Read my books!

In the book on January 13, 2020 at 1:27 am

My new book Imaginable is here!

Pre-order a signed, personalized copy via Book Passage before March 22, 2022, and you’ll also get two tickets to my secret virtual book party — with special guests, games and the chance to just hang out together and ask me anything!

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(You can also order Imaginable from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or a local, independent bookstore via Bookshop.org. And for orders of 25+ copies, you can get up to a 40% discount via Porchlight! I’ll do a private book club meeting and imagination training for any group or organization that orders 100 copies – email me if you’re interested!)

Praise for Imaginable:

“Reading this book is like sitting down with a creative, optimistic friend—and getting up as a new version of yourself. Jane McGonigal has long been a visionary. Now she teaches the rest of us how to be one too.”

—Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of When and To Sell Is Human

“In challenging times, it can be tempting to put our heads in the sand. In Imaginable, futurist Jane McGonigal offers us her outstretched hand. McGonigal plows years of research and simulation into an actionable guide that proves that we are vastly more capable of building desirable solutions than we realize. Fueled by her conversational tone of ‘urgent optimism,’ McGonigal’s questions and challenges are a galvanizing, must-read road map to a sustainable, desired future for all who can imagine.”

—Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult

 “Jane McGonigal is unusually adept at anticipating events that most of us can’t even fathom. In this eye-opening, actionable book, she teaches you how to widen your peripheral vision, extend your imagination farther into the future, and conceive of the inconceivable.”

—Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

 “Imaginable is a delightful and actionable antidote to apocalypse: an invitation to play with the future as if it were limited by nothing but our own imaginative capacity. An inspiring read.”

—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock and Team Human

“In Imaginable, Jane McGonigal teaches us to bring soul-stirring imagination to our daily lives. As she persuasively demonstrates, imagination training is more than just a skill set: it’s a creativity boost, a mindset shift, and an emotional uplift all rolled up in one. The life-changing techniques you’ll learn in this science-packed book will help you choose your future and feel more in control of what happens next.”

—Nir Eyal, author of Hooked and Indistractable

 “Imaginable is more than a book, it’s a mindset upgrade. It teaches you to think more creatively and optimistically about what’s next. You’ll be excited about the future rather than fearful of it. Your brain will be on fire with new possibilities. And you’ll never call anything ‘unimaginable’ or ‘unthinkable’ again.”

—Peter H. Diamandis, MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Future Is Faster Than You Think

 “With Imaginable, Jane McGonigal has pulled off a rare and essential feat: she’s written a book filled with inspiring ideas about how the future might play out that also provides immediate, practical tools to help you think more creatively about how you can change that future yourself.”

—Steven Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Farsighted

 Imaginable is one of those rare and thrilling books that actually changes you. It translates scientific insights into psychological breakthroughs, giving you a new set of tools to feel more hopeful, more creative, more awake to your dreams for the future. It empowers you with what McGonigal calls a sense of ‘urgent optimism.’ It will help you transcend the present moment to realize your full potential and make a future that’s better for all.”

—Scott Barry Kaufman, psychologist and author of Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization and Wired to Create

“A unique and insightful look at how games and simulations can not only teach us about the past but give us a window into our future. Jane McGonigal’s work provides us with a whole new set of tools to make important decisions better, faster, and more transparently.”

 —Sid Meier, creator of Civilization

“Everyone should be imagining the future as a basic survival skill. This book is for everyone and is the only book I know of that will teach you the proven techniques that futurists use to forecast the future. It includes all the methods I use, and more. Do yourself a favor: Read this book.”

—Kevin Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Inevitable and Senior Maverick for Wired

And the very first major review is in, and it’s a rave! From Publishers Weekly: “Futurist and game designer McGonigal delivers an illuminating look at how imagining the future can help to change one’s own life while making a difference in the world. … Expertly blending practical advice and big-picture thinking, this is a stimulating guide to preparing for the future. Readers will be inspired to put their imaginations to use.Get your copy of Imaginable and upgrade your imagination now. And another rave, from Kirkus Review: “A fascinating book about how the future does not have to be an undiscovered country…. Some of the games she describes are for individuals, and some are for groups; the latter can be useful for team bonding, generating ideas, and, of course, having fun. The author includes a number of scenarios as the basis of gaming and discussion, but many readers will find that making up their own is even more enjoyable and productive. A wealth of interesting ideas combined with practical guidance for new thinking.”




