Audiobook number two is complete! I enjoyed this one as an audiobook more than I enjoyed Real Food for Pregnancy as an audiobook. (That does not necessarily mean I prefer the book itself over the other.)
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile is fairly well-known, since it is about the Enneagram from a spiritual perspective. If you are not familiar with the Enneagram, the rest of this review will not make much sense to you. Basically, the Enneagram is a test to help you understand why you see the world the way that you do: a glorified personality test. Each personality type result is a number, 1 through 9, and each number has different quirks, tendencies, and a “deadly sin.”
Self-awareness is one of the keys to living a successful life – especially a successful Christian life. This is the overarching theme of the book. The better we know ourselves, including our false assumptions about others, unrealistic expectations, and reactionary tendencies, the more we can deal with those things and become more like Christ.
Each chapter discusses details and typical habits of each type. I cringed (with conviction) as I listened to the chapter about my type. I chuckled as I listened to the one that for sure described my mom. I nodded and mhm’ed my way through the chapter about my husband’s personality.
However, the Enneagram is just that: a tool. The number does not define me. I nearly had an existential crisis after listening to the chapter on 2’s, two chapters later listening to the one about 4’s. “Oh my gosh, I thought I was a 2. But I identify so much with what he’s saying about 4’s!” I wailed to Joshua later that day. He very simply said, “It doesn’t matter which number you are. It may be helpful, but you are not your number.” (Which was such a 5 thing to say, but I digress.)
All that to say that I like this concept for the same reason I like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): it helps me understand myself and others around me. Hopefully I am able to show more grace to myself as I grow in Christlikeness but still feel or think in a certain way; and also able to show more grace to others as they are also see the world differently and are on their own journey. It’s hard to not start conversations with, “Well, since I’m an INFP, I was thinking…” (which is SUPER weird, I know), but hopefully we use these tools to better connect with and understand each other.
So the book itself!
On the Audible app, Ian Morgan Cron reads his own book; and he is an excellent speaker. His voice is dynamic and pleasant. The book is not simply facts and information; there are stories of people Ian and Suzanne have interacted with or are close to. Each anecdote is an example of the Ennegram type that chapter talks about, and many of them are humorous.
The Road Back to You is incredibly easy to digest. The information is straightforward but presented in a fun, helpful way. After finishing the book, I feel much more informed about my own tendencies as well as the tendencies of people close to me; and I hope I am able to use this information to better myself and show more kindness to other people.
Note at the beginning of this entry, I said this book is from a spiritual perspective – not Christian, necessarily. I’m not sure which religion Ian or Suzanne identify with. They talk about God and our “spiritual journey,” even giving specific examples at the end of each chapter for “spiritual growth” for that particular number. I wouldn’t say I agree with everything in this book. (Can we say that about any book besides the Bible?)
One thing that didn’t sit right with me was when they talked about how we as humans (but specifically about 4’s in their chapter) are already complete and have everything we need to be happy and successful. As Christians, we know this is not true. We are not born with innate goodness; the Bible says that we are sinners by nature and by choice. This idea of self-wholeness is something to be aware of when reading this book.
Overall, I would recommend this book – especially if you are, like I was, doubtful or uninformed about the Enneagram. Keep in mind that, as with all books, we should read this with discernment. Besides God’s Word, no book is whole and completely true. That being said, I believe that as long as we use The Road Back to You as a tool for understanding, grace, and betterment, it is beneficial. May we not hide behind our “number” and statements like, “That’s just how I am,” but instead use these as a springboard to self-awareness and improvement with the help of the Holy Spirit.
For more information and a different perspective, check out this article from The Gospel Coalition: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/enneagram-road-back-somewhere-else/
4 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: The Road Back to You”
Thanks for the interesting post. Have you seen this review of the book?
“[T]he Enneagram presents an approach to spirituality that is alien to, and often at odds with, the language and contours of Scripture. Although Cron and Stabile argue that the Enneagram does not smuggle in the therapeutic under the guise of the theological (24), the book is awash in therapeutic language. Every chapter talks about some combination of forgiving myself, finding my true self, becoming spiritually evolved, being healed from wounded messages, dealing with codependent behaviors, and pursuing personal wholeness. This is not the language of the Bible. We hear nothing about fear of man, the love of the praise of man, covenantal promises, covenantal threats, repentance, atonement, heaven or hell. When faith is mentioned it’s described as believing in something or someone bigger than you (203).”
The review goes on to criticize the book for failing to focus on God, as opposed to ourselves, and to note the lack of need for regeneration implied by the book. “You don’t have to be a Christian to benefit from the Enneagram journey in this book, because there is nothing about the journey that is discernibly Christian.”
Hey Heidi, thanks for sharing. I’m a big fan of The Gospel Coalition and their perspective so no I hadn’t seen that review and I really appreciate their view on it. I may add the link to it at the bottom of my article because it was very helpful.
I don’t disagree that the book is not inherently Christian. I mentioned that specifically in my review. I do wish the authors used more scripture.
I also directly mentioned that this – both the Enneagram and the book itself – are simply tools that can be helpful. How can I address my sin and repent of it if I am not aware of my sin/sinful tendencies? Knowing areas where I fail or am more likely to fail helps me as a follower of Christ.
I’m not sure where, in a book like this, one would mention Heaven or Hell. As all books we read, we should hold this one up to the Bible and compare its “truth” against God’s Word that we know is truth. Have you read “The Road Back to You”? I would love to read a physical copy of this book so I can pick up on details that I’m sure I missed as I was listening to it being read to me.
There were a few things that made me go “hmmm” and I didn’t agree with, and I will amend my post to clarify that. As with all books, and I hope everyone does this with any book I or anyone else recommends, we should read with discernment. I was not looking to this book to provide to me ultimate truth about myself or the people around me. It was a helpful read, and I pray that the information I took from it will help me in my Christian journey.
I appreciate the reply. No, I haven’t read The Road Back to You; it is a fairly famous book and I was curious about it, though, so I looked up reviews. I certainly agree it’s important to know oneself.
Fantastic. I hope my revisions to the original review help to clarify. Thanks again for your input!