Uncertainty (the book) — Making Sense of the World

Call for Author Submissions for those Interested in Sharing Ways to Better Understanding, Smarter Paths and Bolder Outcomes

Okay, so what’s this all about…

It’s an exciting new chapter for us, metaphorically and literally. Our Grey Swan Guild is harnessing the strength of our 6,000 member, talent-strong collective (and perhaps some new members prompted by this venture) to produce a guide for making sense of the world. Whether you are an executive, change agent, practitioner, student, builder, thinker or movement starter, we could all use a bit more sense. No?

Our working title is “Uncertainty — Making Sense of the World” — a self-published playbook and collection of thought-leadership, frameworks, models, perspectives, case studies, and showcase of the work of the Grey Swan Guild, from our members, and for our members, clients and the world. The seed group was born out of our Cygnus Ventures group, led by Gordon Withrow and shaped by the 40+ amazing Guild members in our seed group.

We are accepting proposals now, click here.

Submit your 300 word idea: https://bit.ly/greyswanplaybooksubmission

Tell Me More…

Our Playbook will be written and illustrated as an authoritative and practical explanation of the craft of making sense of the world. We’ll be looking beyond our present, providing our best thinking on delivering strategy, innovation, intelligence and change in the modern era, and representing leading practices exercised by veteran, new and prospective members of the Grey Swan Guild.

The key differentiator of this playbook is that it reflects much more original thought and directional leadership rather than a mere recipe book restatement. It will focus more on overall mindset and improved approaches for this superCAFFEINATED age rather than techniques and templates (although those will also be present).

This Playbook’s readership is targeted at business and policy leaders who are drivers of change in their organizations. It will also be a solid reference and development guide for Guild members and practitioners everywhere, and designed for the 2020s and beyond.

We are looking to create and curate a compendium of all-star articles and viewpoints that help build better understandings, show better paths and envision bolder futures. Join us.

The Ask:

For now, we are looking for 30–40 authors to submit their proposal for a part of a chapter. We are asking for answers to five questions and submissions of three hundred (300) words on its description, importance and playbook element.

We have included our intake form here: https://bit.ly/greyswanplaybooksubmission

If you want to provide the best written work you will invest in all year, please submit by October 25th and we will determine author roster by the start of November.

Submit your article proposla here: https://bit.ly/greyswanplaybooksubmission
Link: https://bit.ly/greyswanplaybooksubmission

Answer These Important Nine Questions Please…

Before you get interested, you may want to know…


  • For our readers, the world is swimming with uncertainty — external shifts, internal moves, societal disruptions, personal stresses and professional alarm bells — that are all keeping us up at night; this book will validate your concerns and provide fresh, calm & confident paths forward.
  • For our authors, we have some of the most talented, experienced people in our Guild operating at the top of their game, why not expose their wisdom to a greater audience? Importantly, it allows them to shine in a publishing format without taking on the burden of writing a whole book. Perhaps this is you.
  • For our clients, whether it’s Cygnus Sprints our new consulting, change & advisory collective, some of our other Grey Swan Guild Ventures, or for our own individual clients, nothing says command of a topic area than fresh, tight, well-reasoned, well-written, well-visualized and impassioned perspectives.
  • For our Guild, what a helluva Grey Swan Guild calling card and interest magnet to get some of our front row of membership more deeply participating, and the rest of the world taking notice and wanting to get involved now, or in our next editions.



  • First step is providing your Playbook article submission of 300 words https://bit.ly/greyswanplaybooksubmission
  • For those chosen, let’s become a smart phalanx of a group who will collaborate, promote, launch and benefit together.


  • We are aiming for author submissions across nine of our chapters that we spend a lot of time addressing in our Guild 24/7/365:
  • ☐ Scanning — Futures, Foresights and Forecasts
  • ☐ Sensemaking — Systems, Complexity and Liminal Spaces
  • ☐ Strategy — Purpose, Mission and Choices
  • ☐ Innovation — Ideas, Business Models and Ventures
  • ☐ Discovery — insights, Research and Intelligence
  • ☐ Transformation — Change, Digitalization and People
  • ☐ Marketplace — Customers, Economy and Sustainability
  • ☐ Leadership — Culture, Mindset and Skills
  • ☐ Technology — Digital, Data and Industry 4.0

The end result will be a 10–12 pages of a book production for each article, with some visuals and multimedia elements, whose objective will be to make better sense of the world.

How long?

  • The submission form is your precis of 300 words and answers to a few questions and should take 15–60 minutes.
  • The eventual Playbook article you write will be 2,000–2,500 words with one or two accompanying visuals.

How many?

  • We are targeting 30–40 authors for this first edition, one submission each.
  • Depending on interest and calibre, we may consider a second edition faster than we think.


  • Please submit your intake form by Monday October 24th midnight PT; we will determine our final roster of authors by the end of October.
  • We are targeting the date of publication and availability for our book for April’23.
  • After an initial publication (Volume 1), additional volumes will be created (annually or semi-annually).


The Playbook will be available for sale on Amazon, frequently shared with prospective Cygnus Sprints and individual Guild member clients, in bulk availability for future events, while also being referenced heavily in Guild interactions with the media and at events (paid or otherwise).

Which submissions will be chosen?:

The great unknown as it stands now.

Criteria for submission choice:
☐ Calibre of topic — “this would be fascinating and broadly appealing”
☐ Calibre of submission — “this followed what we asked for”
☐ Calibre of writing — “this suggested strong writing & conceptual framework”
☐ Calibre of approach — “novel, interesting, fresh or new take on subject”
☐ Calibre of playbook element — “this would be an important and valuable artefact for people to apply our learnings”

☐ Balance out topics across chapters
☐ Balance out for gender and geography across guild

Mock up versions? Which formats do you like?

