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

Jane McGonigal. Penguin Press, $27.95 (480p) ISBN 978-1-59420-636-8
In this intriguing if sometimes slow-going guide, game designer McGonigal explains a self-help regimen that draws on her insights into the psychology of gam. Based on research, McGonigal concluded that undertaking “an extreme challenge” can help people unleash their best qualities and live happier lives. The Superbetter game has seven principles, including “challenge yourself,” “seek out quests,” “battle the bad guys,” and “go for epic wins.” The book is divided into three parts: Part 1 explains supporting research, Part 2 teaches “how to be gameful,” and Part 3 describes the games themselves. There are 45 “quests,” or mini-games, throughout, each providing a step-by-step process for building resilience, overcoming obstacles, and accomplishing goals. Some are physical exercises, such as the “Power Breath,” where a player must inhale for four seconds, then exhale for eight, for a total of five minutes, while other quests are more challenging thought experiments, for instance, the Alternate Universe quest, which asks players to imagine how they would spend their time if all their current worries were solved. While the book can be tedious and repetitive, the Superbetter game comes across as an appealingly playful approach to self-help and daily life improvement. Agent: Chris Parris-Lamb, the Gernert Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/20/2015
Release date: 09/15/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-00-810633-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-61176-432-1
Hardcover - 480 pages - 978-0-670-06954-5
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-14-319465-1
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-14-310977-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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