Years ago, we were travelling around Switzerland with our friends. While visiting Vevey, we picked up few flyers advertising local wine-making region. We had no plans to visit any particular town, just general idea and road ahead. We stopped at some little town and went for a coffee. Small coffee shop with few tables and smiling owner, who didn’t speak any English. Golden rays of sun and best apple pie we had. Sequence of completely spontaneous decisions that led to that beautiful moment. Most of our best stories have an element of surprise.
“Surprise! This delightful book will turn your understanding of predictability upside down. Take it from someone who loves routine and order: the unexpected lessons of this book can improve your life.”
–Chris Guillebeau, NYT bestselling author of “The Happiness of Pursuit” and “The $100 Startup”
If that is not a reason to delve into the science of surprise, I do not know what is. Tania Luna is the founder of Surprise Industries, a company that creates surprise experiences for individuals and groups, and LeeAnn Renninger has a Ph.D. in psychology, surprise being one of her areas of research.
This book is an insightful adventure into the world of surprise and unpredictability. A great balancing act of science and practical tools, this book’s mission is to help us to improve our lives with creativity.
The book begins with the attempt to explain what it is surprise – and what it does to us. When we surprised, “we freeze, try to find an explanation, shift our perspective, and share our experience.” How our brain processes it internally, and reacts to it – it is a fascinating journey inside our mind.
“This book isn’t about what you think it is.”
–Seth Godin, author of “What to Do When it’s Your Turn”
Then, the book explores the importance of surprise to our lives. In our fast changing world, we need to be able to not only handle the surprises changes – but also master our reactions. Handling surprise is all about tolerating ambiguity. People have generally become averse to surprise because it means we are not in control; it makes us vulnerable. However, the authors argue, putting yourself in the position of being vulnerable and open to ambiguity and the unexpected, is how we grow. Finding the way that balance control and surprise is the key to grow.
Last sections of the book is about how we can surprise ourselves, and use this special states to grow, to capture attention, to create something new, and to connect with others. Authors provide us with right tools to master surprises and use it for our creativity and progress.
“Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected” is a one of those books that makes you laugh while keep you engaged with the right combination of insight, humour, practicality and caring for both the subject matter and the audience. It uses light language with some scientific references, and as an added bonus, includes excellent and practical summaries at the end of each chapter, so that with Surprise nearby, you can make the world a little more surprising.
That is a balancing act: how to engineer surprise and still maintain its very nature. This book shows you how you can do that, and along the way be both entertained and enlightened.
This book is a fun, light read, even Maybe your favourite story to tell is yet to come – Lookout you can be just a surprise away!
About the authors:
Tania Luna leads the culture department at LifeLabs New York, a company that helps people, teams, and organizations master life’s most useful skills (from how to ask better questions to how to think more strategically). She is also the co-founder of Surprise Industries, the world’s only company specializing in surprise. Tania writes for Psychology Today and conducts research on surprise.
LeeAnn Renninger, PhD is the CEO and founder of LifeLabs New York. She received her PhD in social psychology from the University of Vienna where she studied the differences between good and great communicators. At LifeLabs New York she helps managers around the globe catalyze better (and more surprising) thinking in themselves and others.
Tania and LeeAnn have spoken at a wide range of corporate events and to TED, TEDx, Yahoo Ignite, and YPO audiences. The authors provide training, organizational consulting, and team building for some of the world’s most inspiring organizations including Etsy, Whole Foods Market, Google, National Geographic, LinkedIn, Victoria s Secret, Warby Parker, Squarespace, Columbia University, and Yale University. Both authors live, work, and play in New York.”