Synopses & Reviews
An acclaimed journalist examines how games can help us learn, create, and innovate in any kind of business.
If youve ever found yourself engrossed in Angry Birds, Call of Duty, or a plain old crossword puzzle when you should have been doing something more productive, you know how easily games hold our attention. Hardcore gamers have spent the equivalent of 5.93 million years playing World of Warcraft while the world collectively devotes about 5 million hours per day to Angry Birds. A colossal waste of time? Perhaps. But what if we could tap into all the energy, engagement, and brainpower that people are already expending and use it for more creative and valuable pursuits?
Harnessing the power of games sounds like a New-Age fantasy, or at least a fad thats only for hip start-ups run by millennials in Silicon Valley. But according to Adam L. Penenberg, the use of smart game design in the workplace and beyond is taking hold in every sector of the economy, and the companies that apply it are witnessing unprecedented results. Gamification” isnt just for consumers chasing reward points anymore. Its transforming, well, just about everything.
Penenberg explores how, by understanding the way successful games are designed, we can apply them to become more efficient, come up with new ideas, and achieve even the most daunting goals. He shows how game mechanics are being applied to make employees happier and more motivated, improve worker safety, create better products, and improve customer service.
For example, Microsoft has transformed an essential but mind-numbing taskdebugging softwareinto a game by having employees compete and collaborate to find more glitches in less time. Meanwhile, Local Motors, an independent automaker based in Arizona, crowdsources designs from car enthusiasts all over the world by having them compete for money and recognition within the community. As a result, the company was able to bring a cutting-edge vehicle to market in less time and at far less cost than the Big Three automakers.
These are just two examples of companies that have tapped the characteristics that make games so addictive and satisfying. Penenberg also takes us inside organizations that have introduced play at work to train surgeons, aid in physical therapy, translate the Internet, solve vexing scientific riddles, and digitize books from the nineteenth century. Drawing on the latest brain science as well as his firsthand reporting from these cutting-edge companies, Penenberg offers a powerful solution for businesses and organizations of all stripes and sizes.
"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"A veteran educator's uplifting account of how he introduced schoolchildren to global problems through a visionary game that charged them with saving the world . . . Inspired, breath-of-fresh-air reading." — Kirkus Reviews
"At a time when school systems have completely lost focus on what really matters, John Hunter reminds us what we should be teaching our children. His ideas will help anyone who has the courage to understand that a real education must go beyond filling in circles on a standardized test form." — Rafe Esquith, author of Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire
"John Hunter's World Peace Game is more than a brilliant example of educational game design. It shows us exactly how to inspire and manage creative collaboration around the most complex problems imaginable. And given that virtually all young people today are growing up gamers, this book is a must-read for twenty-first century educators and leaders." — Jane McGonigal, author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
"Hunter's optimism is infectious" — Publishers Weekly
"With numerous reflections on the games impact on certain students and a resounding final chapter highlighting his classs 2012 visit to the Pentagon, Hunter proves the value of “slow teaching” in this important, fascinating, highly readable resource for educators and parents alike." — Booklist
“Adam Penenbergs excellent new book persuasively demonstrates the power of gaming to motivate work. Filled with great stories of companies who have made the leap into playful productivity, it should be useful and inspirational for anyone looking at how to leverage the spirit of competition.”
—DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF, AUTHOR OF PRESENT SHOCK
“In this great and often funny book Penenberg shows how everyone from entrepreneurs to scientists is using gamification to create the future today. Dont be left behind. Read this book to learn how the rules of business and life are changing.”
—GABE ZICHERMANN, CEO OF GAMIFICATION CO.
“Its happening all around us, but if youre not paying attention you may miss it. Adam Penenberg provides an insightful guide into how gamification is infiltrating the marketplace and, more important, how it can be leveraged to make experiences more immersive and addictive. Read it, and prepare to see your everyday experiences through new eyes.”
—TODD HENRY, AUTHOR OF DIE EMPTY AND THE ACCIDENTAL CREATIVE
“From Tom Sawyers fence-painting scheme to Angry Birds, games have a unique knack for tapping the heart of engagement. Adam Penenberg takes you well beyond Zynga and through the countless, inventive ways games can be designed to bring out our best thinking. This is a fascinating and entertaining exploration of that most basic of human proclivities: play.”
—DANIEL H. PINK, AUTHOR OF TO SELL IS HUMAN AND DRIVE
“Gamification is a hot topic but few truly understand it. Engaging and filled with incredible stories, Play at Work explains how games can make us more efficient and creative. Drawing on copious research and interviews with an array of game designers, scientists, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, inventors, and government officials, Penenberg offers a new perspective on how to make play work for you.”
—ERIC RIES, AUTHOR OF THE LEAN STARTUP
Visionary game designer Jane McGonigal reveals how we can harness the power of games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness.
More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one. According to world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.
Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, Reality Is Broken uncovers how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy and utilized these discoveries to astonishing effect in virtual environments. Videogames consistently provide the exhilarating rewards, stimulating challenges, and epic victories that are so often lacking in the real world. But why, McGonigal asks, should we use the power of games for escapist entertainment alone? Her research suggests that gamers are expert problem solvers and collaborators because they regularly cooperate with other players to overcome daunting virtual challenges, and she helped pioneer a fast-growing genre of games that aims to turn gameplay to socially positive ends.
In Reality Is Broken, she reveals how these new alternate reality games are already improving the quality of our daily lives, fighting social problems such as depression and obesity, and addressing vital twenty-first-century challenges — and she forecasts the thrilling possibilities that lie ahead. She introduces us to games like World Without Oil, a simulation designed to brainstorm — and therefore avert — the challenges of a worldwide oil shortage, and Evoke, a game commissioned by the World Bank Institute that sends players on missions to address issues from poverty to climate change.
McGonigal persuasively argues that those who continue to dismiss games will be at a major disadvantage in the coming years. Gamers, on the other hand, will be able to leverage the collaborative and motivational power of games in their own lives, communities, and businesses. Written for gamers and nongamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows us that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games.
Visionary game designer McGonigal reveals how we can harness the power of games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness.
A visionary game designer reveals how we can harness the power of games to boost global happiness.
With 174 million gamers in the United States alone, we now live in a world where every generation will be a gamer generation. But why, Jane McGonigal asks, should games be used for escapist entertainment alone? In this groundbreaking book, she shows how we can leverage the power of games to fix what is wrong with the real world-from social problems like depression and obesity to global issues like poverty and climate change-and introduces us to cutting-edge games that are already changing the business, education, and nonprofit worlds. Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games.
A fascinating look at how games can help us learn, create, and innovate
Once thought to be nothing more than diversions for children and nerds, games have become an integral part of everyday life. Educators are trying to make learning more fun by introducing games into the classroom while cutting-edge managers are doing the same in the workplace. Doctors, scientists, and entrepreneurs are deploying games to help solve some of the worlds most pressing problems.
But according to Adam Penenberg, its not the games themselves that improve our lives, but rather smart game design and its impact on the brain that can lead us to become immersed in a task we find enjoyable. The individuals and institutions that have used games to achieve this effect are often rewarded with astounding results.
Drawing on the latest brain science on attention and engagement plus his own firsthand reporting, Penenberg shows how organizations like Google, Microsoft, hospitals, and the military have used game design in bold new ways.
A fascinating look at how games can help us learn, create, and innovate
Once thought to be nothing more than diversions for children and nerds, games have become an integral part of everyday life. Educators are trying to make learning more fun by introducing games into the classroom while cutting-edge managers are doing the same in the workplace. Doctors, scientists, and entrepreneurs are deploying games to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. But according to Adam Penenberg, it’s not the games themselves that improve our lives, but rather smart game design and its impact on the brain that can lead us to become immersed in a task we find enjoyable. The individuals and institutions that have used games to achieve this effect are often rewarded with astounding results. Drawing on the latest brain science on attention and engagement plus his own firsthand reporting, Penenberg shows how organizations like Google, Microsoft, hospitals, and the military have used game design in bold new ways.
Award-winning teacher and high-profile public speaker John Hunter offers insights into conflict resolution and collective problem-solving gleaned from his many years teaching kids through the "world peace game," an innovative global systems simulation he created.
In John Hunters classroom, students fearlessly tackle global problems and discover surprising solutions by playing his groundbreaking World Peace Game. These kids—from high school all the way down to fourth grade, in schools both well funded and underresourced—take on the roles of politicians, tribal leaders, diplomats, bankers, and military commanders. Through battles and negotiations, standoffs and summits, they strive to resolve dozens of complex, seemingly intractable real-world challenges, from nuclear proliferation to tribal warfare, financial collapse to climate change.
In World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements, Hunter shares the wisdom hes gleaned from over thirty years teaching the World Peace Game. Here he reveals the principles of successful collaboration that people of any age can apply anywhere. His students show us how to break through confusion, bounce back from failure, put our knowledge to use, and fulfill our potential. Hunter offers not only a forward-thinking report from the front lines of American education, but also a generous blueprint for a world that bends toward cooperation rather than conflict. In this deeply hopeful book, a visionary educator shows us what the future can be.
About the Author
World-renowned game designer and futurist Jane McGonigal, PhD. takes play seriously. McGonigal is the Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, where she earned Harvard Business Review honors for "Top 20 Breakthrough Ideas of 2008" for her work on the future of games. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times. Business Week called her one of the 10 most important innovators to watch, and Fast Company hailed her as one of the 100 most creative people in business. She has been a featured speaker at TED, South by Southwest Interactive, the Game Developers Conference, ETech, and the Web 2.0 Summit, as well as appearing at The New Yorker Conference. Born in Philadelphia in 1977 and raised in New York, Jane now lives in San Francisco with her husband.