Katie’s Bookshelf: The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin’s “The Four Tendencies” divides people into categories based on how they are motivated. The Upholder is motivated both internally and externally, the Questioner is internally, the Obliger is externally, and the Rebel is neither. Her recommendation is to determine which category you fit into and work with yourself and not against. Of course people don’t fall directly into one category and trend towards another tendency.

“With wisdom, experience, and self-knowledge from the Four Tendencies, we can use our time more productively, make better decisions, suffer less stress, get healthier, and engage more effectively with other people.”

There are two chapters dedicated to each tendency. The first one explains the strengths and weaknesses as well as unpacking this tendency as far as how to work with it for our day to day tasks as well as goals and aspirations. The second chapter is dedicated to dealing with that particular tendency. This chapter can be helpful in understanding how to work with the person who may be a coworker, loved one, patient, child, etc.

I enjoyed this book as a person and a therapist. It’s helpful to think about how people are motivated and how to support them in reaching their goals. I recognized my tendency before reading this book and have developed ways to hold myself accountable for goals that I have.

This is a quick and easy read. It flows nicely and breaks each tendency down to make it really understandable. Rubin includes many anecdotal examples to show how people she has worked with have helped themselves or loved ones out. Rubin has written other books geared towards understanding ourselves and making our lives easier.

Read this book if:

  • You are interested in learning how to hold yourself more accountable
  • You are in a profession where you are working with others(ie doctor, coach, therapist)
  • You are in a position of management and want to be more effective

Buy it Here

The Four Tendencies Quiz

Rubin, G. (2018). The Four Tendencies. Random House USA.