Best-selling author and psychiatrist Rosenthal begins this inspirational book with a quotation from Shakespeare’s As You Like It: Sweet are the uses of adversity. It is his belief, expressed over and over again here, that one cannot navigate life successfully without experiencing and overcoming adversity. The trick, he insists, is to find something of value in the experience. In this way, he maintains, we can become stronger people if we learn from our mistakes and misfortunes. He divides adversity into three broad categories: the adversity that comes from bad luck; the adversity we bring about ourselves; and the adversity that we seek out, whether taking a calculated risk on something or setting off on an adventure. Rosenthal also offers methods and techniques to overcome adversity, including practicing meditation, developing healthy habits, and talking and writing about traumatic experiences, from the Holocaust to lesser evils (scams, grudges, the loss of dreams). Each chapter concludes with a reflection: Life is precious but precarious: treat it with the care and respect it deserves. Plenty of food for thought. --June Sawyers
Winner of the 2014 Nautilus Award represents “Better Books for a Better World”—the Silver Award in the category of Heroic Journeys.
"Dr. Rosenthal catalyzes conversations around adversity with tales of wisdom and survival that we can all treasure.” –Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.
“Insightful . . . could help many of us cope with life’s inevitable obstacles . . . The book’s titular message—that adversity can be a gift—is especially relevant now.”
—Jane Brody, The New York Times
"Will help you see the value in your struggles...Arguing that personal growth can’t happen without setbacks, Norman Rosenthal challenges readers to re-interpret adversity as a key element of empathy, maturity, and success." —New York Daily News
“Rosenthal captures both the complexity of our emotions and the pragmatics needed to harness them.” —Andrew Solomon
“I really loved Dr Rosenthal’s book… adversity can be a great teacher” —David Lynch
“Norman Rosenthal is a psychiatrist with a special talent for turning research evidence into practical advice.”
—Peter D. Kramer, M.D, Bestselling author of Listening to Prozac
“Dr. Norm is cosmonaut of consciousness, launching into the the murky abyss and returning with meteoric treasures for us all. His writing on the value of adversity may come to be regarded by Alien archeologists as a Rosetta Stone in understanding how we advance as individuals and as a culture.”
“In addition to being one of our nation’s more respected psychiatrists, Dr. Norman Rosenthal has a wonderful ability to translate complex scientific information into language that is clear, concise, and practical.”
—Jerilyn Ross, Founder of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America and author of Triumph Over Fear
“In this timely and beautifully written work, renowned psychiatrist and best-selling author, Norman Rosenthal, tells intriguing stories that converge on an important theme -- that many of life's greatest lessons and joys are not the products of perfection, but the gifts of adversity.”
—Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author of Happy for No Reason
“If you've ever wondered what a world-class psychiatrist really thinks when pondering his life journey, then read The Gift of Adversity.”
—Pam Peeke M.D., WebMD Chief Lifestyle Expert
"Rosenthal's story is an interesting one: from growing up Jewish in apartheid-era Johannesburg to struggling through med school, surviving a brutal stabbing, serving as a medical officer in the South African Army, getting caught up in a Ponzi scheme, and navigating the politics of Columbia University and the National Institute of Mental Health, his exploits are consistently engaging."
"Rosenthal is best known for having defined “the syndrome of seasonal affective disorder,” a winter depression caused by diminished daylight, and pioneering the use of artificial bright light to ameliorate its effect. Rosenthal makes a convincing connection between lessons learned from his personal experiences and contemplation of the lives of heroic figures."