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BNH Book Review: Surrounded by Idiots

Published Friday Sep 18, 2020

Author Terri Schlichenmeyer of The Bookworm Sez LLC

“Surrounded by Idiots”
by Thomas Erikson
2019, St. Martin’s Essentials
$27.99/304 pages

What is wrong with the people you work with? One colleague thinks he’s always right, one is an unrealistic optimist, another actually lines up his paper clips. You can barely stand it, but read the new book “Surrounded by Idiots” by Thomas Erikson and you’ll see that the situation is not so black and white.

Using a method of communication called DISA, which stands for Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Analytic ability, people can be categorized by “primary personality types.”  This can help all to understand why people act as they do and assigns helpful colors.

Reds, for instance, are the quick-reacting folks, dominant and decisive and not always good in building relationships. Greens, who make up the largest subset of people, are calm, supportive and generally hate change. Yellows are the sunniest people who try to always look on the bright side. Organized blues require complete knowledge on issues before committing.

To build your best staff and to foster cooperation, says Erikson, awareness of these personality types is key.

Astute readers may notice the book is similar to the MMDI and Myer Briggs tests. While it’s different, it’s alike enough to see parallels.

While Erikson admits no one is purely one “color,” there are a lot of overgeneralizations.

So why seek out this book? Like other tests, Erikson uses science to back up his methods of personality assessment, and his presentation here applies that directly to businesses, particularly in staffing and team-building issues.

This book is casual in its approach, anecdote-based and on the lighthearted side, which makes it fun to read.

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