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No One Understands You by Heidi Grant Halvorson - 3 Big Ideas

Figure out how to put yourself in better favor with people with both long term strategies and with little tips and tricks.


Welcome to 3 Things You Can Use, where Maddi and I analyze the worlds of lifestyle and entrepreneurship through books, three things at a time. This week's book is No One Understands You, by Heidi Halvorson.

This book is 224 pages paperback and 5 hours, 18 minutes audible.

It is described on Amazon as follows,

"...Most of us assume that other people see us as we see ourselves, and that they see us as we truly are. But neither is true. Our everyday interactions are colored by subtle biases that distort how others see us—and also shape our perceptions of them.

You can learn to clarify the message you’re sending once you understand the lenses that shape perception:

Trust. Are you friend or foe? • Power. How much influence do you have over me? • Ego. Do you make me feel insecure?

Based on decades of research in psychology and social science, Halvorson explains how these lenses affect our interactions—and how to manage them.

Once you understand the science of perception, you’ll communicate more clearly, send the messages you intend to send, and improve your personal relationships. You’ll also become a fairer and more accurate judge of others. Halvorson even offers an evidence-based action plan for repairing a damaged reputation.

This book is not about making a good impression, although it will certainly help you do that. It’s about coming across as you intend. It’s about the authenticity we all strive for."

The 3 Things from this book are:

  • No One Understands You

  • Us vs. Them

  • Familiarity Breeds...


3 Things You Can Use

1. No One Understands You

Your actions are a matter of interpretation, based the current lense of the perceiver.

Your actions probably should be judged by the context. People act differently in different circumstances - and that makes sense. But people are, what Heidi refers to as, cognitive misers. This means that our brains like to view the world with efficiency.

A cognitive miser will interpret situations with the help of, their experiences, stereotypes, biases, assumptions, agendas and over-arching lenses, to cut down on the work of interpreting every situation to the T.

We don't have the brainpower to analyze every situation to see if, oh, Bob didn't bring the doughnuts because his turtle was sick this morning  --  it's more like, Bob didn't bring the doughnuts because Bob never brings the doughnuts.

And we do all of this unconsciously.

No one understands you because no one automatically has the intention to understand you. It's up to you to make it their intention by giving them incentives and exploiting their psychology.

So what should Bob do in this situation?

First off, bring the doughnuts. No one cares about your turtle.

But also, one strategy he could use would be to bring attention to the fact that it was circumstance that influenced his behavior by going out of the ordinary to bring doughnuts the next day, signifying that he is not an incompetent dunce - but a man who cares for his turtle.

2. Us vs. Them

  • Country patriots

  • Football fans

  • Mechanics

  • Single mothers

What do all of these have in common?

These are all different groups to belong to.

A group that you are in becomes a part of your identity. You associate very strongly with it, psychology says. When your group does bad, your identity takes a hit and when your group does well, you have done well.

But the other side of the coin is the opposing group. Anyone not on your team is on the opposing team.

This is called in-group, out-group. It is very tribal and comes from a place down the evolutionary line. We gotta protect our tribe from other tribes and this is ingrained in our unconscious mind's hardware.

But the best part about in-group, out-group, is that it can be completely trivial. Have you ever noticed that when there is someone in line in front of you is buying Charmin tp, while you are also buying Charmin tp, that you consider them more favorably than all of the other tp imbeciles?

You know nothing about this person. But because they get the same tp as you, they are similar to you, they are in your group. So they are your friend.

Take advantage of this psychological principle and find out things that you can associate with other people with and make those connections apparent to them and instantly earn their favor.

So if you want your boss to like you more, figure out their favorite football team, if they like to make model airplanes like you, or if they get strictly Charmin tp, and subtley bring this up to them and they will instantly value you more.

3. Familiarity Breeds...


That's what the saying is.

But Heidi, the author, says that familiarity actually breeds liking.

That more face-time is something that can get people to like you more.

She says that this happens because brains generally need to rationalize things for the better. When you lost your job a few years back it was the greatest thing to ever happen to you -- because of all of the opportunities it opened up.

And this person that you have to see all of the time is actually a friend and not a foe.

Take advantage of this principle if you upset someone with your behavior -- if you want them to like you.

Heidi suggests to take note of their schedule and make sure that they see you often enough for their unconscious to make the conclusion that they are stuck with you. Then they will generally have no choice but to smile at you and forgive you for losing their stapler.


No one understands you because their brains are wired to formulate traits, not inspect contexts. Without an incentive to account for context, people will uses biases and lenses and agendas to interpret situations.

Join other people's groups to get them to like you, by finding ANYTHING that you both have in common, and bringing it to their attention.

If you've done another person wrong, or you just want them to like you, make sure that they see you everywhere that they go -- within reason.

At the end she notes that not only does no one understand you, but it's important to recognize that you don't understand people either.

All of these psychological principles apply to you as well and you have just as much responsibility to judge by context and not by trait.

This book was pretty good - but I was expecting much different content.

This book about using other people's psychology to your advantage - which I don't really have a problem with - but that's not what the title says it is about.

You are not going to use this book to better come across as yourself, as the title suggests, you will use this book to take advantage of the psychology of others in order to seem like a better person.

But to buy a book with the title of, How to Exploit the Psychology of Others to Make You Seem like a Better Person, would only make you look like a very motivated sociopath - so I guess I see why the distinction was made.

There is a lot of good stuff in this book, but don't read the book if you like the title, read the book if you are a very motivated sociopath.

Thank's for watching, make sure to subscribe, and we'll see you next week!

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No One Understands You (Audible Version)

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Punching Sounds by: Mike Koenig

Reading Photo at end of video by: Marketa

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