Customer Reviews: Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance
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on April 29, 2013
While I really enjoyed Jonathan Fields first book, this one was hard to follow. Jonathan's first book was inspiring and hard to put down. I really had a hard time getting through this one. Jonathan has a great blog and like i said his first book really inspires.
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on December 4, 2011
Although I am not an artist, I used to re-read the great book "Art & Fear" every once in a while for support in my creative endeavors. I will now be re-reading "Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance". I am so turned on by this book, it has prompted me to write this, my first Amazon review.

As someone who has an on/off meditation practice and a gym membership that is too frequently unused, the examples that the author, Jonathan Fields, includes of how these things can directly benefit one are compelling. I plan to begin both practices again without delay.

I, for one, am not put off by what others call the repetitive nature of the book. The construction of the book will be very helpful on subsequent readings. The chapter introductions act as executive summaries, and the last chapter will be great for future review. I am launching my own business soon and this book is a perfect addition to my support system. I have already recommended it to others.
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on January 13, 2013
I read this for the 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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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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on January 25, 2013
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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on September 26, 2012
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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on September 29, 2011
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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on November 15, 2013
Here is what I learned from the book

Anything certain has already been done. (if I feel uncertain it means it’s new territory for me, a learning and growing opportunity)
But the possibility of loss is also a signpost that what you’re doing really matters, that you’re vested in both the process and the outcome. Knowing that fuels a deeper commitment to action and to striving not just to create something, but to create something amazing. Risk of loss has to be there. You cannot create genius without having skin in the game. Kill the risk of loss and you destroy meaning and one of the core motivations for action.

it’s that very lack of assurance that also serves as proof that the journey you’re embarking on is not derivative.
tolerance for ambiguity “enables individuals to not be satisfied by partial or non-optimal solutions to complex problems.
it’s more constructive to replace the phrase “tolerance for ambiguity” with “willingness to embrace the unknown.”

Actually, of all variables, the easiest to quantify is often the magnitude and impact of failure, which is one of the reasons our brains tend to spiral into that abyss. But the odds and magnitude of success are near impossible to define.
The more you lean into uncertainty and the greater the risks you take to create something that didn’t exist before, the greater will be the potential for you to be judged and criticized.

We’ll create with abandon, make bolder choices, lean into uncertainty, and take risks far more readily if we know that whatever comes out of that effort will never be revealed to others. The moment we introduce the element of exposure, judgment, criticism, and the potential for rejection, most people run for the certainty fences.

An author says, “I’m the most conservative person in the world. I just give it to a friend who takes care of everything for me. The only place I take risks is in the work. And then that’s where I feel like your job is to take risks.”
Your own orientation is defined not so much by what you’re good at, but by what energizes you.

I don’t like details, minutiae, process. Baby steps slay me. Systems development makes me cry. Fleshing out, editing, and incremental progress give me hives. But as a bootstrap entrepreneur and a writer, I haven’t had a choice.

This is the place where resistance lives: where you are forced to face the part of creation that comes hardest to you.

This is where ritual and routine, done right, add immense power to the process. Ritual helps train you to sit down when you most want to stand, when you’re forced to work on the part of the process that leaves you anywhere from bored to riddled with anxiety.
Part of the power of the seed accelerator model lies in the energy of the hive and the expectations established around risk, uncertainty, and judgment.

quote: “The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.”

It creates a group dynamic in which each creator becomes far more open to input because that input is clearly driven by the desire to help improve the creation.

You need mentors to learn from , heroes to follow, champions to support you
Champions are more difficult to find. They are people who will be there with you, no matter what happens, especially ones who will feel the pain equally, both emotionally and financially, if you fail. Armed with their confidence, any person who is embarked on a creation quest becomes empowered on a very different level.

if I could succeed in a world in which I had little interest, I’d figure out a way to succeed again in a world whose light pulled me in, even if most others failed. (so true!)

A huge part of the uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that defines the typical quest to create comes from a lack of input during the process of creation from those we’d most like to appeal to with our creations.

In the lean start-up, everything is done in the name not of profits but of learning. Teams build what Ries calls a minimum viable product (MVP) that represents the “least amount of work necessary to start learning.” This product is then released to potential users as a series of experiments; feedback is solicited, then folded into the next MVP. (makes sense)
Meditate! That will be your safe harbor. It’ll be the place where you find quiet and the guidance of inner self. Attentional training is key.

• Active AT (think Road biking for hours on a flat road) • Guided Meditation • Transcendental Meditation (recommended. uses repeated sounds for inward focus) • Insight meditation • Mindfulness (zinn’s MBSR protocol, non dogmatic, recommended, well researched) • Zen meditation and zazen • Buddhist meditation • Mantra meditation • Chanting and prayer across many traditions • Biofeedback • Hypnosis and self-hypnosis

Attentional training provides fertile ground for the incubation of big ideas.

Visualize processes not outcomes. It’s called process simulation, and true to its name, it focuses on visualizing not the outcome or goal but the steps and actions needed to get there
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on October 10, 2011
One word - Fabulous. Ok, two more - Life Changing. Just get it. No, I dont work for the publisher. I don't even know the author, and I'm not getting a's just an awesome book and must be shared.

I got my digital version - read it from beginning to end in one session. Went on-line and ordered a half dozen to give to friends. Now I've got to pick up another dozen. Everyone I've shared this with so far is totally in love with the book.

This is not just another self help book, pop psychology cure, or how to get more out of your life in three easy steps. It's real life experiences, sound advice, and the encouragement to get off your tails and do something more. You will love it.

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on February 1, 2013
This was a quick read and perfect for a short trip.
The purpose of the book was to demonstrate, using examples of how various people have dealt with uncertainty in a positive way; and also how many people let uncertainty stop them from doing what they dream or even from trying.

Three main issues that tend to paralyze people are:
1. fear of judgment by others and criticism
2. fear of 'failure'
3. risk aversion - turning away from uncertainty thinking it is 'safer'

Mostly the book is excellent for inspiration and encouragement. You may be familiar with the points it raises but to bring them to mind and be encouraged to not be dissuaded from goals, dreams and objectives is helpful
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