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Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story
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Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,017 ratings  ·  256 reviews
Level Up Your Life uses the principles of video games, movies, television, comic books, and pop culture to teach you how to transform your life in extraordinary ways and collect real-world experiences that are just as amazing and fulfilling as the adventures of comic book heroes and video game characters. Learn how to design your own personal Epic Quest of Awesome through ...more
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Rodale Books
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Brandon Baggett To be fair, Steve Kamb published his first article with the title "Level Up Your Life" in February 2009. So, did Chris Harwick get the idea from Steve…moreTo be fair, Steve Kamb published his first article with the title "Level Up Your Life" in February 2009. So, did Chris Harwick get the idea from Steve Kamb?
Brandon Baggett Not really, there are a few charts (less than 3) but overall, it is pretty simple.

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Heidi The Reader
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Steve Kamb, the creator of, offers behavioral games and community support to assist readers in becoming their best self. It's the self help genre meets gamification.

Steve was addicted to video games, miserable at his job and disappointed with life. "I still love those games and movies and enjoy the entertainment they provide. They're a part of who I am as a person. The problem was that they had become a way to avoid the unhappiness in my real life while also allowing me to
Benny Lewis
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a must-read book for all nerds, introverts and hopeful Jedi. Steve Kamb takes the mentorship of Obi-Wan, Gandalf, Morpheus and Professor Dumbledore, and blurs the divide between fantasy and reality as he helps you tackle your biggest life goal(s) like a James Bond mission. "Level Up Your Life" is practical and actionable advice for nerds like me, who understand discussions of Bowser's acceleration in Super Mario Kart, but can finally take our know-how offline, off the couch, and away ...more
Rory Parle
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I initially gave this book a lower rating out of embarrassment that my (virtual) shelves are becoming ever more stuffed with self help books. But there's no sense in bashing it for being what it sets out to be.

Nominally the book deals with making improvements in any area of your life, but as it grew out of the author's website Nerd Fitness it retains a strong bias towards health and fitness. There's a decent chunk of world travel and a smattering of starting your own business too, reflecting
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Not bad, a book on kind of looking at your life like a video game, where you can level up, in order to find happiness and get things done. The book does make a pretty good point that the part we love about video games isn't so much beating them as getting to the point where we beat them, that the entire game is supposed to be fun. That's just an analogy about the podunk saying "It's not the destination, it's the journey," but one that kind of made sense.

Overall, this book KIND of seems like an
Chris Porter
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I once heard the story of a man who, in the moments before he was to commit suicide, decided that instead of ending his life he could instead treat his remaining existence as a big experiment without regard for the consequences. What's the worst that could happen? He could die, sure. But that was his intended goal just a few moments ago.

Level Up Your Life is a self-development framework based around how computer games are designed to be addictive.

What would it be like if you applied those very
Tomas Quinones
Short review: It's a long pitch for his website and

Long review: Definitely makes me think about how to prioritize and motivate myself, but the lack of any real direction on how to track or gamify your life is so glossed over and hyped, that there are literally only a handful of pages explaining the character classes and tracking of points. The other 99% of the book was just hyping "your life is going to be so cool, my life is so cool, this guy changed his
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s January, so a lot of people are currently working on resolutions they vowed to do this new year. So what better way to start off the year than with one of those ‘self-help books’ that will help me achieve my goals if I just follow the methods put forward by the author.
I discovered Steve Kamb and Nerd Fitness sometime last year while researching Intermittent Fasting. I found the article to be really informative, and it encouraged me to check out the rest of the site. I stuck around for a
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've never been a big fan of self-help books or seminars which usually involve some dude shaking his fist at you while standing at a podium being paid $100,000 for a 1 hour performance. "Pay me money and you get to walk across hot coals! It's just mind over matter! You wanna make a lot of money....well now you can with my new book!"
The self-help industry is kind of a crock and lacks a certain credibility yet it's a billion dollar industry. They all seem to be saying 'Buy this book' or 'Take
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm not generally a fan of self-help books, because I find that mostly the person they're really just out to actually help is the author's pocketbook. But I've got several online friends that are fans of Steve Kamb's site, so I figured I'd give it a read and got a copy from the library.

