Uncertain: The Wisdom and Wonder of Being Unsure
By Maggie Jackson
(Prometheus Books, November 2023, 344 pages)

Interview by Kristin Clarke

Powered by a mother lode of data, disarming storytelling, and the carefully modulated analysis of acclaimed journalist Maggie Jackson, Uncertain is a book that will change minds—or not. It will, however, make you reflect on, if not rethink completely, the way you make decisions and develop opinions personally and professionally.

In this video interview by Authorlink contributor Kristin Clarke, CAE, to learn about the Jackson’s writing and research process, then dive deeper into the award-winning author’s eye-opening content and how it can influence your life. One thing is for sure: you’ll want to place this book on the top of your summer reading pile.

Jackson organizes her extensive research into four parts, each advancing her counterintuitive premise that “uncertainty plays an essential role in higher-order thinking, propelling people in challenging times toward good judgment, flexibility, mutual understanding, and heights of creativity…. Rather than being a sign of deficiency or weakness, wielding the cognitive tool of not-knowing is a mark of the persuasive arguer, the most capable student, the resilient physician and patient, and, by multiple measures, the nimble executive.”

That can be a hard sell in today’s world of global disruption, rising extremism, blustery egos, and the daily struggle to thrive versus just get by. For example, aren’t today’s leaders often defined by their decisiveness? When was the last time any politician said publicly, “I’m not sure. Tell me more.”? When was the last time anyone comfortably said that aloud?

But Jackson both makes the pitch and clinches the sale in this engaging book enriched by interviews and studies involving people of all backgrounds and societal levels. At minimum, you’ll turn the last page with greater respect and understanding of uncertainty as an essential life skill. If you move toward mastery, though, adoption of uncertainty as a core practice could reward you with everything from safer, more-innovative business and personal solutions to the joy of a more tolerant world.

Maggie Jackson, bestselling authorAbout the Author

Maggie Jackson is an award-winning author and journalist known for her prescient writings on social trends, particularly technology’s impact on humanity. Her new book Uncertain: The Wisdom and Wonder of Being Unsure (Nov. 7, 2023) has been lauded as “remarkable and persuasive” (Library Journal); “trending” (Book Pal); “incisive and timely-triumphant” (Dan Pink); and “both surprising and practical” (Gretchen Rubin). Nominated for a National Book Award, Uncertain was named a Top 10 Social Sciences book of 2023 by Library Journal and a Top 50 Psychology book of the year by the Next Big Idea Club. The book inspired Jackson’s recent lead opinion piece in the New York Times on uncertainty and resilience.

Her acclaimed book Distracted: Reclaiming Our Focus in a World of Lost Attention sparked a global conversation on the steep costs of our tech-centric, attention-deficient modern lives.