Surrounded By Idiots Summary And Review

Communication Personal Development Psychology

1-Line Summary: Surrounded By Idiots by Thomas Erikson classifies human behavior into four different types and helps us understand how people behave and communicate.

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Surrounded by Idiots (The Surrounded by Idiots Series)
  • Erikson, Thomas (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages – 10/06/2020 (Publication Date) – Essentials (Publisher)

Last update on 2023-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

About Thomas Erikson

Thomas Erikson is a Swedish behaviorist and author of the book “Surrounded by Idiots.” He has a background in psychology and has worked as a coach and consultant. Erikson’s book focuses on understanding human behavior and how to communicate effectively with people who have different personality types.

He has also written other books on the topic of personality and communication, including “Surrounded by Psychopaths” and “Surrounded by Bad Bosses.”

Through his work, Erikson aims to help people improve their communication skills and build stronger relationships with others.

Surrounded By Idiots Summary (PDF)

Have you ever been pissed out by the fact that everybody around misinterprets you?

Why is there so much confusion every time we communicate with people who don’t understand our point of view?

Do you wish things were easy?

What if people could read our thoughts by looking into our eyes? It’d save a lot of energy, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen any soon.

The good news is:

In this book, the author has shared a system that helps you assess human behavior based on personality.

By the end of this video, you will understand how to handle people who don’t understand you and why every person doesn’t behave in the same way.

Alrighty, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

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Lesson #1: What you say is different from what is understood.

two people communicating with each other

If you understand this lesson correctly, it can be a game-changer and take your communication skills to the next level.

At the beginning of this book, the author discusses why it’s so hard to make someone understand anything properly.

You can be a great speaker, but it doesn’t guarantee that the other person will understand you exactly as you intend.

Why is this so?

Let’s discuss.

Whenever you say something to any person, it passes through so many mental filters that the person has.

The other person may be biased or have pre-existing notions.

Things become even more challenging when the other person doesn’t understand your language correctly.

It’s like there is an imaginary wall between YOU and the OTHER person that your MESSAGE has to pass through.

That’s why it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that everybody around you is an idiot.

But saying other people are idiots is not a great idea, or is it?

Imagine if the other person is your boss who doesn’t understand your arguments. You can’t call your boss an idiot, or can you?

The best solution is to understand that you can’t change a person’s mental filters, as they result from so many factors and have formed over the years.

The author suggests that we change our mindset first instead of changing the other person.

We think other people are idiots, as we don’t understand their standpoint.

You may argue that some people are actually idiots, I agree, and that’s why it is even more vital that we understand the behaviors of people and find out “why they do what they do.”

If your message isn’t optimized according to the person you are talking to, it won’t get heard in a way you intend it to get heard.

Does this mean you have to become an expert in reading human behaviors?

Well, it won’t hurt. But fortunately, the author has discussed a system that allows you to judge a person’s personality or behavior in a few interactions.

Once you know a person’s personality type, you can guess how the other person thinks and even predict how he will act in a specific situation.

But before we discuss further, let me make this clear: You can’t be 100 percent sure about a person’s behavior. Personality type is only a tiny thing, and it can change with time and situation.

Often, behavioral experts feel that they have figured out everything about human behavior. But they forget that people can change.

Human behavior is far too complex to be fit into a single book.

People act weirdly and irrationally, which is beyond any logic.

We all have seen how introverts can successfully do the jobs that are best suited for extroverts. Or vice versa.

So if you read this book, don’t expect that you will be able to predict a person’s future by guessing a person’s personality.

Lesson #2: You are a RED if you are bold and dominant.

a red flag representing red behavior

The author discusses four types of human behaviors:

  1. RED
  3. GREEN
  4. BLUE

We will briefly discuss each of them throughout this book summary.

If you see someone who loves taking action and always wants to win, it’s a RED.

People with this behavior don’t shy away from doing challenging tasks.

If you have a RED colleague, he will always be the first mover in everything you do together.

Reds don’t care about relationships too much.

They are task-oriented people. So if you are not goal-driven, you will have a hard time dealing with these people.

Such people are full of energy and enthusiasm. To the RED people, goals are more important than people.

They are time conscious. They want to be the fastest and the best of all.

You can figure out a red person by judging his confidence. Most RED people exhibit confidence, as they have great pride in themselves.

They don’t need other people’s opinions to do anything.

As soon as they get something in their mind and believe that it’s right, they do it.

Red people always stand out from the competition as they are fearless and always ready to do things others are afraid of.

So if you are a manager and want to experiment on a project, assign it to a RED.

The problem with RED people is that they don’t give a damn about what other people think. That’s why RED people don’t have many friends.

If a RED thinks you are illogical, he won’t think twice and say it right away, as he is not afraid of your opinion.