Inspire Me, What Could I Write About…

Let’s try three creative springboards here:

I) Mad Libs “Uncertainty”

Play this Mad Libs game with us:

“When I think of _______(problem arena)________ uncertainty area, do this ________(solution/focus of article)_____, use this ______(playbook element) _____ and here’s why _______(evidence, reason, emotion)___________”.

Answers to those blanks may lead you to your literary promised land.

II) The Win — what is your proposed submission’s benefit felt or left on the reader:

Thinking audience first, what do readers really need to be literate or fluent in to reduce uncertainty in their lives, now and in the future:

  • ☐ A Fresh or Unique Perspective
  • ☐ A Better or Revolutionary Framework
  • ☐ An Improved or Updated Viewpoint
  • ☐ A Pioneering, Unexplored Area
  • ☐ A New Emphasis or Provocation
  • ☐ A New-to-this-World, Unobserved Insight
  • ☐ A Marked Change from Status Quo Thinking

III) The Play — what is the format of the playbook element that will be included in your article:

You may be struck by genius by backcasting from the playbook element that you foresee producing in support of this article:

  • ☐ A New Framework or Model
  • ☐ A Customizable Tool or Canvas
  • ☐ A Full Landscape or Horizon View
  • ☐ A Process Flow or Roadmap
  • ☐ A Systems Map or Mindmap
  • ☐ A New Emphasis / Current vs. Future State
  • ☐ A Revolutionary Change from the Status Quo Thinking
  • ☐ A Case Study or Set of Examples
  • ☐ An Audit, Scorecard or Benchmarking Tool
  • ☐ A Leading Practices Guidance or Checklist
  • ☐ A Game, Application or Exercise

Any rapid synapses firing off now?

More working front covers, any faves yet?

What are People Saying Already …

Beyond being voted our third most popular venture concept, of 50 potential Cygnus projects considered (ranking only behind our already-launched on-demand consultancy and upcoming Masterclasses), people within our organizing and production team have commented about the potential of a fully minted Guild “Making Sense” publication :

  • “All of the benefit of being published, without the weight of doing it solo, sign me up!”
  • “I know my clients are hungry to get out of academic explanations and use content and thinking that they can directly apply, a playbook sounds right.”
  • “I see all this talent that the Grey Swan Guild has amassed — authoring a book, or a set of books, is a no-brainer.”
  • “I have been thinking deeply about this particular subject and would love to hatch something, it doesn’t justify a whole book’s coverage but certainly could be part of one.”
  • “I love turning up to Guild events, and now Cygnus Venture work, I can’t wait to turn those conversations and collaborations, into tangible works of wisdom and educational value.”
  • “I’ve seen HBR pull together an anthology of their best articles over the last 60 years; we can be the less stuffy guide that brings together the best knowledge over the last three post-pandemic years.”
  • “I could send an email, leave a business card, send a presentation link, but nothing more credibly acts as a sign of unwavering excellence than a well-produced book for my clients.”
  • “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts; my interest in the Guild’s Playbook is to help gather all the unique tools, perspectives, and outlooks of the members to build a cornerstone book for the Cygnus consulting practice.”
  • “My submission will be a first of its kind tool, it can only be helped by sitting alongside other pioneering work across other areas of uncertainty.”
  • “Trust me — if you are trying to grow your footprint, launch something new, or help others be more successful, you have to consider submitting a proposal for one of the chapters in the book.”
Another front cover option to consider here? We’d love your design thoughts.

What are you Waiting For:

Get your proposal in now and don’t miss the chance to be part of all-star published crew. Think. Plan. Form. Act. Press Submit.

The Playbook Intake Form: https://bit.ly/greyswanplaybooksubmission

Here’s our editorial policy if you want some additional guidance.

Questions? Please email our fearless Venture leader Gordon Withrow.

What Else:

a) Join Grey Swan Guild:

Join as an official member: https://bit.ly/gsgsmemberform

Follow our LinkedIn page. https://www.linkedin.com/company/grey-swan-guild/ — just eclipsed 2,800 Linkedin Members to add to our 6,000 member count overall.

b) Attend:

Our craft-building series is about to hit its half-century mark :

#48 Influence, Persuasion and Advocacy recap learnings and roundtable webcast from last week

#49 Jokes, Humour and MemesClubhouse (Friday October 7th 1pm ET)

#50 Judging, Anchors and Decisions Linkedin Live (Monday, October 17th, 3pm ET)

c) Participate

Our new how to get involved page: https://www.greyswanguild.org/get-involved

d) Build

12 Cygnus value-driving ventures launching in 2022 — yes that’s eyebrow raising https://www.greyswanguild.org/cygnusventures

e) Disrupt

Cygnus Sprints launched — The On-Demand Solutions Group for a Complex World (Consulting & Advisory Group) — we are changing how the way the game gets played: https://www.greyswanguild.org/cygnusprints

f) Global & Local

Sao Paulo— Feature City of the Month — Join us October 26th 12pm BRT over lunch: https://bit.ly/gsgsaopaulo

g) Learn


GSG Book Festival — Watch 11 Hours of Amazing Coverage of The Smartest Authors and the Smartest Books October 20th starting at 8am ET.

Pre-register: https://bit.ly/gsgbookfestival

Grey Swan Guild

Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges and Next Grey Swans — through content, experiences, intelligence, learning, community and ventures 🦢.

Our website hub: https://www.greyswanguild.org/



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Grey Swan Guild

Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges & Next Grey Swans — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, and analysis🦢