Understanding Other People

The Five Secrets to Human Behavior

Non-Fiction - Self Help
104 Pages
Reviewed on 09/03/2009
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Have you ever met a difficult person? Has someone you love ever got on your nerves. Let’s face it we all know difficult people. Beverly D. Flaxington gets along with almost every one. She know the 5 secrets to understanding other people.

1. It’s all About me.
2. Behavioral Styles come between us.
3. Values speak louder than you do
4. Don’t assume I know what you mean
5. I’m Okay; you are most definitely not okay

Are we so self-centered that we honestly believe it is all about me? Yes and no, it may be subconsciously but everything does filter back to self. We judge others by our own standards. We focus conversations on ourselves by saying I know what you mean. It all stems from our experiences. Can we change? Most certainly and Flaxington shares how. She goes in-depth explaining each secret. Her style is easy to understand and read. The end of each chapter has a concise summary.

Understanding Other People will benefit everyone. The anecdotes are amusing. The secrets are built on wisdom.

L. Brandau

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.

Monty Rainey

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.

B. Davis

The author has written a "must read" book on understanding and getting along with other people. How many times are we frustrated with people we either live or work with? Now there's a concise book, with simple steps, telling us how we can live happily while managing our reactions.

Here are a few things it contains:
*Behavioral styles come between us
*What is my experience?
*You better appreciate what I've done for you
*Step outside yourself
*How to interact with and influence others
*Hey, stop yelling at me!

Everyone on planet earth should read this book. Then, perhaps, we can start living in a more peaceful world.

L. Tierney

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!

M. T. Farmer

Every inspirational mentor and manager that I've worked with has stressed the value of empathy in building personal and professional relationships. Conversely, most "difficult" people I've encountered have had problems seeing a situation from another person's point of view. I wish I could buy every one of these problem people a copy of this book and force them to read it.

Being the type of person who is very skeptical of most self-help manuals and who avoids the pop psychology "I'm OK, You're OK" approach to relationships like the plague, I was pleasantly surprised by the common sense logic and methodical approach take in "Understanding Other People." It effectively straddles the worlds of management theory and psychology and is full of real-world examples that really bring the book's concepts to life.

The book is sometimes funny, sometimes profound and always helpful. It's helped me see my relationships in a new light and I highly recommend it to anyone who has to deal with other people on a daily basis (which I guess means everyone).

L. Power

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.

Stephanie Manley

Beverly Flaxington writes a fine book on how we can understand and then deal with other people's behavior. We are so often left guessing what should we do in a particular situation. We often wonder why in the world can't someone see this situation like I do. I love the simplicity that this book helps boil it down into. Life isn't really that complicated. She focuses on five different points that honestly will assist you in about 80% of our issues with other people. Her book is broken down into five different secrets.

Her secrets are: It's all about me, Our Behavior style comes between us, Your values speak louder than you do, Don't assume I know what you mean, and my favorite, I'm Ok; You are most definately not Ok. Mastering her insight will help you with most of your difficult interactions. I love that I can apply these techniques with people you encounter everyday, co-workers, friends, and loved ones. Life really isn't that complicatd and thanks to Beverly Flacington, you can work through many difficult situations with other people.

Midwest Book Review

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 readers to take her advice and apply it where they can. From better empathy to avoiding mistakes, "Understanding Other People" is a truly valuable read.

Julie Littlechild

There are certain books that speak to the fundamentals we all need to understand, no matter our industry or role. This is one such book. The author has found a way to not only highlight some of the most important aspects of human behavior but to look at both the implications and the tactics to help us improve. The style is easy, concise and intelligent and the content in both enduring and relevant. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their business or relationships in general.

Mike Goyarts

A a great read for anyone seeking to become a better communicator in life. The author lays out five basic steps or secrets with real world examples that anyone can relate to. I continue practicing the five secrets with surprising positive results which is why I give this book 5 stars.

D. King

A MUST read for anyone struggling to survive the landmines of organizational politics. Ms. Flaxington spells out in clear detail how to deal with the myriad of personalities that exist in the workplace. The "five secrets" make it clear that, although people may not always behave in logical ways, they can be counted on the behave in psychological ways. And "Understanding Other People" provides an easy framework for communicating effectively with other personality styles without sacrificing your integrity in the process. Flaxington makes the concepts easy to remember and apply. The book is a great desk reference for everyday reminders.

B. Nelson

In order to ascend the success ladder in business, personal relationships, and family harmony it's important to be able to communicate effectively and know exactly what other people are trying to communicate to you.

Finally, a new, effective communication model can be found in the book, "Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior."

The work provides information for empowering anyone to be more successful. Readers will learn how to understand the REAL meaning behind what people are saying. Information is provided about how to communicate effectively to others your own REAL meaning, using powerful, motivating words and phrases.

Readers will learn how to evaluate hidden "signals" indicating a person's real communication intent.

