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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  2,245 ratings  ·  285 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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 ·  2,245 ratings  ·  285 reviews

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David Rubenstein
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
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.
Jul 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
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. ...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
I like the idea of SuperBetter a lot. I have been playing strategy and roleplaying games since I was a wee one, staying up way too late to get JUST ONE MORE TURN in on Civilization 2. I have tasted sweet victory upon getting that rare item I wanted in World of Warcraft. I have thought long and hard on ways to make doing 10 pushups worth 10 experience points so I would be "completing a quest" and "leveling up" because when it is obfuscated like that I am much more likely to do it.

But I have never
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
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
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved but, it got real long in the middle.

But I loved the sprinkling of tips and the writing style that was convincing without ignoring the work's shortcomings or caveats.

I'm going to play this even though my response to this was "I understand what I'm supposed to imagine but idk how it applies to me." I guess I'll have to just try and figure it out as I go.

3 powers ups, 1 bad guy battle, and a quest daily. Seems simple.

Palms up for 15 seconds to become more open
Game stopped the cognitive r
Nathan Albright
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2019
I was pleased to read this book for several reasons, at least in general, largely because the approach discussed in this book is one I tend to undertake.  The author encourages readers to view their lives as a game, and to treat the various aspects of games like quests [1], power ups, allies, and enemies/obstacles as aspects of one's life as well.  This is something I regularly do, and I have found that it tends to add some level of optimism to a life that is frequently on the melancholy to gloo ...more
Alexis Chute
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this is an amazing book. I listened to it from the library as an audio book. I’ve now ordered a hard copy for myself and plan to reread it. I’ve already had the opportunity to recommend the book to others who are struggling with depression and health concerns. A playful, empowering, and innovative way to look at mental and physical health.
May 28, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the computer version/app SuperBetter better than the book. It really comes to life in the "doing." The book is very well-written. McGonigal takes the features and strategies of games, especially video games and applies them to life goals. The best part of this book was the section on allies. I also liked the real-life examples. ...more
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.
Meghan Enga
I abandoned it. Too busy..!
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.
Nisha B.
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I like applying gameful elements in the classroom. It’s no surprise that I would enjoy a book about applying gameful elements to live a Super Better life. I really enjoyed this read and I’m enjoying adding it to my life.
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wish the book delved into more of the psychology like it did at the start, but like most self-help books the science got overshadowed by the constant "this method works, it sooo good, just do itt". ...more
Sep 09, 2022 rated it really liked it
If you are a gamer and struggle with goal setting or maybe have ADHD and struggle with focus, this book has some practical ways to make your tasks fun.
Agnes Roantree
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
⭐️ 4,2 stars ⭐️
This is an extremely useful self-help tool that I've yet to implement to make my life better but that I do recommend.

Jane's reading was great, I loved every second.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lifestyle
Great book choice for my work book club.
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
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. ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I tried to like this book, but it is not a good treadmill audiobook. So many lists of inconsequential information. In gamer terms, I felt like I was grinding but never getting to the next level. After 5 hours of justification for the SuperBetter system, but never actually making to what SB is, I gave up.
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...
Chris Boutté
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is THE BEST mental health book I've ever read. It takes a completely different angle, and it's all backed by science. I love the whole idea of turning your journey of self-improvement into a game. I'm a mental health YouTuber, and this has inspired me to make a group with my audience to play SuperBetter. ...more
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 :-)
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.
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. ...more
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Must have! 2 9 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.

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