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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Do you ever think you’re the only one making any sense? Or tried to reason with your partner with disastrous results? Do long, rambling answers drive you crazy? Or does your colleague’s abrasive manner get your back up?

You are not alone.

After a disastrous meeting with a highly successful entrepreneur, who was genuinely convinced he was ‘surrounded by idiots’, communication expert and best-selling author, Thomas Erikson dedicated himself to understanding how people function and why we often struggle to connect with certain types of people.

Originally published in Swedish in 2014 as Omgiven Av Idioter, Erikon’s Surrounded by Idiots is already an international phenomenon, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide, of which over 750,000 copies have been sold in Sweden alone. 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.

Narrated by David John, 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!

©2019 Thomas Erikson (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Surrounded by Idiots

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Dreadfully banal

I have listened to 30 Audiobooks so far in 2020, and never do I feel moved to write a review - especially a damning one, since effort goes into every book and every book surely has its readers (so what's the point in rubbishing one because it happens not to suit your taste?). But honestly, this book is so genuinely dreadful and banal that I can't help myself. It's completely devoid of any insight - to the extent that I honestly wondered if the book's title was a mickey take, and the author knew he was surrounded by idiots he could persuade to buy anything.

Save yourself the time and money: just Imagine a collection of star sign platitudes, give each collection a colour to simplify them, and then expand at length to try to convince people that there is actually a case to be made for such absurd pigeon-holing.

How it's an international bestseller is literally anyone's guess. Amazing.

137 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Repetitive and simplistic. No Insights or growth

As above.
Not worth it unless you have never heard of the possibility some people have a different perspective or personality to you or others.

70 people found this helpful

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Snake Oil

this book has very little to say, most of it being pseudoscience, and takes far too long to say it. It is also written in a style that feels more like a sales pitch for a tool than an attempt to convey a psychological theory that might be of interest in its own right. Again this is quite possibly because the author is indeed trying to sell the idea that his four personality types have some psychological validity which sadly they don't.

43 people found this helpful

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Useful information poorly presented

The book is is presented in an unabridged format, much to its detriment. There are sections consisting of tables of information, or emails which are read out as if a text to speak engine was set to work.

The overall message becomes repetitive and it’s easy to lose focus in the discussion.

There are some great ideas and insights through the book , although these are often lost due to the style of the writing compounded by the presentation.

24 people found this helpful

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A Must-Read!

The first thing that draws you (at least that drew me) to this book is the title itself. Gotta give an A to whoever came up with it. The book however has much to do with the subtitle than with the title - "The Four Types of Human behaviour".


The author uses the DISC behavioral  assessment tool to categorize human behaviour or personality traits, DISC standing for: Dominance (D), Influence (I), Steadiness (S) and Conscientiousness (C). The tool is based on theories from the psychologist William Marston.


First though, let's address the elephant in the room, human behaviour and humans are unbelievably complex and any attempt to form a categorization is apt to raise a few eyebrows. The author though does acknowledge this, and offers in my opinion a reasonable account of the DISC model.


To make the learning process easier, the author uses colors for the four types of human behaviour: Red, Yellow, Green and Blue. The traits are roughly based on Hippocrates famous personality traits: Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholic.


He spends a good amount on each color, highlighting their perceived strengths, observed weaknesses and what stresses them. More importantly he goes into detail on the interaction between each color and the other, how the actions of one color can be perceived by the other, but also how to handle the challenges that come with these differences in a group.


The book brought me a great deal amount of audible laughter in the moments I was reading about a particular color, and suddenly recognition hit as I recalled a person in my life. My memory was taken to instances where I had challenges dealing with a particular person, but now I deeply understood what was at play. More importantly however it opened my awareness to how my behavior can be perceived by others, leaving room for improvement in my interactions.


I can't recommend enough this wonderful book.

19 people found this helpful

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  • SD
  • 27-03-20

Repetitive and self-referencing

Interesting book, but it became incredibly repetitive. If you read just the summary of this book, you will be better off.

14 people found this helpful

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Far too simplistic

Maybe it is due to the construct but this is a far too simplistic view on human nature. The examples he uses to support his theory don't sound realistic, they are far too one dimensional. He also is definitive about the behaviour of each colour, not accepting the subtleties of human nature. At some points this book is patronising and a little passive aggressive. In a weird way, having lived in Scandinavia I can see where he's coming from but this theory really doesn't hold water outside of the Northern European cultural structure.

Love the narrator though! He may have channelled the tone of the author a little too well though...he seems very red...

8 people found this helpful

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Fascinating book

I already knew about the DISC classification but this book is rich in details, examples and situations.
Also you can easily identify your personality type and the challenges you might face.

8 people found this helpful

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Great book for anyone interested in team dynamics!

well written and narrated book (although recommend speeding it up to 1.25% speed, slow talker!)

I feel that it helped me get a higher level understanding of both work/and private relations!

7 people found this helpful

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Hadn’t realised that this book has been completely discredited

There were a lot of things that chimed but I think it was confirmation bias.
I was an avid listener for the first several hours but then chanced upon an article about the pseudoscience in this field and this book came top if the list. I’ve not had any patience with it since snd am just ending it with hours to go.☹️

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-08-21

Great book to read

This book tells about characteristics associated with human species personality in context of color perspectives.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-06-21

Too simplistic and narrow, but fine for an introduction into human behaviour

The book had some interesting insight, but was overall disappointing. Still, it served its purpose. I was already familiar with the DISC personality model before starting the book, but I was interested to gain a wider understanding of the behaviours of the types. However, the book failed to deliver on my expectations and relied solely on simplistic explanations and stereotypical accounts. Humans are multifaceted beings with complex personalities, and Erikson declaring that no person can be all colours (when I am, in fact, all colours) made me question the validity of the information provided in the book. I also questioned the reliability of the real-life accounts since the conversations came across as inauthentic and fabricated due to their textbook dialogue (with regards to their colour). If you’re new to human behaviour and personality types then this book could be a great introduction, but take what you hear with a pinch of salt and do your own research.

1 person found this helpful

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  • FF
  • 09-05-21

Horseshit

I read about 5% of the book, and the chapter that introduces his colour system made me realise immediately that the system is not based on any science of psychology or personality, but something that he pulled out of his ass. What a bunch of nonsense! I wish I could get my money back.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-08-19

wrong title, liked the book a lot, learned a lot

read all but was hoping to learn how to deal with idiots not different people

1 person found this helpful

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  • DANNY
  • 16-11-21

I like you, just not your behaviour

"I like you, just not your behaviour." - Probably not the exact line, but the epitome of the book.

Just another book trying to over simplify the complexity of personality. Don't stop here.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-11-21

A must listen

Easy to listen, informative and entertaining.

Got to know myself and the people around me better.

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  • Karen
  • 20-06-21

as expected unpacked the detail i required

will need to reread a few more times while making notes to make it a habit of identifying people accurately

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-02-21

opened my eyes

this book is pretty valueble for me. learnt alot about myself and others which I have been pretty ignorant about. I would not have seen and realized this if I had not heard this book. Going in I did not like the book because it felt it did not apply to me, until I found out that you can have more than one of these colours which made much more sense

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  • Couch potato
  • 17-11-20

Interesting but not implementable

It was interesting to hear the differences in people but I found it as non implementable.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-09-20

Very useful for any adult!

Very good insight for people. It indeed helped me to look at everyone on a more understanding level on how they function. Suggestion- Questionnaire could have been provided as a pdf though