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96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise Useful Principles High on Content
Understanding Other People is well titled; a useful, earthy and concise book, especially for someone who hasn't been through one of the "Leadership" seminars. I finally settled on four stars for the merits of the book with one star off for the "demerits." Flaxington is succinct and largely descriptive. The use of the term "secrets" in the subtitle is good marketing,...
Published on February 11, 2012 by Tom D

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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tripe - Be warned!
She says she's a hypnotist and I believe it. Her book put me to sleep. It's less than 100 pages long, poorly written, and filled with redundant phrases to the point that it swings between being mind-numbingly boring and excrutiatingly painful to read. Just read the chapter titles and you'll have the jist of her message. Then spend your money on something worthwhile.
Published 21 months ago by Fluff family


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96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise Useful Principles High on Content, February 11, 2012
By 
Tom D (Columbus, OH United States) - See all my reviews
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Understanding Other People is well titled; a useful, earthy and concise book, especially for someone who hasn't been through one of the "Leadership" seminars. I finally settled on four stars for the merits of the book with one star off for the "demerits." Flaxington is succinct and largely descriptive. The use of the term "secrets" in the subtitle is good marketing, everyone wants to know "secrets."

Flaxington's premises are basically that you're going to get along easily with some people, with others it may not be easy but if you understand what's going on you may be able to make it work, and in other cases you either live with the situation or move on, but you're not going to change it. Straightforward enough, and Flaxington's value added are principles, context and the real and rare strength of the book, a clear and honest assessment that you're not going to change other people. The first chapter is a good reminder to check our own perspectives, but unless you're reading this at someone else's suggestion, there's a good probability you're above average in self awareness.

The Chapter "Don't Assume I Know What You Mean" is valuable enough to justify reading the book. The tools and thoughts from that chapter are universally useful.

The two "demerit" areas, based upon my "filters," are the lack of context for DISC and not addressing personality disorders. The DISC behavior style assessment is one of many communication/personality/behavior/value diagnostics; Myers-Briggs may be the most widely recognized. It would be good to know, briefly, why the author believes DISC is a good choice relative to other alternatives. She does state that it is validated and proven. Flaxington fully discloses she is a franchisee of the DISC system and this comment is not a criticism of DISC. Second, and the reason I took off one star, none of this really applies if you're interacting with someone with a serious psychological problem, a narcissistic bully for example, not just a behavioral style preference. That's a huge topic in itself but it's necessary and worth at least a short chapter in a book titled Understanding Other People, especially since estimates suggest that a significant and increasing portion of the population exhibits serious personality disorder symptoms.
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122 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it time for a filter change?, July 18, 2009
By 
Monty Rainey (New Braunfels, TX) - See all my reviews
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There are plenty of business books available out there to help us better understand the behavior of others. The problem I have found with most of them is that they are written from the perspective of the clinical psycologist, not from the persective of the business leader, rendering them of little or limited value. No so with UNDERSTANDING OTHER PEOPLE: THE FIVE SECRETS OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR, by Beverly Flaxington.

The book begins by examining the many built in filters we use to view the world. Our filters don't necessarily make us right or wrong, they simply determine our viewpoint. One person may be devastated by the death of Michael Jackson. The next person may view it as, "One less pedophile in the world." One person may view Barack Obama as the Messiah, the next person may view him as the anti-Christ. These are just the filters each person sees things with.

Flaxington teaches us that by being aware of our filters, we are more cognizant of the fact that we are not necessarily right or wrong, we're just us. This concept leads us to understanding the principle of "It's all about me." The author cogently explains this simple truth by asking the reader to consider a time when we went out of our way to help someone, supposedly out of our own goodness, only to be offended when the recipient failed to "according to our filters" properly thank us.

The book continues in subsequent chapters to explain how these filters create difficulties in relationships, work environments and every day life with those around us. The concept being, by more clearly understanding why we, and those we interact with, react the way we do, we will begin to find ways to work towards what Dr. Stephen Covey calls, "Win-win, or no deal" and "seek first to understand, then to be understood."

I will stop here as I don't wish to give away additional content. The book is a quick, easy read. It is very well written and you will find lessons with immediate applicability.
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54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read and own this book, June 17, 2009
By 
L. Tierney (Massachusetts, USA) - See all my reviews
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This fabulous, concise, wisdom rich book is helping me to better understand myself in addition to others. The 5 secrets to understanding human behavior are revealed in a way that is easy to understand and incorporate into one's daily personal and professional life. I find these tools more natural to use than the other tools I am familiar with, including but not limited to Myers-Briggs, and Enneagram.

Using the Disc behavioral and core value tools, I have a clearer insight into human nature. `Don't assume I know what you mean' is one of the good personal reminders to place more context around my messages.

I intend to keep this book close to me until the 5 secrets have become a natural way of life for me, meanwhile I will pick up a few more copies for my friends. You should too!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tripe - Be warned!, July 22, 2012
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She says she's a hypnotist and I believe it. Her book put me to sleep. It's less than 100 pages long, poorly written, and filled with redundant phrases to the point that it swings between being mind-numbingly boring and excrutiatingly painful to read. Just read the chapter titles and you'll have the jist of her message. Then spend your money on something worthwhile.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow and basic, August 5, 2012
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I just finished reading this book, a whopping 93 pages and appearing to be self-published. It reads as if the author just transcribed some of her lectures into book format and slapped it together without benefit of an editor or proofreader. The content is so basic, repetitive, and badly written that I feel I didn't really learn much new.

