Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success by David B. Feldman, PhD and Lee Daniel Kravetz was absolutely fascinating. I have spent a lot of my life being utterly dissuaded by the concept of “positive thinking.” It felt like another way to not acknowledge feelings and a way to try to control other people. I didn’t really buy into the Secret or anything like that. I don’t think my grandmother died of cancer because she wasn’t thinking positively enough. So this book was actually really gratifying to my dark witted self. Plus trauma is really interesting to me as a survivor myself and I get really tired of people telling me I’m being negative. To admit that something terrible happened doesn’t give it life or power. It’s what happens next that ultimately contributes to survival.
Supersurvivors is broken up into a series of stories about people who go through incredible losses and end up leaning into the skid, so to speak. People that go through trauma, loss of limbs, cancer, severe brain injuries, the death of children, and manage to survive it but not because they always hoped they would. In fact, they were pretty convinced all hope was lost and were just doing things that made them happy. I’m explaining it really poorly but I highly recommend the book. It was really interesting to get the psychological perspective of trauma survival but I felt like some of the digging fell flat. Emotional trauma was covered but I thought it could have gone much more in depth than it managed to. It might have been that the topic was a bit too broad. But overall, I was really excited to read this and have been passing it around to family members and friends. It discusses the strength of human characters and the survival instincts without being sappy. Bad shit happens in these stories and people just roll with the punches. It’s that adaptability that is the focus, not the power of being positive. It’s written in a style that’s easy to enjoy and covers really great research. If you’ve ever been through a situation where you felt like you were being tested, this is both inspirational and emotionally gratifying to read.
You can see the book trailer here.