It's a good core concept, using gamification to achieve personal goals, whether it be fitness or travel or what have you. Breaking things down into a series of mini-quests making walking for 5
Ember Isaac
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-and-kept
I loved this! It's everything Nerd Fitness has been teaching for years, condensed and re-imagined and then expanded again. The actionable parts in particular were my favorite -- where I got to set the book down and go make my own character, or plan my own Level 50. While, like most self-help books, it's aimed towards adults and has some aspects that are difficult to act on as a minor or student, it gives me big plans for the future and a lot of excitement for the now in regards to the things I ...more
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it
My review is lower than it might have been had I not recently read Superbetter. They touch on very similar topics and, honestly, I think Superbetter does a better job. The elements of the system are more explicitly laid out and the system is more accessible and broad. However, that does not mean this book is bad. Indeed, you might get a lot out of it. But maybe check both books out from the library and see which one speaks to you more before you buy.

One thing this book has going for it is its
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Okay, so, I'm not actually a nerd or geek - just a wannabe. This book captures the essence of the geek/nerd mindset, with it's references to video games, sci-fi characters, and fantasy figures. The author's encouragement to "get a life" isn't actually written but implies it, while translating it into an exciting adventure. As a Christian, I found several applications as well - after all, there are several Biblical references to extraordinary living (such as a relentless athlete and soldier with ...more
Cory Huff
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think I found the key to getting teenagers to think about their future.

I've been following Steve's blog almost from the beginning, and this book is a great distillation of his methods into an actionable plan for finding your path forward in life.

I gave this book to a 13 year old gaming enthusiast I know, and he immediately read the entire book and wrote out his life plan based on the book.
Caitlin Gutilla
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book changed my life!

About 40% into this book, I went onto Nerd Fitness and joined the academy. The day after, I went to the grocery store and bought some food to begin my new lifestyle. If anyone is struggling with exercising or just wanting to achieve your goals, please check out this book. If not, at least go on to the Nerd Fitness website and read some information. You won't regret it!
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Summary Of Things Already Written

A good book that is full of not so common sense. It will try to sell you on using the tools of the Rebellion to level up your life. It is to your benefit to buy in.
Irene McHugh
For a book that's under 300 pages, this one took me a long time to read.

While the ideas in the first few chapters hooked me, the execution of gamifying my life goals were presented in the broadest of terms with a focus on fitness and travel. Steve Kamb promotes his Nerd Fitness website throughout the book, which would be fine if he balanced that promotion with examples of people gamifying other aspects of their lives, or presenting specific gamified plans as examples.

I understand that to live my
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has been a great motivation, a great inspiration, a great push and a great friend of mine who challenges me to become more than I've ever been before. No matter how tired I am, I would at least read a few pages before going to bed, feeling so capable of anything and can't wait for tomorrow to come.

I'm not at all a gamer but the author speaks right to my heart. I can relate to almost every word he says. I'm pretty sure I will keep coming back from time to time.

Thanks for showing me
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Do you want to change any aspect of your life? Lose weight? Travel more? Learn a new language? Are you a nerd or geek? If so this book is for you. The author has an amazing perspective on taking your big goals and breaking them up so you can get it done. I look forward to leveling up my life.
Somnady Chhy
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I do enjoy reading this book as it often talks to my heart. The only reason that I take awhile to finish this book because I don't want to let the excitement of reading it go away so fast. And today I think it's the right to finish it and I did. I didn't till this day that actually there are people out there whom would trying to accomplish thing and have the same kind of problem which i'm facing. It will take time for me to start taking action but I believe that by following Steve path may ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While I didn't relate completely to the video game metaphors, this book had a lot of great information and inspiration to kick-start some adventure planning in my life.
Blake Powell
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have to say that I found the book enjoyable to read, and I've been a reader of nerd fitness for a couple of months now. I loved the bits on collecting underwear and not allowing other people to judge you for pursuing the dream in the way that you want to.

