Surrounded by Idiots

Surrounded by Idiots
Photo by freestocks / Unsplash

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-Help

First thing first, did you laugh a little bit when you saw the title Surrounded by Idiots? :D

Of course, you did! Every time I mention this book, people always laugh, and I love it! I may have even picked this book to read because I was so intrigued by the title. So, the real question is: what is this book Surrounded by Idiots about?

Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson delves into different human personality types. These personalities are divided into four categories of colors for ease of understanding: Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue. The author describes each personality color, their traits, and behaviors. He further suggests that once we can recognize those behaviors based on personality type, it can be helpful to communicate effectively and navigate seemingly difficult conversations.

Why is it so important to recognize and acknowledge different personality types?

Everything you say to a person is filtered through his frames of reference, biases, and preconceived ideas.
No matter what method you choose to communicate with, as an individual, you will always be in the minority. No matter what kind of behavior you have, the majority of people around you will function differently from you.
Flexibility and the ability to interpret other people’s needs is what characterize a good communicator.

So, let’s get to understand these personality types:

Red (Dominant)

Red is determined, goal-driven, ambitious, “get it done right here right now” kind of personality. People with red personalities are competitive, energetic, and enthusiastic. They are go-getters who cannot sit still and are always striving to move forward. They have several ideas that need to be executed NOW. They are not as detailed-oriented in what they do and not as relationship-oriented either. They are fearless and don’t care about others’ opinions. They are adventurous and fast-paced. Reds usually enjoy difficult tasks and challenges. They are all about people and energy or you can call them extroverts.

Yellow (Inspiring)

Yellow, by its name, has a sunshine personality. People with yellow personalities are enthusiastic, funny, and creative. They exude positive energy and optimism. Think of those people around you who brighten up the room as they enter with their positive aura- they are yellow. They have endless stories to share with people around them and are the best kind of people to brainstorm with. They enjoy the spotlight of attention. Since they are talkative, yellows may not be that good at listening. They are the most easygoing people with a positive outlook on life. Yellows are people person and are extroverted in nature.

Green (Stability)

According to the author, green is the most common personality trait found all over the world. Greens love stability. They are not fans of change and like their own comfortable space. Unlike yellows, greens despise the spotlight, and they are probably happy hanging out in a corner all by themselves. Greens are the best listeners. Think of those calm, thoughtful, loving, caring, and patient people around you as you think of a green personality. Unlike reds, greens do not require a fast-paced and ever-changing environment to be happy. In fact, greens are content even with performing mundane and routine tasks that are typically avoided by most people. They do sound like introverted people, don’t they? Well, they are most likely to be introverted.

Blue (Compliant)

Blue personalities are analytical, logical, and organized individuals who are systematic and detail-oriented. They are the people who are into research, analysis, facts, and numbers. They are probably the perfectionists you know. Unlike red personalities, things cannot be done in haste; blues need their own sweet time to go through things in a systematic way to get them accomplished.

Understanding these personality types can be a useful tool in communication and strengthening interpersonal relationships, but it is important to note that individuals may not necessarily fit into only one category. The author suggests that many people are a combination of two or even three of these personality types.

This book highlights the importance of being aware of not only your own personality but also of those around you. People have varying personalities, and you cannot expect everyone to be like you or think like you, or behave in the same way. Everyone’s outlook on the world is different based on their own beliefs, perceptions, biases, and experiences, and so is their behavior and personality. However, if we are open to learning and embracing the differences in people’s personalities, it becomes easier to understand their perspectives and communicate in an effective way.

No system is perfect, and the approach the author describes in this book is not a black-and-white system of classification of personality types, rather you should view it as a guide for observing and understanding people around you.

Personally, this book has helped me widen my perspective. Even though it is still a struggle, I do try to understand people’s personalities before taking things personally. For example- I was in a doctor’s office the other day and the nurse who came in did not greet me or talk to me as much. She got her job done and went to call the doctor. At first, I was so annoyed by her behavior, but as I sat there waiting for the doctor to come in, I thought, maybe she was a red personality type. She came in and did what she was supposed to do and making small talk with me was not her personality type and that’s okay! It might be a story that I made in my head, but it did help me not to take her behavior personally and I will take that!

This can also be true in your personal life. Knowing the personality type of your partner and how they operate may remove a lot of friction in your relationship. For example, my husband and I are completely opposite. When we need to assemble furniture, I will just dive in to get it done. I figure things out as I go, and I hate when things move slowly in my universe vs my engineer husband who will take his sweet time to read through the manual and assemble it an hour later. I lose my calm in that process. However, understanding that we have different personalities and acknowledging that we operate in different ways is the way to go. Reading a book does not change things overnight, however, having that perspective has been helpful.

Now that we have a better understanding of the four different personality types, we can apply this knowledge to improve our relationships. If your partner has a red personality, doing things for them right away may be appreciated.  If they are yellow maybe a happy hour plan or party might be more suitable. If they are green, maybe hanging out with them in their comfortable space makes them the happiest. And if they are blue, maybe organizing activities like playing puzzles, or decluttering with them could work best for them. The point is understanding each other’s personality may help you work with each other’s love language and communicate better.

To summarize, Surrounded by Idiots is a book that urges you to become aware of yourself, your personality, and of those around you and meet them at their personality type. If you are into understanding human behavior and personality and harnessing that power to communicate better in both your personal and professional lives, this is the book for you!

I hope you found this review helpful! Happy Reading 😊

Also, which color personality are you? Let us know!