Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success

We’re all powerless against the vicissitudes of fate

Review by Grady Harp

Author/psychologists David B. Feldman and Lee Daniel Kravetz have placed before the general reading public a book that tackles some of those life questions we all face, separate out individuals who have survived seemingly impossible odds, and use their work with these people to probe the arena of ‘supersurvivors’ and in doing so negate some old misunderstood perceptions and myths about what makes people able to make the most out of a hopeless situation.

To get us to the point of understanding the effects of trauma of the psyche and the physical body they offer information form several fine experts; Judith Herman is quoted: ‘At the moment of trauma the victim is rendered helpless by an overwhelming force. When the force is that of nature, we speak of disasters. When the force is that of other human beings, we speak of atrocities. Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life.’

The manner in which they describe the feats of some people who have endured severe hardships and why is enlightening. They also apply the findings of interviewing the ‘giants’ of success by relating the information to daily living. ‘Successful people fail a lot, but they try a lot, too. When things don’t work they move on until an idea does work. Survivors and great entrepreneurs have this in common.’ They describe the halo effect and other aspects of phenomena that affect the manner in which the well discussed supersurvivors have functioned.

Toward book’s end they state ‘Throughout this book we’ve seen that the otherwise destructive forces of trauma can sometimes initiate dramatic positive transformation. But is it really necessary to suffer in order to experience this magnitude of change?’ ‘Pain will change you. It does change you. But so does knowledge.’ This is a beautifully written book that opens many windows of thinking and allows the reader to reevaluate the way trauma is viewed, experienced, and utilized. It is a book about Hope. Highly Recommended.

TITLE: SUPERSURVIVORS: THE SURPRISING LINK BETWEEN SUFFERING AND SUCCESS
AUTHORS: DAVID B FELDMAN AND LEE DANIEL KRAVITZ
PUBLISHER: HARPERCOLLINS
ISBN: 9780062267856
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