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Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success Hardcover – May 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Conversation with Author Rick Newman
Q: Why is resilience important in today’s Darwinian economy?
A: A lot of people are going to have a harder time getting ahead. It’s not necessarily their fault. Powerful forces such as globalization and the digital revolution are rapidly transforming the economy in ways we don’t completely understand yet. Here’s what we do know: Many of the old rules no longer apply, and there will be new classes of winners and losers. Better resilience allows people to recover faster from setbacks and stay confident while taking risks. It helps you become bold, without being reckless. It’s just the kind of edge people need today.

Q: What is the science behind resilience?
A: We develop resilience the way we develop athletic or academic skills: By practicing and getting better at it. Here’s the catch: Most people don’t want to fail, and parents in particular don’t want their kids to fail. So we’re programmed to avoid failure. To some extent, that’s a mistake. The good news, if you will, is that some sort of failure is inevitable for most people. So when it happens, it’s important to acknowledge it and learn from it. Researchers think of this in terms of building blocks: Learning how to recover from small setbacks, even as children, helps us build the reflexes and durability that will allow us to overcome bigger setbacks in the future. The vital thing is to recognize failure as a learning opportunity and not hide it, deny it or pretend it didn’t happen.

Q: What are some examples of people who have turned setbacks into success?
A: One of the things I discovered while writing this book is that many successful people have endured some kind of significant failure. These crucible moments often provide insights that open the door to success later on. Many of the titans we consider landmark Americans, such as Ben Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, experienced serious setbacks along the way. They became indomitable because they learned how to stumble and recover.

It’s not just a historical phenomenon. In the book, I profile a dozen contemporary Americans whose failures helped make them successful. Tim Westergren was a burned-out musician when he got the idea for the Pandora Internet radio site, and realized it might be a way for struggling bands like the one he had been in to connect with new listeners they wouldn’t find any other way. As a player early in his baseball career, Joe Torre struggled with weak confidence and a raft of personal problems. But that later gave him a unique ability to manage the complex personalities on a team like the New York Yankees (not to mention the combative owner, George Steinbrenner), and turn them into world champions. Many of the people we envy and admire are far more familiar with failure than you’d ever guess.

Q: What are some modern misconceptions of success?
A: There’s a familiar slogan, “failure is not an option.” But that’s for amateurs; true achievers know that failure is often an option if you’re trying to do something difficult. Here’s another one: “Follow your bliss,” popularized by the mythologist Joseph Campbell and millions of baby boomers who sort of misunderstood what he was saying. Baby boomers made it trendy to seek passion in your career. Sounds great, but many people have followed their passion straight into a career dead-end because they didn’t think about what might go wrong. Passion alone usually isn’t enough.

You often hear people talk about optimism as if simply looking on the sunny side will lead to riches. But optimism can be dangerous if it leads to a blind belief that things will work out with no need for extra effort. Resilient people believe they have the power to make their lives better, but they believe that because they’ve learned how to anticipate what could go wrong and developed “rebounding” skills they can summon when they need to. They’re not blind-sided by setbacks. Anticipating them helps surmount them. The best optimism comes from gaining experience at bouncing back.

Q: Is an American renaissance possible?
A: Many Americans feel a frustrating sense of decline, which I think is legitimate. I also think it’s reversible—but it’s going to take a newfound self-sufficiency to turn things around. New government policies won’t do it. Traditional safety nets will probably get weaker, not stronger. Anybody waiting for somebody else to solve his/her problems will be waiting a long time. But people who learn to channel the bootstrap ruggedness of the nation’s great achievers still face a very promising future. And self-sufficiency is a core virtue possessed by Rebounders. That’s why Rebounders will be the vanguard of the American renaissance.


Advance praise for Rebounders
“What an exciting, refreshing, and desperately needed book! Our culture tends to ‘pretty up’ the logic of success. But what really separates winners from losers, legends from laggards, is not a stroke of genius or unbounded ambition: It’s the capacity to bounce back from life’s inevitable setbacks. In Rebounders, Rick Newman draws a set of powerful insights from a collection of masterfully told stories and teaches all of us how to become more resilient in the face of adversity—and thus more likely to succeed. Bravo!”—William C. Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company and author of Practically Radical
“There are many guides to success. Rebounders is a standout because it teaches one of the hardest and most valuable things anybody can learn: how to make the most of your setbacks and even turn them to your advantage. This uplifting and entertaining book is a great read for strivers, entrepreneurs, and anybody eager to get ahead in these challenging times.”—Jane Bryant Quinn, author of Making the Most of Your Money Now
“If the idea of failure makes you wither, read this book. If you want to know how to fail better, read this book. Only a Rebounder like Rick Newman could clarify these lessons. And only a journalist like Rick Newman could write about them with such clarity.”—Erik Proulx, filmmaker of Lemonade and Lemonade: Detroit
Rebounders is a great read. Rick Newman reveals some powerful perspectives and gives some outstanding examples of people who have learned from their past and created a successful present. This book is full of valuable knowledge; read it and reap the benefits!”—Keith Cameron Smith, author of The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees
“Business platitudes are a dime a dozen. By contrast, Rebounders shares a dozen remarkably instructive and specific stories of resilience in action. Rick Newman gives us all a road map to success.”—Sydney Finkelstein, Steven Roth Professor of Management, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and author of Why Smart Executives Fail

