The Gift of Adversity

The Gift of Adversity

The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections

Book - 2013
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The noted research psychiatrist explores now life's disappointments and difficulties provide us with the lessons we need to become better, bigger, happier, and more resilient human beings. Adversity is an irreducible fact of life. Although we can and should learn from all experiences, both positive and negative, bestselling author Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, believes that adversity is by far the best teacher most of us will ever encounter. Whether the adversity one experiences results from just plain bad luck, poor decision-making, a desire to test one's mettle, Rosenthal maintains that our most important lessons - from the value of family to the importance of occasionally cutting corners - can best be learned from life's challenges. Running counter to society's current prevailing message that things should always run smoothly - or, at least, appear to - and that failure or mistakes of any sort are to be avoided at all costs, The Gift of Adversity shows that such setbacks are inevitable. Indeed, engaging with our own failures and defeats is one of the only ways we are able to live authentic and meaningful lives. The book illuminates how each different type of setback carries its own challenges and has the potential to yield its own form of wisdom. Using stories from his own life - including his childhood in apartheid-era South Africa, his years after suffering a violent attack from a stranger, and his career as a psychiatrist - as well as case studies and discussions with well-known figures like Viktor Frankl and David Lynch, Rosenthal shows that true innovation, emotional resilience, wisdom, and dignity can only come from confronting and understanding the adversity we have experienced. Even when life is hardest, there are meanings to be found, riches to be harvested, and gifts that can last a lifetime. Rosenthal illustrates his message through a series of compact, memorable chapters, each one drawn from episodes in the lives of his patients, colleagues, or himself, and concluded with a take-away maxim on the lesson learned. Early praise for The Gift of Adversity 'Dr. Rosenthal catalyzes conversations around adversity with tales of wisdom and survival that we can all treasure.' Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. 'Dr. Norm is a cosmonaut of consciousness, launching into 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 archaeologists as a Rosetta stone in understanding how we advance as individuals and as a culture.' Russell Brand, actor 'This charming book joins deep insights from psychoanalysis to the humane wisdom of a life fully lived. Rosenthal captures both the complexity of our emotions and the pragmatics needed to harness them, and he does so with humor and grace.' Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree 'Dr. Rosenthal presents an intriguing and inspiring work on th endless 'blessings in disguise' that shape our lives and our world. He shares frank personal experiences along with stories of others, including historical events on a global scale. He offers suggestions on how to navigate through rough patches in life and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit.' Laura Dern, actress 'In this timely and beautifully written work, renowned psychiatrist and bestselling author Norman Rosenthal tells intriguing stories that converge on an important theme - that many of life's greatest lessons and joys aren't the products of perfection, but the gifts of adversity. Each short chapter is its own delicious dish in a wonderful feast of a book.' Marci Shimoff, #1 New York Times -bestselling author, Happy for No Reason , Love for No Reason , and Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul 'Dr. Norman Rosenthal, the acclaimed psychiatric resear
Publisher: New York : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA), [2013]
ISBN: 9780399163715
Characteristics: xv, 334 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Sep 11, 2014

I agree completely with the critical review by the NY Journal of Books above, except for one thing. That reviewer refers to the author's use of nostrums, whereas I would simply call them platitudes. I grew very weary of the platitudes at the beginning of each chapter, platitudes that were not even particularly well used to develop the theme of each chapter, and despite trying to plough through to the end of the book, it was increasingly apparent that it would be same-old same-old, and not worth bothering to finish.


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