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The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections
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The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  38 reviews
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, bestselling author Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, believes that adversity is
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 29th 2013 by Tarcher
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Written by a psychiatrist who is responsible for putting S.A.D. in our vocabularies ( Seasonal Affective Disorder)one would expect some insights and uplifting words.. Ahh but he is very smug and self satisfied given to silly aphorisms at the end of each chapter like,"Fortune is fickle.Be generous in victory and dignified in defeat." Though he is Jewish and grew up in South Africa his memories reflect little pain or perception and no literary insight into his life there.He is not someone I would ...more
The Gift of Adversity by Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. is a joy to read. It's like sitting down in conversation with a wise and compassionate new friend, and discovering new ways to look at life's challenges. Adversity will invariably appear, and how you handle it can make all the difference to the outcome.

The book is a collection of true stories that the author has collected throughout his lifetime. There are 52 short chapters divided into four sections: Youth, Adulthood, Heroes, and Farewells. At
I really wanted to like this book. The title alone was enough to propel me through the first quarter of it. But the truth is that the narrator--despite his renown in the world of psychiatry for his work with seasonal affective disorder--comes off as a curmudgeon of a man. It's clear the observations he makes about his life are novel to him. This I took as a clear sign of his social ineptitude. The snapshots at the end of each chapter are condescending and weird--as if to school a 3rd grader.
Didn't quite get the rave reviews, nor the intention. Author surely writes fluidly, but title promise didn't amount to more than personal anecdotes, grampa-style. With all respect to his family's hardships, due to background and geography: Evoking modern day German train conductors and passengers as Nazis because they--wouldn't speak English?!? Sorry.
Brian Walker
The book did not fulfill what I expected when I picked up the title. The book was filled with interesting stories and nice reminders, mostly from the author's life, but nothing "unexpected" occurred.
Katrina Sark
"You cannot become a master sailor on calm seas. So too you cannot navigate life successfully without learning how to handle adversity. To be sure, adversity is by its very nature painful and unwelcome. The trick then is how to move beyond these initial feelings and find something of value in the experience."

Crises are learning opportunities. If can begin to draw connections from what we have learned from crises, we can work out a systematic way of dealing with them.

“If you want to go fast, go
** The sweet uses of adversity **

Certain things in life seem to be inevitable. Adversity—whether the result of bad luck encountered, a mistake made, or a risk taken—is one of them. Fortunately, adversity need not be unfortunate.

Reframing adversity as stepping stones for finding meaning and value in life (vs. stumbling blocks leading to suffering and despair), psychiatrist Dr. Rosenthal demonstrates the “sweet uses of adversity.” (p. xii) Using his own experiences as well as those of others he h
This noted psychiatrist's anecdotes are well-written and insightful; however, the title reference to adversity rings hollow, as many anecdotes are from the perspective of the author as a happy child living in wealth during South Africa's apartheid regime. While reflecting objectively on that period, the individuals whose pain he dwells deeply are not the Africans who lived in shanty towns, but he and his friends. Entire chapters cover a teacher's misspellings, a fly hitting a window, and other " ...more
I'm not even sure how this book ended up in my to-read list: I think it popped up as a recommendation after I read The Unthinkable. I was expected something different than what it was, which was a memoir with encapsulated life lessons. Certainly the author has faced adversity, in many forms (more than the average person, I would wager, although everyone has their struggles or knows well someone who has met with trouble). If I had to put a word to it, this book was quieter than what I was expecti ...more
I happened upon this book at the library. I swear I was meant to read this book. One would think a book written by a psychiatrist would be dry and very science based. He went to grad school at Columbia and NIMH. It did a great deal of work on SAD, which I didn't know picking up the book. The book is part biography as well as him sharing his thoughts, along with the writings of others mostly on the idea of being resilient. He also shares the story of when he met Viktor Frankl. WOW! Who knew Sigmu ...more
Florence Millo
There are many truths in this book but they are rather superficial. OK, but nothing special.
Paulette R
I *really* wanted to like this book - it's incredibly well-written, and the topic is a favorite of mine. But I stopped reading about halfway through; I would have stopped sooner, but thought something more would surely unfold. It didn't. Each chapter follows the same formula. Author relates an anecdote from his own life, e.g., his childhood in South Africa, medical residency, etc., along with a difficult experience that occurred along the way. (If it sounds as if I'm trivializing this man's rema ...more
Book Review: The Gift of Adversity Written by New York Times Best Selling Author Dr. Norman Rosenthal

by Shira Goldberg, BSc., Sober Coach, & Host of The Addiction Show
We have all experienced life’s triumphs and tribulations to some extent and Dr. Norman Rosenthal, New York Times Best Selling author of the book, Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation and Winter Blues imparts once again the value of lessons learned in his most recent offering, The Gift of A
For me, "The Gift of Adversity" was a real page turner. It contains universal truths and pearls of wisdom that are told through interesting and often hilarious stories that occurred throughout Dr. Rosenthal's rather eventful life. This makes the book somewhat of an autobiography which is awesome.

