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SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient - Powered by the Science of Games

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,558 ratings  ·  202 reviews
In 2009, game designer and author Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion that wouldn’t heal. Unable to think clearly, or work, or even get out of bed, she became anxious and depressed, even suicidal—a common symptom for concussion sufferers. But rather than let herself sink further, she decided to get better by doing what she does best: she turned her recovery process ...more
Audio CD, 15 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Penguin Audio
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  1,558 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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Mar 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
The concept is great, but I didn't really get into this book. Lots of quests, many of them banal.

Jane McGonigal did have some interesting facts about game playing. She described how playing Tetris for ten minutes within six hours of suffering a trauma reduces PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), as hundreds of studies have proven. Playing the game does not erase the memory, but helps to stop involuntary memory, preventing flashbacks.

She describes how video games can help control cravings. You
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book would be better named SuperHype primarily because McGonical has grossly exaggerated the science behind games.

The research on McGonical’s game SuperBetter best exemplifies this.

The dropout rate from the SuperBetter study was huge - about 90%. This is despite recruiting a group of highly motivated participants. So the bottom line is that even the most motivated people struggled to engage with SuperBetter.

The high dropout rate makes any claims to the benefits of SuperBetter highly questio
Dan Connors
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am one of the first people to admit that video games are a tremendous waste of time. They are used by a lot of people to avoid reality, but that is not what this book is about.

Super Better is a refreshing look at the science of gaming, and its main claim is that we can use gaming theory to enrich our lives and overcome our weaknesses by turning the entire thing into a game, rather than an ordeal.

I listened to this book as an audiobook, which was very frustrating because there is a lot of mater
Jul 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: started-stopped
Having a super positive frame of mind to start with, I got through the first hour or so of this audio book and am deciding to set down. Yes, I've read many of the reviews and I can see why others find this framework help. It's just not for me.
May 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
While this book is well written and has an interesting premise, it should not have been more than an article. Stretching it out to a full-length book makes it lose its edge and become a tedious chore to read.
Lance Eaton
So I first fell in nerd-love with Jane McGonigal when she performed a TED Talk and wrote her first book (Reality Is Broken). SuperBetter is even better and there's also a great TED Talk to introduce it. Or rather, if Reality Is Broken gave readers a well-researched argument for why gaming is an important part of our human nature, SuperBetter gives us the guide on how to actually make life more like a game and improve mental, emotional, physical, and social health. She stacks the first half talk ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a pretty amazing book and definitely changed the way I think about games. The first section is a very well researched rundown of all the ways gaming can help us, how it can build connections with others and motivate us to do better all the time. In the second section McGonigal lays out a plan for using gaming to help a person achieve just about any personal goal.

I felt like this could really work and could make a difference in my life and others. Unfortunately, I was not in a place whe
Meghan Enga
I abandoned it. Too busy..!
Danica Holdaway
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book and the science behind it is so interesting and I’m excited to start playing!! I love how customized it can be for anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book thoroughly. It was long and because there was a lot to take in, I had to take breaks, but I feel like the read was life changing and will stick with me.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lifestyle
Great book choice for my work book club.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pennell
Such a practical book. I love that. This one should be read hard copy though for best effect, I believe. But I still had a great time reading the audio version. I took so many notes and will just leave them here in random order because they're that good.

Post-traumatic growth is getting super better. But if we bounce back too quickly we miss the growth.

You can experience the benefits of post-traumatic growth without the trauma if you are willing to undertake an extreme Challenge in your life suc
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book for a couple of reasons. First of all, the idea of the SuperBetter game to accomplish challenges in your life sounds right up my alley. I've already joined the website and added the app to my phone. I'm sure I'll report out on that aspect of it soon.
But the part of this book that I really enjoyed was the science part at the beginning. I loved learning about all the ways people have tested and used gaming psychology in various areas to help people and relationships. I c
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Really hard to get through. If you're already a happy person you don't need most of the tips in this book (which become increasingly more redundant) backed up by studies that are just common sense (84% of people feel happier after laughing). If you're depressed, you'd never be able to summon the energy to read through 400 pages of this book or motivate to do most of these exercises. Perhaps this book is for people just feeling generally meh.
The Story Girl
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is hands down the best and most useful book I read all year and can be completely life-changing.

Longer review to come later. I have so many pages flagged and notes highlighted, it will take some time to gather them all.

