The Four Tendencies Book Summary - The Four Tendencies Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Four Tendencies summary

Gretchen Rubin

The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too)

4.4 (233 ratings)
22 mins
Table of Contents

    The Four Tendencies
    Summary of 10 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 10

    The Four Tendencies tell us about our nature and how we respond to expectations.

    One day, the author Gretchen Rubin was chatting with a friend over lunch and the conversation turned to exercise. Her friend was reflecting on the fact that when she was on the track and field team at school, she had no trouble finding the time to run, but now, forget about it!

    “Not having the time” is a common excuse for why we can’t get something done, but if you really want to get to the bottom of why some tasks are so hard to accomplish, you need to understand The Four Tendencies.

    The Four Tendencies are all about how we respond to the two kinds of expectations we face every day: the outer expectations that come from work and society, and the inner expectations we set for ourselves.

    The first of the Four Tendencies are Upholders. These are people who excel at meeting both inner and outer expectations.

    The second is Questioners, who are people who meet inner expectations but question and struggle with outer expectations.

    The third is Obligers, people who deal well with outside expectations but struggle with their own.

    And the fourth is the Rebels, who push against both inner and outer expectations.

    In the case of Rubin’s friend, who excelled at running when she had a coach and a team, but doesn’t find the time on her own, this is a typical scenario for an Obliger, someone who needs outside accountability.

    As we’ll see in the blinks ahead, none of these categories are inherently bad or meant to make you feel boxed in or doomed to lifelong problems. They’re meant as tools for gaining insight into your nature, and the nature of those you work and live with, so that you can be a more confident and productive individual.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Four Tendencies?

    Key ideas in The Four Tendencies

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Four Tendencies about?

    The Four Tendencies (2017) reveals the four personality types that dictate how people react to the expectations in their daily lives. Expanding on the first chapter to her book on habit Better Than Before, Rubin provides insight and advice to help you understand your own tendencies, as well as those of the people you live and work with.

    Best quote from The Four Tendencies

    You can find out which of the Four Tendencies you belong to by taking the test at

    —Gretchen Rubin
    example alt text

    Who should read The Four Tendencies?

    • Parents and teachers who want to have better communication skills
    • Managers and supervisors hoping to improve employee relations
    • Anyone who wants to live a more productive, happier life

    About the Author

    Gretchen Rubin is an influential writer whose books have sold millions of copies around the world. Her writing strives to examine human nature in a way that can help anyone understand themselves better and therefore live a happier life. Her best-selling books include The Happiness Project and Better Than Before.

    Categories with The Four Tendencies

    Books like The Four Tendencies

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial