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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2015 Jane McGonigal (P)2015 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"For those in search of a new self-help regimen, SuperBetter might just be the answer. Strong medical research and firsthand accounts provide evidence that playing games can make you a healthier, happier, more confident person." (Kirkus

“At the heart of SuperBetter is a simple and potentially transformative idea: We can use the same psychological strengths we display when we play games to confront real-life challenges, whether it's illness, injury, or just changing our habits for the better. Grounded in research and informed by McGonigal’s own sometimes harrowing experiences, this book will make you stop and think, then get you to act.” ("Daniel H. Pink, best-selling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind)

SuperBetter delivers mind-boggling, science-supported, health-promoting knowledge and practical steps to bring more well-being into your life in a fun and engaging way, even if you are facing epic challenges like anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury, or medical illness. Visionary innovator and researcher Jane McGonigal provides the proof and the practices that reveal how living a ‘gameful’ life can help you get personally stronger, closer to others, clearer in your mind, braver in your actions, and a greater hero in your own unfolding life story. SuperBetter is a playful, hands-on manual immersing you directly in challenges and adventures of creative gaming to develop more flexibility and resilience as you transform your life.” (Daniel J. Siegel, MD, clinical professor, UCLA School of Medicine and author of Mindsight)

What listeners say about SuperBetter

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Very interesting

This is a thought provoking book that can help a lot of people. I took it to heart and I'm trying out many of the techniques myself, it seems to be working. I have had four strokes and the book seems to be helping me improve my cognitive ability. Although, my strokes have been mild, I think the method is helping me.

8 people found this helpful

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Fantastic book, not the ideal medium

Any additional comments?

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.

14 people found this helpful

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I love this book

Jane McGonigal has not let me down with any of her work. This book introduced me to the SuperBetter game and techniques that I can use to help me through some of the greatest challenges I face. Would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to better their life or the life of someone else!

4 people found this helpful

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Exceeded my expectations

This book Exceeded my expectations.
I enjoyed it Immensely. I had numerous ah ha Moments . It is a little long,but well worth it.

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Not Great as Audiobook

I enjoyed the information but I didn’t enjoy this book as an audiobook. I thought the narration was too slow, which I fixed by increasing the playback speed. Still, this changed the quality of the audiobook for me. I like listening to narrators with naturally pleasant cadences. In fairness to the author, I love that she was reading her own book and her vocal tone is very pleasant. It’s the rhythm and cadence that I didn’t personally like.

Also, this book is so dense, I feel it would have been helpful to have a physical copy in front of me for reference. Again, my issue is not with the book so much as the audiobook version of the book. It just didn’t work for me as an audiobook.

2 people found this helpful

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Manifest of A Gameful Life

This book directly touched to what I have focused lately: a gameful life. I took many ideas as an person that thinks too much about usage of games in buslness life. Jane McGonigal tried a probably more difficult attempt, to turn a whole life into a game. Succesful? Maybe not gör everyone, but definitely inspires a lot, adds a lot.

2 people found this helpful

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Jane is shifting the landscape!

Gamers are a misunderstood, underappreciated and untapped resource in our culture. Finding ways to share common strengths and desires will make us all more resilient.

4 people found this helpful

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She emphasizes every other word while reading.

I had to stop. the content is fascinating, useful and immediately applicable but dear god, it's like she said:

"I'm going to keep my readers *engaged * and *interested* by putting *passion* into every sentence...adding meaningful PAUSES before each clause....and emphasizing *most* of the words as I SPEAK."

Absolutely frustrating. Book has better content than Reality is Broken but her reading style is just ridiculous.

1 person found this helpful

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eye opening

great research support for a unique and fun way to overcome life's barriers. highly recommend

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it

So much information in here! It took me a while to get through but I’m trying to use the tips and tricks and power ups and recently downloaded the game to get started. Even if you don’t go all I. There is plenty to learn and add to your life about living gamefully.

1 person found this helpful