Book Review: Surrounded by Idiots

In our day-to-day lives, whether this is at home with family or at work with collages, we all know what it’s like to engage with people with different personalities. Some you may get on with, others not so.

I’ve always had a fascination about understanding why people behave the way they do, so when I was recommended this book by a relative, I just couldn’t resist buying – and I’m glad I did.

Written by Thomas Erikson, Surrounded by Idiots refers to four different personalities types, which are summarised as follows:

  • Blue: Analytical, cautious and detail-oriented
  • Green: Relaxed, friendly and loyal
  • Yellow: Social, creative and optimistic
  • Red: Bold, ambitious and goal-oriented

I’m sure you can immediately think of someone who fits into at least one of these personalty types. According to the book, as many as 80% of people are a mixture of at least two colours.

I found this book really helpful for understanding different personalities types in a simple, easy-to-understand format. The book goes through each of the four personality types and described them in detail. It also features good, scenario-specific, examples of how different personality types respond in different situations.

What I found fascinating about this book is how different groups can work together and complement each other. For example, red can get on well with blue and yellow but struggle with green.

What I didn’t appreciate about the book is how it tends to emphasise the negatives of each personality type rather than the strengths. It is important to recognise that everyone is different, and we all have different talents.

This being said, overall, this was a very informative read, and you should read this book for yourself if you want a high-level overview of how and why the people around you behave the way that they do.

As a result, by reading Surrounded by Idiots, I found out more about myself and I understand more about how I respond in the way that I do to others.

Below is a screenshot of my test results. As you can see, I’m a strong combination of both red and blue!

If you would like to do a test for yourself, a simplified version of the test can be found here. I would also, encourage you to read this book and get people you know, be your friends or family, to do the test too.