The Uncertainty Mindset 2019-2020

A newsletter project by Vaughn Tan (book | homepage | Twitter | Instagram).

If you've arrived here from an external site and want to know what's going on—or if you've become disoriented in this garden of forking paths—you can always go to the index page, the topic list, or the issue list.

Feel free to get in touch (especially if you find a broken link) or sign up for the newsletter.


Vaughn Tan22nd January 2021 at 1:58pm

What is this?: It's an topic-annotated and bidirectionally linked overlay to The Uncertainty Mindset, a year-long, 52-issue self-therapeutic newsletter project by me, Vaughn Tan.

The newsletter was a way to promote my book and force myself to write about how uncertainty influences everything from the food we eat to the way businesses are organized—and to develop strategies for coping with and benefiting from uncertainty.

The most important threads through the whole year are that risk is not the same thing as uncertainty, and that using the risk mindset in uncertain situations is inappropriate and can be lethal.

How to use this:

  1. In my view, the best way to navigate the 52 issues of the newsletter is by topic. Some of my favorites are risk vs. uncertainty, uncertainty mindset, resource with no predefined form, affordances, productive discomfort, surprise and delight, and pizza. Here is the full list of topics.
  2. However, you could also look at this list of issues.
  3. You will see repeated links on many pages because each page contains both links I've added manually as well as automatically generated backlinks. The sidebar (or top bar, if you're on a mobile device) always lets you return to this index page if you become hopelessly disoriented.

Readers say:

“A rare combination of insight, originality & applicability.”

“Far too many newsletters about business try to solutionize everything. To find answers. Instead I'm always drawn towards provocations. This newsletter is a constant delight.”

“Every issue changes my mind about something fundamental.”

“So refreshing, finally content worth reading!”

“A++ stuff on developing an uncertainty mindset delivered to your inbox.”

“Love it.”

Also: I wrote a book about the uncertainty mindset which is a behind-the-scenes look at cutting-edge high-end cuisine … and what it can teach us about designing organizations to be more adaptable and innovative. Confusingly, my book is also titled The Uncertainty Mindset, and you can buy it here. I hear that people in finance, food, management, and technology seem to like it. If you end up liking it too, please leave me a review somewhere and get in touch to let me know.

Implementation: This overlay is a Github-hosted static export of a TiddlyWiki site. For more information about it, see the how-to. The newsletter itself was and is hosted by Substack, and you can find it here.