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Navigating Uncertainty: A science-based field-guide for acting in a dynamic and unknowable world

The rate of change of our world is accelerating. New technologies and crises are causing titanic shifts in the way we live and work. Disruptions can occur overnight.

The ability to navigate the seas of uncertainty is a skill leaders of today need more than ever.

New developments in the world, particularly the burgeoning science of complexity, provide us with opportunities to demystify the art of business and to make it more of a science.

This ebook will explore some of these advancements and provide you with a set of mental models, tools techniques, and approaches that can be applied anywhere and will help you and your organisations navigate this age of disruption.

Who is it for?

Key decision makers, business owners, creators, employees -- anyone looking to go out and try new things in the face of uncertainty and do so in a way that minimises risk and increases your chances on creating a stand-out success.


A Reformulation of What a Business Is

- The Economy as a Complex Adaptive System

Our understanding of what the economy, its dynamics, and the implications of this has changed radically. Find out how through the lens of complexity science.

- Businesses as Economic Organisms

Learn why the metaphor of a business as an organism rather than a machine is a more fruitful model when strategising and acting in the world, and change how you see money by viewing its flow as a form of economic metabolism.

Representing the Environment

- Fitness Landscapes

Explore how a tool from evolutionary biology, fitness landscapes, can be used to represent the unknowable environment and our strategies to navigate it.

- The Algorithm of Evolution

Learn why the evolutionary algorithm is so effective at navigating our unknowable world and how you can incorporate it into your own strategic toolkit.

Rules of Reality

- Non-Linearity, Pareto Distributions, and the Power of Power Laws

Explore how linear increases in one variable can have disproportionate effects on another and the implications of this on strategic investments. Understand why inequalities are a fact of nature, the science that underpins it, and its implications for how we act in the world.

- Luck

Investigate the dramatic role luck plays in success and failure and how you can harness it.

Why You Should Take a Portfolio Approach to Strategy

Based on the insights above, you'll learn that a portfolio approach to strategy is likely to surface spectacular wins and help you avoid costly failures by leveraging the evolutionary algorithm exploring the uncertain terrain of possibility and exploiting that which seems most promising.

Science and the Identification and Testing of Strategies

- Why You Need to Be a Scientist

The methods of science are not limited to labs and universities. In this section we'll explore why all businesses are engaging in some form of science, and why all of us should employ scientific practices and navigating the world.

- Design Thinking and The Scientific Method

In this section, we'll explore why design thinking is a great tool for identifying potential strategies to pursue (because it's actually business jargon for the scientific method) and how you can employ it to identify potential strategies to pursue.

Testing Strategies

- Pretotyping

We'll explore the process of pretotyping and how it can be used to test the potential new product by simulating its core experience as resource-efficiently as possible.

Forging Forwards

Congratulations, you might be on to a winner. Now what? In this section, we'll explore ideas about business composition, team size, and approaches to solving problems and developing solutions that will help keep your organisation nimble and capable of thriving in a rapidly changing environment.

About the Author

I'm Sam Barton. I'm the host of the Talk of Today podcast where I interview experts about developments in science, technology, and society and what they could mean for the future. I've interviewed some of the world's leading scientists, including some at the forefront of complexity science. 

I've spent the past few years living with my feet in two worlds. One in the world of startups and consultancies as a strategy and communications consultant, the other in philosophy, exploring how complexity science can provide new insights into questions of moral and political philosophy.

What you'll find in the book is a collection of mental models and approaches I've come across over the past few years that have changed the way I see the world and informed how I act within it. 

Follow me on twitter @samhbarton


Sam and I have worked together in various capacities over the last few years, and his perspective has quite simply been eye opening and even game-changing for Speedlancer.
Sam has what is truly is a unique way of thinking. He has a way of distilling product challenges through a first-principles approach. He can see the big picture, but also get dirty with a meticulous focus on the nitty-gritty details of how to get there.

Adam Stone -- CEO of Speedlancer.com

On December 1st, 12PM AEDT
  • Access to both the ebook and audiobook for up to 75% off. If I don't get enough preorders, the book won't be written. So if you'd like to learn how you can leverage the tools of science in your pursuits, radically change how you see the world, and act in a way that mitigates risk while making it more likely you'll find a successful strategy, preorder now.
  • Size32.4 KB
  • Length1 page


Navigating Uncertainty: A science-based field-guide for acting in a dynamic and unknowable world

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