Tennessee. Author photo by Ben Pearson.

Suzanne Stabile is a highly sought-after speaker, teacher, and internationally recognized Enneagram master teacher, having conducted over five hundred workshops. She is the author of The Path Between Us and creator and host of The Enneagram Journey podcast. Along with her husband, Rev. Joseph Stabile, she is cofounder of Life in the Trinity Ministry, a nonprofit, nondenominational ministry committed to the spiritual growth and formation of adults. They have many audio resources available, including The Enneagram Journey curriculum. Their ministry home, the Micah Center, is located in Dallas, Texas.


Christianity, Self Help, Psychology, Christian, Personal Development, Spirituality, Faith, Religion, Leadership, New Age, Self-Improvement, Christian Life, Social Interactions in Relationships, Spiritual Life, Christian Living

Table of Contents

1. A Curious Theory of Unknown Origin
2. Finding Your Type
3. Type Eight: The Challenger
“Lead me, follow me, or get out of the way.” —General George S. Patton Jr.
4. Type Nine: The Peacemaker
“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” —Virginia Woolf
5. Type One: The Perfectionist
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.” —Anne Lamott
6. Type Two: The Helper
“I want you to be happy, but I want to be the reason.” —Anonymous
7. Type Three: The Performer
“The real question is, can you love the real me? . . . Not the perfect person you want me to be, not that image you had of me, but who I really am.” —Christine Feehan
8. Type Four: The Romantic
“If you’ve ever had that feeling of loneliness, of being an outsider, it never quite leaves you.” —Tim Burton
9. Type Five: The Investigator
“I think I am, therefore, I am. I think..” —George Carlin
10. Type Six: The Loyalist
“There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.”
—Stephen King
11. Type Seven: The Enthusiast
“Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings!” —Peter Pan
12. So Now What? The Beginning of Love
“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves.” —Thomas Merton


What you don’t know about yourself can hurt you and your relationships—and even keep you in the shallows with God. Do you want help figuring out who you are and why you’re stuck in the same ruts?

The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively. In The Road Back to You Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile forge a unique approach—a practical, comprehensive way of accessing Enneagram wisdom and exploring its connections with Christian spirituality for a deeper knowledge of ourselves, compassion for others, and love for God.

Witty and filled with stories, this book allows you to peek inside each of the nine Enneagram types, keeping you turning the pages long after you have read the chapter about your own number. Not only will you learn more about yourself, but you will also start to see the world through other people’s eyes, understanding how and why people think, feel, and act the way they do.

Beginning with changes you can start making today, the wisdom of the Enneagram can help take you further along into who you really are—leading you into places of spiritual discovery you would never have found on your own, and paving the way to the wiser, more compassionate person you want to become.


“I’m so thrilled that this book exists. The Enneagram has absolutely changed my understanding of how to love the people in my life, deepened the quality of my marriage, and given me a vision for the person God designed me to be. This book makes the Enneagram easy to understand, with helpful stories, humor, warmth, and clear language. I’ll need a case, at least.” — Shauna Niequist, author of Present Over Perfect

“What would you give to crack the biggest mystery in the world: Yourself? Why do we act, think, feel, and believe the way we do? I know of no better tool than the Enneagram. And I know of no better teachers of this tool than my friends Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. I use the Enneagram in my business and personal life every day. The Road Back to You will open your eyes to the depths of your heart.” — Michael Hyatt, coauthor of Living Forward

“With The Road Back to You, the small number of books I recommend to absolutely everyone has increased by one. You couldn’t ask for a better introduction to the Enneagram than what’s found in this book and you couldn’t ask for better guides than Cron and Stabile. If a modicum of self-awareness is needed to navigate life these days, let this book be your map.” — Nadia Bolz-Weber, author of Accidental Saints

“Armed with delightful but incisive wit, Cron and Stabile help us explore our inner life by making the mystery of the Enneagram accessible. If you want to better understand yourself and those in the world around you, this insightful and brilliant book is a perfect place to begin.” — Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack

