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Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Most of us at some point in our lives will be struck by major traumas such as the sudden death of a loved one, a debilitating disease, assault, or a natural disaster. Resilience refers to the ability to 'bounce back' after encountering difficulty. This book provides a guide to building emotional, mental and physical resilience by presenting ten factors to help anyone becom ...more
Paperback, 330 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Cambridge University Press (first published July 23rd 2012)
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Barbara Spurll
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prepare yourself for some vivid descriptions of torture and suffering in this book about overcoming and potentially growing from the various traumas most of us face in our lives. Powerful and insightful.

From the book:
Perhaps our most graphic example of acceptance involved another Vietnam POW who, after 15 months in solitary confinement, sensed that he was about to ”lose his mind”. Each day he struggled to understand how and why his life had taken such a dramatic turn. Less than two years earlier
Sean Halpin
This book reads like a severely edited PhD dissertation that has been shortened and reformatted into a self-help book. Despite some good stories I am very disappointed with the writing and the content.

There are many other--more comprehensive resources out there. If you are looking to learn about the science of resilience I would suggest the book titled Resilience, and edited by Corey Keyes. Although it is a little bit dated--so is much of the research cited by Southwick and Charney. Another sci
Roma Giannina
I think the scientific studies are great evidence of resilience, but many of the stories are repeated over and over to where you get the idea. What fascinates me were the studies done which had actual measurable and visible (via MRI) changes in the brain--for a real self help book I would have liked some very real, practical exercises for these types of results instead of more hokey 'just be positive' statements and block quotes. For someone like me who has NEVER been positive, I was really look ...more
Christine Fay
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A while ago my life changed drastically. I faced the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to accept. It took time and effort, but I’ve worked through it to the best of my ability. Reading this book helped me to further solidify my hard work and resolve not to let things which are not in my control continue to control my life. “During our work with various clients, we have often encountered people who were mistreated in childhood by one or both parents. Such individuals are often fiercely determi ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terry Pearce
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lot of the books out there about resilience are not study-backed. This one is, comprehensively, with great case studies and peer-reviewed science, but it's easy to read for all that. If you're looking for more than a pep-talk, start here. ...more
David McClendon, Sr
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
By now most of our readers are well aware that we have read and reviewed many books on psychology. Perhaps one could say we are amateur psychologists.

We were sent an advanced reading copy of Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges 2nd Edition by Steven Southwick and Dennis Charney to review and we have to say we found it to be very interesting.

This book is a fairly easy read like many pop psych books, but it is loaded with information like a psychology textbook. It is ki
Tara Brabazon
OK. This one has stunned me. Cambridge University Press published this. Let me just confirm that. Cambridge University Press published this book. I can see very, very little difference between this book and the wider self-help genre.

The difference here is that qualitative interviews took place with 9/11 survivors, members of the military and people managing an impairment of a disability. Supposedly from these interviews, generalizable information is created about resilience for the wider populat
Kris Muir
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My take on the self-help genre is that if you can glean any particular insight that is useful for your life, then it was worth your time. "Resilience" is similar to most books in that it is wedged between being useful and being repetitive. The research here is strong (mostly peer-reviewed journals) and the wider paintbrush that is employed to define resilience as ten key factors I found intriguing. To be clear, this book is likely best for someone that has experienced a truly traumatic event (e. ...more
Nick Woodall
I really liked this book. I liked the format, the research, the stories, and the ways that they used each chapter to give you a framework for handling life's challenges. I have had a lot of challenges in my life, and this book really helped me to put it in perspective. ...more
Dr. Shailla Vaidya the Yoga MD
Great summary of ALL the factors related to resiliency.
Sosanna Olson
Mar 25, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom Kammerer
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much of content is common sense, nonetheless, a lot of takeaways and inspiring to boot
Sophia Hamblen
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredible. Think it could be my favourite.
Cathy Sites
Read for work. It was OK. The stories of POWs were powerful, and the concept behind community resilience is timely.
Scott Lee
This was really slow going for me. It's written as a series of straightforward scientific articles on resilience and has all the strengths and weaknesses of its genre.

It provides a ton of information, with more discussion of the studies and science behind them than is standard for a book released to the general public. This feels like a reasonably well written textbook more often than a self-help text of any kind, which is what the title suggested to me.

That said, what the text lacks is any of
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would highly recommend this book. Southwick and Charney do an impeccable job of describing powerful stories of resilience. From research with former POWs, Special Forces instructors, and civilians from all walks of life, they outline ten key factors that build resilience. The factors are described in moving ways through the stories that are told, and then explained in very practical ways that help in understanding how to build and apply each resilience factor into your own life. I've seen how ...more
Jeri Vick
In sum, the power of positive thinking.

I enjoyed reading all of the stories about the incredible strength of ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges (ok, so maybe some of them are truly extraordinary people too), but couldn't give it a higher rating as the book is simply and primarily a collection of stories underscoring the importance of taking a "glass half full" approach. Got it. If you find yourself struggling to stay positive for any reason, it's a great read. If not, move on to som
Sep 29, 2016 marked it as don-t-want-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, skimmed
This could have been a book that anyone can read. It is most definitely not a book for folks who are easily triggered into feelings of panic, anxiety or PTSD. I could barely skim 2 chapters before deciding that whatever message of hope the authors are trying to offer is not worth the pages and pages of detailed suffering and trauma.
Pauline Robertson
Courage and Strength

This book was recommended to me. I enjoyed the stories and examples of how people have overcome some real challenges in life. What they did to be strong and how their resilience helped them to move forward in their life.
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have only said this once about a book, this is the second one to have changed my life! Seriously, read this now, no matter if you don't suffer from any mental infliction it will still give you new found powers ;) ...more
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read it and also "currently reading"
It's a great reference. I dip into it every so often to add refresh or another technique to my resilience practice
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of information.
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure gold; no B.S. Evidence-based and real.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very practical book. It gives you lessons that you can start following today. Also written are inspirational stories of people who have lived and have/had resilience.
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Elizabeth Luna
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Dec 12, 2018
Cathy Wood
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Dec 18, 2012
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