It might be challenging to deal with a RED person if you are shy.

A RED sees shyness as weakness.

Red people are action-takers.

They don’t waste time analyzing the details before making bold moves.

Most RED people are serious about their pride and have a strong ego.

Be ready to face anger if you hurt a RED person’s ego. He will show aggression.

Sometimes, people fear RED people and find it challenging to have conversations with them.

Understood why they have very few friends?

But regardless of this fact, RED people may become great leaders because of their strength to focus on the goals and move forward with tempo.

RED people can be motivating as they are enthusiastic about new adventures.

Some might think that RED people are foolish as they jump in without thinking, but if you ask a RED about it, he will say, “Where is the adventure if you waste time thinking?”

Lesson #3: You are a YELLOW if you talk too much.

a yellow flag representing yellow behavior

Yellows are the type of people you would want to have a company with.

They are funny, creative, and enjoy talking so much.

YELLOW people are the best if you feel alone and want to talk.

These are the people who love to give advice. They have so many stories to tell and so many jokes to crack.

They are full of exciting ideas.

Hire a YELLOW if you have reached your limit while brainstorming on a project.

Yellows give more priority to relationships.

They want to have as many friends as they can.

They believe that if people around them are happy, life is beautiful.

Furthermore, they wish to be happy and love to keep other people around them happy.

But this doesn’t mean that YELLOW people are ideal.

They have their flaws.

For example, YELLOW people waste more time talking than doing work.

If you assign them a job, they will spend more time discussing it. In comparison, if you give the same task to RED, he will jump right in.

YELLOW people are not very productive. They lack focus.

The author says that this is the reason they keep hopping from one job to another.

Such people are never entirely focused on anything. Most of their energy goes into thinking about what they should talk about next.

Although YELLOW people help improve the work environment and keep the spirit high, they may also stop people from doing work.

Also, they can’t work with serious people.

YELLOW people seek fun and enjoyment more than anything else.

Some might even get offended and wonder, “when will they stop talking?”

YELLOW people speak more than they listen, and no surprise, they are bad listeners.

Don’t rely on a YELLOW if the task requires listening with patience.

Although a YELLOW may act as if he is listening, he hardly does. They like to keep the conversations funny and exciting.

They don’t like boredom.

But as we know, high-income skills require patience, which YELLOW people don’t have.

Also, YELLOW people hate feedback. It’s hard to make them listen. They care so much about how they look in the eyes of their friends.

This is the opposite of what a RED does.

A YELLOW may get sad if people around him are not talking comfortably with him.

To him, opinions matter a lot.

Lesson #4: You are a GREEN if you hate change and love stability in your life.

a green flag representing green behavior

So far, we have discussed RED and YELLOW, but the interesting thing is that they are not very common.

The author says that most population consists of GREEN.

There is a reason why 92 percent of people who set new year goals never achieve them.

Although change is a part of life, most people don’t like to change.

You can’t expect different results without changing your actions, right?

A GREEN is someone who loves stability. They avoid any conflicts or risks.

Don’t expect a GREEN to do a job that involves any kind of risk.

These people drive only when the sky is clear and there is less traffic on the road. In other words, they go to great lengths to ensure their safety.

There is nothing wrong with safety and stability. We all need that, right?

But the problem starts when you go to great lengths.

The truth is: We live in uncertain times.

You can’t expect certainty in every situation.

GREEN people are neither introverts nor extroverts.

But they avoid standing out from the competition, unlike RED people.

And they don’t talk too much. They speak only when it’s necessary.

The best part is: GREEN people are loyal.

The author says that you can rely on them for doing mundane tasks.

If you have to assign a project to a GREEN, make sure you describe the job in detail. Remember, GREEN people want to have a sense of stability all the time.

They don’t do things that are out of their daily routine.

They think, “Who knows what dangers are waiting for me? It’s better to play safe.”

This habit of playing safe might make them look cowardly in other people’s eyes.

GREEN people care about what other people think of them, but they prefer to hide among the crowd to avoid future conflicts.

Naturally, there are risks involved when you stand out from the crowd.

What if you make a wrong decision?

GREEN people are indecisive and seek social proof to minimize risks.

Unfortunately, the lower the risk, the lower the reward. Consequently, the most population on the planet is not wealthy and successful.

Lesson #5: You are a BLUE if you are an introvert and analytical.

a blue flag representing blue behavior

BLUE people don’t talk much, unlike YELLOW people.

If you prefer to sit alone in a corner and wonder why other people are moving so much, congrats, you are a BLUE.

Since most BLUE people are introverts, they have more time to analyze the details.

They are good at remembering facts and minor details that any average person may forget.

