Frequently Asked Questions to Thomas

Thomas Erikson – who are you?

I am a Swedish behaviourist with a fascination for human communication and interaction. I am teaching and spreading self-awareness as one or the more important tools to build stronger relationships with everybody else. My firm belief is that we all can learn more about ourselves in order to function better with other people.

I also feel very strongly that what is needed in the world today is more understanding and less conflict. If I could help achieving that in even a tiny little bit, I am a happy guy.

So you are a teacher?

In a way you could say that. I write books, create online courses, master classes and give lectures all over the world to spread what I believe is the best way to achieve success in life. I also mentor top executives and entrepreneurs all over Europe.

Aha. You are working to make people successful?

One of my strongest beliefs is that everyone has the right – maybe even responsibility – to go look for his or her reason for existence. We are all here for a reason and the best way to build one’s capabilities and reach new and higher levels of understanding, of ways to contribute to society or to just make good in the world.

As the term self-made man is a delusion begin with – no one makes it on her or his own – understanding how you can interact the best way with others will always be crucial to get the life you want. We all need other people. That’s just the way it is.

You talk a lot about self-awareness in your books and in your lectures. Why is self-awareness so important?

If you don’t live your life like a hermit, you will be interacting with new people all the time. You must be able to communicate with different of types of people. In order to function in a modern society, you need to know how to communicate. And it’s about social competence or people’s skill if you want. That means in general to understand how you and your actions are affecting other people and their actions. And, in order to be able to do this, you have to understand yourself. You need self-awareness.

Your most successful book is Surrounded by Idiots. It has been translated into almost 60 languages and sold in four million copies or maybe even more. Why do you think the book has reached such a massive audience?

Mainly I believe it is because I managed to present the system in the book – the DISC profile and the four colours – in an easy-to-read manner. I avoided as much mumbo jumbo as I could. In all my books, I write for the ordinary reader, or Average Joe if you like. Some people have been criticizing me for that, saying I left too much out; that I didn’t provide a strong enough scientific background or heavy body of research. But I don’t write for university professors or specially trained psychologists. I write for and like to talk to normal people that want an interesting message they easily can adapt into their everyday lives.

Maybe the cocky title helped a little too?

Ha! Yes, the title has been working pretty well for me. It is fun to spread the cover of the book on social media for instance, and I am truly grateful to everybody who is doing that. And we all been in that situation – feeling surrounded by idiots. It has come to my attention it is indeed a universal challenge.

There are a series of sequels that came after Surrounded by idiots. Psychopaths, Narcissists, Bad Bosses, Setbacks, Energy vampires. Do one need to read Surrounded by Idiots before reading the other titles?

No. Surrounded by Idiots talks only about the four colours, nothing else. It would of course be better to have read it before taking on some of the others, as I am in one way or the other referring to the four colours in all the books, but there is a chapter about the colours in all of them. The reader will get a brief overlook and understanding of the system in itself.

Do you have a personal favourite of all the books?

Yes, I actually do. Surrounded by Idiots will of course always have a special place in my heart as the first one, but the one I like the most – and actually am most proud of – is Surrounded by Setbacks. There I delve into the depths of setbacks, failures, and really dark days. Even though I look successful now, my life haven’t always been that easy. In the book I bring up how you lift yourself up from the deep dark places where we all end up once in a while and learn how to stay, to if not constantly at the top, at least in a better place than at the bottom. I enjoyed writing that book. I think it’s living an unfair anonymous life.

How many titles will there be in the Surrounded by-series?

How long is a rope? Currently I have a list of about thirty or so ideas on topics that might be suitable for a book that neatly would fall in line after the others, and new ideas pop up all the time. So who knows? If I may keep my health, I will do this for years and years to come. I love what I do and as long as I can think, I will write.

What do you do in your spare time?

I read books. I read probably a hundred books per year. That is what makes me calm and give me new energy. Before anyone thinks – how do you finds the time – The answer is: I don’t watch TV. At all.

I like gardening. I am a bit of an anglophile – tweed suits and old Land Rovers so topiary is something I like to experiment with. I’m not very good at it but I am trying. And recently I am trying to learn how to sing. That goes even worse than the topiary, but I can’t give it up just because it is hard. Not if I should live by my own advice. we’ll se how it goes.

Thomas EriksonBest-selling author

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