The first time a friend of mine recommended The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin to me I was skeptical. She claimed that this book helped her understand her husband better and improve their relationship.
Since Gretchen Rubin’s other book (The Happiness Project) had a huge impact on me, I decided to give it a shot and I understand not only my husband better now, but also myself and the people around me.
If you’re interested in what this book is about, you can watch my short 8-minute animated video that summarizes my main takeaways from the book.
Thanks to this book, thousands of people all around the world learned how to become more empathetic and less annoyed when other people didn’t act the way they wanted. They were able to use their time more productively, make better decisions, suffer less stress and get healthier simply by understanding their tendencies and other people’s tendencies around them.
So here are the four tendencies:
Can you tell which one is yours? These tendencies are based on the premises that we respond to expectations differently. Gretchen identifies two types of expectations:
- Outer– that is, when we have a deadline at work or school, test or other requirements from someone else; and
- Inner– that is, when you make new year’s resolutions or decide to build a new habit or break a bad one.
The four tendencies are different in the way they respond to these expectations. (Examples to this are included in the animation.)
So what does this tell us? That each tendency has its unique strength and weaknesses that makes working with people so much more interesting. You can find examples to some of the strength and weaknesses in the figure below. It might be challenging at times but without having different tendencies, we wouldn’t question anything and we certainly wouldn’t be exposed to new ideas.
But the good news is that we can learn a lot from other people’s tendencies. After figuring out our own tendency, we can also leverage it. There are various techniques to trick our default tendency to respond to expectations the way we want to. But remember that people in one tendency can also be very different from one another.
This is because each tendency interlocks with two other tendencies and a person in a particular tendency often “tips” in the direction of one of the overlapping tendencies. In the book, Gretchen also explains the differences between the overlapping tendencies as well as a whole chapter on relationships between tendencies. In the animated book review, I also share some of my personal examples related to the book.
I hope you found some value in this summary. If you’d like to figure out your own tendency, Gretchen has a QUIZ on her website that might help. But reading the book is even better as it gives a lot of real-life examples from readers of different tendencies who explain why they do certain things the way that’s unique to their tendency.
Hopefully, this summary will help you in your professional life as well as in your private life. It sure did for me.
That’s it! If you’re interested in the book, you can get it here or listen to the audiobook here.
And if you don’t have time to read the whole book or want to read (or listen to) another great summary first, it is also on Blinkist, which you can try for free:
This article was first posted by me on Medium. You can find the original article here: https://medium.com/@sophiacolombo/the-four-tendencies-by-gretchen-rubin-book-summary-9294ec3663ac