The Gift of Adversity

  • by Norman E. Rosenthal M.D.
  • Narrated by Erik Synnestvedt
  • 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The noted research psychiatrist explores how life's disappointments and difficulties provide us with the lessons we need to become better, bigger, and more resilient human beings. Adversity is an irreducible fact of life. Although we can and should learn from all experiences, both positive and negative best-selling author Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal believes that adversity is by far the best teacher most of us will ever encounter. Whether the adversity one experiences is the result of poor decision making, a desire to test one's mettle, or plain bad luck, Rosenthal believes life's most important lessons - from the value of family to the importance of occasionally cutting corners - can be best learned from it.
Running counter to society's current prevailing message that "excellence" must always be aspired to, and failure or mistakes of any sort are to be avoided at all costs, Rosenthal shows that engaging with our own failures and defeats is one of the only ways we are able to live authentic and meaningful lives, and that each different type of adversity carries its own challenges and has the potential to yield its own form of wisdom.
Using stories from his own life - including his childhood in apartheid-era South Africa, his years after suffering a violent attack from a stranger, and his career as a psychiatrist - as well as case studies and discussions with well-known figures like Viktor Frankl and David Lynch, Rosenthal shows that true innovation, emotional resilience, wisdom, and dignity can only come from confronting and understanding the adversity we have experienced.
Even when life is hardest, there are meanings to be found, riches to be harvested, and gifts that can last a lifetime. Rosenthal illustrates his message through a series of compact, memorable chapters, each one drawn from episodes in the lives of his patients, colleagues, or himself, and concluded with a take-away maxim on the lesson learned.


What the Critics Say

"In this timely and beautifully written work, renowned psychiatrist and best-selling author, Norman Rosenthal, tells intriguing stories that converge on an important theme - that many of life's greatest lessons and joys are not the products of perfection, but the gifts of adversity." (Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author of Happy for No Reason)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Charming Listen!

What made the experience of listening to The Gift of Adversity the most enjoyable?

I found this book absolutely charming. It was not what I expected, with “Adversity” so prominent in the title. Each of the stories did contain hardship, but the reminisces had an entertaining, “can’t stop listening” quality that predominated. Then at the end of each story the learning was reflected on.

What did you like best about this story?

All in all, a very comforting and uplifting book!

What about Erik Synnestvedt’s performance did you like?

Narrator did a fine job!

If you could give The Gift of Adversity a new subtitle, what would it be?

Growing up in post-holocaust South Africa

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- Daria Doering


i came to read many books on account of a catchy title and an interesting synopsis, most of the time the majority of the books did not live up to their marketers hype , not in this case. Story by story we are left with a sense of replenishment and an invisible assurance that "we got this" whatever "this" is. And without an inch of exaggeration i will call this book: a balm for the soul
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-29-2013
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC