Book Chat

Book Chat: The Four Tendencies

It’s been a little while since we’ve had some book chat, but what better time than a Monday morning after a holiday? I love Gretchen Rubin so of course I had to read her latest book about habits!
“The Four Tendencies framework isn’t meant to be a box that cramps our growth or a label that determines everything about us, but rather a spotlight that can illuminate hidden aspects of our nature.”
Start date: 9/27/2017
Finish date: 10/19/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Blogging for Books
4 stars

As usual, Gretchen Rubin manages to make something as potentially dry as an in-depth look at how people respond to expectations into an engaging read! This is a follow-up to her previous book about habits, Better than Before, when she introduced her theory of the Four Tendencies, a framework to categorize how most people respond to inner and outer expectations.
In Better than Before, she briefly describes each tendency, but this book is devoted entirely to the personality framework. In her own words: “One of the big daily challenges of life is: ‘How do I get people – including myself – to do what I want?’ The Four Tendencies makes this task much, much easier.”
Each tendency is discussed in depth, along with strengths/weaknesses and helpful tips for making the best of that tendency, whether you belong in that category yourself or live/work with someone who does. The best part is that the framework applies to everyone, and once you take the quiz you’ll be diagnosing people in your own life left and right. The sections on tendency pairings was especially interesting, and I read a lot of it aloud to Sam – once I figured out he was a Questioner (I’m hands-down an Obliger), so much of what she wrote about each tendency made a lot of sense!
This seems basic but was nevertheless enlightening for me: “When conflicts arise within a pair, whether at home or at work, there’s one rule that can eliminate a lot of conflict: Whenever possible, we should allow others to do things in the way that works for them.”
The information was interesting and ripe for discussion, but there just wasn’t as much depth as her previous books because there wasn’t as much to say. It’s helpful to have a book to pull all the information together, but you could just as easily learn everything you need to know about the tendencies from Gretchen Rubin’s blog or podcast. (In fact, here’s her resources page!)
Gretchen Rubin really says it best, so I’ll leave you with one more quote:
“The happiest and most successful people are those who have figured out ways to exploit their Tendency to their benefit and, just as important, found ways to counterbalance its limitations. For all of us, it’s possible to take the steps to create the life we want – but we must do that in the way that’s right for us.”
For more information about Gretchen Rubin, check out her website or her profile at Penguin Random House. You can purchase The Four Tendencies on the publisher’s website or Amazon (of course!).
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

2 thoughts on “Book Chat: The Four Tendencies

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