Surprisingly insightful, enjoyable, and thought-provoking, Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies is the perfect weekend read for anyone looking to improve their relationship with themselves and others. (That should be everyone.)
In her own description of the book, Rubin explains that it helps explain why we act and why we don’t act. In plain english: How do I get people – including myself! – to do the things that I want them to do?
I came across a short intro for the book online and was so intrigued that I immediately ordered it and started reading all manner of online book reviews. I think “spooky” is the word that I used when describing just the preview personality descriptions to my husband.
What’s with the title?
The Four Tendencies describes 4 distinct groups of people that handle responsibilities and actions differently and why we do so. All adults fall into one of the 4 categories, although some may lean in a particular direction within the group.
Don’t believe me? Take the online quiz to figure out which group you belong to. Seriously, go take the quiz. It only takes a minute and, I promise, you’ll be hooked.
What’s so great about this book?
If you’re like me and have just purchased this book, I hope you used Prime shipping. It’s that good!
If you still need a little push to make this your next read, here’s why I loved it…
Strength in numbers
The Four Tendencies not only gave a name to my propensity for putting everyone else’s needs before my own (I’m an obliger) but helped me understand that I’m not alone in this. I have always thought of this as a ‘motherly’ trait, which is strange for me given that I don’t have children and nothing else about me is ‘motherly’ in any way. (Seriously, ask anyone.)
Simply knowing that so many other people feel and act this way gave me more comfort than I could have anticipated.
Peace in understanding
The book spends very little time ‘diagnosing’ you as one tendency or another. (That’s what the quiz is for.) That majority of the book is focused on common struggles for people of each tendency and how to better relate to others of each tendency.
The magic of it all: Rubin not only explains why I feel the way I feel but gives helpful tips on relating to someone else like me. Admittedly less useful when reading about my own tendency and infinitely more useful when reading about, say, my husband’s tendency. (He’s a questioner, and to say it drives me nuts is an understatement.)
Wear your stripes proudly
Perhaps the most notable thing about the book is the fact that there is no right or wrong tendency and people rarely if ever are able to change their tendency. (Near death experience aside.)
Unlike diet books or professional books that are geared at helping you change something about yourself, The Four Tendencies aims to help you be your best you, which felt like a breath of fresh air, even as someone who loves a good self-help book.
The bottom line
I read the entire book in a few hours and then I gave it to my husband because I honestly feel like it will play a significant role in improving our communication and hopefully put a lid on some of our petty arguments.
What’s your tendency? Do you feel like you can see it showing through in some of your day-to-day life?