I was continually distracted while reading by the author's clunky and ungrammatical writing style. She switches between the pronouns I, me, you, we, and they willy-nilly and mid-stream; overuses quotes around words; and litters her paragraphs with exclamation marks and parenthetical asides, while also writing wordy, clunky sentences with really awkward syntax. Most annoying to me is how repetitive and overly cutesy and overly informal the writing style is. Throughout, the author only uses experiences from her personal life and consulting business to illustrate her points, and sometimes the relevance of her experience seems tenuous at best. This book could easily have been edited down to only 50 pages, and for me, 50 pages worth of badly written and unoriginal, shallow content is definitely not worth $10.95. I am not the best writer myself, but as a reader, I know when the writing isn't good and hasn't had the benefit of an editor's constructive criticism.

I'm giving this 2 stars because I think the author is well-intentioned and I did learn a couple new things. Overall, though, most of the concepts seem really obvious to me--I already knew that we all have mental filters so that we all view reality differently, and that we should all try to communicate better by really listening to the other person and ensuring that we explain what we mean more thoroughly. I think most people already know this in fact. I did learn a couple new things about the DISC personality scale and the six core values, but overall the exploration of all these topics has no depth and little value to me, offering almost no new insights.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding other people, March 16, 2010
This book was written for co-workers to better understand each other, but I also found it helpful to communicate better with my spouse.

Dr. Flaxington states that "The most powerful people are the ones who understand themselves better than others understand them." She helps us to find out more about ourselves by finding out what triggers our responses, what our values are and knowing how we communicate. The first and main secret is that everything is "all about me". Our reactions to others is how we unintentionally "view every experience through our own lenses". We need to watch others, listen and pay attention, watch our own reactions, recognize our own triggers and be committed to stop using our preconceived ideas.

She states that we don't need to change for anyone, but to adapt to situations and other people and communication will be improved.

I learned a lot and will definitely be using the 5 secrets in all aspects of my life.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding those around you, July 15, 2009
Understanding Other People is a quick study for dealing with different personalities and problems that may occur with communication. The author outlines behavior and personality styles and how to communicate in a positive manner with individuals.

As she outlines the different characteristics of each style, you will immediately recognize yourself and others. This is a good book for employers for building teamwork or for individuals who need to understand why others act the way they do. At the end of each chapter is a guide for practical use of the information.

As a traditional woman of faith, however, I was disappointed with the author's description of a "Traditional". Quote: "Traditional, value-driven people believe that a given set of rules exists and that they - and others - must abide by those rules without question." Really? According to the author we may be, "Bible thumping individuals" or "spend their weekends and down-time at retreats with other members of their faith". I think some personal prejudice from the author came through in a bad way.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Vague and more vague, November 4, 2012
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I quit on page 23 of this 90 page book. The author says she's going to give us 5 principles of human behavior, but I don't know what four of them are 'cause by page 23 she'd discussed only one--and poorly.

The first principle is listen to other people and try to figure out where they're coming from. And when you do this, try to put aside your own prejudices and biases. She uses the concept "it's all about me." This is the predicament the principle is supposed to correct. Fundamentally, she's saying we are all narcissistic, but she doesn't even use that (clarifying)word. Instead, she goes on and on, page after page, trying to explain what "it's all about me" means--and (surprisingly) she never does, at least not by page 23. Seems to me what "it's all about me" means could have been explained in about 2 pages of very well chosen words. But there aren't any of those. Instead, it's vague and more vague. I gave up.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teacher gets an A., October 21, 2009
I don't know if you're like me, but I am very interested in human behavior and psychology. Beverly Flaxington has impressive credentials and background as a University lecturer, career and behavior coach, and hypnotist and trainer, and an MBA.

In Understanding Other People we get decades of experience and insight, distilled into five secrets. The fact she must have presented this material many times in front of an audience or to clients, comes across in the lucidity and economy of the writing, and makes for a very intriguing read.

The further you get into this book, the more you recognise people you know as the distinct types described in the book. In secret number 2, she introduces the DISC analysis tool which shows different behavioral styles, D meaning Dominance, and C meaning Compliance.

I found the chapter on Values most interesting having studied the Spiral Dynamics system, so this was fresh and new. Not having done the test, I suspect that I am a Theoretical: Lifelong love of learning. A highly successful friend of mine would be a combination of Utilitarian (seeking maximum ROI), and an Individualist (driven by ego).

Nevertheless, I may only have given this book four stars if not for the final chapter, where she describes the (IO) Technique, (Interested Observer). It's something you already have and you cannot evolve without it. She does not go into it in tremendous detail, but if you take this one piece of information, and develop techniques to cultivate it, using it consciously, you can vastly accelerate your personal evolution. With this tool, for any behavior, you can catch yourself in the act, and change your behavior.

In addition she offers some great ideas that you can easily use to improve the quality of your interactions, so I highly recommend it. I hope you find this review was helpful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed., February 18, 2013
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Basically, this is a very elementary level book. It has a lot of platitudes and simple observations. It added nothing to my understanding of other people. I feel that if you are a functioning adult with even the slightest ability of perception than most of this will be stuff that you know already. It is rare for me not to finish reading a book, and I set this one down fairly quickly.
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