Check back later or follow my blog to see this review when it’s complete: https://thebookishexpedition.wordpres...
Arpad Barnai
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has given me so much inspiration that I almost felt overwhelmed by it. Reading it and experimenting with the challenges offered can created a real difference in my everyday life! A very positive one :-)
Fate's Lady
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an interesting read, but even with the app, I struggled to apply the principles to my life and trying to define bad guys and tasks without overloading myself with 700 things to do a day was confusing and stressful, so as interesting as it was, maybe it wasn't for me.
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf-self-help-etc
Upbeat, inspiring, and fun. Lots of realistic, doable action plans for tackling personal struggles, getting out of a rut, and building resilience. The research on the many benefits of playing games was interesting. I will be recommending this book to friends.
Moral of this book: Candy Crush is good for you.
Gamification of good guidelines you choose to enhance your life. Make achievements and resilience fun and continuous.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How to turn your life into a series of quests and adventures by gamifying how you deal with your struggles and challenges. Great ideas and very actionable advice!
Ben Houge
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up my autographed copy when Dr. McGonigal gave a presentation at MIT maybe 4 or so years ago, but for whatever reason, I didn't read it at the time. Perhaps a major life challenge or two in the interim has primed me to be more receptive. I picked it up again because I was interested in research that looks at the connections between games and health, but I wound up actually playing SuperBetter the game (which one does while reading the book, if you do the quests that are interspersed alo ...more
Lisa Butterworth
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brain-books
Things I liked: A pragmatic and potentially fun approach to post-traumatic growth. Positive and strength-based psychology methods presented in lighthearted and approachable packaging. Basically, if you're into games at all, and facing some kind of challenge where you've felt stuck, I think the methods presented in this book are solid. I already use a lot of the methods with clients, and I can see lots useful applications for framing these methods using a gaming mindset.

I love the idea of turning
Danny Hui
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review:
A fun book on how to feel "Super better". I picked this book up a while ago when I was feeling in a funk, and it helped. I had intuitively felt that playing games when I was in a funk made me feel better. Having simple goals and achieving them is very good therapy. This book show why gaming works on a scientific level, and it also provides a framework to pull those virtual wins into the real world.

What I remember:
Simple wins each day. Try to find something you can win, be it pushups in
Stan Skrabut
This book will do a lot of people a lot of good. The psychology of games is powerful, yet, has received its share of criticism. But what if you could use the power of games to make people better. This is what Jane McGonigal set out to do when she wrote SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully . SuperBetter explored the science of healing and turned it into a game of healing. It is not only addressed games that help people physically get better but also tackles emotional, mental, and social ...more
Tonya Cornileus
Aug 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Not my favorite book, but definitely chock full of research, actions, and explanations about how to use the skills of gaming in life. If you are a gamer or even if you’re not, and you’re going through a significant challenge where you are open to try an unconventional way to heal or achieve your goal, then I do recommend this book. I read it as part of a three-person book club so that made it more engaging. I’m also a talent developer and personal development coach so there were some things I le ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found a lot of this very interesting but wanted more of the info and less of the self-help. There was a lot of filler and personal stories of random people(which I hate). The writing style was really perky and it got on my nerves- as that tends to do when I feel like someone is trying to sell me something.

I do appreciate (and my kids as well) the paradigm shift I've had towards video games. Honestly, I thought this was going to be more about games in general and heavier on board games. While I
Heather Austin
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure I'd get much out of this book, not being a real gamer type person. But as it turns out, it was wonderful and gave me a whole lot of good tips for myself and my clients to help get past stuck situations. The idea that you can use game playing skills to approach real world problems is backed up with a lot of research that I had no idea existed before I read this. Take a struggle you're having in life, turn it into a game, give yourself smaller quests to move toward the goal in manage ...more
Rachael Mellor
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
I very much struggled through this book. Lots of interesting bits of information that could be massively cut down and repackaged, with a list of “quests”at the end, not constantly interrupting the flow of my reading.
Honestly, it feels very disjointed to read- bits of information here and there but each one massively bulked out to span three or four paragraphs and a vague “case” story which feel hollow examples of how the app helped someone. Fun fact: the app is very old fashioned in design now,
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This has surprisingly (I tend to approach anything with even a whiff of self-help to it very skeptically) interesting method. The writing was fun, empathetic and engaging. The system seems to make a lot of practical sense to me (when combined with my personal experience playing all types of games) and appears based on and backed by a considerable body of legitimate science. That said, it's probably not the best idea to just power through the whole book as I did, as a lot of the material requires ...more
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Must have! 2 8 Sep 27, 2015 06:54AM  

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Jane McGonigal (born October 21, 1977) is an American game designer and author who advocates the use of mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration in a real world context.
“purposeful play builds self-confidence and real-world problem-solving skills.” 3 likes
“Work ethic is not a moral virtue that can be cultivated simply by wanting to be a better person. It’s actually a biochemical condition that can be fostered, purposefully, through activity that increases dopamine levels in the brain.” 0 likes
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