I’ve also written two New York Times bestselling books, SuperBetter and Reality is Broken.

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Find out what other people are saying about SuperBetter… and then get your own copy and start your adventure today.

Get your copy of the New York Times bestselling book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World now.

“As addictive as Tetris, McGonigal’s penetrating, entertaining look into gaming culture is a vibrant mix of technology, psychology, and sociology, told with the vision of a futurist and the deft touch of a storyteller…. McGonigal makes an inspiring case for the way games can both enhance our personal happiness and help society.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Watch videos

In videos on January 10, 2020 at 7:06 am

“The game that can add 10 years to your life”

In my 2012 TED Global talk, I explain how games can boost our resilience, help us experience post-traumatic growth, and even give us 10 extra years of life.

“Gaming can make a better world”

The best hope we have for surviving the next century on this planet? Games. In this 20-minute TED talk, I explain why we need to achieve 21 billion hours of online gaming a week by the year 2020. That’ll be just an hour a day, every day, for half of the people on Earth…

“How to think like a futurist”
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In my 2016 SXSW keynote, I give a one-hour master class in how to think like a futurist. Why think about the future? To create something new, you have to be able to imagine how things can be different. And the future is a place where everything can be different. This talk, based on my work as Director of Game Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, is designed to prepare you to invent, innovate, create, make a change, make a difference. And, naturally, it ends in a massively-multiplayer forecasting game!
On the Colbert Report

In which I attempt to convince Stephen Colbert that playing games is the single most productive way to spend our time.

3 habits to think more creatively and optimistically about the future

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In this lesser-known TEDx talk for the 2017 Skoll Forum, I teach you 3 fun habits (mental challenges) you can use to strengthen the neurological pathways that allow us to think more creatively and optimistically about the future. I LOVE this talk, and not nearly enough of you have seen it… check it out!

“Blissful Productivity”

Throw out your to-do lists. This 45-minute School of Life sermon proposes a radically gameful way to get the most out of each day.

“Gamers tackle the world’s most urgent challenges”

7 minutes live on CNN news! This was a major epic win for me — and for the EVOKE game, which officially became the first alternate reality game in the genre’s ten-year history to make it on to live national news.

“How to unleash 10 positive emotions in 60 seconds of play”

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I was pleasantly surprised when TED decided to share this secret mini-game of Massively Multiplayer Thumb-Wrestling that I ran at TED Global 2013. Now you can learn how to give a hands-on demonstration of the top 10 positive emotions of gameplay.

Here are some my favorite podcasts I’ve done!

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The Joe Rogan Experience: Episode #694 Jane McGonigalaudio link and (video link)

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The Tim Ferriss Show: Episode 93: Jane McGonigal on Stressing Less and Getting More Done with Games – audio links and transcript!

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Oologies with Alie Ward: Ludology (The Study of Games) with Dr. Jane McGonigal – audio links and transcript!

Jane-McGonigal invest like the best

Invest Like the Best with Patrick O’Shaughnessy: How Games Make Life Better (audio links and show note)

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Meditative Stories: Exploring the alternate reality of your own life with Jane McGonigal

And here are a few of the favorite interviews I’ve done of all-time.

“I’m a Runner!” Runner’s World magazine (April 2012)

“Super Girl” Elle Magazine (June 2011)

“Gaming as a Spiritual Practice” for the Buddhist Geeks podcast (January 2011)

Watch more videos.

Achievements: Unlocked

In achievement: unlocked on January 9, 2020 at 9:14 pm

My #1 goal in life is to see a game designer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I’ve forecast that this will happen by the year 2023. Of course, it’s not enough to just forecast the future — I’m also actively working to make it a reality.

My best effort so far? SuperBetter, a game that has helped more than a million players so far tackle real-life health challenges like depression, anxiety, chronic pain and traumatic brain injury. (See the successful results of University of Pennsylvania’s randomized controlled trial of SuperBetter for depression, and learn more about our NIH-funded clinical trial of SuperBetter for rehabilitation, which showed that players of SuperBetter recovered from symptoms of concussion faster!) SuperBetter is used by professional athletes, children’s hospitals, substance recovery clinics and campus health centers worldwide. Since 2018, the SuperBetter app has been evaluated independently in multiple peer-reviewed scientific articles as the most effective app currently in the app store for treating depression and anxiety, and chronic pain,  and for having the best evidence-based design for health behavior change.

