Book Review: The Retiring Mind

I was recently sent a book to review called The Retiring Mind by Robert Delamontagne which was possibly one of the oddest books I’ve ever read.  On one hand the book contained a incredibility accurate description of my personality type which was about 95% correct in just two pages and linked that to my possible issues with transitioning to retirement.  On the other hand the book did go off towards the end into some serious ‘New Age’ style philosophy on our place in the universe.

The first part of the book deals with determining your personality type according to a system I have to admit I’ve never heard of before called Enneagram type.  The author provides nice short descriptions of each personality type and also includes a little quiz to help you figure out which one is your primary one.  The personality types have interesting names such as The Master, The Enchanter, The Star, The Drama Queen, The Solitary Mystic, The Closet Rebel, The Cruise Director, The Conquistador and The Harmonizer.  I found found out I was The Solitary Mystic, which means I like to think deep at times and need some time alone on a regular basis (which is completely true).   In addition to a description on each personality type the author also provided a activity map on what things you might enjoy doing in retirement and then provides a risk factor of experiencing emotional distress during the early to middle stages of retirement.  My type apparently only moderate risk, while The Master would have a high risk.  Overall I enjoyed this part of the book and found it useful.

Then in Chapter 4 the book changes course and introduces happiness realizations that trace back to the personality types.  Unfortunately the realizations took on a heavy ‘New Age’ philosophy bend to them which to be honest the author realizes when he states we might be thinking: “What kind of new age bullshit is this?”  Which at the time I was thinking nearly that statement.  I had hoped that would mean the author would change course, but that never happened.  Instead there was long discussions on concepts like “Everything is perfect as it is”, “Independent action is not possible” and “Everything is interconnected.”  In short the book went downhill from there.

So overall I loved the first part of the book and disliked the second half of the book.   The good news with the book was the overall things was very short at a lean 137 pages so even if you don’t like the second half of the book the read was quick.

Now onto the good part of this Friday: the book give-a-way!  So please leave a comment on this post for a chance to win your own copy of The Retiring Mind.  One entry per person.  Please use a valid email address so I can contact you (please note I don’t share these addresses with anyone and only use it to contact the winner).  Contest open to residents of the continental United States or Canada who leave a comment prior to May 21, 2010 at 8pm CST.

13 thoughts on “Book Review: The Retiring Mind”

  1. Sounds interesting. A friend gave me a book about the enneagram and it was extremely interesting; by far came the closest to nailing my own personality type! Though it sounds like this author changed the names of each type… or maybe the one in my book did?

    Anyway, I’d love to be included in the draw 🙂

  2. this is the second review of this book that I have read and you have piqued my interest!! Please count me in as well~


  3. If I ever “Retire my Mind”, then I am in deep trouble.

    But retiring doesn’t sound all bad.

  4. by your description, solitary mystic may be my personality type also. i’ll find this book useful for planning in a few years.

  5. Hello- I’m so glad I stumbled on to this post- I run an Enneagram blog and have a TON of Enneagram books, but I had never heard of this book. Maybe the title threw me off- but it does sound interesting using the Enneagram in planning retirement. However, I’m kind of like you in that I tend to enjoy Enneagram books that are written from a more, psychology based style than a new age one.

    Have you ever tried and of Riso/Hudson’s books? My favorite is “The Wisdom of the Enneagram”. It’s in-depth without being boring, and it touches on how you can improve based on each persons type.

    I’m assuming the “Solitary Mystic” is the Four? You know, it’s so funny because I get more Fours on my site than any other type. Apparently there are a lot of Four bloggers too. 🙂

    I am trying something new and catagorizing my blog roll by the author’s Enneagram type. I’d like to add you under “Fours” if that’s ok with you.

    Thanks for the review!

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