The Four Tendencies

A recent road trip allowed for some much needed audiobook time. This time around I gave a listen to The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. Certainly in the non-fiction self-help genre, but an interesting listen from the start.

In a nutshell there are four tendencies which people tend to naturally fall into. In the book there is a printed version of a tendency quiz, or there is an online version (you will need to give an email address to get the result).

The graphic above does a nice job showing that many of the tendencies seem to overlap. This quiz is not a be-all end-all since it is common for someone to show partial results in select areas similar to other personality quizzes like True Colors, Love Languages, or the classic Myers Briggs test.

As a teacher the main point of this book intrigued me the most. Motivation. The analysis of each of the four tendencies really could be beneficial in understanding what motivates others, as well as, providing a better understanding of how I can work more efficiently to meet my own goals.

Since this was the audiobook version, I did not do the quiz while driving (safety first!). Throughout the book I listened for ways I felt I could identify with each tendency and became certain right away I am an Upholder. After completing the book and accessing the online tendency quiz I was interested to find out my results to the quiz showed I am actually an Obliger. As shown nicely in the diagram, these two tendencies nearly overlap and everyone is likely a mixture of the tendencies. Perhaps the most beneficial part of the book is the way Rubin provides examples of how to re-frame expectations to help motivate each tendency.

Rubin does a nice job with the format of her book. Each of the four tendencies begins with an explanation of the tendency and then leads into pro/cons of the tendency. To pull the ideas into practice she wraps each section up by explaining how we can better interact  with someone of a given tendency.

As I listened I found myself pulling out examples of individuals I think meet the qualities of each tendency. I also attempted to analyze my own tendency and think of specific times I would have benefited from catering to someone else’s tendency. I found this to be an interesting book but certainly not a cornerstone for interacting with others.

On a scale I would give it 3.5/5 stars. I always enjoy when the author reads their own audiobook, the content was interesting (to me anyways), but I am unsure the topic caries enough weight to put out there as a “must-read”. It certainly helped the drive move along more quickly and some meta-cognition can be good for the soul. Peace.

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