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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.

©2013 Norman E Rosenthal M.D. (P)2013 Gildan Media LLC

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

needed

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ana
  • Holly Springs, MS, United States
  • 12-09-13

Great Writer, Great Book, if you actually read it!

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others. It is clear that some of the other readers did not actually read the entire book but rather only read a few stories at the beginning and then put the book down. Some of the best stories are towards the end. I found the stories inspiring and uplifting. Many small nuggets of very powerful reasoning about life are to be found in this book. However, to see this you must read and think about how it relates to you. I find stories about the Jewish struggle of 1933-1945 to be some of the most inspiring in all of our modern history. Stories of South Africa and the struggle against yet another evil attempt by the brittish empire to steal resources and subjugate humans to a lower status runs a close second. Thank you Dr Rosenthal for sharing stories of your personal life.

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  • Performance
  • Story

Not as good as I was expecting - boring

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I heard the author on Dr. Radio / XM and he was fascinating. Listening to him made me seek out and find the book. It was just OK, not riveting and not worth continuing to listen too.

Would you ever listen to anything by Norman E. Rosenthal M.D. again?

Possibly

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

It was not as "to the point" as I was hoping. kind of "abstract".

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  • Story

Very disappointing .. i stopped listening

I really wanted to like this book -- the description was very compelling. But it is really disappointing in many ways:

-- the content is weak. For example, here's one of the pearls of wisdom: "Be wary of authority figures." Huh? How does that help one deal with adversity? And what kind of advice is that, anyway?

-- the stories are often lame. They are all about his childhood and some are just not very interesting. Think about your own life -- do you have enough compelling stories to fill a book with 20+ chapters?

-- the narrator is the worst I've ever heard (i'm not exaggerating). He sounds almost exactly like a computer-generated text-to-voice converter. Ever heard one of those? Remember how the inflections are never quite right? You can't tell when it's in the middle of a sentence or at the end of one? You get to listen to that the entire way through this book.

At least I think that's the case. I stopped listening after chapter 10. I forced myself to keep listening after chapter six, hoping it would get better, but it didn't.

i hate to be this critical, but i really feel like i wasted my money/credit on this book

0 of 3 people found this review helpful