More recently, I launched the Ethical OS with the Institute for the Future. It’s a set of gameful tools to anticipate the unintended consequences of new technologies, so we can avoid social harms and protect humanity’s long-term wellbeing. Featured in Wired and on NPR, the Ethical OS has been downloaded more than 25,000 times and is currently in use by mayors, universities, start-up incubators, and leading Silicon Valley companies in a global, collaborative effort to make a better future – and not get blindsided by the tech we create. In 2020, the Ethical OS was recognized by the Technology and Public Purpose Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center as one of the most significant global projects to encourage sustainable, responsible innovation.

In the meanwhile, on the way to that epic win, there are plenty of other achievements to be earned. Here are a few I’ve unlocked so far:

New York Times Bestselling Author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter

Young Global Leader & Davos Speaker World Economic Forum 

“Top 100 Creative People in Business” Fast Company

“10 Most Powerful Women to Watch” Forbes

“20 Most Inspiring Women in the World” Oprah Winfrey for O Magazine

“10 Breakthrough Ideas in Science” New York Times 

“10 Best Keynote Speakers in the World” Fora TV

“20 Entrepreneurial Women to Watch” Entrepreneur Magazine

Top Ten Innovators to Watch” Business Week

“The Most Important 50 Game Developers” Game Developer Magazine

“The Ambassador Award” Women in Gaming for service to the Game Industry

“20 Most Important Women in Videogaming” Gamasutra

“Top 35 innovators changing the world through technology” MIT Technology Review

“Top 20 Breakthrough Ideas of the Year” Harvard Business Review

“Entertainment Breakthrough of the Year” World Technology Forum in association with CNN, Time and Fortune Magazine

#1 Social Impact Game of the Year Games for Change 

Most Important Futures Work of the Year Association of Professional Futurists

#1 Bright Idea of the Year BrandWeek

Activism Award from SXSW Interactive

Innovation Award from the International Game Developers Association

The Gaming Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences

Year in Review honors from The New York Times

And two unusual honors that I’m particularly proud of…

#1 Spot on the Annual List of Top Ten Sexy Geeks from Violet Blue (this is the geek equivalent of making People magazine’s most beautiful people issue, or Barbara Walter’s most intriguing people of the year!)

Ranked #16 All-Time Most Engaging TED talk.. and that’s one ahead of Bill Gates, who’s ranked at #17 🙂

And a couple  real-life achievements I couldn’t be more excited about…

Finisher, California International Marathon

Mom of twin girls

(Want my full bio?…)

(Check out the Secrets page for my most recent projects and research!)

TAKE A CLASS WITH ME ONLINE! Earn your certificate in Futures Thinking

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Do you want to think about the future with more creativity and optimism? Do you want to see what’s coming faster, so you can be better prepared for disruptions and more in control of your future? Do you want to get better at changing what’s possible today – in your company, your industry, your community, and in your own life? Take “Ready, Set, Future: Introduction to Futures Thinking” with me, Jane McGonigal, your professor on Coursera.

This course will introduce you to the practice of futures thinking, as developed and applied for the past 50 years by the Institute for the Future, a Silicon-Valley-based research and learning group founded in 1968. In this course, you’ll build your understanding of what futures thinking is and what you can do with it. You’ll master essential foresight techniques. You’ll meet some professional futurists. And you’ll choose one or more future topics you want to investigate with your new foresight skills. This course is for anyone who wants to spot opportunities for innovation and invention faster. You can gain the skills and confidence to help YOU become someone who makes the future, instead of letting the future happen to you. (Watch the video trailer and start learning now!)

My latest class on Coursera is Life After Covid-19: Get Ready for Our Post-Pandemic Future.

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jane at TED 2014

I work with the Leigh Bureau, and for the fastest response, you can contact them directly.

Fun fact about me: I’m the subject of a children’s book! It’s from the STEM Trailblazer Series, to inspire young people with life stories of innovators in science + tech. This makes me super super happy.

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