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.