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Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance Hardcover – September 29, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (September 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159184424X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844242
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Let's face it-the leap of faith required to follow a dream is usually accompanied by gut-wrenching, knee-quaking, soul-shaking fear. Jonathan Fields knows this-but instead of offering an empty pep talk, he delivers daily practices that can help you transform fear and uncertainty into confidence and creativity."
(-Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind )

"Uncertainty; risk; exposure to criticism. How do you conquer this fearsome triad, so it doesn't block your path-even better, how do you harness its power to help you achieve your goals? Jonathan Fields uses perceptive analysis, fascinating case studies, and a series of exercises to illuminate how uncertainty can be used as an engine to power both innovation and creation."
(-Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project )

"Keats called it Negative Capability-the skill 'of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts.' Tom Thibodeaux, coach of the Chicago Bulls, says, 'You gotta learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.' But nobody has nailed this faculty like Jonathan Fields, showing us how to turn the fog of self- doubt, fear and internal paralysis into the clear sailing of focus, concentration and results."
(-Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art and Do The Work )

"Jonathan Fields' new book is brilliant and subversive. Through sharp insights and practical exercises, he reframes doubt, hesitation, and ambiguity as gateways to our own natural brilliance. It's a handbook for fearless creativity and its offshoots: meaning, authenticity, and true success."
(-Susan Piver, author of The Wisdom of a Broken Heart and How Not to )

"Fields is a breezy, engaging writer who demystifies creativity with a whole new bag of user friendly tricks and practices-crux moves, circuit breakers, certainty anchors and attentional training. Hugely practical. Lean into Uncertainty!"
(-Tony Schwartz, author of Be Excellent at Anything )

"With a blend of old and new wisdom, Uncertainty equips you with tools needed to take consistent action in the name of great work. Great read!"
(-Tony Hsieh, author of Delivering Happiness and CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. )

About the Author

Jonathan Fields is a lawyer-turned-serial entrepreneur, acclaimed blogger, business consultant, speaker, and author. His last book, Career Renegade, was named a Top 10 Small Biz Book by Small Business Trends. Fields writes about entrepreneurship, innovation, lifestyles, and marketing at JonathanFields.com and TribalAuthor.com and contributes to PsychologyToday.com and OPENForum.com.

Visit www.jonathanfields.com

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Customer Reviews

Jonathan Fields' book, Uncertainty, is easy to read and very practical.
Jim Danielson
Reading this book will not change your life, but it might give you the courage to change it for yourself.
Captain Solo
Jonathan makes you feel enthusiastic about moving through fear and uncertainty.
Karen Salmansohn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Debra Eve on November 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If we dare to create, fear and uncertainty become bedfellows. So how can we work through those emotions and thrive? In this book, Jonathan Fields' uses stories and research to chart an answer. His suggestions don't break new ground, but he assembles them in a useful and inspiring format. Here's the gist (headings correspond to chapters):

FIND YOUR CERTAINTY ANCHORS

"Certainty Anchor" is Jonathan's catch-phrase for a ritual or schedule. One example: Work (create, practice, write) in bursts and pauses. Go for no more than 45 to 90 minutes. Exercise, meditate, nap. Work again.

BUILD YOUR HIVE

They're not just cheerleaders, they give honest (but gentle) feedback. Specifically, your Hive can help you shift your focus to learning and away from traffic, sales or profits, and explore a minimum viable product (MVP) that you can release and gather feedback to fold into the next iteration.

The most important thing about a hive: "One person's success isn't necessarily another person's loss. There is no zero-sum game."

TRAIN YOUR BRAIN

Engage in what Fields' calls attentional training: exercise, meditation, visualization, specifically process visualization: "If you're a writer, visualize yourself putting your notebook or pad in your bag, walking to your favorite café, choosing your table, ordering your favorite beverage, spending a few minutes reviewing handwritten notes, then opening your current creation and writing X words or for X minutes or hours."

Not surprisingly, exercise mitigates uncertainty because it changes the brain, tamping down the amygdala's fear and anxiety signals.

OWN THE STORYLINE

To overcome fear and uncertainty about your path, ask yourself three questions:

1.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Shakeel Akhtar on October 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Here are the 3 Do's from the book "Uncertainty: Turning fear and doubt into fuel for Brilliance" by Jonathan Fields.

1. Accept uncertainty. Whenever you start on a new path or venture or endeavor, accept the uncertainty. Looking for any guarantees before you start can only lead to mediocre work and not great work. Great work is possible by accepting "uncertainty and its trusted sidekicks: risk of loss and exposure to judgment". This is the mindset change needed to get started.
2. Develop a method. With any new venture there is a possibility of a worse case scenario. Depending on the venture, it could be losing everything that you have, going back to zero or worse. Draw out a detailed plan of how you will come out of this scenario if it comes true. You can then go to the next scenario of what if you did not start this venture. Will you be happier five, ten, or fifteen years from now if you did nothing now?. Then go to the final scenario of what if you succeeded. Again, visualize this scenario thoroughly. Hopefully, you will get your answer.
3. Create rituals. Rituals provide some certainty in uncertain times. Create rituals that are specific for your situation. Creating rituals that matter help in bringing the best out of you. There are many benefits from rituals from enhancing creativity to minimizing distraction to building momentum to gaining mastery.

I highly recommend this book because it provides you tips to change your mindset, methods to handle uncertainty and actions to succeed.

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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Dan Bergevin VINE VOICE on March 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book. The introduction was great, and the chapter summaries in the back were great too, because they were short and told me exactly what angle this author was taking with the always-fascinating concept of how creative people survive. I simply find myself at odds with the author's extremely uninteresting way of explaining things, which made me doubt what he was talking about even when I agreed with his general premise. I also wasn't too keen on the rehashing of old concepts with new names, although I understand Fields' desire to "own" a concept by giving it a new name.

It's not bad content, but I don't like the book. So why the three stars instead of two or just one? I like the concept of the book, I like that Fields put "skin in the game" and emerged with something that will help other people, although it wasn't as helpful to me as I'd hoped.

Other authors attack the same problem with greater personal fire and scientific rigor than Fields summoned in this book. He's onto something for sure, but he's not quite there yet.

Recommended substitutes:
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be (Paul Arden)
How to Get Ideas (Jack Foster)
Philosophy for Polar Explorers (Erling Kagge)
Overachievement (John Eliot)
The 80/20 Principle (Richard Koch)

Running Lean by Ash Maurya is the best book on lean startup, customer development, and bootstrapping methods. Fields hinted at lean startup methods but barely grazed the surface, which is another problem I have with this book.

Robert Rodriguez's Ten Minute Film School (see Rebel Without a Crew, or watch El Mariachi with Director Commentary on) is possibly one of the most motivational tools I've found for creative development.
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