OCTOBER 8, 2015

CityU Library Reviews “SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games”

CityU Library Reviews “SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games”

Review by Sara Hatch, Library Technician

Library Technician, CityU Library
Sara Hatch, CityU Library

I’m a gamer, but I’m also an information nerd, which is why in 2010 when I watched Jane McGonigal’s TED talk on how gaming can make a better world, I immediately ran out and bought her first book, Reality is Broken.  Jane is a mesmerizing speaker and an interesting writer.  Even if you don’t buy into the idea that games are the answer to climate change, poverty, and disease, you will certainly learn something from reading her books.

SuperBetter, her second study in the power of games, evolved as the result of her own desire to create something to help her get through a traumatic brain injury.  Suffering from a concussion, Jane was experiencing pain, suicidal thoughts and severe depression.  Being a gamer and a game scholar, she of course turned to games to help her take back her life.  This book is the culmination of Jane’s last five years of researching how games support post-traumatic growth.

More than just a book, SuperBetter is a rule set to a game that teaches you what Jane learned in her quest to make herself better.  Filled with challenges, case studies, and research I found the book to be easy and fun to read.  The kind of book you can pick up and start anywhere.  There are over 45 quests designed to help you improve your physical, mental, social and emotional resilience, and a hefty bibliography full of the studies that show the ability of games to help us become better, stronger and happier.

SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games. 2015. McGonigal, Jane. 2015. New York, NY: Penguin Press. 466 pages. Check WorldCat.org to find a copy at the library closest to you.

Curriculum Connections

There are a variety of disciplines which might benefit from exploring the ideas discussed in SuperBetter.  Jane McGonigal’s focus on how games effect how we think and learn, her research into how amazing and resilient our brains are, and her lengthy bibliography would provide many potential topics of further research and would be valuable in many fields, especially counseling and education.

Related Resources

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CityU Library book reviews feature materials relevant to academic programs. Each review includes curriculum connections and a list of related resources.  We hope you enjoy learning and discovering new resources with us!


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