Not Knowing

Not Knowing : The Art of Turning Uncertainty into Possibility

3.78 (93 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author) 
3.78 (93 ratings by Goodreads)

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In order to thrive in these worrying times, this fascinating book proposes we head, uncomfortably, towards the unknown, rather than away from it. By developing a unique relationship with Not Knowing we discover a new way of living, working and succeeding in our modern world. This book re-frames the concept of Not Knowing, from being in a fearful place of weakness and ignorance, moving to something we must engage with personally. It introduces us to a new paradigm, where Not Knowing becomes an exciting opportunity, where we are no longer limited by what we already know and our habitual reactions to things that life throws at us, so that deeper knowing can emerge, full of rich possibilities and wisdom. Learn: Why your hard-won knowledge may be holding you back. How to recognise when you are entering your real learning zone. Lessons from people who thrive in the unknown. Powerful ideas that will help you experience joy and possibility, rather than uncertainty and worry.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 138 x 216 x 14mm | 227g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • illustrations (black and white)
  • 1907794484
  • 9781907794483
  • 81,616

About Steven D'Souza

Steven D'Souza and Diana Renner have over thirty years experience between them working globally with clients from corporate, non-profit and public sectors. They met at the Harvard Kennedy School's The Art and Practice of Leadership Development Program. Steven and Diana consult, coach, facilitate and train on a diverse range of leadership and management development programs. Steven is based in London, UK and is the Director of Deeper Learning Ltd. Diana is based in Melbourne, Australia and is the Director of Not Knowing Lab. For more information visit
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Rating details

93 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 23% (21)
4 43% (40)
3 27% (25)
2 5% (5)
1 2% (2)

Our customer reviews

Reading this book I felt both a weight lifted from my shoulders and a light globe switching on above my head. (Sorry for the mixed metaphors.) A simultaneous sense of relief and illumination, enlightenment perhaps? As an educator working in the complex fields of leadership and sustainability I have felt the pressure from both within and without to be 'the one who knows', when often no only do I not know the answer, I'm not even sure of the question. This book shows that this ok, but what's more that to acknowledge 'not knowing', to sit comfortably with uncertainty and embrace ambiguity is a critical skill for leaders dealing with the wickedly complex challenges of our time. Like Gladwell's 'Tipping Point' and Taleb's 'Black Swan', 'Not Knowing' is one of those books that is timely, engaging and insightful and clearly articulates an important prevailing concept, in this case the need to reframe 'not knowing', as something not to be feared and avoided, but as an essential skill and mindset for living in our increasingly complex and uncertain world. Where 'Not Knowing' differs is in its refreshing honesty, its readability and its practicality. In keeping with its topic, it doesn't seek merely to provide answers, but gently guides the reader to move towards his or her own edge and to experience with courage and curiosity the opportunities that can emerge from taking a leap into the unknown. Part philosophical tract, part leadership textbook and part guidebook for an exciting adventure into uncertainty, 'Not Knowing' is most importantly a really enjoyable read, a great collection of stories, including some lovely personal examples of vulnerability from the authors, woven seamlessly into overarching narrative that implores each of us to embark on our individual voyages into the unknown and in the process become better leaders and better human beings. Engagingly written by co-authors, who perform a textual duet, powerful and distinctive individual voices that unite at the right moments in perfect harmony with one voice. Likewise the graphic design of the book reminiscent of some of the great works of Marshall' The medium is the message' McLuhan, resonates beautifully with the text and likewise invites further inspection. A must read!show more
by David Seignior
In a knowledge hungry world it been readily accepted that expertise is power. D’Souza and Renner’s book “Not Knowing’ challenges this assumption by demonstrating that making room for ambiguity and uncertainty open us up to new experiences and learning opportunities. It goes without saying that ‘Not Knowing’ is the perfect book for adventures, innovators and experimenters. Perhaps more importantly, this is a book for people standing on the edge unable to take the leap. This book builds confidence, inspires creativity and celebrates the beginner’s mind. D’Souza and Renner’s artful use of storytelling shows that by holding onto the familiar or trying to maintain our expertise we are blinding ourselves to opportunity. By the end of the book, its hard to remain unconvinced that we wouldn’t all be better off both personally and professionally if we embraced Not Knowing more often. As D’Souza and Renner say “that is one secret to Not Knowing - far from reducing knowledge the process is generative, creating knowledge in new ways that unlocks tough challenges that the old knowledge couldn’t address”. This is a book that will open your eyes to a new of experiencing the more
by Rowan
Why is it that we look up to those who have the most knowledge? When did we lose our natural inclination to be curious? How can we find the courage to simply realise that it is better at times to not know? What distinguishes the great leaders from the "smartest person in the room?" Steven D'Souza and Diana Renner have lifted the lid on the importance as a leader to be open to the possibility that you may not know. They cleverly illustrate throughout the book examples of courageous leaders who have displayed their vulnerability to achieve results that are almost unimaginable by letting go of the notion that they have all the answers. From Peter King's ability to be open to truly trusting others and their desire to "do good" in the story of Energeticos to Marco Antonio's sudden blindness that forced him to "imagine constantly...expand my reality.....and build and design all the time" D'Souza and Renner provide insights into those who have overcome barriers and adversity through letting go. They also share powerful personal story's of their own challenges of living on their own edge of not knowing. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is continually challenged by the notion that they are most powerful when they "know". After reading this book it is clearer to me that the real power to improve oneself comes from stepping into a space where curiosity, vulnerability, experimentation and letting go of what you know creates endless possibilities to become a better person and more
by Mark LeBusque
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