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January Book Reviews

I made my way through three books this month. You'd think that since we took the month off I would have read more, but you know, quilting and tv......

When I was in high school, our church had a girl's group ... maybe it was Sunday School or part of youth group? Our leader presented the four personality types based on a book by Tim LaHaye (Spirit Controlled Temperaments). From that I discovered two things: 1. I was perfectly normal and not the only one like me and 2. I was an introvert and a "phlegmatic". Ever since then I've been fascinated with anything to do with personality typing.

Anne Bogel's book, Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything tells us about all sorts of personality typings and profiles. She sets out to enable us to use these profiles to help us see what changes need to be made, why those changes are necessary, and how to carry them out. She also helps us see how some things just aren't going to change (you can't change that you're an introvert), but also which things can change (you can acquire skills to help you feel more comfortable at a party). Understanding personalities also helps us understand the people around us.

Mrs. Vogel takes a look at the following: introverts and extroverts, highly sensitive people, the five love languages, Keirsey's temperaments, the Myers-Briggs type indicator as well as MBTI cognitive functions, the Clifton strength-finder, and the enneagram. She gives great explanations of all, but this book is an introduction, not a text-book, but if you really want to know more in-depth she also gives a lot of resources in her bibliography.

I personally found the book helpful in two ways. By using the MBTI cognitive functions, I finally nailed down which MBTI I am. I also found the enneagram very helpful. My first reaction to the enneagram was to be annoyed because it seems negative. But when I read her explanation of how it reveals our motivations and focuses on the brokenness of those human motivations, it made more sense. It really helps to know what struggles and flaws you need to deal with (and if you've been confessing the same sin over and over, that probably will help you identify your enneagram type!). It helps us deal with our junk by exposing our junk.

I'm looking forward to exploring some of these typing methods in greater detail and doing some heart-searching by using the enneagram as a tool.

And, in case you're wondering, I am an introvert whose receiving love language is acts of kindness and my doing love language is giving gifts. I am not a highly sensitive person, but have enough characteristics of one to understand a bit how they feel. According to Kiersey's temperaments, I am a Guardian. My Myers Briggs is ISTJ (Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Judging). My cognitive function is Introverted Sensing and my judging function is Extraverted Thinking. I didn't do the Clifton Strengthsfinder since it is costly, but a knock-off test tells me I'm strong as a "Believer" (not to be confused with being a Christian). I'm a #9, Peacemaker, on the Enneagram. If all of this sounds meaningless to you, you need to read the book!

The second book was called In the Field, Vietnam: My Letters Home by Damon Darley. This book is a compilation of about seven months of letters written by Damon Darley from VietNam back home to his new wife. He was drafted, was a bit older 

than most of the 18 and 19 year olds he served with, and was not in favor of the war to begin with. He does come across as being a bit of a whiner, but I can also understand that he was under a great deal of stress being on the front-line and that his letters home were a way to process and relieve the stress. I found the book an interesting way to learn about VietNam as it is not based on anybody's faulty memory, but are simply a collection of letters he wrote about what was happening at the moment. I also thought it was interesting that he seemed to want equal rights for everybody and that he was in favor of racial reconciliation, but then he would turn around and make a racist remark. The letters are very personal and endearing, and I thought the book was worth reading.

The final book was Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd. I received this book from Blogging for Books and wrote a full review for them. You can read the review here. In brief, I thought the book was confusing at best and heretical at worst. I don't really recommend reading it.


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