This book is an excellent aid to understanding - and making oneself understood - by the people we work with. It deals with professional work, but its ideas can easily be applied to other areas of life: family, charities, associations, etc. We all accept that there are different types of temperaments, but we do not always draw the full consequences of this principle when it comes to doing teamwork. As the author says, we run the risk of thinking that we are surrounded by idiots, trying to measure others with the yardstick of our own way of being, forgetting that each personal profile has a different way of communicating and working.
Thomas Erikson is an expert in the study of behaviour and has worked for over 20 years offering leadership courses to different companies. In this book he offers some keys to help us identify what type of person we are dealing with, to which values is he or she most sensitive to, how to interpret his or her attitudes and how we can communicate more effectively with that person. He insists that the best teams are those that manage to get people with different types of personalities to work together.
The author uses a model to describe differences in behaviour called DISA (Dominance, Inspiration, Submission and Analytic). This model is an elaboration on the theories of other scholars (especially William Marston and Walter Clarke), and builds on Hippocrates' classical theory of the four types of temperament (choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic). The author is cautious enough to avoid generalisations, and points out that a person may have one predominant temperament to which traits of the other temperaments can be added.
One might miss in the book some advice on how to improve oneself in the weak points of one's temperament: this is certainly not the aim of the book, but perhaps it would have been useful to include some ideas in this respect.
The book is enjoyable to read, thanks to the countless anecdotes that the author draws from his experience in training professionals in different areas; he also offers stories from everyday life (family, friends, etc.).