Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Book Review by Jack Falt

Condon, Thomas, The Enneagram Movie & Video Guide: How to See Personality Styles in the Movies, 2nd Edition, Revised & Expanded, Portland, OR, 1999, 1994, ISBN1-555-20-1002, 250 pp, bibliography and index.

Recently, I have started studying the Enneagram with my group and so have added a number of books on the Enneagram to my collection. When we are studying a personality typing system, it is helpful to see real examples of people with the various types. Seeing them in the movies is helpful as we can observe their actions over a period of time. Perhaps you have done some Jung/Myers personality typing as you have watched movies, or have had clients observe a movie with you. Peter Malone writes a regular column on Jung/Myers typing in the APT Bulletin.

Thomas Condon is an Enneagram trainer and has been doing Enneagram typing for many years. He writes a regular column in The Enneagram Educator magazine, which is now online as The Electronic Enneagram, that includes typing of characters in movies. He also lists types (from here on I am referring to Enneagram types) of many famous people, including actors. A more up-to-date list is on his web site. Of course, these are his assumptions as to their types. He has found that most actors tend to play parts that have the same type as their own in real life. The closer their own types resembles that of the character they are playing, the better they are at portraying the character.

What is valuable about this book is that most of the movies are ones we have seen. So as we read the description, we can picture the characters and situations described. Even if you havenít seen the actual movie, there are brief plot lines given so that you can follow the points being made by the author. While this book is now five years old, most of the movies are available in video or DVD. This makes it easy to get a hold of a movie that demonstrates the type.

A chapter is devoted to each type and there are a number of movies described in each chapter, so if you watch movies at all, there is likely one from the list you have seen. Even if you know nothing about Enneagram types, the chapters describe the types and illustrates the points with explanations from the movies. Each chapter begins with an extensive list of real-life people of that type. There is a two-page description of the type and then some comments on the type of film that the type appear in.

Letís look at Type Sevens. Many of them are comedians. Sevens live life to the fullest. To mask their fears and pain they keep themselves very busy seeking out new experiences. For the most part Sevens are very entertaining to be around. Youíll never get bored being with a Seven. You may feel exhausted, but not bored. There is a similarity to ESTPs and ESFPs way of behaving although there is not a one-to-one correlation. Steve Allen, Tim Allen, Jackie Chan, Errol Flynn, Tom Hanks, John F. Kennedy and Barbara Streisand are all Sevens, according to the author.

An example of a film based on Sevens is Aunty Mame. Rosalind Russell who played the character in the original movie was a Seven herself, while Lucille Ball who played her in a musical version was an Eight. (An added complexity to the Enneagram is the concept of wings, i.e., a type can take on the characteristics of the type on either side of it. Thus, Seven is a wing for Lucyís Eight type.) Eights are very Ďtake controlí kind of people, and while a very funny comedian, one of Lucille Ballís ventures was setting up and controlling the DesiLu TV empire.

Enneagram types also looks at wings, the type on either side of it, arrows, the lines joining it to other types on the Enneagram diagram, and subtypes, self-preservation, intimate and social. There are examples of actors and movies for all of these in each chapter.

As added feature the book is the index by type which includes individuals and movies. There is also a master index of names of movies and the key characters. This is a very worthwhile book to have. Hopefully, someone like Peter Malone will write a similar book on Jung/Myers personality types.

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