“The Enneagram has been a vital tool in my own personal journey of self-discovery, and The Road Back to You does a great job of making this ancient tool accessible for the modern Christian.” — Michael Gungor, singer-songwriter

“A must-read for all and a companion guide for a lifelong journey to live generatively. A book full of wisdom, discernment, and humor, The Road Back to You creates a path toward home ever so gently and joyfully.” — Makoto Fujimura, artist, director, Brehm Center, Fuller Theological Seminary, author of Silence and Beauty

“Ian Morgan Cron, partnering with Suzanne Stabile, has gifted us with another timely and brilliantly written book. We’ve long needed a fresh, spiritually grounded approach to helping people grow in self-knowledge and compassion. This is a winsome and thoughtful primer!” — Mark Batterson, lead pastor, National Community Church, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker

“As a newbie to the Enneagram, The Road Back to You offered a delightful and accessible way to honestly examine my own motivations and consider the best path toward growth and flourishing. This book is a must-read for those who seek to not only understand themselves better, but those closest to them, as well.” — Jena Lee Nardella, cofounder of Blood:Water, author of One Thousand Wells

“There is a special place in my heart for books that help me be a better me. In this book, Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile have delivered on their promise to provide a roadmap to self. The Road Back to You will help you find you―all over again and for the first time.” — Claire Diaz-Ortiz, author and entrepreneur

“The Enneagram has been a powerful tool for spiritual transformation in my life, so much so that I became a certified trainer. I’ve read many of the books available on the subject. This is a wonderfully thorough examination of the Enneagram and the best news is that it will speak to both newcomers and Enneagram veterans.” — Anita Lustrea, Faith Conversations Podcast, author, speaker, media coach

“A true understanding of your Enneagram type will tell you more about your financial strengths and foibles than you can imagine. . . . I find The Road Back to You to be the most readable and applicable book I’ve read yet on the subject.” — Tim Maurer, Forbes, December 30, 2016

“An aid to those seeking to identify personality types, with a little bit of spirituality on the side.” — Sandra Colllins, Library Journal, October 1, 2016

“Cron and Stabile walk through the Enneagram’s nine different personality types and their distinct ways of seeing the world, showing how each one has a potentially infinite number of expressions, strengths, and weaknesses. Cron describes his own Enneagram experience as a feeling of waking up after having been asleep for a long time. He explains that in catching a glimpse of the person he was created to be, he began to see himself with the same delight, pride, and expectation with which God sees him, and to sense the immediacy of God’s grace. ‘In the spiritual life that’s no small thing,’ he writes.” — Foreword Reviews, Fall 2016

“Cron brings his witty, energetic voice to this collaboration with Stabile, a retreat director and expert on the Enneagram―a system of personality typology with roots in Christian and Islamic mysticism. The beauty of the Enneagram is its charity: the system clearly names the flaws as well as the virtues of each personality type. The Enneagram also counsels humility and acknowledges its own limits (‘[The Enneagram] is not infallible or inerrant,’ writes Cron and Stabile)―a welcome modesty in religious understanding today.” — Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW, August 8, 2016

“The Road Back to You is a great read for anyone who wants to grow in their knowledge of themselves and how it affects all your relationships. I would also highly recommend it for anyone who works with other people. It has the potential to give you a whole new understanding of the people you interact with on a daily basis.” — Nathan McCorkindale, Mennonite Brethren Herald, December 4, 2017

“The Enneagram has been a powerful tool for spiritual transformation in my life, so much so that I became a certified trainer. I’ve read many of the books available on the subject. This is a wonderfully thorough examination of the Enneagram and the best news is that it will speak to both newcomers and Enneagram veterans.” — Anita Lustrea, Faith Conversations Podcast, author, speaker, media coach

“The Road Back to You is a great read for anyone who wants to grow in their knowledge of themselves and how it affects all your relationships. I would also highly recommend it for anyone who works with other people. It has the potential to give you a whole new understanding of the people you interact with on a daily basis.” — Nathan McCorkindale, Mennonite Brethren Herald, December 4, 2017

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