Surrounded by Idiots Summary (Plus PDF)

Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson Book

Surrounded by Idiots tells you how different types of people behave throughout their lives. Thomas Erikson says you can learn from people around you and adapt their communication styles for a better future.

Indeed this is a colorful book as the author compares people with Yellow, Red, Blue, and Green colors. 

So let’s take a deep dive and see how you can make your communication better than anyone else.

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Surrounded by Idiots Summary

Every human is different because they come from different places and have different experiences but even after that, some people have similar behaviors.

Thomas Erikson compared humans with colors, 

  • Red: These kinds of people love to lead and make decisions as quickly as possible. They love to take control and expect other people to follow.
  • Blue: These kinds of people love to plan everything and then come to a conclusion. They don’t like to do anything if they’re not aware of the situation. 
  • Green: These are team people, they love to work with a team. They’re also great listeners and they see everything from the third perspective.
  • Yellow: These kinds of people love to try out new things and are not afraid to take risks. They make work fun and come up with exciting ideas all the time.

As you can see, everyone has flows and no one is perfect. So you can always learn from people around you. Don’t be like “I know everything and I will do what I feel like”. Be like, “I’m a student and I am always open to new ideas”

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One of the key takeaways I took from the book is “never judge the person next to you, even if other people are calling him an idiot because he might be either Yellow, Red, Blue, or Green and people are not seeing what that person is seeing. Everyone is different and everyone can’t understand what the other person is going through.”

Now, let’s talk about each color.

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Be a Mix Of Extrovert and Introvert

You may have seen people who love to talk and don’t like to listen at all. They just wait for their turn and they won’t stop even if you interrupt them.

So don’t be like those people, be a listener.

As the author saysCommunication happens on the listener’s terms”

Let’s say, you’re talking with your friend about a TV show you just watched but he was like, have you watched that movie, let me tell you about it.

Will this make you feel good or not? 

The answer is, that you won’t make an effort to talk with that person next time because he is full of himself. This will become a huge problem for him when he ends up in a relationship. 

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Relationships are better when partners listen to each other otherwise, they will end with different partners.

So be a good listener like Introverts and whenever needed use your voice like Extroverts.

As the author says “If you have nothing to say—keep quiet.”

Exactly, Speak when it’s necessary, don’t use your voice everywhere. 

Be a Leader but, 

If you’re in the Red category then you know what, there is nothing wrong with it. Everyone is different as you are.

These kinds of people are too competitive for everything they do and if they lose, they will show that on their face, and if they win then they will remind you every single time you meet them.

  • They might also come out as arrogant. 
  • Most of the time, they just rely on facts.
  • They always go for either win or lose situation, they don’t like to settle things.
  • They’re also not likable people as they’re more focused on their goals.
  • They’re also not that good with relationships because they don’t like to take free time.

This is the reason why we hear that XYZ company’s founders don’t behave well with employees or they’re arrogant, and so on.

This is 100% true, so if you’re working in an ABC company and you notice this kind of behavior then make sure you don’t piss them off, especially if they’re your boss.

Now, close your eyes and see if you have Red kinds of people in your life or not.

This will give you an idea about how to behave in front of these people and what to do and what not to do.

Everyone’s Person

Yellow types are too likable, no matter what happens they will find positivity whether it’s a happy movement or not. 

So if you see a salesperson then now you know, they’re mostly Yellow kind of people who love to please everyone they meet.

  • These are also those people who create and come up with new ideas.
  • Because they’re coming up with new ideas too often, they find it hard to focus on a single idea.
  • They try to find positives in all the areas.

The biggest problem with yellow people is that they find it hard to focus on one task.

Now, every single person won’t have this problem but the majority of the people in the yellow category will have a hard time focusing on one task, basically, they love to multitask.

So if you’re this kind of person then try to focus on a single task until you finish it otherwise, you won’t be able to achieve your dreams as you’re moving from one task to another.

Mr. Perfectionist

Ones who like to work like they’re perfect.

  • They will analyze everything and then do the work.
  • They don’t like to do anything instantly, they will wait and gather knowledge to do certain things.
  • They mostly focus on work.
  • They have the mentality “everything will wait but I have to finish this task.”
  • They’re also bad at relationships as they’re mostly focused on their work.
  • They will have one skill that they have mastered and no one will be able to do that task better than them.

That’s the problem, they only have one skill but they’re not so good with other things whether it’s relationships or communication.

This might differ from person to person but this is mostly common in Blue Kinds of people.

So make sure, if you’ve mastered one skill then don’t be a fool and be bad at communication or even relationships.

Work as much as you can but also find time to spend with your loved ones.

Now, I’m not that person, I like to go with the flow. If I have an idea then I will jump on it and later I will figure out what to do next. It’s like a fix as you go.

For example, Apple will test its features before they release on iPhone whereas Android makers will come up with new ideas and implement and make those features better as they go.

As the author says, everyone is different and they will see each situation with a different perspective and it works for everyone.

Just Like Tree

Just like trees, green people are peaceful.

  • They love to work in a team.
  • They’re people’s person, and that’s the main reason why Green people are the most suitable for the job.
  • They don’t like change, they will live hard lives but they won’t change.
  • They’re also great listeners.

Now, the problem with these kinds of people is, if you make them change a single thing then they will get upset and they might even leave your company.

So be careful and don’t make them change or should I say, don’t try to break their comfort zone. 

The best thing about Green people is that they’re team people. They will work with everyone without any sort of arrogance. 

As the author says, Green people are common in this world and there is nothing wrong with it.

Surrounded by Idiots Lessons

Surrounded by Idiots Summary
  • There are no idiots in this world, it’s only your perspective toward other people. They’re just different.
  • Be a good listener because that’s the only way to know about who you’re talking to. Don’t be self-obsessed.
  • Don’t speak unless it’s necessary, and don’t waste your energy where there is no need.
  • Be a team player and don’t get upset because someone doesn’t agree with your belief
  • You don’t have to be perfect to start something, you just have to start something.
  • Don’t be that guy who works all the time, find a way to spend time with yourself and the people you love the most.
  • There is nothing wrong with being an Extrovert or Introvert.

Surrounded by Idiots Quotes

“When you ask a Red why he changed something that was actually working the answer could well be “Because I could.”

“What comes out your face’s front door isn’t always well thought out.”

“You are who you are, and there’s no point in wondering why. You’re fine no matter how you’re wired. No matter how you choose to behave, no matter how you are perceived, you are fine.”

“Reds and Yellows tend to inflate their strengths and believe that they have no weaknesses.”

“Greens can be quite vague when they speak to others and often avoid talking about the real problem, they frequently get the idea that you’re really talking about something else. They never go straight to the point themselves,”

“Details are essential to communicating with a Blue.”

“What did our mothers teach us? Treat others as you want to be treated. Excellent advice and very well-intentioned. And it works, too—as long as everyone is just like you.”

“Only Dead Fish Go with the Flow”

“You can’t just base your method of communication on your own preferences. Flexibility and the ability to interpret other people’s needs is what characterizes a good communicator.”

Surrounded by Idiots Review

There is no doubt about it, you should read Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson. The book is filled with how people behave, the author has also added a bunch of real-life examples that will give you some idea why people behave the way they behave.

It’s a great read to understand why people do certain things in a certain way. You will learn how people around the world behave when they face a certain kind of situation.

Happy Reading…

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