An innovative guide to living gamefully, based on the program that has already helped nearly half a million people achieve remarkable personal growth.
In 2009 renowned game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion. Unable to think clearly or work or even get out of bed, she became anxious and depressed, even suicidal. But rather than let herself sink further, she decided to get better by doing what she does best: She turned her recovery process into a resilience-building game. What started as a motivational exercise quickly became a set of rules for "post-traumatic growth". These rules led to a digital game and a major research study. Today nearly half a million people have played SuperBetter to get stronger, happier, and healthier.
But the life-changing ideas behind SuperBetter are much bigger than just one game. In this book McGonigal reveals a decade's worth of scientific research into the ways all games change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more "gameful" mind-set.
McGonigal shows that getting superbetter is as simple as tapping in to the three core psychological strengths that games help you build:
Your ability to control your attention and therefore your thoughts and feelings
Your power to turn anyone into a potential ally and to strengthen your existing relationships
Your natural capacity to motivate yourself and supercharge your heroic qualities, like willpower, compassion, and determination
SuperBetter contains nearly 100 challenges anyone can undertake in order to build these gameful strengths. It includes stories and data from people who have used the SuperBetter method to get stronger in the face of illness, injury, and other major setbacks as well as to achieve goals like losing weight, running a marathon, and finding a new job.
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- Scott Stell
Fantastic book, not the ideal medium
In terms of the content, is a highly captivating and interesting book, which deserves a read. While the author can seem to have a very optimistic outlook on video games, Jane McGonigal does a great job of backing up her optimism with research, while also nodding to the other side of the argument about games. I also think incorporating "quests" and other interactive elements to the book makes it extremely engaging.
If I were only writing this review about the book itself, its content, then I would give it 5 stars. The medium, however, doesn't quite work for me. That being said, I love McGonigal's reading. It allows me to feel closer to her, as she references her own experience with a concussion and how the superbetter method worked for her throughout the book. Also, I have watched her TED talks and listened to her speak about superbetter, and there is something about her excitement about the innovations in game psychology and this method that excites me and makes me truly feel her passion.
However, I generally listen to audiobooks on the car or at work or while doing chores, so the interactive aspects of the book (the quests) are not easy to complete. Because of this, the audiobook medium makes the book a little less interactive for me and therefore slightly less engaging than if I could stop whatever I was doing to participate.
Overall: If you find yourself struggling with a challenge in life or are already using Superbetter online, this book is absolutely worth reading. It definitely helps you understand the science behind this method. The only thing I suggest is that you get this book in physical form because it is meant to be read when you have free time and can dedicate some real time and effort to the quests found therein.
- Kaye Marie Ferguson