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Surrounded by Idiots summary

Thomas Erikson

The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate with Each in Business (and in Life)

4.3 (777 ratings)
23 mins
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    Surrounded by Idiots
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    Knowing the four personality types can help you deliver your message; the first two are Red and Yellow.

    If you were to give a sales presentation to an audience of two people, you might assume that those two people would take away the same message. But here’s the catch: Whenever you say something, your message will be filtered through the listener’s experiences, biases and attitudes. So it’s quite common for your message to be received in a different way than you intended.

    The good news is, you can always change how you deliver your message in order to suit the listener better. And you can become skilled at doing this by understanding how listeners’ attitudes contribute to their personality types. In other words, once you know how to spot a person’s personality type, you’ll have a good idea of the kind of filters to expect and how to adjust your delivery in order for your message to be received effectively. 

    Essentially, there are four personality types, which were recognized as far back as the fifth century BC by the Greek physician Hippocrates.

    The first personality is known as the Red personality, and it’s the type Hippocrates referred to as choleric. This type of person is characterized by ambition, dominance, decisiveness, competitiveness and an often hot temper. 

    Reds have no problem speaking their mind and often revolt against the traditional way of doing things. Famous Reds include Steve Jobs, Barack Obama and Margaret Thatcher.

    Next is the Yellow personality type, which Hippocrates called sanguine, a word that means optimistic, cheerful and confident – all of which describe Yellows to a T. When others are despairing, Yellows will continue to see the possibilities and find ways to enjoy themselves. 

    You can also spot Yellows by their gift for gab, as they can talk a mile a minute and are known to provide answers to unasked questions. Some might find the chattiness of Yellows annoying, but since their positivity can be downright contagious, they’re more often seen as entertaining and charming.

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    What is Surrounded by Idiots about?

    Surrounded by Idiots (2014) offers insight into the four main personality types and provides methods and tips for how to use this insight in order to be more effective in getting your message across to each of them. Different people require different considerations when you’re trying to work alongside them or sell them on an idea. The more you know about each person’s personality type, the more effectively you’ll be able to communicate in your work life and private life.

    Who should read Surrounded by Idiots?

    • Executives, managers and human resource workers
    • Anyone with an annoying coworker
    • People who’d like to improve their relationships

    About the Author

    Thomas Erikson has over twenty years’ experience in studying and training people in communication and behavioral development. He’s helped thousands of executives and managers become better at their jobs, and his book Surrounded by Idiots (2014) has become one of the most popular non-fiction books in Sweden.

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