This is the kind of book I wish I had access to while growing up in school. This book made me so frustrated because I felt like that if I had this book in my hand as a teenager, life would have been so much more easy for me to deal with all sorts of people. Not only in school, but also in my adult life- whether it was working in Saudi Arabia, Dubai or even in Pakistan, I truly wished I had this book in my hand.
For the longest of time, I had always felt like that I was surrounded by idiots. There were even moments when I felt like something must be wrong with me because the majority are doing one thing and I am going against them (I speak in context of how people would bribe and cheat their way to the top, whereas I would be, at times, naively working my way up with honesty!)
Surrounded By Idiots was originally written in the Swedish language by Thomas Erikson in 2014, and subsequently published in the United States in 2019. This book had become very popular amongst a lot of people, especially for those working in the corporate sectors. Eriskon is a behavioral expert with more than 20 years to his credit, including giving training to companies like IKEA, Microsoft and Coca Cola.
The book is well written, and so easy to understand that I was able to place a lot of people in my life into each of the color coded category.
Erikson has basically come up with a color coded scheme- Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. Each color represents a personality type. I will not list all of them down, but in a nutshell- Reds are the aggressive, go getter types; Yellows are the optimistic types; Greens are the laid back and easy going types; and Blues are basically a mixture of all the other three types.
One thing that Erikson makes clear is that everyone doesn’t necessarily fall completely into a color scheme. Generally, people he says, will have a combination of two or three color types.
Erikson explains all the color types in great details, and provides solutions to on how to understand these people. Strengths and weaknesses of each type is also discussed in details here.
He also goes into explaining how all four types will respond to stress, and how we can help them deal with stress. In addition, the writer also talks about we should be able to deliver bad news to each color type- which was actually very useful information for me.
There is a long chapter on a typical office party, and Erikson talks about all the people who show up there, and helps us understand in how to analyse people according to the color types, with the sole intention of getting to understand them better and see where they are coming from.
The writer also makes it clear that the people who we seemingly call idiots just because we think they don’t understand us, are not really idiots. They are human beings at the end of the day. The purpose of the book thus becomes a tool for us to help understand why certain people behave the way they do- why are they happy all the time? why do they stay perpetually angry? why do they always take things so easy?
Surrounded By Idiots is one of those books which has found its permanent place on my bedside table. I use it as a reference book to help me understand why certain people behave in a certain way, all in an attempt to understand them better. This book has also helped me immensely in my work as a psychotherapist- for I am able to build better bridges with difficult clients and connect with them.
Certainly one of my favourite books for 2020 and for years to come!