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92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Stories, Useful Format
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...
Published on November 11, 2011 by Debra Eve

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56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good concept, bad delivery
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...
Published on March 12, 2012 by Dan Bergevin


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where are the end notes? The sources?, January 25, 2013
By 
Kara (Kalamazoo, MI) - See all my reviews
When I pick up a new non-fiction book, the first thing I do is flip to the back to check out the notes. I have a strong preference for books with end notes. It shows the author did his or her research, that the book is based on something other than just one person's ideas. Ideas from just one person, however grounded in experience, just aren't a big enough sample size for me. If there are no or very few notes, I assume the author's more of a motivational speaker than a writer.

I opened Uncertainty, flipped to the back, and noticed the conspicuous absence of notes. I expected a fluffy read, full of personal stories. You can understand my astonishment at the discovery that this reads like a well-researched book. The author references studies, a ton of other books, interviews with other business authors, and real life anecdotes. So where are the notes? He says things like, "A 2006 Dutch study of 19,288 twins and their families that demonstrated that those who exercise were 'less anxious, less depressed, less neurotic, and also more socially outgoing.'" Without notes, we don't know where this was published, who conducted the survey, or anything about its methodology (in other news, Fields, that was not a sentence and should not end with a period). Does Fields assume his readers won't be interested enough in what he has to say to want to read the source material? Worse, is he trying to hide the source material because maybe he was twisting it to what he wanted to say (I wouldn't typically bring this up, but I found it interesting that Jonah Lehrer was mentioned; in Fields's defense, this was published before Lehrer was exposed). No, I don't think Fields had any malicious intent here, but without a Notes section, it's hard to tell. This is, at best, really lazy. I do not like lazy.

This isn't to say that the book doesn't contain good ideas or that Fields's thoughts aren't worthwhile. They are but should have been presented differently. I was actually quite enjoying the book until it got all pseudo-sciencey about exercise and meditation. (Again, if you're going to make scientific claims, you need to cite your sources, and anecdotal evidence just doesn't cut it.)

It seems like the purpose of the book was to promote Fields's consulting and speaking business. The book would probably make a great presentation. Unfortunately, as a book, it falls short.

Received through 12books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great concept, fell short as an engaging read., January 13, 2013
I read this for the 12booksgroup.com monthly book club.

A great concept for taking steps toward tackling the anxiety of uncertainty into something that can be embraced (or just becoming less uncomfortable with). The end of chapter recaps and the final summary chapter are helpful, and left me feeling like much of the content within the chapters weren't as valuable to read.

I thought the content was great and practical, but the portrayal of the content left me wanting more to keep engaged; I often found myself skimming pages to get to the major point. The author fell back on references that I was familiar with (e.g., Seth Godin) but made me wonder if this would engage other readers who weren't familiar with these references.

In the 12books Q&A webcast, Jonathan Fields eloquently described a few of the concepts mentioned in his book - chapters that were succinctly explained in a matter of minutes. I wished the book was as brief.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Writing Style Is A Little Inaccessible For My Tastes. Interesting Ideas, Though., December 27, 2012
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(note: I was sent a copy of this book, signed by the author - thanks, Jonathan! - in exchange for an honest review. It was also the January selection for 12 Books - a reading group on Goodreads)

I first ran across Jonathan Fields on his blog and was impressed by his giving heart and generous spirit. So I was interested to read his take on overcoming the fear we all have when beginning something new.

To his credit, the book is not just a collection of blog posts cobbled together to make a few bucks. Yet, after the Introduction and first few chapters my mind began to wander.

It seems Fields is writing to an audience that wouldn't normally pick up a personal development/self-help type book. The title itself is a bit hyperbolic. Surely, most people would be happy with outcomes less than "brilliant". This continues into the body of the book where he writes about "creators" and their "creations" in the same way most people might think of producers and products. After all, since marketability is a goal isn't most of what we "create" really a product. Surely, even a product of our imagination doesn't have to be couched in such lofty terms.

Jonathan is a good writer but the language makes the book a little inaccessible, at least to me.

His case studies also seemed a little inaccessible. Most of them are what some people refer to as Renaissance Men (or Women). It's not enough that they are clearly successful in one field, they also seem to excel in several others and, of course, they all have the epiphany that there must be something more. They feel unchallenged, unfulfilled. So they go out and start (create) something new. It helps that the success they've enjoyed before starting over has probable given them plenty of money to take chances without worrying too much about paying the bills.

Finally, some of the advice in this book is eons old wrapped in the language of the Web 2.0 twenty or 30 something trying to find themselves. Routine and ritual become certainty anchors, surrounding yourself with positive, like minded people becomes finding mentors, heroes and champions. Even Jonathan's interesting visions of co-creation through feedback loops or co-working environments might be considered as developing a mastermind group. Oh, and focus? You get that through Attention Training (AT) aka meditation.

