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3 Books With Neil Pasricha

Aug 22, 2021

Happy Sturgeon Moon, everybody! And happy Blue Moon, too! Jane McGonigal joins us on Chapter 85 of 3 Books to help us celebrate.


Let’s start off with a question.


What would you do if you jumped out of a desk chair and slammed your head directly into an open cupboard door which gave you a massive concussion that left you bedridden for months? Oh, and you were told “No reading, no writing, no video games, no work, no email, no running, no alcohol, and no caffeine.”


Well, most of us would probably just lie there.


I mean, what else could you do?


Well, if you’re Jane McGonigal that’s not what you do. No! If you’re Jane McGonigal, what you do is design a game, in your concussion-riddled state, to help you get better. You create an avatar. You give yourself goals. You select projects. And you slowly help yourself heal! You call the game Jane the Concussion Slayer, after your favorite TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and then you release it out into the world.


Today that game has helped over a million people tackle challenges like concussions, depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. It’s been renamed Super Better and been evaluated by clinical trials, randomized control studies, and all kinds of scientific white papers as the top game in the world treating depression, anxiety and pain.


Is it any wonder Jane was the first person to study computer and video games in her PhD at Berkeley? Or that she’s a TED superstar with two talks racking up over 15 million views about how gaming can make a better world and the game that can give you 10 extra years of life? Or that she’s the New York Times bestselling author of Reality is Broken and (yes) Superbetter? Or the Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future? No, I did not make any of that up. And I could go on!


Jane McGonigal is a humanistic designer of alternate realities and her life goal is to see a game developer win the Nobel Peace Prize. I love her work and the incredible force for good it is having on the world.


Let’s grab a seat with Jane and talk: how we live with greater flow, how we harness our children’s ‘soul force’, why we maybe shouldn’t be limiting screen time, how to choose games for kids, what questions you should ask your kids about the games they play, the best card game out there, exploring the boundaries of our psychic selves, and, of course, Jane McGonigal’s 3 most formative books.


Let’s turn the page into Chapter 85 now …


What You'll Learn:

  • How can we bend the rules of reality?

  • What is the power of a twin relationship?

  • What is a soul force?

  • How should we think about nature and nurture as we parent?

  • Are our identities more malleable today?

  • What is the difference between social media and gaming?

  • What is flow?

  • Why do game designers learn about flow?

  • How can flow be a resource for humanity?

  • How do we find our own flow?

  • How can we shift away from bullshit jobs?

  • Why should we shorten the workday week?

  • How can games help treat PTSD and depression?

  • How can we better manage screen time for our kids?

  • How should we curate games for our kids?

  • How can games help our kids learn confidence?

  • Why should kids teach their parents how to play video games?

  • What are the  key questions you should be asking your kids about the video games they play?

  • What is a predictor of video game addiction?

  • How does TV benefit kids?

  • Why should you watch TV with your kids?

  • Why should you know the theme songs of your kids’ favorite TV shows?

  • How do we teach aliens what it means to be human?

  • What does studying an audience tell us about art?

  • How do we experience more out of life?

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: 


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3 Books is a completely insane and totally epic 15-year-long quest to uncover and discuss the 1000 most formative books in the world. Each chapter discusses the 3 most formative books of one of the world's most inspiring people. Sample guests include: Brené Brown, David Sedaris, Malcolm Gladwell, Angie Thomas, Cheryl Strayed, Rich Roll, Soyoung the Variety Store Owner, Derek the Hype Man, Kevin the Bookseller, Vishwas the Uber Driver, Roxane Gay, David Mitchell, Vivek Murthy, Mark Manson, Seth Godin, Judy Blume and Quentin Tarantino. 3 Books is published on the lunar calendar with each of the 333 chapters dropped on the exact minute of every single new moon and every single full moon all the way up to 5:21 am on September 1, 2031. 3 Books is an Apple "Best Of" award-winning show and is 100% non-profit with no ads, no sponsors, no commercials, and no interruptions. 3 Books has 3 clubs including the End of the Podcast Club, the Cover to Cover Club, and the Secret Club, which operates entirely through the mail and is only accessible by calling 1-833-READ-A-LOT. Each chapter is hosted by Neil Pasricha, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Awesome, The Happiness Equation, Two-Minute Mornings, etc. For more info check out: