Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Book Review: Nonsense

As previously established, this is a year where I strive to overcome the bullshit that surrounds me. It makes sense, then that a book about managing uncertainty would find me.

Nonsense: The Power Of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes isn't a self-help book. Rather, it's a well-researched investigation into events that seem confusing and ambiguous. As humans, we are hard-wired to seek out the certainty in ambiguity but Holmes advises us that maybe we shouldn't try so hard.
"In an increasingly unpredictable and complex world, it turns out that what matters most isn't IQ, willpower, or confidence in what we know. It's how we deal with what we don't understand." — Jamie Holmes
This resonates with me and my struggle to gain control over my own reactions to the world around me. The book is reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell's Freakonomics in that it takes statistics and facts (which, lets face it, don't always make for good reading) and makes it entertaining and easy to read. My only criticism would be a Bill Cosby focused anecdote in chapter one; some readers might be bothered by including a reference to the man with the recent legal issues surrounding him.

It's interesting to read more information about subjects I'm already familiar with (like the Absolut vodka late 80s ad campaign or the 1993 standoff at the Branch Davidian compound). Overall I like Holmes' style and think that "how we deal with what we don't understand" is an especially important topic in this time of unrest.

Disclaimer: this book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are not for sale, and all opinions included in this post are my own.

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