The literary work, written by an author who owns a corporate consulting business, is an adjunct professor, a Certified Professional Behavioral and Values Analyst, individual coach, and corporate trainer helps readers adjust their own personal "behavior style" in order to effectively motivate others through positive, clear actions and communications.

The book provides help in controlling "reactions" triggered by what others say and do, and offers guidelines about how to gain their cooperation.

This vital model is a fresh, understandable, effective way to eliminate all of the common roadblocks to success.

Nanci Arvizu

Beverly was fun to talk to - and her book was fun to read! This is the kind of book you read through once, and then reference back to it often. I recommend daily.
The information presented is easy to understand and apply in your daily life. She tells good stories in and around the information and keeps the reader interested and wanting to read more. All of what she talks about make great "eye opening Ah Ha's!" that last through the day as your path crosses with other people.
Everyone should read this book. Then maybe we'll all have a better understanding of each other!

Mark Kaizerman

I was first introduced to Beverly when I attended one of her workshops based on her other book - 7 Steps to Effective Business Building for Financial Advisors. I was amazed at the excitement, energy and idea exchange that she created during our workshop. Her latest book, Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior, details the skills that make her so effective as a workshop leader, and gives the reader the tools to do the same. Loaded with valuable information on human behavior, this book allows you to look within, understand yourself better and deal more effectively with others.

Jennifer Copley

There are so many aspects to communicating with others that are hard to understand. This book manages to take those difficult concepts and make them easy -- and with easy-to-use ideas as well. I'm finding many applications for what I've learned.

Scott C. Sacco

This book really makes one stop and think about one's personal style and the impact it has on relationships. Beverly Flaxington does an excellent job of explaining how the lens we use to see the world impacts the interactions we have with others. Perhaps most importantly, she gives us valuable insight on how to adjust that lens so we can be more positive and productive.

The book is an easy read, but it is packed with substance and real life examples that will be very familiar to almost anyone. What won't be familiar is the perspective the author uses to analyze the things that make human interactions go off the tracks.

Flaxington takes us through the process of how we develop the filters with which we see the world, not as a shrink would, but as a close friend who has known us for many years would if we simply asked for feedback and a fresh perspective. She does so, however, with great skill and sensitivity -- providing a careful, process-driven assessment of how our behavioral styles are developed and interpreted; of how our values are reflected in the ways in which we communicate with others; of how our filters cause us to make incorrect assumptions about the actions and motivations of others; and, of how our naturally self-interested worldview can pre-dispose us to want others to simply see things as we do.

In the end, the message seems to be: Know yourself so you can better know others. Fortunately, Flaxington shows us how to accomplish those objectives.

In closing, there is something helpful here for anyone who wants to improve their capacity to cultivate and nurture relationships with family members, friends and even co-workers. From a business standpoint, those who represent a company or organization with the external world -- be that in a sales, marketing or customer service capacity -- will find perspectives in this book that will allow them to be much more productive and effective.

J. Bell

So, I have taken the MBTI and other personality tests. These tests tend to be very theoretical and while actionable tend to be forgotten a few days after the analysis.

What I loved about this book is the simplicity of the message and the fact that the book can read and re-read anytime you forget that it is really is ALL ABOUT YOU!

I highly recommend this book for any person who is having issues with communication in their personal or business life. The timelessness of the books message and the value in your own personal relationships is endless.


What an insightful book! When you take a step back and think about your actions (and reactions) as they relate to others it's amazing how you can influence behavior, if only your own!

Robert Segal

This book is outstanding. Beverly Flaxington does an excellent job providing insight for dealing effectively with others. Her book is a must read.

J. Wilkinson

Beverly Flaxington's book is very helpful to those of us who work with people day in and day out in managerial, team, or office settings. It provides a framework for understanding our own reactions to others as well as a framework for understanding why others are the way they are. If you find yourself getting frequently irritated at a co-worker, manager, or client, this book will help you understand why. It will also help free you from feeling irritated! It is a book you can read quickly and then will want to go back over in sections as you put some of its content into practice. I highly recommend this book.

K. Birch

While this book is a "quick read" it clearly was not "quickly written" as it contains insight from years of relevant experience from the author's professional backround as well as from her personal life.

For me, the most interesting "secret" in this work is the idea that "It's all about me." I give Flaxington credit for being so open, even bold perhaps, about advancing her belief that the vast majority of our actions, beliefs and relationships are processed through a "how does this affect me" filter. A premise that becomes easy for the reader to embrace as she presents in it a thoughtful, concise and well written book.

Tough to imagine someone reading and applying this book and not improving their relationships and communication skills.

Highly recommended!

MT Farmer

Bev's book is a masterful combination of practical advice, relevant anecdotes and theoretical frameworks. Equally useful for interactions with friends, family and professional colleagues, it goes beyond the touchy-feely tone taken in most self-help books and cuts to the core of the issue with insights grounded in real-world experience and supported by helpful activities at the end of every chapter.