Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review.
I think my love of Gretchen Rubin’s work is well documented in this space. I learn so much from her books and I have definitely encouraged others to read them as well!
Her newest book, The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too), is no exception!
In this one, Rubin posits that there are four personality tendencies based on how you react to internal and external factors. That is, are you motivated by internal pressures or external? Both? None? Based on this, you have a personality trait: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger or Rebel.
There’s a quiz at the beginning of the book (and you can find it here if you’re interested. You ARE) so that you can find out where you land before you read the rest of the book.
Basically the Four Tendencies break down thus:
- Upholder (responds well to external and internal expectations, has no trouble making time for themselves and achieving things others expect from them)
- Questioner (responds well to internal obligations, will only achieve those things that make sense to them, you have to convince a questioner that something should be done)
- Obliger (responds well to external obligations, likely to burn out because they don’t say no and don’t make time for themselves)
- Rebel (doesn’t respond to external or internal obligations, only do things they WANT to do, if you tell them to do something they automatically don’t want to)
There is also some overlap – you can be an Upholder with Obliger tendencies or a Rebel with Questioner tendencies. Each chapter breaks down a tendency and then how to deal with it if you are one, are in a relationship with one, have a child who is one or work with one.
As ever, Rubin’s work is accessible and so interesting. I learned so much about myself, my relationship, the people I work with. I’ve loaned the book out twice already (once to my manager!) and forced so many people to take the quiz! I thought I was an Obliger but it turns out I’m a REBEL! Basically this means that I don’t respond to any factors, I only do things when I WANT to. Very, very true. When I was reading the Rebel chapter, I had to laugh because it said that IF a Rebel was in a long term relationship, it was with an Obliger. Turns out, my husband is an Obliger.
Anyway, if you’re at all interested in learning more, I really recommend this one. It’s an easy read – 220 pages. You can feel Rubin’s enthusiasm for the work, she includes anecdotes from people she’s encountered and you can really start to see the people around you in the tendencies as you read. I read this sometime last month and I still think about it all the time.