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, 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 into a game. What started as a simple motivational exercise became a set of rules she shared on her blog. These rules became a digital game, then an online portal and a major research study with the National Institutes of Health. Today more than 400,000 people have played SuperBetter to get happier and healthier.
But the 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 gameful mind-set. 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 situations.
McGonigal explores the best ways to harness these gameful skills in the real world not only to experience “posttraumatic growth,” but also to tackle positive life goals, achieving what she calls “postecstatic growth.” To show how, she shares stories and data from players who have followed the SuperBetter rules to get stronger, happier, and braver in the face of depression, anxiety, illness, and injury, as well as to achieve major goals like losing weight, running a marathon, or finding a new job.
The SuperBetter method contains seven rules for activating gameful strengths in everyday life, distilled from McGonigal’s own pioneering work and that of others. SuperBetter the book turns these rules into playful challenges anyone can undertake while reading in a series of quests that explain the science behind the benefits. Playing by the seven rules begins to yield life-changing benefits in a matter of days, and eventually they become an ingrained skill set.
As inspiring as it is down to earth, grounded in rigorous research, and powered by game design, SuperBetter is a proven game plan for a better life. You’ll never say that something is “just a game” again. Download and start listening now!