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  • Writer's pictureDavid de Souza

Superhuman Social Skills Summary

Updated: Jan 19, 2022


Mental Models from the book:

'Superhuman Social Skills' can be summarised into 9 mental models:

1. Equilibrium

  • Crossing the Line: In social situations, we are walking a line between what's polite and what's too intimate. Most people are too conservative and err on the side of caution. Friendships strengthen through disclosures of intimacy. Test the line with small steps.

2. First Conclusion Bias

  • Convey as quickly as possible what makes you interesting and worth being friends with.

3. Liking

  • Friendship increases through shared experiences, not time.

  • 'Your name is the least interesting thing about who you are, and yet it's disproportionately flattering when someone remembers it.' It is easy to forget someone's name when they first introduce themselves. Ask again a few minutes later, it will help you to remember and the person will be flattered.

4. Scarcity

  • Don't Use the Front Door, Use the Side Door: Everyone uses the front door so there will be a line and it will be busy. Look for side doors for meeting interesting people (but also for life in general).

5. Status

  • Involve everyone. Increase engagement and make feel important by asking: "David, you always have an interesting perspective, what do you think?"

  • Show status by:

    1. Making eye contact.

    2. Taking up a lot of body space.

    3. Speaking with clarity.

    4. Speaking loudly.

6. Supply and Demand

  • Notice when people do not ask clarifying questions.

  • Incorporate as many hooks into your stories and descriptions as possible, allowing the audience to bite on one (or more).

  • Notice when people ask you to continue telling your story, this is a good indication that it is interesting. Do the same for other people. Allow them to tell even a boring story because by doing so you are letting them enjoy themselves and you are learning about them. They will feel good if you ask them to carry on telling the story if the conversation got distracted.

7. The Map is Not the Territory

  • Let them infer things about you, don't tell people directly. eg. That you are wealthy/intelligent.

8. Trust

  • By being pleasantly disagreeable, it shows that you are a safe person to be around. For example: "I've always thought the opposite, but that's fascinating".

  • Disclose something personal, such as a struggle or something embarrassing to form deeper connections with people.

  • Teasing can be used to bring you closer, and it gives permission to the person to tease you also.

9. Utility

  • Be a net positive in social situations. Being neutral is often a negative, as you are taking up space.

  • Don't ask questions that aim to impress, ask a question that:

    1. Informs

    2. Entertains

    3. Engages


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