The two authors of this delightful book have found ways of merging their energies and their yearning for adventure and spontaneity into two successful enterprises. Leeann Renniger is the CEO and founder of LifeLabs New York, "a training center for the work and life skills that few of us learn in school" such as asking good questions, giving feedback, collaboration, resilience, and more. Tania Luna leads the center's culture department. They co-created Surprise Industries which helps people jump-start their creativity and seek out adventures.
This book is directed at those who have too much or too little surprise in their lives: "Too much predictability leads to boredom whereas too much surprise leads to anxiety." Luna and Renninger point out that our brains are hardwired to deal with surprise, and they outline the sequence of its unfolding through Freeze, Find, Shift, and Share. They reveal that individuals change jobs an average of eleven times in their lifetimes and the number is creeping up. On the other hand, there are millions of people (young and old) who are bored much of the time. No wonder YouTube in 2014 uploaded 100 hours of footage every minute. That works out to115 years of new content each week.
Luna and Renninger celebrate resilience as a tension buster that makes it easier to embrace surprise and to reframe the positive sides of negative developments. They also offer a fresh perspective on vulnerability, and tools to handle uncertainty and ambiguity.
To cope with the unexpected, we need to get creative, seize people's attention, and stretch their capacity for wonder. Luna and Renninger affirm the delight that we bring to others. They regale us with stories about individuals who have discovered that surprise is immersive, memorable, and transformative. In the closing chapter, they offer steps to take in the spiritual practice of surprising ourselves every day of the week: collect novelty, turn on wonder, activate awe, grow your own comfort zone, and practice gratitude. Finally, we can heed the words of Samuel Johnson: "Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks."
If you read this book, you will be well on your way to being a "surprisologist."