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Overheard: What people are saying about Reality is Broken…

In Reviews on February 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm

“As a nongamer, avowed Luddite and mother of a 7-year-old who is mesmerically attracted to anything with a screen, I was skeptical about the message in “Reality Is Broken.” But Jane McGonigal is worth hearing out — her point in this provocative manifesto is that the energy and devotion that gamers pour into video games is a powerful force and that we are fools if we fail to harness it. Instead of dismissing games as frivolous entertainment or trying to unplug our children, we should take a close look at what games provide and figure out how to make reality as exciting and rewarding — as “gameful” — as the virtual world. […] I may be a Luddite, but I’m not obtuse. McGonigal marshals convincing evidence in smart and snappy prose, delivered in an old-fashioned book for techno-peasants such as me.”

— Los Angeles Time book review

“Jane McGonigal’s new book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World is destined to be one of the most influential works about videogames ever published.”

— review by Ian Bogost, PhD, professor of game design & research at Georgia Tech, and founder of Persuasive Games

“If the world of gaming seems alien to you, this book will crack it wide open. For experienced gamers, it will likely inspire you to play – or even invent – better, more meaningful games. […] And as with a good computer game, anyone, regardless of gaming experience, is likely to get sucked in.” –

review in The New Scientist

“We anticipate Reality Is Broken will do for gaming culture what Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog did for the counterculture sustainability movement of the sixties, reining in a new kind of collective awareness and mainstream reverence for a practical ideology that will shape the course of culture for decades to come.

— review on BrainPickings

“McGonigal’s idea-stuffed book will be raided by game designers looking to create better games.”

— review on Slate.com

“Reading Reality Is Broken I often found myself cheering along with the “epic wins” documented in the book, ready to proudly declare, ‘We can do this! We can make the world better, if only a little bit!’ Reading this book feels good: don’t be surprised if you catch yourself grinning from ear to ear a few times each chapter.”

— review on Wired.com

“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

“People who spend hours playing video or online games are often maligned for “wasting their time” or “not living in the real world,” but McGonigal argues persuasively and passionately against this notion in her eminently effective examination of why games are important […]. With so many people playing games, this comprehensive, engaging study is an essential read.”

Booklist review

Want to see what Daniel Pink, Tim Ferriss, Tony Hsieh, Martin Seligman, Jimmy Wales, and more have to say about the book? Check out their responses to Reality is Broken...

Publisher Weekly starred review for Reality is Broken: “As addictive as Tetris…”

In Reviews on November 22, 2010 at 7:38 am

(starred review) Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
Jane McGonigal, Penguin Press, $26.95 (390p) ISBN 978-1-59420-285-8
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. For the nearly 183 million Americans who will spend an average of 13 hours a week playing games, McGonigal’s book is a welcome validation of their pursuits. But for those who don’t understand, or who may worry that our growing preoccupation with games is detrimental to society and culture, McGonigal argues persuasively that games are in fact improving us. “Game design isn’t just technological craft,” she argues, “it’s a 21st Century way of thinking and leading.” And games, she argues, particularly the new wave of Alternative Reality Games, are not about escapism but a powerful new form of collaboration and community building. The book moves effortlessly from Herodotus to Halo, stitching together an intellectually stimulating view of human culture past, present, and future. And while not downplaying the potential for negative consequences, such as “gamer addiction,” McGonigal makes an inspiring case for the way games can both enhance our personal happiness and help society. (Jan.)

(Order Reality is Broken in the US or in the UK.)

Praise for the book

In Reviews on November 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Reality is Broken is now a New York Times Bestseller!

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 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.”—Tony Hsieh, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Delivering Happiness and C.E.O. of Zappos.com, Inc.

“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

“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

“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

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

“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 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

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