Superhuman Social Skills Book Summary

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The Five Big Ideas

  1. “How we portray ourselves to others will define their experience of who we are”.
  2. “Being a net addition is different than just not being a net negative. Being simply neutral is often a negative, as you are taking up an attendance slot that could have been used by someone else who could have been an addition. It’s important to proactively add to social situations”.
  3. Build a social circle that will both challenge and support you, depending on what you need at the time.
  4. “There are four main channels being communicated on at all times: content, meta, emotion, and status”.
  5. “A master of communication must be able to have two major conversations (content and meta), while maintaining two minor conversations (emotion and status)”.

Superhuman Social Skills Summary

  • “We change all the time, usually in imperceptible increments, so why not guide that change?”
  • “By ensuring that you’re always a net addition, even if you’re not a huge one, you will dramatically increase the number of events to which you are invited”.
  • “Content is what we think of when we talk about communication superficially”.
  • “The meta channel is the undercurrent of the conversation. It’s the meaning behind the meaning– the implication”.
  • “Sometimes meta can be read in isolation, but it usually requires context”.
  • “The emotion channel is more of a passive signal than an active channel”.
  • “And last, the status channel is constantly sending out clues about our relative status”.
  • “The meta channel may be the most important of the four”.
  • “The key thing to understand about the meta channel is that it’s running all the time”.
  • “The point of the meta channel is that it allows for shades of gray not afforded by the content channel”.
  • “Communicating on the meta channel also allows people to save face”.
  • “The first step to communicating on the meta channel is to constantly ask yourself why people are saying the things they say”.
  • “By making predictions and checking their accuracy later, you’ll begin to calibrate your brain”.
  • “Think about what you’d like to communicate, and decide whether it’s better to do it on the content channel or the meta channel. Which will make the other person feel more comfortable? Which will give you more options? Which gives them more options?”
  • “A lot of conversing is taking the other person on an emotional journey. You think about where they are emotionally, as well as where they want to be, and you use the emotional channel to guide them there, or keep them there if they want to stay in the same place”.
  • “When you join a new friend group, you want to understand the hierarchy. As an outsider, it’s important to maintain the harmony of the group, and not disturb it”.
  • “Understanding someone’s status is understanding how they view their place in the world”.
  • “A lot of status is communicated nonverbally with body language and eye contact”.
  • “Talking about how high-status you are actually conveys low status”.
  • “Vocal tone also communicates a lot about status”.
  • “However, much of status is about what you will and won’t accept from yourself and others. That can’t be faked, but it can be changed”.
  • “Disagreeing with everything is even worse, but expressing your own opinion in a clear and appropriate way conveys that you have the ability to think for yourself, even in the presence of strong outside influence. You will be given respect for doing this”.
  • “Be aware of what others are communicating on the status channel, and avoid mannerisms or habits that accidentally convey lower status”.
  • “When you are introduced to someone or put into a social situation where people don’t know you, your first goal should be to convey as quickly as possible what makes you interesting and worth knowing”.
  • “First impressions are made quickly and endure as subconscious biases for a very long time”.
  • “Your primary tool for conveying who you are and making people interested is through your stories”.
  • “When someone’s getting to know you, and you want to become friends with them, choose a story where the details highlight your positive attributes”.
  • “When telling a story, you should have three primary phases in order: the setup, the buildup, and the payoff”.
  • “If you don’t feel like you have a lot of interesting stories, a good exercise is to take a sheet of paper and write the letters of the alphabet down the left side. Then come up with a short description of a story that begins with each letter”.
  • “There is an important rule that must be observed during all conversations, especially those involving banter: always give the other person an out”.
  • “In every conversation you have, you should maintain eye contact eighty percent of the time or more”.
  • “Studies show that, while controlling for other variables, eye contact causes people to like and trust each other more”.
  • “Your goals in a conversation are to make sure that the other person enjoys themselves, to allow them to learn about you, and for you to learn about them”.
  • “When you’re taking conversational responsibility of a group, it is your obligation to make sure that everyone is involved in the discussion”.
  • “Remember that there’s a difference between someone liking you and someone being impressed by you. Impressing can alienate, but you won’t run into any problems making people like you”.
  • “However you define yourself, add ‘happy and positive’ to the beginning of that description, and be that version of yourself”.
  • “People will decide how much time to spend with you primarily based on how they feel when they’re around you”.
  • “One of your top social priorities should be helping others meet their future best friends”.
  • “Among your first thoughts upon getting to know someone should be: who do I know who would love this person? Who of the people I know would they love?”
  • “You want to be the person who any of your friends can introduce to anyone they know and be sure that it will make them look good”.
  • “Choose friends not because of what they can do for you, but because you love who they are”.
  • “One easy way too stand out is to find positive attributes that most people don’t have and then build them”.
  • “Be extremely vigilant about when you tell someone that you’re going to do something. Make it a personal goal to follow up as soon as possible and to never fail to do it”.
  • “If you are consistently honest, even at the risk of inviting disagreement, your friends can trust everything you say, including the good things”.
  • “Honesty takes bravery because it makes you vulnerable to criticism from others”.
  • “A leader has one main function: to further the interests of the group”.


Shout out to samuelthomasdavies.com for doing this written summary

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