The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too) (Hardcover)
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Are you an Upholder, a Questioner, an Obliger, or a Rebel? From the author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project comes a groundbreaking analysis of personality type that “will immediately improve every area of your life” (Melissa Urban, co-founder of the Whole30).
During her multibook investigation into human nature, Gretchen Rubin realized that by asking the seemingly dry question “How do I respond to expectations?” we gain explosive self-knowledge. She discovered that based on their answer, people fit into Four Tendencies:
• Upholders meet outer and inner expectations readily. “Discipline is my freedom.”
• Questioners meet inner expectations, but meet outer expectations only if they make sense. “If you convince me why, I’ll comply.”
• Obligers (the largest Tendency) meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations—therefore, they need outer accountability to meet inner expectations. “You can count on me, and I’m counting on you to count on me.”
• Rebels (the smallest group) resist all expectations, outer and inner alike. They do what they choose to do, when they choose to do it, and typically they don’t tell themselves what to do. “You can’t make me, and neither can I.”
Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so using this framework allows us to make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively. It’s far easier to succeed when you know what works for you.
With sharp insight, compelling research, and hilarious examples, The Four Tendencies will help you get happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.
About the Author
Gretchen Rubin is one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers Outer Order, Inner Calm; The Four Tendencies; Better Than Before; and The Happiness Project. She has an enormous readership, both in print and online, and her books have sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. On her top-ranking, award-winning podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, she explores happiness and good habits. She is also a CBS News contributor, providing weekly solutions for living a happier life. Gretchen Rubin started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized that she wanted to be a writer. Raised in Kansas City, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
“The Four Tendencies will immediately improve every area of your life—and I say this from personal experience. If you’ve been feeling stuck in your relationships, career, health, or self-confidence, understanding your Tendency and how to make it work for you is the game-changer you’ve been looking for.”
—Melissa Hartwig (Upholder), author and cocreator of The Whole30
"The path to happiness starts with your personality. In The Four Tendencies, Gretchen Rubin upends the conventional wisdom of one prescription fitting all people and offers readers a tailored path to better health, relationships and well-being. A remarkable read from one of the most practical storytellers on the planet."
—Tom Rath (Questioner), author of Are You Fully Charged? and StrengthsFinder 2.0
“This Rebel can’t help but agree with the crowd: you need to read The Four Tendencies! The online quiz is mega-popular for good reason, but the book will give you unexpected, lasting insights. You'll learn to make better decisions based on what works best for your specific personality profile—not what anyone else expects or demands.”
—Chris Guillebeau (Rebel), author of Side Hustle and host of the podcast Side Hustle School
“The Four Tendencies is a remarkably well-crafted and insightful book. Gretchen Rubin taught me why, as a Rebel, my expectations often clash with others’ expectations and helped me develop a more compassionate view. Better still, The Four Tendencies offers powerful steps that we can all take to have more constructive relationships with the people in our lives.”
—Robert Sutton (Rebel), Stanford Professor and author of The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt
“The greatest predictor of growth and happiness is actionable self-knowledge. Gretchen Rubin gives you the tools to not only understand yourself and others, but what to do with that knowledge. Insightful, practical and crucial, The Four Tendencies will help you overcome the biggest impediments to your happiness and success.”
—Shawn Achor (Upholder), author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness
“Gretchen Rubin has discovered a new framework for understanding ourselves and other people. When we know our Tendency, we can manage ourselves more effectively and reach our goals faster—and we can help others to do that, as well. As a researcher who has studied habits, addiction, and change for 20 years, I’m excited by the simplicity and power of The Four Tendencies as a tool for anyone seeking to make his or her life better. I am implementing this in my clinical programs to help people understand their Tendencies so they can change behaviors such as stress and emotional eating.”
—Judson Brewer, MD, PhD (Questioner), author of The Craving Mind and associate professor in medicine and psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School
“Gretchen Rubin’s groundbreaking Four Tendencies framework is a simple yet powerful tool that helps us better recognize our own nature, harness its strengths, and counteract its weaknesses. With her trademark wit and insight, Gretchen gives us the tools to create the life we want, in a way that’s right for us. The surprising thing? Once you know about these four types, you see them everywhere.”
—Susan David, PhD, (Upholder), cofounder of the Institute of Coaching and author of Emotional Agility
“If you want to change anything in your life, you need Gretchen Rubin. Her ideas are original, instinctive and revolutionary. Whether you want to get fitter, work smarter or be tidier, she shows you how to tweak your habits (almost) effortlessly. This Rebel sleeps better, deletes more email, is three stone lighter and forever in her debt.”
—Viv Groskop (Rebel), journalist and comedian
"I love Gretchen Rubin and she helps me understand both myself and the people around me."
—Cathy Rentzenbrink (Obliger), author of The Last Act of Love