As I progressed through the book, I began to like it more and more. It does have some interesting ideas and the author has obviously done his research. So if you'd like a book that provides a path on your journey to bringing your creation to market, this is a good place to start.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite enough, September 26, 2012
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I purchased this book with the intent of facing up to aspects of my uncertainty and fear however, I found this very difficult to finish. The content relates mostly to entrepreneurs and their experiences in facing fear to start up their businesses. This aspect does make the book easy to relate to however, it starts to become tiresome. I found myself putting the book down repeatedly or wondering what would be the benefits of continuing. There are many useful pieces of information about handling fear and doubt yet it only really applies if you are starting a business. The highlight of this was to read about the various forms of meditation, one of which was of great benefit.
I don't want to deter people from reading this book as I found that this book just wasn't for me. As someone who has given up a career in teaching and full time work to pursue something more meaningful, this book was lacking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the greatest., April 6, 2012
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This review is from: Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance (Hardcover)
Before reading this book I had already read Making Ideas Happen (Belsky), The Lean Startup (Ries), Crossing the Chasm (Moore), and browsed through Do More Faster (Feld, Cohen).

I found Uncertainty leaning a little heavy on ideas, and examples, from the above books. I'm not implying plagarism, just unoriginality. Credit is given where due, but more for the purposes of a survey than as acknowledging the basis for synthesis.

However, parts of the book still made it a worthwhile purchase for me; Chapter 4, "Certainty Anchors," chapter 7, "Train Your Brain," and chapter 8, " See The Forest," served to reinforce the value of certain behaviors I have already semi-incorporated into my life. So for sparking the resolve to fully incorporate those behaviors the value of the book has been realized for me.

Where the previously mentioned books contain real business methods, which were of substantially more value to me, this book takes a general self-help psychology approach. Finally, the veiled disclaimer on page 190 from the, attorney, author felt uncomfortable.

To sum up, because I was able to synthesize I found value in the book and give it three stars. As a stand-alone read it probably would get 2 or 2.5.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Thoughtful Book, November 3, 2011
By 
Book Fanatic (Houston, TX, United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance (Hardcover)
I wavered for a long time on this book. It got such good reviews I thought I should get it but I read the first chapter in a bookstore and I just couldn't get into it. I finally took the plunge and I don't regret it for a minute. Jonathan Fields has written a very thoughtful book. There is a lot of good advice in here. Make sure you click the look inside feature but don't be fooled by that first chapter. It gets much, much better. Recommended for who wants to make their way in the world doing anything remotely creative.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone can use a dose of vitamin U, October 1, 2011
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An inspiring read for this entrepreneur in the midst of a post launch pivot. A wonderful reminder of all we have at our disposal these days to encourage and bolster creativity in all stages of the game. Great resources and practices offered as well as a fun quick read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read to get you fired up., September 30, 2011
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This review is from: Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance (Hardcover)
Uncertainty is uncomfortable, but this book shows you how to embrace it -- and turn it to your advantage. I often remind myself to "Enjoy the fun of failure" to help myself take risks; this book is full of ideas to help make those leaps.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, beautifully written - a book of mastery from a master, September 29, 2011
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This review is from: Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance (Hardcover)
At a time in my own life when the east feels as if it's moving beneath my feet, Jonathan's book arrives. I read it, at first, out of deep respect for its author - whose other book, Career Renegade, changed my way of thinking about self-employment. But two pages in, I was ALL IN.

In thoughtful and beautifully articulated prose, Fields takes apart complex issues and captivates the reader. Though the book is about 'uncertainty' it is really about faith - in ourselves, in our unshakable ability to innovate, navigate and weather calamity and change. In a civilization that seems hell-bent on destruction, Fields offers an oasis of clear-thinking, and wisdom. I loved this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, and written for a narrow demographic, April 3, 2014
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Based on the very positive reviews here, and the likewise strong reviews on the back of the book, I was really expecting to like this book. There is plenty of hype to make this look like a significant, standout book. Then, I began to read it...

It quickly becomes clear that the Jonathan Fields is no seasoned writer, and also does not come across as a balanced, mature adult. The author comes across as a 20's-something aggressive guy, with an attitude as though he just got out of the military. His tone through the writing is on edge.

The material, substance, and tone quickly go downhill starting in Chapter 2. On page 30, he refers to black and white as "colors" (dummy: black and white are shades, devoid of color). On page 45, he incorrectly states that "Christians... count rosaries". He makes a big deal about maintaining one's status, and trying to minimize judgement from others. He also thinks rituals are great. He says "Rituals help train you to sit down when you most want to stand". Huh, is this military stuff? He also uses a lot of slang-ish buzz phrases (crux moves, circuit breakers, certainty anchors. etc) that come across as juvenile, and take the place of useful content.

Other places also make him appear unbalanced and unstable. On page 52, he calls himself an "idea terrorist". Really Jon? Then he goes on to say "I'm a control freak who doesn't trust anyone else to do justice to the purported glory that's blending around in my head". Well, good Jon. You can enjoy your issues and your anger fest (or rather "angst", as you like to say). I'm going to read something positive and calm, and written by a mature person. Reading this is an insult to rational intelligence.
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Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields (Hardcover - September 29, 2011)
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