Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth (Hardcover)
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In the tradition of Po Bronson and Paul Tough, journalist Jim Rendon delivers a deeply reported look at the life-changing implications of post-traumatic growth—an emerging field of psychological research that shows how the suffering caused by traumatic events can be harnessed as a force for self-improvement and success rather than destruction.
PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is at the center of national conversation and a widely recognized psychological condition. But an equally valid, though lesser known outcome of trauma is post-traumatic growth. While many survivors suffer long-term emotional damage, over the last several decades psychologists have discovered that with the right circumstances and proper support, survivors can actually emerge from their trauma stronger, more focused, and with a new and clear vision for the future. In fact, as many as two-thirds of trauma survivors report positive changes—far more than suffer from PTSD.
But how can terrible events lead to remarkable and dramatic breakthroughs? Upside seeks to answer this question by taking a deep-dive look at this burgeoning new field of study. Comprised of interviews with leading researchers and dozens of trauma survivors, Rendon paints a vivid and comprehensive portrait of this groundbreaking field. With accessible language, prescriptive takeaways, and specific tools to promote positive responses to trauma, this book is perfect for anyone interested in the ways that traumatic events shape people. It is particularly useful for trauma survivors or their loved ones seeking a more hopeful and positive future.
About the Author
Jim Rendon is a graduate of the journalism school at UC Berkeley. He is a former staff writer at SmartMoney magazine and Metro, Silicon Valley’s alternative weekly, and a veteran freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, and Fortune. He has written about post-traumatic growth for Marie Claire and The New York Times Magazine.
"No one gets out of life without some trauma. Jim Rendon delves behind the tragic face to find out why so many of us post-traumatic survivors emerge stronger, in search of more meaningful ways to live. Rendon’s original psychological reporting and poignant writing points us to the passage to hope and inspires us to help others."
— Gail Sheehy, author of Passages
“None of us wants it, but severe stress may not be as bad as we think. Upside provides authentic hope, grounded in science and enlivened by real-life stories, that it is possible to emerge from a traumatic experience not diminished, but somehow enlarged by it. This book offers scientific evidence,personal understanding, and practical tools to transform trauma into an occasion for growth.”
— Henry Emmons, MD, author of The Chemistry of Joy
“Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth presents the research data, too long ignored, behind the stories of people’s remarkable healing and thriving from trauma. . . . The key elements of healing and thriving, not in spite of but because of trauma – creating a coherent narrative, reaching out for help and helping others, expressing the pain, focusing on the positive, bonding with those who share similar experiences, resourcing through religious faith, creativity, physical activity and therapy – can all lead to experiences of meaning and fulfillment unimaginable before the trauma. Upside is a true gift to the field of trauma recovery. The message can no longer be ignored. Post-traumatic growth is not only possible; it’s our birthright."
— Linda Graham, MFT, author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being
“A remarkably readable blend of inspiring stories and research, Upside beautifully shows us how even our worst nightmare can profoundly enrich our lives. Well worth the read!”
— Glenn Schiraldi, Ph.D., Lt. Colonel (USAR, Ret.), author of The Complete Guide to Resilience and founder of Resilience Training International
“Humorous, compassionate, friendly, and empathetic…. Rendon offers not just a spoonful of medicine, but also a furtherance of works by Frankl, Abraham Maslow, and his new, revitalized acquaintances.”
— Kirkus Review
“Rich and detailed … a tapestry of poignant stories about a wide range of people who have triumphed over agonizing losses—of children, spouses, limbs, fortunes, careers, dreams—interwoven seamlessly with the results of dozens of relevant scientific studies and stories about the pioneering researchers who conducted them. … If you are looking for inspiration, perspective and some unexpected science, Upside is a good choice.”
— Scientific American Mind
“An inspiring, empowering and well-researched book.”
— Psych Central