The problem is a lot of this content is available on the blog but in a different format here, which has its ups and downs. If you've never read the blog you'll love the book, but blog readers will still find something to love here. There's a
Paige Gordon
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was freakin awesome! I love the idea of working all the elements that make video games so addictive into your life in a positive way. Steve clearly lays what it is about video games that keeps us coming back for more (clear challenges, incremental progress, immediate rewards, epic quests etc) and gives tips on how to create those things in your "real life" so that you are driven to "level up" in life, instead of in a game. It's a fascinating concept and I am really excited to implement ...more
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. It spoke to the nerd in me who loves the addictiveness of great RPGs. I find it easier to stick to growing the skills you want to develop by gamifying it. I absolutely love grinding a character to max stats in an RPG, and then going into beast mode for the rest of the game. I am already fit and go to the gym regularly, but I can gamify learning a new language, instrument, hobby, career advancement, public speaking, volunteering, traveling, and the list goes on. Almost ...more
Simon Vandereecken
One year and half ago, I suscribed to the Nerd Fitness Academy and followed the path proposed on the website. This led me to some dramatical changes in my life helping me to improve myself, my health and mind. One year later I bought this book but postponed its reading, as I was going through some personal stuffs. One month ago I've made what the Academy call a "respawn" and decided to take everything back to zero. This book helped me get things back on track but with a greater view, by seeing ...more
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is, easiest, my most favourite motivational book I've ever read. I can relate to almost everything he said simply because he, too, is a nerd who spends hours upon hours playing games and watching movies. And he uses this concept of gamification to apply on his real life. How cool is that!! Living like a Batman? Jason Bourne? Harry Potter? Katniss Everdeen? All of sudden, the whole life living thing becomes so much fun and achievable. It's no longer like looking at the top of mountain and ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the Level Up

I've been a longtime reader of Nerd Fitness who was a little worried that the book would just be a reiteration of the philosophies that Kamb has been representing for years. Thankfully, there is some of the familiar and some of the new in there or I might have been disappointed. A great read I recommend for any nerd looking to make more of their lives.
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although it did repeat a lot of content that has already been published on the Nerd Fitness blog, it is incredibly handy to have all the information in one, accessible place, and it was great to be taken through the process from the beginning to the end. Very useful for anyone looking to improve their current selves, be it fitness, business or life goals.

Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was such an excellent read and exactly what this nerd needed. I love the concept of living your life like a video game. This book has a lot of fun ways to set your life up in that manner. Steve is a great guy and I am so grateful that my best friend told me about Nerd Fitness in the first place. Definitely recommend this book and this lifestyle.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Better than most but nothing truly new. Goal setting, small steps, framing. I did really like the way the author tied everything together with the hero's journey as exemplified in many games and movies. It is a book by analogy, the analogy being mostly rpg games.
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've been a follower of Nerdfitness for a few years now so knew the basics but it's great to have it's main principles consolidated in one place. The first half is definitely better as it's much more "do this" than the second half but a great book on the whole.
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Many people believe that Steve Kamb was created in a laboratory in the 1940s as part of a top-secret government program to fight the Nazis. Those people are wrong; that was Steve Rogers, and he became Captain America. But close enough. Steve Kamb was born on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, raised by two loving parents and a Nintendo Entertainment System. When he wasn't getting lost in video games, he ...more
“If I’m going to be labeled a weirdo for wanting to improve my life and do really fun things, I’m okay with that. Fortunately,” 3 likes
“It’s tough to change friends, and it’s even tougher to admit when a friendship has run its course, but it can be an important part of growth, too. Friends come and go and, when you change, oftentimes the things you have in common are no longer in alignment, especially if those things are of a time-wasting or unhealthy nature. We have a finite amount of time—the most valuable resource on this planet—and you have 100 percent control over how that time gets spent. Surround yourself with people who want you to be better, and you will see yourself start to level up faster than ever before.” 2 likes
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