If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live surrounded by a bunch of idiots, wonder no longer. In Surrounded By Idiots, Thomas Erikson explores how we treat each other around us, and reveals some surprising truths about society’s worst habits.
“By adjusting yourself to how other people want to be treated, you become more effective in your communication.”
The book starts with the premise that almost everyone is an idiot at some point, whether they admit it or not. Whether its people who don’t do their job correctly, politicians who lie, bosses who abuse employees…or even someone who isn’t paying attention while driving. We all make mistakes and display bad behaviour from time to time. But what if we could actually pinpoint these behaviours and understand them? What if we could use this knowledge to our advantage rather than just accepting them as a fact of life?
Surrounded By Idiots tells tales of a group of researchers working to identify and study idiotic tendencies among various groups. From government workers to teachers to parents, they are finding out exactly how many idiots exist in society today, and how it affects everything around us.
About Thomas Erikson
Thomas Erikson is an expert on communication. He works with developing organizations from a leadership perspective. In the past eighteen years he has trained more than five thousand executives to be better and more efficient leaders. Thomas has written several popular science books on communication and human behaviour. Surrounded by Idiots is one of Sweden’s bestselling nonfiction books, with hundreds of thousands of copies sold in Sweden alone. The book has been sold in more than thirty five other languages around the world.
Surrounded By Idiots Summary by Thomas Erikson
In this book it offers a simple, yet ground-breaking method for assessing the personalities of people we communicate with – in and out of the office – based on four personality types (Red, Blue, Green and Yellow), and provides insights into how we can adjust the way(s) we speak and share information.
Erikson will help you understand yourself better, hone communication and social skills, handle conflict with confidence, improve dynamics with your boss and team, and get the best out of the people you deal with and manage. He also shares simple tricks on body language, improving written communication and advice on when to back away or when to push on, and when to speak up or indeed shut up. Packed with ‘aha!’ and ‘oh no!’ moments, Surrounded by Idiots will help you understand and influence those around you, even people you currently think are beyond all comprehension. And with a bit of luck you can also be confident that the idiot out there isn’t you!
Author talks about how we live in our own world where we think everything around us revolves around us. We make assumptions about what people are thinking or feeling based on their body language. He tells us that if someone doesn’t look at us when speaking to us, they’re not interested; however, if they look away, they are avoiding eye contact. When two people meet each other, they don’t assume anything until they know something about them. If a person looks directly at you and smiles, he’s probably happy to see you. A man walking down the street who glances over his shoulder while looking back may have just had a fight with his wife. There’s so much to learn about people if we only get out of our comfort zone and start observing people.
“Communication happens on the listener’s terms”
Author says that we should always ask ourselves before making judgments about others and then act accordingly. Don’t let others walk all over you and don’t take things personally. People are always acting different towards us because they feel threatened by us. Always remember that everyone is trying to protect themselves from getting hurt. Being kind to others gives them confidence and makes them want to do nice things for us. Be polite, humble, and respectful and you’ll win friends everywhere you go.
Four Types Of Personality By Thomas Erikson
This is the behaviour type that Hippocrates in his theory of human temperament called choleric. Nowadays you might call a Red person bold, ambitious, driven, but also potentially hot-tempered, rash, or dominant. You quickly notice a Red person because he doesn’t make the slightest effort to conceal who he is.
A Red person is a dynamic and driven individual. He has goals in life that others may find difficult to even imagine. Since his goals are so highly ambitious , achieving them seems to be impossible. Reds strive forward, always pushing themselves harder, and they almost never give up. Their belief in their own ability is unsurpassed. They carry inside them the firm belief that they can achieve anything—if they just work hard enough.
People who have lots of Red in their behaviour are task-oriented extroverts and they enjoy challenges. They make quick decisions and are often comfortable taking the lead and taking risks. A common perception is that Reds are natural leaders. These are people who willingly take command and go to the fore. They are so driven that they will get through despite any obstacle in their path. Their disposition is ideal in competitive situations. It’s not unusual for a CEO or a president to have lots of Red in his behaviour.
People with lots of Yellow in their behaviour are focused on creating relationships. They are outgoing and can be extremely persuasive. They’re enthusiastic, excited, and happy to talk about their feelings for others and, not infrequently, for complete strangers. Yellows can talk to anyone. They are not at all shy, perceiving most people they meet as pleasant.
They even see strangers in a positive light— they’re just friends you haven’t met yet. Many people notice that Yellows are always smiling and laughing. That’s undoubtedly one of a Yellow’s strengths. Their optimism is invincible. Comments about how everything is going to hell are often met by remarks about “What a beautiful view we have!”
Just like Reds, Yellows have lots of energy. They find most things interesting, and Yellow individuals are the most curious people you’ll ever meet. Everything new is enjoyable, and a great deal of Yellow energy is spent finding new ways of doing things .
Green people are kindness personified. You can expect a helping hand whenever you need it. They are pronounced relational people who will do everything within their power to save your relationship. And they will invest lifelong. They will keep track of when your birthday is, when your partner’s birthday is, when your children’s birthdays are, et cetera. It wouldn’t surprise me if they even know when your cat first saw the light of day. It’s often said that Greens are the best listeners, and this is true.
A Green will always be more interested in you than in himself, and if perchance he should be interested in himself he would never dream of showing it. You often find Greens in the public sector, where they help others, with no concern for personal gain. They are also pronounced team players. The team, the group, the family, always comes before the individual, and I would even say that societies consisting of Greens will always take care of the sick and the weak. They will not leave a friend in need; you can call them at any time. They always offer a shoulder to cry on.
Change isn’t their greatest strength, even though change isn’t completely foreign to them. If you can simply justify the change and give him enough time, even a Green will be prepared to try new things. But a Green will remind you that you always know what you have, but you never know what you might end up with. The grass is not automatically greener on the other side, so to speak.
The last of the four colours is an interesting fellow. You’ve probably met him. He doesn’t make a fuss about himself, but he does keep tabs on what is happening around him. While a Green will just go with the flow, a Blue has all the right answers. In the background, he analyses: classifies, evaluates, assesses.
Blue people often seems themselves as Accurate, Correct, Reflective , Cautions , details oriented , Logical , Methodical , Orderly , Quality Oriented , Systematic , Through , Unassuming .
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