“Hundreds of thousands of people have had their lives changed by Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter program, and I see why. It’s a marriage of positive psychology with pioneering insights from cutting-edge game design. This is a plan for profound growth in the face of whatever challenges life throws at you – and whatever ones you can throw at yourself.” – Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit
Check out what others have to say about SUPERBETTER the book, and then join the movement (and the fun!) by pre-ordering it now!
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“Don’t we all want to be better than before? If fact, we’d like to be super better! Jane McGonigal’s fascinating, ground-breaking approach shows how ‘living gamefully’ can help us lead happier, healthier, more engaged lives.” – Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project
“Many of us struggle to overcome challenges that seem overwhelming. Jane McGonigal has taken her immense knowledge of the science of gaming to create an 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
“At the heart of SUPERBETTER is a simple and potentially transformative idea: We can use the same psychological strengths we display when we play games to confront real-life challenges, whether it’s illness, injury, or just changing our habits for the better. Grounded in research and informed by McGonigal’s own sometimes harrowing experiences, this book will make you stop and think, then get you to act.” – Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind.
“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. To become stronger, braver, and happier, you have to ‘play with a purpose.’ And if you don’t know what that means, get ready… you will.” – Stacy London, host What Not to Wear and author of The Truth About Style
“In this dazzling manifesto, Jane McGonigal knits together state-of-the-art research, moving anecdotes, and extremely satisfying mini-challenges to show us how games—video and otherwise—hold the key to a more productive, joyous life. A game designer by training and an empath by nature, McGonigal uses every power-up at her disposal to convince her audience that the very tools we deploy in imaginary worlds can be used to overcome struggles in everyday life. The result is a candy-crushing, genre-slaying read, for which fans will surely be sending her gratitude notes for years to come.” – Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun
“SUPERBETTER is an amazing book that fuses psychology and play in an revelatory way. With a wonderfully encouraging writing style, Jane morphs the tropes of gaming into an empowering tool set for change. SUPERBETTER is impeccably researched, extremely accessible, and sure to inspire gamers and non-gamers to adopt gameful techniques into their day-to-day lives. The sword of self-improvement never seemed easier to wield against the monsters lurking in one’s mind!” – Felicia Day, creator of Geek and Sundry and author of You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
“SUPERBETTER delivers mind-boggling, science-supported, health-promoting knowledge and practical steps to bring more well-being into your life in a fun and engaging way, even if you are facing epic challenges like anxiety, depression, traumatic brain injury, or medical illness. Visionary innovator and researcher Jane McGonigal provides the proof and the practices that reveal how living a ‘gameful’ life can help you get personally stronger, closer to others, clearer in your mind, braver in your actions, and a greater hero in your own unfolding life story. SUPERBETTER is a playful, hands-on manual immersing you directly in challenges and adventures of creative gaming to develop more flexibility and resilience as you transform your life.” – Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine and author of Mindsight
“You can’t think your way out of a problem, but you can work your way out of a problem. SUPERBETTER shows us that it’s also possible, and maybe even healthier, to play your way out of a problem. Especially if you’re a silly person, like me or Stephen Hawking.” – Rob Delaney, comedian and author of Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage.
“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, CEO, Silicon Valley strategist and author of The New How
“Jane McGonigal is easily one of the most innovative thinkers in gaming today. In SUPERBETTER, she reveals to the world a great secret that avid game players kept for years: games are not a waste of your time; they can make you stronger, happier and more mindful. Reading this book is a compelling quest for anyone – whether you play games regularly, or you just have an open mind about them.” – Asi Burak, President of Games for Change
““This book is a wise and compassionate distillation of a wealth of good research about the psychology and neuroscience of resilience and social support, married to a game framework that itself comes out of rigorous new science into the psychology and neuroscience of gaming. SuperBetter has been studied in action by the University of Pennsylvania and the National Institutes of Health, among others, and the facts are incontrovertible: following the SuperBetter rules makes people happier, more satisfied, less controlled by suffering, and stronger in their relationships with others. It really works.” – Amy Cuddy, associate professor at Harvard Business School and author of Presence
“Masterfully written and well researched, SUPERBETTER is literally a game-changer for anybody looking to build resilience in their lives. Though today’s rapidly evolving world can often seem overwhelming, McGonigal offers an important and timely roadmap to take back control of our own lives and focus on what really matters.” – Marc Goodman, author of Future Crimes and Chair for Policy, Law & Ethics at Singularity University
“SUPERBETTER gives you a simple, specific, potent strategy for becoming psychologically stronger: the regular, purposeful use of games in your everyday life. Based on cutting-edge science, it will overturn many assumptions you may have made about games. And the real kicker is that the writing style of Jane McGonigal is a game in itself!” – Todd Kashdan, professor of psychology at George Mason University, and author of The Upside of Your Dark Side
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Visionary game designer Jane McGonigal reveals how we can harness the power of games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness.
