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

A remarkable life plan developed from the program four hundred thousand people have used to recover from setbacks and injuries and achieve personal growth
In 2009, internationally renowned game designer Jane McGonigal suffered a severe concussion. 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 into a resilience-building game. What started as a simple motivational exercise became a set of rules for "post-traumatic growth" that she shared on her blog. These rules led to a digital game and a major research study with the National Institutes of Health. Today nearly half a million people have played SuperBetter to get stronger, happier and healthier.
But the life-changing ideas behind SuperBetter are much bigger than just one game. In this book, McGonigal reveals a decade’s worth of scientific research into the ways all games change how we respond to stress, challenge, and pain. She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more "gameful" mindset. Being gameful means bringing the same psychological strengths we naturally display when we play games — such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination — to real-world goals.
Drawing on hundreds of scientific studies, McGonigal shows that getting superbetter is as simple as tapping into the three core psychological strengths that games help you build:
  • Your ability to control your attention, and therefore your thoughts and feelings
  • Your power to turn anyone into a potential ally, and to strengthen your existing relationships, and
  • Your natural capacity to motivate yourself and super-charge your heroic qualities, like willpower, compassion and determination
SuperBetter the book contains nearly 100 playful challenges anyone can undertake while reading, in order to build these gameful strengths. It includes stories and data from people who have used the SuperBetter method to get stronger in the face of illness, injury, and other major setbacks, as well as to achieve goals like losing weight, running a marathon, and finding a new job.
As inspiring as it is down to earth, and grounded in rigorous research, SuperBetter is a proven game plan for a better life. You’ll never say that something is “just a game” again.
Penguin Press (Jan 2016)
Audio Interview
7 ways gaming can improve your life — CBC Radio
“After reading Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter I’ll never again say that something is ‘only a game.’ SuperBetter gives readers the tools to take the same challenge mindset we bring to playing the games we love and apply it to facing our greatest life challenges. The result is a clear path, not just to post-traumatic recovery, but to post-traumatic growth. In every sense a game-changing book.” – Susan Cain, author of The Power of Quiet
"Many of us struggle to overcome challenges that seem overwhelming. Jane McGonigal has taken her immense knowledge of the science of gaming to create a innovative guide that allowed her to overcome her greatest challenge and now, thankfully, is available to each of us to overcome our own."
 — James R. Doty, M.D., Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine
"Until you understand yourselves as the hero of your own story, you'll never make a dent in the world. This insightful book shows you how create the life of your dreams, using a gameful approach." – Nilofer Merchant, Silicon Valley CEO and author of The New How
"Hundreds of thousands of people have had their lives changed by following Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter program, and now I see why. It’s a marriage of all of the breakthrough wisdom of the positive psychology movement with the pioneering insights of cutting-edge game design into how and why people do what they do. As life hacks go, this is one of the most profound imaginable: a game plan for profound growth in the face of whatever challenges life throws at you — and whatever ones you can conceive to throw at yourself!" — Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
"Jane McGonigal's book is an inspiring one about overcoming personal obstacles and a revolutionary testament that game playing is for ANYONE who wants to change their life for the better. What better way to become stronger braver and happier than to"play with a purpose?" And if you don't know what that means, get will." – Stacy London, host What Not to Wear and author of The Truth About Style
Author photo
Jane McGonigal
Book cover picture
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