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Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success Paperback – April 28, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Turns out surviving the most dangerous situations has some good lessons we can use to learn how to be resilient in everyday life.” (Time magazine online)

“This summer’s Big Idea book!” (Bloomberg Businessweek)

“An inspirational read that’s rooted in hard science.” (People)

“Fascinating. . . . ultimately, we discover our ability to deal with unforeseen challenges and realize the remarkable potential of the human spirit.” (Diane Dreher, Ph.D., Psychology Today)

“If you read Feldman and Kravetz, you will come away inspired and more attuned to the factors that influence resilience?including religious faith, the ability to forgive, and awareness of mortality.” (Harvard Business Review)

“Hope for the endurance of the human spirit in the face of tragedy. Artfully described . . . intensely powerful . . . riving . . . uplifting!” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A charming and thoughtful mix of scientific thought and anecdotal evidence.” (Mindful Magazine)

“Supersurvivors is a book you should uncover.” (Houston Style Magazine Online)

“Supersurvivors might well be a how-to manual on taking adversity and turning it into an advantage. As I read it, I kept thinking: I wish I’d had this book ten years ago!” (Aron Ralston, survivor, speaker, author, and subject of the film 127 Hours)

Supersurvivors provides the contemporary science about the biology of hope that is vital for all of us-all of us-as we daily confront challenge big and small, real and imagined.” (Walter M. Bortz, II M.D., Clinical Professor of Medicine, Stanford University, and author of The Roadmap to 100)

“It’s rare to find a book that appeals so well to both the head and the heart. Marrying eye-opening stories with thought-provoking science, Feldman and Kravetz open a powerful window into a world of forgiveness and hope.” (Frederic Luskin, Ph.D., author of Forgive for Good and Director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project)

“Just surviving suffering is a form of success. But these people have done more than survive, and their stories are worth your time. One day you may need what they have.” (Linda Ellerbee, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning Journalist, TV Producer, and New York Times best-selling author)

“Supersurvivors is a brilliant rethinking of the consequences of trauma. This book will change the meaning we give to survival, both for individuals and for our culture as a whole.” (Ethan Watters, Author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche)

“This is a blockbuster that every leader, parent, doctor, teacher, student, coach, and caregiver needs to read. I can’t remember the last time I was so fascinated and moved by a book-let alone one grounded in science.” (Adam Grant, Professor at the Wharton School of Business, and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take)

“Supersurvivors dares to ask, ‘How, really, do we heal?’ From real case studies and hard science, the answers it finds shake the foundations of the way we conceive recovery.” (Po Bronson, New York Times bestselling author of NurtureShock)

From the Back Cover

We all face setbacks, losses, and adversity in life. More than four billion of us will even survive a trauma. Most will eventually bounce back. But some people do more: they bounce forward. These are the supersurvivors—people who not only rebuild their lives but grow in ways never previously imagined. Beginning where resilience ends, David B. Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz look beyond traditional psychology for a deeper understanding of the strength of the human spirit. What they find flies in the face of conventional wisdom—that positive thinking may hinder more than help; that perceived support can be just as good as the real thing; and that realistic expectations may be a key to great success.

Weaving stories of extraordinary people with the latest scientific findings, Feldman and Kravetz offer an emotionally compelling and thought-provoking look at what is possible in the face of adversity. Supersurvivors resets our thinking about how to deal with our own challenges, no matter how big or small.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Wave; Reprint edition (April 28, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062267868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062267863
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disclaimer - I am the mother of one of the Supersurvivors profiled in this book, so of course I love it. But more than that, the authors have put into words to some thoughts I have had about "positive thinking".

When my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, many well-meaning people tried to encourage her and our family with kind words - "She can beat this!" "She will be fine! Just stay positive." "God doesn't give us anything we can't handle". And so on. I generally did not find statements of this type either helpful or inspiring.

This is not to deny being positive, certainly that is helpful in recovery, but more helpful is the concept the authors identify as "grounded hope". As they point out, grounded hope is more pessimistic than positive thinking, but more realistic than pessimism. The authors acknowledge the suffering of those who experience trauma (which will be the majority of us at some time or another), but the focus of this book is learning from the experiences of a sampling of those who revolutionized their own lives or the world around them as a result of that trauma.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a therapist who treats people who have suffered from major traumas, I am always in awe of the resilience of people. I am curious why some people recover better than others and work to help those who have been so badly hurt. In a clear and cogent style the authors alternate between the research they have studied and their interviews with supersurvivors. The shifting between science and personal stories kept my interest. I did not want to put the book down.
Many of the myths they examine such as positive thinking and then replace with grounded, realistic hope are in line with what I see in my practice. I was intrigued by the concept of perceived support, realizing that support may be available but not absorbed and how small but steady support received can make such a difference. A truly fascinating read.
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Format: Hardcover
Author/psychologists David B. Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz have placed before the general reading public a book that tackles some of those life questions we all face, separate out individuals who have survived seemingly impossible odds, and use their work with these people to probe the arena of `supersurvivors' and in doing so negate some old misunderstood perception and myths about what makes people able to make the most out of a hopeless situation.

To get us to the point of understanding the effects of trauma of the psyche and the physical body they offer information form several fine experts; Judith Herman is quoted: `At the moment of trauma the victim is rendered helpless by an overwhelming force. When the force is that of nature, we speak of disasters. When the force is that of other human beings, we speak of atrocities. Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life.'

The manner in which they describe the feats of some people who have endured severe hardships and why is enlightening. They also apply the findings of interviewing the `giants' of success by relating the information to daily living. `Successful people fail a lot, but they try a lot, too. When things don't work they move on until an idea does work. Survivors and great entrepreneurs have this in common.' They describe the halo effect and other aspects of phenomena that affect the manner in which the well discussed supersurvivors have functioned.

Toward book's end they state `Throughout this book we've seen that the otherwise destructive forces of trauma can sometimes initiate dramatic positive transformation. But is it really necessary to suffer in order to experience this magnitude of change?
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Format: Hardcover
Yes, those stories of survival are impressive in and of themselves but a book of them written in this haphazard way failed to showcase the supposed point of the book. The link between suffering and success is too subjective to measure. With no real definition of success even offered by the authors, one can conclude that some of the places the subjects ended up after they experienced their trauma would not be considered successful by everyone. Stories were started, dropped, then picked up again in a vain attempt to get the point across where no point existed. Disappointing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you've ever endured anything life changing you need to read this. If you find that there are things that made sense that don't anymore you need to read this book.
Not only is the material highly relatable but it's also a very well written book. I am gifting it to my friends because this information is very relevant. So often we dismiss life events as just that not realizing what's happened to us internally. This book helped clarify so much for me about my life, the choices I've made along the way and what I'd watched others around me go through. I'm a better person for this book.
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The book starts out just fine. Lots of good information on how suffering and trauma makes some people stronger. But it doesn't take long before you find yourself reading short stories that most people can't identify with. The book veers off by talking about some very controversial characters. Suddenly you find yourself in a chapter talking about end of life and death. The book gets way off the subject. I personally found little or no information on the process that theses people went through to become Supersurvivors. If you enjoy reading short success stories you might find this interesting. If you are seeking the process these people go through to be successful then save your money. Tittle is deceiving.
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