Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chatting with Henry Sienkiewicz - Untangled Book Tour & Giveaway

BK: Have you always known you wanted to write, or did it just happen one day?

HS: First, I want to thank you for the chance to have a conversation with your readers. I still struggle to think of myself as a writer. I’m very much an observational, heterogeneous integrator. As an observer, I try to ensure that I’m aware of what is going on around me, and where the seams are in the fabric of what I’m observing. As a heterogeneous writer, I try to pull inspiration from highly, highly diverse sources. But, at the end, I try to integrate all of them into a comprehensive work.

BK: Untangled is meant to be thought-provoking. What sparked the idea to write such a book?

HS: On many levels Untangled was a reaction to many of the things that we all deal with on a daily basis. It was a reaction to the confusion caused by the stuff happening around us, or in my words our daily entanglements.

BK: Tell us a bit more about the 3 pillars of Contemplation.

HS: You are hitting the heart of the book. The literature of contemplation is wonderfully rich, from the mystics to the philosophers to simply people with perspectives. In my own quest to understand, I wanted to find some common pillars. Those pillars are silence, stillness, and solitude.

Silence is our embrace of a space that allows us not to just filter the noises out of daily life but to remove the noise. We have white noise surrounding us almost all of the time. We allow ourselves to be constantly distracted by the ticking of a clock in the background, the hum of the computer, the “bing” of an e-mail, or the siren’s call of an instant message? To paraphrase the Swiss philosopher Max Picard, silence is the mostly unrecognized source of our own beings.
Stillness is an intentional slowing down. Stillness slows us so we see details. Stillness slows us down so we can see the nuances. Stillness slows us down so we can see the depth of the world around us.
Solitude means being able to find the space to think by yourself. Solitude means finding yourself. Solitude means finding your own trail among the entanglements.

All three are necessary in life. All three are needed so that we can engage in life rather than being merely entertained by it.

BK: How complex is Untangled really? Can anyone use this book?

HS: I wrote Untangled to be approachable for anyone who is struggling with the complexity of daily life. I’ve been absolutely astonished at initial reactions. The immediate reaction when I describe the book is a story about how much the other person relates to it.

The readers’ reactions have been even better. I’m had many people tell me that they don’t normally sit down and read philosophy. In this case they did. For many, they read and have gone back to re-read it. I constructed the chapters to be easily understandable within a narrative that everyone could relate to and it appears that I achieved my goal. Most of the readers found it a wonderful read, that gave them a way to think differently.

While it would be helpful to have a slight grounding in philosophy, I don’t think that it is absolutely necessary. The book can stand on its own or the reader can use the references and citations as a starting point, and as a way that they can explore their own trails. Additionally, the book trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A3Trh5BlEw) provides a great introduction to the topic.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

HS: I want to concurrently provoke and inspire. I want the reader to put the book down, think about it, and pick it back up in order to reread a passage that caused them to pause. I want the reader to use some, not necessarily all of it to make their lives better.

BK: What do you like to do when you're not writing, or contemplating?

HS: I truly enjoy the arts. I sit on the Board of Governors for the Arts Club of Washington (www.artsclubofwashington.org), the oldest non-profit arts organization in Washington DC.

BK: That is very exciting. I love art myself. :) What is one thing readers would be most surprised to know about you?

HS: In both books, I would like to think that I’ve opened myself up a great deal to the readers. However, one thing that most readers would be surprised how little I’ve been able to travel in the last decade or so. When I was in the airline industry I was able to travel a great deal more. The last ten years have been focused on the first book, starting a software company, and then going into federal service. I’m looking forward to a time when I will be able to travel more.

BK: Using your first name as an acronym, describe your book.

HS: Can I use the French version of my name? H: Holistic E: Engaging N: Nuanced R: Respectful of the reader I: Insightful

BK: What's next for Henry Sienkiewicz?

HS: As I indicated, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by sheer amount of positive reaction to Untangled (www.untangledthebook.com). I’m starting to pull together the notes for two more books. The third book is geared towards general management principles. The fourth book is still in the very early stages, but pulls some of the ideas that have surfaced in both Centerlined and Untangled. Your readers can follow me on Twitter at @hjsienkiewicz.

I just want to close by, again, thanking you for the time to have this conversation. Untangled is available in the major ebook formats, on the major on-line bookstores, and on the book’s own website – www.untangledthebook.com.

BK:  Thank you so much for chatting Henry. I am looking forward to the rest of this week, as we spend more time together. 

Untangled: Contemplation And Entanglement
by Henry J. Sienkiewicz

Henry J. Sienkiewicz has served in multiple positions within the United States Federal Senior Executive Service since 2008. His previous commercial experience was as the founder and chief executive officer for Open Travel Software, an award-winning software developer focused on the global travel community, and in the chief information officer role at three technology companies.  He or his companies have been the recipient of multiple awards for innovations or achievement in the technology industry.  He retired as a United States Army Reserve lieutenant colonel in July 2008.
Henry holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Notre Dame and a master of science from Johns Hopkins University. He is also a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
In 2006, he completed and published his first book, Centerlined, which dealt with interpersonal and organizational dynamics.
Henry resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Website Book Site | Facebook | Twitter

Genre:  Practical Philosophy/Self-help
Publisher:  DogEar Publishing 
Release Date: April 2013

In a  social media-centric, Twitter-driven world we live, the complexity created by the entanglements has caused an overload Called a Walden for the Internet Age, Untangled draws from the rich traditions of both Eastern and Western philosophy to tease apart the hyper-connected web of the modern world and challenges the reader to recognize and embrace contemplation as a way cope. 

Through a highly approachable framework and the imagery of a journey through the heartland of Taiwan, Untangled provides the reader with the background of entanglement and contemplation, and identifies and discusses the three pillars of contemplation - silence, stillness and solitude.  The book closes with a series of actions that allow anyone to untangled through active contemplation in daily life. 



A Big Ball of Twine

We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.
—Jean Toomer
As we reached the first stopping point, we opened our packs and found chaos. The ropes that we had neatly packed were completely jumbled. The gear we had carefully stowed had been shifted around; it was an unrecognizable mess.
The jostling and shifting from the simple movement of the journey caused our coils of rope to transform from a neat roll to an entangled mess. We thought that we had taken care to pack them; the journey ensured that we had a mess to deal with.

Our mental backpacks are similar. Sometimes, regardless of the care we have taken, our world becomes a completely entangled mess in ways that we had not expected. Our journey ensures that we have a mess to deal with.
Many writers have used the terms connected and hyperconnected to describe our current state. I think that the term entanglement is more reflective of the state of our condition.
Connection implies that there has been an encounter but does not imply that the relationship is persistent. As will be discussed later, entanglement means two or more “things” have formed some type of permanent bond. This permanent bond is why I think that the term entanglement is more expressive of our actual condition.
Entanglement has many layers and many textures. It may be accidental or intentional. Entanglement may be in ways that may or may not be are attractive. Entanglement may or may not have relevancy to our lives. Entanglement may or may not have real meaning.
Entanglement may be the vines that catch your feet. Or it may be the limbs that brush your arms. Or it could be the rope that safely holds you onto the mountain.
Contemplation lets us mentally sort through the mess of entanglement that we all carry with us and allows us to repack meaningfully.


Unknown said...

Great post :-)

M.C.V. EGAN said...

I loved the interviewand itis so clever to call issues or problems entanglements, because it empowers us to realize we can UNBTANGLE!
Love this tour
VCBT Pit Crew and Proud of it

Unknown said...

Great questions. Really has me wanting to know more about the book.