"Maggie Jackson’s incisive and timely book is a provocative exploration of the surprising benefits of not knowing. . . and shows how this state of mind can jolt us from intellectual complacency and foster creativity, resilience, and mutual understanding. Uncertain is a triumphant ode to the wisdom of being unsure.” – Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Power of Regret, Drive, and When
"With cutting-edge science and insights both surprising and practical, Uncertain shows how cultivating an open and unsettled mindset can help us to spark curiosity, compassion, and creativity." – Gretchen Rubin, New York Times-bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Life in Five Senses
A revolutionary guide to flourishing in times of flux and angst by harnessing the overlooked power of our uncertainty.
In an era of terrifying unpredictability, we race to address complex crises with quick, sure algorithms, bullet points, and tweets. How could we find the clarity and vision so urgently needed today by being unsure? Uncertain is about the triumph of doing just that. A scientific adventure tale set on the front lines of a volatile era, this epiphany of a book by award-winning author Maggie Jackson shows us how to skillfully confront the unexpected and the unknown, and how to harness not-knowing in the service of wisdom, invention, mutual understanding, and resilience.
Long neglected as a topic of study and widely treated as a shameful flaw, uncertainty is revealed to be a crucial gadfly of the mind, jolting us from the routine and the assumed into a space for exploring unseen meaning. Far from luring us into inertia, uncertainty is the mindset most needed in times of flux and a remarkable antidote to the narrow-mindedness of our day.
In laboratories, political campaigns, and on the frontiers of artificial intelligence, Jackson meets the pioneers decoding the surprising gifts of being unsure. Each chapter examines a mode of uncertainty-in-action, from creative reverie to the dissent that spurs team success. Step by step, the art and science of uncertainty reveal being unsure as a skill set for incisive thinking and day-to-day flourishing.
Maggie Jackson is an award-winning author and journalist known for her pioneering writings on social trends, particularly technology’s impact on humanity. Winner of the 2020 Dorothy Lee Book Award for excellence in technology criticism, Distracted was compared by FastCompany.com to Silent Spring for its prescient critique of technology’s excesses, named a Best Summer Book by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and was a prime inspiration for Google’s 2018 global initiative to promote digital well-being. Maggie Jackson’s expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Business Week, Vanity Fair, Wired.com, O Magazine, and The Times of London; on MSNBC, NPR’s All Things Considered, Oprah Radio, The Takeaway, and on the Diane Rehm Show and the Brian Lehrer Show; and in multiple TV segments and film documentaries worldwide. Her speaking career includes appearances at Google, Harvard Business School, and the Chautauqua Institute. Jackson lives with her family in New York and Rhode Island.
"Maggie Jackson’s incisive and timely book is a provocative exploration of the surprising benefits of not knowing. Richly researched and briskly written, it dismantles the stigma around uncertainty — and shows how this state of mind can jolt us from intellectual complacency and foster creativity, resilience, and mutual understanding. Uncertain is a triumphant ode to the wisdom of being unsure.” – Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Power of Regret, Drive, and When
"Once I started reading I could not stop. Jackson is a great thinker and storyteller and this is her best work yet. Beautiful, inspirational, compelling, and urgently needed, Uncertain is that rare book that will change the way you think." – Sherry Turkle, MIT Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology and New York Times-bestselling author of Reclaiming Conversation and The Empathy Diaries
"It’s all too easy to seek the comforting simplicity of the certain. With cutting-edge science and insights both surprising and practical, Uncertain shows how cultivating an open and unsettled mindset can help us to spark curiosity, compassion, and creativity." – Gretchen Rubin, New York Times-bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Life in Five Senses
"Possibly nothing is more critical to the survival of humanity at this moment than an understanding of what it means to be uncertain. Maggie Jackson brings her usual wit, clarity, and precision to a central topic in human cognition. This wonderful book is enjoyable as well as important." – Michael I. Posner, National Medal of Science-winning psychologist and author of Educating the Human Brain and Images of Mind
"Powerful." – Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
“Anyone in a leadership position will recognize how this brilliant book captures those moments when you really don’t know or you don’t trust the conventional wisdom. This outstanding book is for anyone who wants to understand the mindset of uncertainty, a challenge that is more important than ever in a world of accelerating change.” —Douglas L. Peterson, president and chief executive officer of S&P Global
"We humans are quite fond the idea of certainty, of knowing what comes next. Jackson’s insightful book Uncertain is essential reading, highlighting that, rather than causing anguish or fear, embracing uncertainty can help us navigate our way through an increasingly complex and ever-changing world." – Zan Boag, editor-in-chief of New Philosopher magazine
“After reading this groundbreaking book, things that felt threatening can feel like doable challenges, even exciting possibilities. Uncertain is truly a book for our times.” — Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute and author of the best-selling Mind in theMaking