Nathan And Susannah Furr: A Guide to Finding Possibility in the Unknown

Uncertainty in life is, ironically, certain. Amid a pandemic, the past two years have been no exception. None of us needs to think very hard to recall the unprecedented and sudden need we had to move employees en masse to their homes to work, the lingering fears we all had around an unknown virus, and the challenging decisions we later faced about the future of the office in light of the Great Resignation.

Over the course of his career as a professor at the prestigious Insead business school in Paris, Nathan Furr interviewed many of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. And along the way, he made the extraordinary discovery that rather than being scared by uncertainty, these people all seemed to thrive on it. And this influenced him to ask the big question, “How might the rest of us learn to embrace uncertainty – and use it to our advantage – at a time when modern day life is proving to be its most ambiguous and unpredictable?”

From that question comes the new bestseller Furr wrote with his wife Susannah, “The Upside of Uncertainty,” a book that offers extremely powerful ways of approaching all the ambiguity in our lives, and shows us how to reframe it in a way that helps us use it to our advantage.

As science proves our brains are wired to fear uncertainty’s downsides, the Furrs have uncovered clever ways of facing the unknown and teaching us how we can far better cope with it ourselves.

In their research, the Furrs tapped into neuroscience, psychology, innovation and behavioural economics to develop a four-stage toolkit to help people overcome their fears of uncertainty. And, lest anyone doubt that living with uncertainty is on the rise, the authors point to the World Uncertainty Index (created by economists at Stanford University) which shows that uncertainty has been steadily rising in recent decades.

As there is no longer a linear route forward to success in any endeavor in life, we’ve invited the Furrs to the podcast to explain how we can be more fearless, especially when our lives feels truly uncertain and unsettled.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.