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345527836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345527837
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By eCognition VINE VOICE on March 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The lessons you'll learn are not worth the time you'll have to spend reading someone else's history. Many of the people spoken about have uninteresting histories to begin with, which makes reading the next profile even less exciting, especially when the chapter headlines promise so much, yet, deliver so little. There is simply too much fluff for a book that promises to show you how winners pivot from setback to success (a better title would have been "how certain winners have pivoted from setback to success, as the current title suggests some sort of general formula for life that can duplicate these individuals' successes) The only stories that I personally found interesting were Thomas Edison's and Reed Hasting's, and that's only because I'm typing this under a light and about to add a dvd to my Netflix queue. The lessons that are learned can be had with any simple Google search using a simple search phrase such as "lessons for entrepreneurs" or "lessons for innovators". Pick the top 1 or 2 blogs on entrepreneurial success and there you go. Now, any sort of information can be had the same way, and yet books distilling lessons are still being written and read; however, if you're going to write a book about simple lessons, then the lives of those profiled had better be extraordinary, or you're just putting people to sleep.

If you're just starting your journey into finding out what makes individual's successful, your money is best spent elsewhere, especially given the unjustified (unless you consider the freedom to price a product however you want, justifiable) high retail price for the book).
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Reader from Washington, DC on February 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was disappointed by this book. It has interesting stories and interviews with well-known achievers who have made comebacks or rebounded from bad situations, but I couldn't see how I was to transfer insights from their stories to my own life.

I had little in common with many of the businessmen and sports figures the author interviewed. There were only two chapters, the first one and the last one, which tried to systematize the insights of all of the inteviewees into general principles, and the principles were very vague. Advice such as rebounders "compartmentalize emotions" is not helpful.

I also wasn't happy with the author's reaction to the losses of jobs among his friends due to the current recession. He sympathetically describes hardworking middle class people who were evicted from their homes, had to ask for help with their debts or have ended up in shelters, but assures us that those who aren't coping well are "Wallowers" and that the "Rebounders" will do better. Well, gee, let's kick people while they are down!

If the author is serious about helping the "Wallowers," I'd suggest not calling them a derogatory name, and providing less detail in the biographies of interviewees and more principles and techniques from the Rebounders' achievements that readers can integrate into their own lives.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Haggard TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is one of those that seems like it's for someone who just go laid off, demoted, fired, passed over for a raise, etc. Truth is a few years back I was laid off after spending years working for a company that one day just shut down. At the time I was very out of it, I didn't know where to go. Sure I was applying for jobs like crazy and trying to stay positive but it was hard. And I don't believe being in that situation reading this book would have helped me at all. I say that to say I don't feel this book is one of those you should read if these events happened to you. It's my own personal opinion.

This book talks about trials we all go through at one point or another. It talks to you about how to look at the negative when it happens and use it for your advantage. But in my view it does so in a way that you can only appreciate when you aren't in that situation.

So what did I really like about the book? It uses real life examples of others to put it's points across. Sure I've never heard of these people but that doesn't matter. And there are chapters that are important everyone read and understand, like the chapter on "When to quit." It talks about how miserable you can be and if you don't realize it your work is impacted. People need to like what they do and if they don't you need to analyze your situation and see what you need to change. It also talks about what to do when you work your hardest, and it still doesn't pay off, which is unfortunate but true.

This is a good book, I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't classify it as one of those critical books on success everyone should read. There is an audience for this, if you like the description then get it, if you don't think you'd be interested after reading the description of the book then you most likely will be bored as you read through the chapters.

Buy / Try / or Don't Buy?

I'd say try it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns VINE VOICE on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I think this book is a perfect follow up to Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers". While "Outliers" shows the amazing stories of how the best in the world get that way through 10,000 hours of practice, coaching, passion, and feedback, "Rebounders" show how people make it when they spend those hours and years in preparation but then fail for whatever reason and have to make a comeback to win. These are not fairy tales these are the stories of ten, sometimes twenty years of hard work, hope, and dedication that end in failure. How these rebounders take what they learn and turn around and become huge successes are just amazing stories to read. The huge winners in life did not get there easily and they weren't born that way, they put in the time and made it happen. They believed in their self when hardly anyone else did.

The nine attributes of rebounders:

1. They accept failure but it does not define them, they learn and try again. This time more wise than the last time.
2. They compartmentalize emotions by not blaming themselves but understanding the facts of the situation.
3. They have a bias toward action by constantly doing things that move them toward their goals.
4. They change their minds sometimes, they know when to go in new directions to achieve their dreams.
5. They prepare for things to go wrong instead of just going naively toward their goals they are ready to make adjustments as needed.
6. They're comfortable with discomfort, they will accept hard times to get to where they want to be.
7. They're willing to wait, they patiently improve each day setting themselves up for that big goal to be achieved in the future.
8. They have heroes that inspire them to be better than they are now and give them the hope of achieving their dreams.
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