How do you make sense, handle ambiguity, or embrace uncertainty? We make decisions everyday without having all the information we need – or even know that we need. NONSENSE: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes explores how being able to “deal with what we don’t understand” affects how we manage uncertainty in our daily lives. For some, decision-making is simple and clear cut. For others it is an agonizing process.
“In an increasingly complex, unpredictable world, what matters most isn’t IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know [but rather] how we deal with what we don’t understand.” Life is not what it seems and the author painstakingly presents examples that expose out human weaknesses, our humanity or lack thereof. For example, too many doctors over test their patients with ambiguous (or unnecessary) tests, mainly to avoid potential lawsuits.
NONSENSE is a book that examines what we do “when the information we need to make sense of an experience seems to be missing, too complex, or contradictory . . .[because] this is where ambiguity resides.” The examples are too many to cite, but after a few chapters a pattern emerges, you start to see things often taken for granted from another perspective. As a reader, there are plenty of obvious opportunities to experience epiphanies . . . only if you know they exist.
Thoughts for your Soul:
- “When our need for closure is high we tend to revert to stereotypes, jump to conclusions, and deny contradictions.”
- “New ways of seeing aren’t necessarily clearer ways of seeing, and sometimes, the illusion of knowing is more dangerous than not knowing at all.”
- “Urgently fixating on certainty is our defense mechanism against the unknown and unstable. However, what we need in turbulent times is adaptability and calculated reevaluation.”
NONSENSE disappointed me not because the book wasn’t good, but because it wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped – sometimes the examples/stories were dry as toast! The book reminded me of the Malcolm Gladwell books (but they were more engaging) and I believe NONSENSE would have been more interesting if I had not read them first. With that being said, I learned a lot of “NONSENSE” facts and information that helped me connect some ambiguous dots.
If you are looking for a book to take on a trip, snuggle up with in a cozy chair, etc. this is not the book. However, if you like knowing what makes people tick, “what happens when we’re confused and the path forward isn’t obvious” then this is the book for you. NONSENSE may not change the way you make decisions, but it will change how you approach the decision-making process . . . you will probably not look at things the same way again.
Disclaimer: BONDing over Books received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review