More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one. According to world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.
Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, Reality Is Broken uncovers how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy and utilized these discoveriesto astonishing effect in virtual environments. Videogames consistently provide the exhilarating rewards, stimulating challenges, and epic victories that are so often lacking in the real world. But why, McGonigal asks, should we use the power of games for escapist entertainment alone? Her research suggests that gamers are expert problem solvers and collaborators because they regularly cooperate with other players to overcome daunting virtual challenges, and she helped pioneer a fast-growing genre of games that aims to turn gameplay to socially positive ends.
In Reality Is Broken, she reveals how these new alternate reality games are already improving the quality of our daily lives, fighting social problems such as depression and obesity, and addressing vital twenty-first-century challenges-and she forecasts the thrilling possibilities that lie ahead. She introduces us to games like World Without Oil, a simulation designed to brainstorm-and therefore avert- the challenges of a worldwide oil shortage, and Evoke, a game commissioned by the World Bank Institute that sends players on missions to address issues from poverty to climate change.
McGonigal persuasively argues that those who continue to dismiss games will be at a major disadvantage in the coming years. Gamers, on the other hand, will be able to leverage the collaborative and motivational power of games in their own lives, communities, and businesses. Written for gamers and nongamers alike, Reality Is Brokenshows us that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games.
About the Author
Jane McGonigal is the director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times; and on MTV, CNN, and NPR. In 2009, BusinessWeek called her one of the ten most important innovators to watch, and Fast Company named her one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. In 2010, Oprah Magazine chose her as one of the twenty most inspiring women in the world. She has given keynote addresses at TED, South by Southwest Interactive, and the Game Developers Conference and was a featured speaker at The New Yorker Conference. She has a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in performance studies & games research.
Advance Praise for the Book
“Reality Is Broken will both stimulate your brain and stir your soul. Once you read this remarkable book, you’ll never look at games—or yourself—quite the same way.”—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
“The path to becoming happier, improving your business, and saving the world might be one and the same: understanding how the world’s best games work. Think learning about Halo can’t help your life or your company? Think again.”— Tim Ferriss, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek
“Jane McGonigal’s uncanny vision and snappy writing give all of us a plausible glimpse of a positive human future, and how gaming—of all things—will take us there.”—Martin Seligman, author of Flourish and Authentic Happiness
“Wonder why we love games? McGonigal has written the best take yet on the deep joys of play — and how to use that force for good. Reality is Broken is a rare beast: A book that’s both philosophically rich and completely practical. It will change the way you see the world.” —Clive Thompson, contributing writer for Wired and The New York Times Magazine
“Reality Is Broken is the most eye-opening book I read this year. With awe-inspiring expertise, clarity of thought, and engrossing writing style, Jane McGonigal cleanly exploded every misconception I’ve ever had about games and gaming. If you thought that games are for kids, that games are squandered time, or that games are dangerously isolating, addictive, unproductive, and escapist, you are in for a giant surprise!”—Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want
“The world has no shortage of creative people with interesting ideas. What it lacks are people who can apply them in ways that really make a difference, and inspire others to do the same. Jane McGonigal is the rare person who delivers on both. Once you start thinking about games as ‘happiness engines’, and the ways that our lives, our schools, our businesses, and our communities can become more ‘gameful’—more fulfilling, more engaging, and more productive—you’ll see possibilities for changing the real world that you’d never imagined.”—Tony Hsieh, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Delivering Happiness and C.E.O. of Zappos.com, Inc.
“Jane McGonigal’s groundbreaking research offers a surprising solution to how we can build stronger communities and collaborate at extreme scales: by playing bigger and better games. And no one knows more about how to design world-changing games than McGonigal. Reality Is Broken is essential reading for anyone who wants to play a hand in inventing a better future.”—Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
“Forget everything you know, or think you know, about online gaming. Like a blast of fresh air, Reality is Broken blows away the tired stereotypes and reminds us that the human instinct to play can be harnessed for the greater good. With a stirring blend of energy, wisdom and idealism, Jane McGonigal shows us how to start saving the world one game at a time.”—Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slowness and Under Pressure
“Jane McGonigal’s work has helped define a new medium, one that blends reality and fantasy and puts the lie to the idea that there is such a thing as ‘fiction’—we live every story we experience and we become every game we play. Her insights in Reality Is Broken have the elegant, compact, deadly simplicity of plutonium, and the same explosive force.”—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and co-editor, Boing Boing