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September 17, 2015

Interviews: Jane McGonigal on Business and Books

By: Ryan Schleicher @ 9:30 AM – Filed under: Personal Development & Human Behavior


"Most of the world’s social ills—unemployment, obesity, climate change, chronic stress that makes families less resilient—would be most effectively addressed by adopting at maximum a 30-hour work week. So how do we get there?"
—Jane McGonigal


We now come to our final day with Jane McGonigal, author of Superbetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient—Powered by the Science of Games, where we find out what business problem she wants to solve, what books have had the greatest impact on her, and what she is currently reading. 

800-CEO-READ: What is the one unanswered question about business you are most interested in answering?

Jane McGonigal:
What will it take to get back to a universal 20- or 30-hour work week? Every study that has ever looked at work hours has determined that a 20- or 30-hour work week (paid at a full-time living wage with benefits) improves productivity, worker health and happiness, civic participation, and the stability of family life in the community. It even improves environmental impacts and decreases unemployment. The New Economics Foundation wrote a very provocative white paper on how most of the world’s social ills—unemployment, obesity, climate change, chronic stress that makes families less resilient—would be most effectively addressed by adopting at maximum a 30-hour work week. So how do we get there?

8cr: What book has influenced your work the most?

JM: Finite and Infinite Games by the religious scholar James Carse, The Myth of Sisyphus by the existential philosopher Camus, and The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia by the philosopher of play Bernard Suits.

8cr: What is the book you wish you had written (or admire the most) and why?

JM: Most recently, The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease by Marc Lewis. It does a tremendous job of explaining the neuroscience of motivation and desire, which I think is important to anyone designing technology or user experiences today. So often we try to get users “addicted” to our products or services, even though no one would say that being addicted to something is a good thing. Game developers struggle with this dilemma all the time. This book does a wonderful job of explaining how addictive behaviors can be reshaped into a more positive form of motivation, goal-setting and resilient behavior.

8cr: What book are you reading right now?

JM: The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.


"We try to get users “addicted” to our products or services, even though no one would say that being addicted to something is a good thing. Game developers struggle with this dilemma all the time. [The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease] does a wonderful job of explaining how addictive behaviors can be reshaped into a more positive form of motivation, goal-setting and resilient behavior."


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Learn more about Jane McGonigal and the idea of SuperBetter from her TED Talk, and check out our interview with her about her new book, aptly titled SuperBetter

 

About Ryan Schleicher


Ryan Schleicher is now in his third tenure at 800-CEO-READ, having left the nest previously for adventures in New Orleans and at Milwaukee's Frontier Radio Station, WMSE. Developed the old-fashioned way, Ryan began at 800-CEO-READ in shipping/receiving, but the bosses kept offering new opportunities in customer service, sales, and marketing (he's most famous for his stint at our former book giveaway site, inBubbleWrap), so it was a no-brainer to bring him back in a multifaceted capacity, with a focus on directing our PR and working with Author Services.