The Surprising Power of Not Knowing What to Do

The Surprising Power of Not Knowing What to Do is like a fitness regimen for your mind. The book explores the counterintuitive idea that being at a loss for what to do is an opportunity, not a problem. You will learn how to develop the mental stamina to deal with your most daunting challenges. You will discover strategies for accessing insights and options when you feel stuck. Most importantly, you will gain renewed faith in the possibility of a more creative and compassionate future.

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This is such a great book. It’s well-written and the information contained within is powerful. So powerful, I almost don’t want to share. Perhaps, one of the best chapters is “Cultivating a Beginner’s Mind.” The book is well organized with sections and chapters. The information is cohesive and informative. The author gives practical lessons for the readers.

Judge, 29th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

Mixing the entertaining chops of a natural storyteller with the enlightening insights of a philosopher, The Surprising Power of Not Knowing What to Do is the perfect companion to help readers navigate strange and overwhelming times.

The BookLife Prize

This book has a most noble purpose: to offer practices that help all of us adapt to the volatile, unpredictable, complex, and ambiguous world in which we live –in ways that allow us to meet the moment with compassion and creativity. Read More…

Linda Dunkel, Founding Partner at DNA Consulting

The Surprising Power of Not Knowing is a delightful, very readable, helpful, practical and profound exploration of how our magnificent brains, which do so much for us, also get us into trouble. And what you can do about it. 

Peter Gibb, Author and Mindful Conversations Teacher

This book is for leaders and managers everywhere. In a world bombarded by changes of many kinds (climate change, technology advances, pandemics, etc.), workplaces are feeling the impact too. Often, leaders/managers are faced with obstinate problems that defy every solution they know, so they find themselves “stuck.” Yet, their gut feel is there is a solution—one that appears far away but is right in front… Yes, you’re right, the solution is right in front, but hidden. Read this invaluable book to find and uncover the “blind spots” in your problem situation. With the light turned on, you’ll see everything clearly and in detail, and finding solutions has suddenly become a cakewalk!

Raju Chacko, IT Consultant and Book Reviewer

This book should be required reading for aspiring managers and leaders. Not to mention world leaders. Even if you are not an aspiring manager or leader, this book will provide you with a different, fuller and better way of looking at your work and your life.

Kevin Cuthbert, Principal at Bates, a BTS Company

Jay Gordon Cone teaches people how to think together and solve problems together. Jay has spent the past 35 years supporting leadership development and organizational change. He has worked with leaders and organizations around the world.

Jay is a founding partner of Unstuck Minds, a firm focused on helping people access creativity and compassion when they feel stuck. Before starting Unstuck Minds with his business partner Lisa Weaver, Jay spent 20 years as a senior consultant for Interaction Associates and five years as adjunct faculty for the Executive MBA program at The University of Texas at Dallas.

Jay and his wife Katherine live in Dallas, Texas. He and Katherine have three adult daughters: Abby, Hannah, and Bekah.

Our Real Work

by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Copyright ©1983 by Wendell Berry, from Standing by Words

Listen to an interview with Jay about his new book