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Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior 2nd Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0615272290
ISBN-10: 0615272290
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  • Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior
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Editorial Reviews


"Humans are strange creatures that are difficult to understand, even if you are one. 'Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior' is a guide for people who want to better understand these peculiar individuals that they encounter every day. Drawing upon decades of experience, Beverly Flaxington encourages listeners to take her advice and apply it where they can. From better empathy to avoiding mistakes, 'Understanding Other People' is truly a valuable audio." -- the Midwest Book Review

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Author

After years of working with people in business and personal situations, trying to help make effective change happen, I noticed a theme with difficult relationships. Sometimes when we are struggling in a relationship, everything else in life seems hard to deal with for us. I began to capture the common threads that run between most people and finally taught a graduate course called "Dealing with Difficult People" using my understanding. At the end of the class, students said -- "This should be a required course for everyone in life!" I heard that message and decided to write a book -- so that everyone could access these ideas and use them. One reviewer said, "Everyone on planet earth should read this book!" I hope you enjoy this and find it useful in your own life.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 106 pages
  • Publisher: ATA Press; 2 edition (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615272290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615272290
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tom D VINE VOICE on February 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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