Ambiguity, uncertainty, lack of closure: whatever you want to call it, the world is rife with situations and challenges that simply can't be neatly categorized, wrapped up, or controlled. How we perceive, understand and respond to these types of situations plays a critical role in determining whether we succeed or fail in everything – art, business, politics, relationships. More often than we think, it can mean the difference between life and death. It's no secret that some people handle ambiguity better than others and, in Nonsense, author Jamie Holmes explores why that is, and what all of us can do to improve our relationship with life's uncertainties.
This book has a lot going for it. The author found some very interesting stories and examples to illustrate his points all along the spectrum, from puzzles and Mad Libs on the frivolous side of things to hostage negotiations at the extremely serious end of the spectrum. Often the writing was clear, sharp and fluid – very much a pleasure to read. It was meticulously edited.
Unfortunately, the book was not uniformly strong. In several places the narrative seemed to inexplicably get lost, meandering or segway-ing jerkily from one point to another. For some reason I never quite figured out, it also seemed to be a difficult book to keep one's head in. Every time I set it down, it would take a minute to remember where I was and what was being discussed when I picked it up again. It really didn't stick or linger the way I would have expected from a book about such a relevant subject. I couldn't help but feel that the “application” part would have decidedly benefited from a different approach as well; an alternate format might have made it easier to walk away feeling like I'd learned practical things I could effectively apply to improving my own ability to handle ambiguity other than just being more aware of it.
All things considered, it's a solid book and worth reading for the impact and thought-provoking qualities of it's strong portions.
I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. As always, my opinions are my own.