Some of the chapters resonated with me so strongly that tears of joy streamed down my face (I don't normally cry for anything)... For example the chapter about "Holding on to Dreams" and the one on "Reci
Because the author is a well-known psychiatrist one could have expected this book to be technical and dull. In fact, it's easy to read, tells about life's lessons worth hearing about again and gives an interesting personal glimpse into South Africa and Apartheid. His words of wisdom are comforting. It's reassuring his book cover photo shows a happy guy.
Not what I expected, which was an exploration of the psychological benefits of experiencing hardships and overcoming obstacles. Instead, it was more like "When one door closes, another one opens," illustrated by little autobiographical stories from the author's (interesting) life.
Actually the author basically has said which we never realise happens in the normal flow of life. A person who has lost everything or has nothing much to lose ( that is what we call adversity ) will usually take risks and do everything and fight to get a grip on life. Again not everyone is able to do this and some give in to helplessness. But adversity does make you look at life differently and makes you take risks which you would not otherwise take and sometimes it makes you wildly successful. ...more
Blimi Marcus
I was hoping for more out of this book, by a psychiatrist such as himself. Instead, this read like a Chicken Soup for the Soul series. I enjoyed the history of South Africa but his insights barely touched the surface.
This is a very helpful book that casts a positive spin on how the gain from all the negative things that happen in our lives. The author is a long time psychologist that uses examples from his life, the lives of his patients and people that he has read about to illustrate his points. Dr. Rosenthal is the man who discovered that some people become depressed in the Winter months and has had much success treating them with light therapy. He also lauds the benefits of meditation and St. John's Wort ...more
The title is a little misleading. IT should be called the the Gift of Adversity: A Memoir because it's more interesting stories from his life than it is anything particularly revelatory about adversity.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found much to help me with my "gifts of adversity". While some may find the one-liners at the end of each chapter annoying, I found them to be extremely helpful. Reading Dr. Rosenthal is akin to listening to a wise old friend.
This was more memoir-ish than I was expecting but it was really interesting. The author is the psychiatrist who "discovered" Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I found this to be interesting, no wisdom I have not found elsewhere, however due to the different experiences this author had growing up in South Africa and places he lived, I enjoyed it. Yes there are messages designed to help lift you up when you are going through some difficult and challenging times. Always good to know that others have lived through something difficult or experienced challenging things and to see what message he has pulled from his experiences. It is the sort of book you ca ...more
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel) showed that the likelihood of a prisoner receiving parole was directly related to whether the judge had just eaten and how many cases he or she had already seen that session. The better fed and rested the judge, the more likely the prisoner was to be paroled.

I like not only to be loved, but also to be told that I am loved. I am not sure that you are of the same mind. But the realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave. This is the world of ligh
This book was shit--I too have thoughts and feelings, but I would never publish every little inane story/encounter in my life under the guise of creating a guide to help others overcome adversity. Boo. 2 thumbs down.
Nancy Seamons
blessings and benefits of experiencing adversity in your life.
Coyora Dokusho
In compliance with FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads. (i.e. DESTINY wants me to read this book.)

Reminiscent of authors:


Tags: Growth

I'm going to update my review as I read the book!! Why? Because it's fun~

8/13/2013 11:17 PM

It's really, really good for now, I might increase to 5 stars later~

The author, Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, is a psychiatrist with over 30 years of medical experience. He distills the life lessons he has learned from his own life, his patients' and his family's and friends', in this highly readable book, written with wit, wisdom and generosity. I highly recommend it.
John Johnson
The book contains pearls of truth and wisdom that are revealed through interesting, entertaining vignettes which happened during the life of the author. It reminds us that "this life" is a journey and learning experience. I found the message of this book to be refreshing and uplifting.
A non-preachy memoir/guide to life by the psychiatrist who pioneered research and treatment of SAD. Even in a life full of good fortune and happy outcomes, there are tragedies and near-misses and Rosenthal gives good advice on how to persevere through these times.
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Norman E. Rosenthal is a psychiatrist and scientist who in the 1980s first described seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or winter depression, and pioneered the use of light therapy for its treatment. He was a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) studying the disorders of mood, sleep and biological rhythms. He has published 200 scholarly publications and five books.
More about Norman E. Rosenthal...
Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation Winter Blues: Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder The Emotional Revolution: How the New Science of Feeling Can Transform Your Life Winter Blues Survival Guide: A Workbook for Overcoming SAD Seasons of the Mind

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