Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes
Published by: Broadway Books on October 11, 2016 (First published April 21, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)
I often think that the unknown is the scariest thing for us to confront as human beings. After all, what is the common cornerstone of most thriller and suspense films? When we don’t know who the culprit is, when they’re going to strike, what is going to happen, etc. we don’t know what to do. We often fill in the blanks ourselves, many times choosing the worst case scenario, and cause ourselves more panic and worry. And those films capitalize on that.
But beyond films designed to put us on edge, ambiguity and uncertainty crop up all the time in our lives. And not knowing usually makes us uncomfortable. There is almost a sense of not being in full control when we don’t have all the details or when something happens to show us that our understanding of something is incomplete or incorrect. And these moments can paralyze us, cause us to act irrationally, or become an opportunity to expand our horizons and see things in a different way.
In Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing, Jamie Holmes explores the concepts of ambiguity and uncertainty and the ways in which we, as humans, approach them. Drawing from research in psychology and sociology as well as practical examples, the author explains how ambiguity and uncertainty can limit us or serve as an opportunity to find productivity and success. It’s an insightful and eye-opening read that certainly convinced me that, as the Mr. Holmes writes at the end of the book’s prologue, “[I]n an increasingly complex, unpredictable world, what matters most isn’t IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know. It’s how we deal with what we don’t understand.”[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]