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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

6 of 6 people found this review 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.

12 of 13 people found this review 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!

2 of 2 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review 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 of 5 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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All Time Favorite

I LOVE THIS BOOK. So good, so actionable, changed my perspective on how I make my way through challenges and day-to-day life. Amazing. Must read.

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Great topic, but a book would have been easier

I LOVED to topic and the method, but owning a actual copy of the book would have helped A LOT. The book is littered with fun tasks and challenges, so it would have been really much easier to see them on paper. While listening to an audio book you are also less likely to perform the challenges than with a paper bool.

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Powerful Tools For Healing or Just Living

If you could sum up SuperBetter in three words, what would they be?

Powerful Life Tools

What did you like best about this story?

Teachable skills to change thinking habits that negatively affect happiness. These skills came from research that was explained through a frame of gaming, not failure or memoir. The research anecdotes provide both context and credibility.

What does Jane McGonigal bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I've read this book as well as listened to it...twice. Dr. McGonigal brings a compassionate voice to an already convenient format.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. Then, after my hardcover arrived, I read it and took notes. After reflection, I listened to it again.

Any additional comments?

This book is dense with data, but fun to consume given the frame of gaming. Psychology books have been on my reading list for about 22 years, and my observation is that they read like a memoir or a disaster book. In the case of the memoir-esque psychology book, they entertain but lack instruction on skills to be applied to life. It is much the same experience in the case of the disaster tale. Superbetter and The Owner's Manual For Your Mind are different. They focus on symptoms (thoughts, emotions, or behaviors) and prescribe skills and techniques to get better at something. Superbetter doesn't simply validate our thoughts with case studies or reminiscences of similar thoughts in other people, it gives us skills to identify helpful and unhelpful thought patterns and suggests techniques to improve the helpful and thwart the unhelpful. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is not new. What's new, is the use of the numbers game to occupy the part of the brain that facilitates the dark side of the self-reflection paradox. What's new, is the use of a secret identity to create the emotional distancing necessary for therapy to work. The quest, as a form of free and self guided resilency training, is new. Most important: These things work. Good luck!

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Best book ever to be written on the subject

Jane's work is astonishing! It's value to humanity is priceless!

It's extremely helpfull not only for people who had huge traumas in their lives, but also for the regular guy who wants to live a more fun and fulfilling life.

I wish all of my friend and family would listen to this amazing audiobook!