WSIRN Ep 141: The Enneagram of your favorite book

It is no secret that I love a good discussion about personality frameworks, and I also love a good discussion about books, so it should come as no surprise that merging those two topics is an absolute dream come true. Today I’m chatting with Ian Morgan Cron, noted Enneagram teacher, psychotherapist, and host of the Typology podcast, about how our favorite literary characters (and maybe a few movie characters) fit into the framework of the super-hot-right-now Enneagram personality system. From Hermione Granger to Jay Gatsby to Marianne Dashwood to Samwise Gamgee… we cover a LOT of literary ground. If you don’t know anything about the Enneagram, don’t worry, this episode is totally newbie-friendly and we will hold your hand the whole way, and there is a hefty list of resources below! And be sure to go subscribe to Ian’s Typology podcast, and don’t miss Anne’s guest appearance: Reading People Through the Lens of Personality with Anne Bogel (Enneagram 9)


What Should I Read Next #141: Ian Morgan Cron

Connect with Ian Morgan Cron: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Podcast

And check out his books Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir… of Sorts and The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery.


Books mentioned in this episode:
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If you’d like to support your local indie, check out And by all means, go grab one of these from your local library! 

• Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir… of Sorts, by Ian Morgan Cron (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery, by Ian Morgan Cron (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything, by Anne Bogel (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Sense & Sensibility, by Jane Austen (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• The Sherlock Holmes series, by Arthur Conan Doyle (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• The Jeeves and Wooster series, by P. G. Wodehouse (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Middlemarch, by George Eliot (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkein (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• author Anne Lamott (try Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers: Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• author Wendell Barry (try Jayber Crow: Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Peter Pan, by J. M. Barrie (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Skinny Legs and All, by Tom Robbins (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Still Life with Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• You Think It, I’ll Say It, by Curtis Sittenfeld (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
 Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• Mr. Ives’ Christmas, by Oscar Hijuelos (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, by Oscar Hijuelos (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
• The All of It, by Jeannette Haien (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)

To learn more about the Enneagram, Ian recommends:

• The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People, by Elizabeth Wagele and Renee Baron (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery, by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
The Essential Enneagram: The Definitive Personality Test and Self-Discovery Guide, by David Daniels and Virginia Price (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)
The Enneagram of Parenting: The 9 Types of Children and How to Raise Them Successfully, by Elizabeth Wagele (Amazon | Barnes and Noble)

Also mentioned:
Finding the Light: how studying the Enneagram can expand one’s empathy, via The Paris Review


What Enneagram number fits your favorite literary character? Let me know in the comments!


Leave A Comment
  1. Emily says:

    Mr. Darcy is obviously an 8 and I was so shocked when you didn’t point it out! (p.s. I loved this dive into the Enneagram, which I had never understood until now — thanks for always bringing fun and interesting episodes to us!)

  2. Susan says:

    Possibly my favorite episode! I enjoy Ian Cron so much. He is clearly knowledgeable about the Enneagram and I listen to his podcast, Typology. But he is also so articulate and knowledgeable about literature and art and I enjoy hearing his thoughts and insights about authors, characters, and, well, people in general. I loved what he said about fiction and I agree!

    I highly recommend his book, The Road Back to You and I also recently read his memoir, Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me. I really enjoyed reading about his story and life.

  3. Kate says:

    What an amazing coincidence! I just took Ian’s online Enneagram assessment a couple weeks ago which led me, after some further reading and reflection, to the discovery that I am a type 5. (What really nailed it was seeing a mug Leigh Kramer posted that says “I’m an Enneagram type 5 & I read an article about that.”) I had no idea that he is also an Episcopal priest, and I’m toddling off to track down his other books. Thanks for the entertaining episode.

  4. Liz Ekstrom says:

    This was one of my favorite episodes. I’ve had my Enneagram books piled up (I blame that pile on Reading People!) and collecting dust for awhile now and I’m ready to dive in.

  5. Carrie says:

    Loved learning more about the Enneagram through the lens of literarure, thank you!

    When, however, your guest highly recommended Tom Robbins, I nearly spit out my tea. Often when I’ve played my own internal game of WSIRN, Still Life With Woodpecker shows up as a book I hate, due in particular to his 2-dimensional female characters. Life is too short, I’d say, skip this one!

    • Jan says:

      I enjoyed this episode also! Always fun to hear an explanation of a personality typing method.

      I have to agree with this comment about Tom Robbins. When I used to read mostly-books-by-male-authors, I enjoyed his male-centric fiction. Now, however, I wouldn’t recommend his books to women! Stick with your Austin…

  6. Courtney says:

    Another fantastic episode!! I love Ian Morgan Cron so this was super fun to hear. He needs to come back so you can do his three faves and make some recommendations for him! 🙂

  7. Morgan and Anne, Thanks for another great episode. I love that you talked about Tom Robbins. I haven’t thought about him for years since reading *Even Cowgirls Get the Blues* and *Jitterbug Perfume.* I’m going to have to go back and read more Tom Robbins.

    As an actor and director, I love learning about personality types. But, as an novelist, I liked what you said Morgan about authors. We do need to let the characters lead us as we write and not worry so much about their personality types.

    Thanks for another great episode. I’ll have to check out your book Morgan.

      • Actually, it’s a cheat. I related so much to that character that I was hoping that hearing thoughts on her Enneagram type might give me insight into mine. I think I’m a 3 though…what’s your thought on 5 and 8?

  8. Catherine Ellenwood says:

    Thank you for sharing about Typology. I started listening yesterday and can’t get enough. I shared it with my husband this morning and now he’s hooked. As you can guess, we are hooked on Enneagram. Now I’m thinking about my favorite book, “The Secret Life of Bees”, and wondering about her type. My hunch – Type 4. so much emotion and romantic thinking.
    I’m a Type 4 and my husband is a 9.

  9. Laura Walters says:

    I’m a relatively new listener and was blown away by this episode. I learned of the Enneagram back in the 80’s when it made its first splash in popular literature. I cut my teeth on Helen Palmer and Richard Rohr…who aren’t the most positive of introductions to the subject. I was helped, but between the rather dark emphasis on our “compulsions” and the rather dicey origins of the system, I didn’t have a great desire to go deeper. Cron gave an indication that the “NextGen” in the Enneagram world would be better. I bought Cron’s book after listening and it did not disappoint. I’m off again into this magical world of the Enneagram. Thank you again.

  10. Colleen says:

    I’m a listener of Typology and WSIRN, so I couldn’t help notice how Mo Willems writes two very different personalities into his Elephant and Piggie picture books. (I know, not exactly literature, but they are very fun!)

    Gerald, the Elephant, is a worst-case scenario thinker in the extreme (enneagram 6). His best friend, Piggie is a happy go lucky enneagram 7.

    In “I Will Surprise My Friend”, the two hide from each other. When they don’t immediately find each other, Gerald fears Piggie has fallen off a cliff, or worse. Piggie thinks maybe Gerald got hungry and went for lunch!

    Willems shows kids that two characters can perceive the same situation in very different ways, which is what empathy is all about.

  11. Joan Reichenbach says:

    I am catching up on old podcasts and absolutely loved episode 141! It is one of my favorites so far as it was both entertaining and informative. Ian was a great guest too. He was fun and easy to understand and had a real love of reading. I truly enjoyed it when he found a book or an author Anne had not read yet. He was utterly flabbergasted-LOL! After listening to this episode, I was happy and excited to start my day…@7a.

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