Surrounded by idiots

Discover effective strategies for dealing with challenging individuals in your life. Explore insights and tips to navigate difficult relationships and enhance your communication skills. Learn how to thrive, even when it feels like you're "surrounded by idiots
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Thomas Erikson
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Surrounded by idiots pdf

“Discover the enlightening journey of understanding human behavior in ‘Surrounded by Idiots.’ Read our comprehensive review for an overview and summary of this eye-opening book. Get your copy today to gain valuable insights into decoding people’s actions and reactions.”


“Surrounded by Idiots” is a thought-provoking book written by Swedish behavioral expert Thomas Erikson. Published in 2014, this book offers a unique and engaging perspective on human behavior by categorizing individuals into four distinct personality types. Through this categorization, Erikson sheds light on how we communicate, make decisions, and interact with one another. In this article, we will provide an overview, summary, review, notable quotes, and answer frequently asked questions about this insightful read.


Thomas Erikson’s “Surrounded by Idiots” takes readers on a journey through the intricate world of human behavior. The central premise of the book revolves around Erikson’s categorization of people into four distinct personality types: Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue. Each of these colors represents a specific communication and behavior style:

  1. Reds: Dominant and assertive individuals who are action-oriented and often perceived as competitive and demanding.
  2. Yellows: Sociable and energetic individuals who value spontaneity and are often seen as charismatic and creative.
  3. Greens: Compassionate and empathetic individuals who prioritize harmony and are known for their patience and ability to mediate conflicts.
  4. Blues: Analytical and detail-oriented individuals who excel in planning and organizing, often appearing reserved and serious.

Erikson uses a simple, relatable metaphor to illustrate these personality types: the communication circle. Within this circle, the four colors interact in unique ways, often leading to misunderstandings and conflicts when people of different colors communicate. The book provides insights on how to identify one’s own color and that of others, fostering better communication and understanding among individuals with different personality types.

Erikson’s approach is both engaging and informative. He shares numerous real-life examples and anecdotes to help readers recognize the color types in people they encounter daily, whether at work, in social settings, or within their families. By understanding these personality types, readers can enhance their interpersonal relationships, minimize conflicts, and become more effective communicators.


“Surrounded by Idiots” has received widespread acclaim for its innovative approach to understanding human behavior. Here are some key points of praise:

  1. Practicality: Readers appreciate the practicality of Erikson’s categorization system. It offers actionable insights for improving both personal and professional relationships.
  2. Accessibility: Erikson’s writing style is accessible to a wide audience. He avoids jargon and presents complex concepts in a straightforward manner.
  3. Engagement: The book’s real-life examples and relatable anecdotes make it engaging and relatable. Readers find it easy to connect with the content.
  4. Eye-Opening: Many readers describe the book as eye-opening, as it helps them better understand themselves and the people around them. It provides a framework for why people behave the way they do.
  5. Conflict Resolution: “Surrounded by Idiots” is particularly useful for those seeking to improve conflict resolution skills. By understanding the motivations and communication styles of others, readers can navigate disagreements more effectively.

Notable Quotes:

  1. “Understanding someone’s color is like knowing the code to their behavior.”
  2. “In a world full of colors, it’s not about changing who you are but learning to appreciate the spectrum.”
  3. “The key to effective communication is not in speaking louder but in speaking the other person’s color.”
  4. “Conflict arises not from differences in colors but from a lack of understanding and acceptance of those differences.”
  5. “Every color has its strengths and weaknesses; the magic happens when we learn to complement each other.”


Q1: How can I determine my own color?
A1: Erikson provides a simple self-assessment test in the book, which can help you identify your dominant color. Additionally, you can seek feedback from friends and family who have read the book or are familiar with the color system.

Q2: Can people change their color type over time?
A2: Erikson suggests that while our dominant color remains relatively stable, we can adapt our behavior and communication style in different situations. So, while you may have a dominant color, you can learn to “speak” other colors when needed.

Q3: Is this book only useful for interpersonal relationships?
A3: No, the concepts in “Surrounded by Idiots” are applicable in various aspects of life, including leadership, team dynamics, and conflict resolution in both personal and professional contexts.

Q4: Are the color categories overly simplistic?
A4: Some critics argue that the four-color system may oversimplify human behavior. While it doesn’t capture every nuance of an individual’s personality, it serves as a helpful framework for understanding and improving communication.

Q5: Are there any criticisms of the book?
A5: While the book has received praise for its practicality and accessibility, some critics have argued that the categorization system may be too rigid and that people are more complex than these four colors suggest. However, many readers find the system to be a valuable tool for enhancing their understanding of human behavior.

In conclusion, “Surrounded by Idiots” by Thomas Erikson is a captivating exploration of human behavior that offers valuable insights into how we communicate and interact with others. Through its simple yet effective color-based categorization system, the book provides a framework for improving relationships, resolving conflicts, and becoming a more effective communicator. Whether you’re looking to enhance your personal relationships or excel in your professional life, this book is a valuable resource for understanding and navigating the intricate world of human behavior.

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