Standing Naked in the Shower: Life-Enriching Insights That Expose Human Nature by Nathan Bryce – a gentle review

Standing Naked in the Shower: Life-Enriching Insights That Expose Human NatureStanding Naked in the Shower: Life-Enriching Insights That Expose Human Nature by Nathan Bryce

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know of at least one business entity that has embraced this particular flavor of Jim Jones’ favorite beverage and baptized its leadership team in full immersion. I kept hearing “I’m such an orange…” or “Blues will love this…” from lovely, young and naive acolytes who, to me, didn’t really have any idea what they were talking about, or how parochial they sounded. When I mentioned to one of the corporate leaders that it might be better to identify the personality types by name instead of arbitrary colors, well…I got a well-intentioned talking to about what color I was and that identifying colors would help me understand the people around me.


I read a lot on management, and have read a lot on and taken at gun point quadrant “theories” (i.e., Myers-Briggs, Wilbur), and color theories (one developed by a local psychologist that administered a year-long management program I was in). This is a repackaging of so much pop psychology. And sadly disappointing. I’m not sure even someone like Gladwell would buy it. But I will be kind.

There’s the usual classifying test to identify your … color… The initiate is to read a paragraph and decide whether it always, usually, sometimes, seldom or never pertains. Testers are urged to “[a]void making a choice based on particular words or phrases – consider the entire paragraph.” There are serious problems with this. Most of those paragraphs have elements at odds with each other. Yes, that would mean partial applicability, but any intelligent mind would ask “why the hell is that in this grouping?” The existence of a test suggests a pretense of science, but no science is presented. No references. None. Bryce sells a schtick that relies upon a distinct lack of critical thinking. There isn’t even an index! And no explanation of the colors choice. I had to do a bit of searching on the internet to find out the reasons for blue/gold/green/orange. That would peg me as a “green”, in the parlance.

Lots of quotes, though. And most appear to be actual quotes – I like to check them against known sources…if somebody misquotes, their credibility goes down…but that credibility I’ll allow Mr. Bryce. Where he and this push fail is in acknowledging that there are no “pure” colors, but then treating the next 350+ pages with repetitious pseudo-analyses, trite diminutive stereotypes, and most definitely segregated advice with respect to those arbitrary personality types (never defined explicitly, rather colloquialized and, as already observed, stereotyped, and always…colored) that never appear “pure” form in nature…”When speaking to Blues, you should…” ad nauseum.

It’s entirely possible that Bryce was writing tongue-in-cheek when advising how to work with a guest speaker VIP that is a “Green” (think “analytical”): “If your VIP is wearing a lab coat, has a pocket protector, or is sporting a technical journal…” Sounds like it, right? But then he says “Most Greens have a lot to say that they have suppressed. Once you do break the ice with a Green, you might find yourself drowned in pent-up verbiage.” … and then proceeds to list some words you might hear: “Pentium”, “gigahertz”, etc. Or Oranges (“active”) carrying Sports Illustrated and talking about extreme hang gliding.

This kind of nonsense is disingenuous. And revokes any credibility established with accurate quotes. Reinforces my primary greenery, right?

There are elements of sense, of mostly pop-psych variety, but they are there for a discerning intellect to sift if there is enough patience. The rest is fluff. But that business entity loves it. I might find myself revisiting this. But damn, that subtitle is so off.

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