“‘I use the analogy of a Swiss Army knife,’ Rod Martin, the humor psychologist, said. ‘Our brain is the knife. It has all these tools for processing information and making sense of the world, and what we do in humor is play with them. We turn them upside down, and use them in ways they’re not normally used.’ We’re amused by fiddling with our brains’ remarkably proactive, ambiguity-eliminating tendencies. Puzzles and humor illustrate our relationship with the particular ways our minds cope with the incoherent. Evolution has endowed us with a powerful magnet by which to haul the messy world toward clarity. Sometimes, we seek our little brainteasers to exercise this mental machinery. Sometimes, admirably, we laugh at its follies.” – Jamie Holmes

Jamie Holmes has followed in the footsteps of Malcolm Gladwell and the Freakonomics authors to create an utterly compelling look at something that all of us have experience with – nonsense, confusion, ambiguity and uncertainty. In Nonsense, Holmes manages to dissect everything from humor to language lessons, and from standardized tests to contradiction in an effort to better understand how humans operate with, respond to, and battle against nonsense.

Simply put, being open to and aware of ambiguity leads to healthier individuals with stronger self awareness and greater capacities to be successful in various aspects of life. Holmes examines how understanding and accepting nonsense can lead to better learning among students, better success in marketing, and greater growth in the workplace. Overall, regardless of the sector, this book is a great read for anyone seeking to deal with ambiguity or become more flexible with uncertainty. Nonsense is utterly compelling and a completely sensible read.


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