Have you seen the guys in your college who take notes very diligently and even attend extra classes that every student finds boring?

Well, that’s a BLUE for you.

Most blues don’t feel comfortable around people and are not social.

If you want to talk to a BLUE, make sure you do your homework. They don’t like to discuss funny stuff that YELLOW people find interesting. They are rather interested in digging deeper and knowing more. But remember, BLUE people are introverts, so they talk less.

BLUE people are not looking to build better relationships. This doesn’t mean that they are bad at relationships. It’s just that they are more concerned about the information and data.

Most university toppers are BLUE.

If you want to complete a project that involves a lot of research and analysis, a BLUE is a perfect fit for that.

In comparison, a RED may be the first one to jump in, but usually, RED people aren’t as good as thoughtful as BLUE people.

When a RED is pushing to complete this type of job, the BLUE will thoroughly analyze all the possible solutions.

Although Blues have supreme analytical abilities, they might offend people as they are not very social and don’t know much about carrying friendly conversations.

Also, BLUE people love to do everything systematically; they prefer order like GREEN people.

The difference is that BLUE people are perfectionists. “Good enough” is not enough for them.

They would rather spend extra time to bring perfection to their work.

The problem here is:

Nothing is perfect.

This obsession with perfection sometimes prevents BLUE people from finishing a job and moving on.

It doesn’t look like a big issue, but when you are working in a group where more than two people are involved, it’s necessary to focus on the critical aspects and sometimes ignore ‘not so critical’ aspects.

Like RED people, BLUE people are not worried about other people’s opinions. So, they usually have fewer friends compared to YELLOW and GREEN people.

Lesson #6: No color is perfect. Therefore, learn how to adapt.

The author makes it clear that no color is perfect.

You may like a particular color based on your mindset and beliefs. But remember that humans are complicated.

You can’t define a person with a single color.

Dividing behaviors into colors only gives you a rough idea about a person.

Maybe now you realize why some people get along and why some people don’t.

Something is better than nothing, right?

Not really.

If you are a RED and the other person is also RED, chances are you two will understand each other.

Well, ideally, it makes sense. But remember, RED people have a strong ego.

Two people with strong egos don’t get along. They are bound to have conflicts eventually.

The author found that RED people have temperament issues. They lose their temper fast if they see someone irritating.

The point is:

You can’t put people in a mental box and say, “This is how they will behave.”

What you can do is ADAPT.

Have a rough idea about what color a person is. And then adapt yourself based on the behavior of a person.

The key is to know your behavior first.

Ask yourself:

“What is my color: BLUE, RED, YELLOW, or GREEN?”

If you are BLUE, you will face challenges while dealing with a YELLOW.

Why? Because BLUE people are usually introverts. In comparison, YELLOW people are extroverts.

And if you are RED, you will face challenges while dealing with a GREEN.

Why? Because RED people love challenges. In comparison, GREEN people love safety and stability.

Usually, people tend to have a mix of two or three colors.

So, you have to identify every time you meet a person and act accordingly.

Learn and adapt!

Surrounded By Idiots Review

Surrounded by Idiots (The Surrounded by Idiots Series)
  • Erikson, Thomas (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages – 10/06/2020 (Publication Date) – Essentials (Publisher)

Last update on 2023-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

The concept of this book is based on DISC Model.

What did I like about this book?

The book is simple to understand. Anybody can apply the ideas given in this book.

You don’t have to read a lot of psychology to master these concepts.

Just learn what behaviors each color represents, and you are good to go.

What didn’t I like about this book?

I think that the book could be shorter. Many chapters in this book were unnecessary.

The author could save some papers by avoiding some chapters.

Another thing that I still can’t fathom is how we can classify human behavior.

Let me explain with an example:

If I talk about myself, I have been an introvert all my school life. So, according to the DISC model, I was BLUE.

But now, I’m less introverted and sometimes talk a lot. Therefore, now I’m YELLOW.

Moreover, I get angry when things don’t go as per my plans. That means I’m also RED in certain situations.

Also, there are many situations when I avoid standing out from the crowd. And like all people, I also love stability.

Do you know what that means? Yes, this makes me GREEN.

Can you see the problem here?

I can be all the colors depending on the circumstances.

Although the concept is nice and cool (to classify people based on their behavior), I don’t think it is much of use in our daily lives.

Human beings are not that simple.

We go through a lot of conditioning during our lives. And according to neuroplasticity, our brains can change over time. It means that our behaviors or habits can also change with time.

Should you buy this book?

Well, yeah, at least once you can read it.

The book is nice.

But don’t expect too much out of it.

It will only give you a rough idea about human behavior.

Rating based on my opinion

I’d give this book a rating of 6/10.

Get this book on Amazon: Hardcover | Paperback | Audiobook

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Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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