The Four Tendencies

Original Title:
The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too)
Gretchen Rubin
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            “The Four Tendencies” is psychological book that describes four different personality profiles helping the readers to understand themselves and others better. Author of this book is Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author of “Better than Before”, “The Happiness Project”, and “Happier at Home”, blogger and speaker. “The Four Tendencies” book came as a result of author’s quest to find answer on a question “How people respond to expectations” and especially on questions such as why some people can develop new habit easily like running while some people can develop new habit if they are part of the team but struggle when they they are on their own. As a result of many observations, Gretchen Rubin proposes that people can belong to four different tendencies based on how and do they meet outer and inner expectations. These four tendencies are: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger and Rebel. Upholder tendency meets outer and inner expectation, Questioner meets inner expectations, but questions outer expectations; Obliger meets outer expectations but struggles with inner ones and Rebel resists both outer and inner expectations.

            This book is organised into 6 parts: first part describes the four tendencies in general and offers quiz for identifying your own tendency. Next four parts of this book are specifically focused on every tendency describing the tendency and giving advice on how to deal with people of particular tendency. Last part of this book is focused on applying the four tendency knowledge either in order to manage ourselves or to communicate effectively with others. 

            I love everything about this book: it is written in very simple way with a lot of examples; it is very easy to understand the four tendencies framework and to implement that knowledge into everyday life. It is very practical and useful book that can really make life easier. Author shows deep understanding of human nature in her writing being the first one to even try to answer very important question how we respond to expectations and the first one to develop very useful theoretical framework.

            I recommend this book to everybody: it offers very important knowledge in very understandable way. Also, I recommend every book from Gretchen Rubin, particularly “The Happiness Project” as this one taught me a lot about life and improved my life significantly. I incorporated some habits as results of Gretchen Rubin’s teaching that they now seem to me as my second nature. And every book has logical order: while I incorporated new habits as results of “The Happiness Project” and “Better than Before” I was struggling to understand why some people can’t do things that they claim are important to them. But “The Four Tendencies” helped me to understand that and taught me how to communicate with people effectively. It also taught me how to harness some of my weaknesses. Also, I loved Appendix in this book since author offers great resources for learning more about the four tendencies, among others her amazing podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” and iOS and Android app “Better: from Gretchen Rubin”. I saw on the book cover quote from The Times “ A lot of us would like a Rubin in our lives”- Yep, I definitely agree.

            My favourite quotes from this book are:

            “We are more free than we think”;

            “No matter how much love we feel, if we don’t understand how to reach someone, our most well-intentioned words and actions can go astray”;

            “Whenever possible, we should allow others to do things in the way that works for them”;

            “We get along best with others when we recognise and respect that they might approach the world in a different way”.