The Resilience Myth: New Thinking on Grit, Strength, and Growth After Trauma (Hardcover)

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The author of the “must read” (NPR) Rage Becomes Her presents a powerful manifesto for communal resilience based on in-depth investigations into history, social science, and psychology.

We are often urged to rely only on ourselves for strength, mental fortitude, and positivity. But with her distinctive “skill, wit, and sharp insight” (Laura Bates, author of Girl Up), Soraya Chemaly challenges us to adapt our thinking about how we survive in a world of sustained, overlapping crises.

It is interdependence and nurturing relationships that truly sustain us, she argues. Based on comprehensive research and eye-opening examples from real-life, The Resilience Myth offers alternative visions of relational hardiness by emphasizing care for others and our environments above all.

About the Author

Soraya Chemaly is an award-winning writer and activist whose work focuses on the role of gender in culture, politics, religion, and media. She is the Director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project and an advocate for women’s freedom of expression and expanded civic and political engagement. A prolific writer and speaker, her articles appear in Time, The Verge, The Guardian, The Nation, HuffPost, and The Atlantic. Follow her on Twitter at @SChemaly and learn more at

Praise For…

“Thoughtful and well-argued, this book offers a humane vision of the ways people must adapt their ideas of what it means to thrive to a radically changing world. . . . Provocative, necessary reading.”

“Ambitious. . . using a feminist and anticapitalistic framework to interrogate notions of resilience. . . this is sure to spark conversation.”
Publishers Weekly

“Resilience is an ideology—comprising elements of individualism, bootstraps, and even victim-blaming. With characteristically brilliant arguments and meticulous research, Chemaly demolishes this ideology in The Resilience Myth and shows us how to build something so much better for everyone facing adversity. A must-read book for our age.”
—Kate Manne, author of Down Girl

“A vital, life-saving must-read for anyone who has been force-fed the word ‘resilient’ when they feel anything but. The book I wish I'd had when I was neck-deep in trauma.”
—Nora McInerny, author of Bad Vibes Only and the host of It’s Going To Be OK

“A tender, sensitive meditation on the supposed virtue of resilience in the face of trauma and adversity. Through counterintuitive insights and observations, Soraya Chemaly reminds us that it is in fact far healthier to be human.”
—Angela Saini, award-winning journalist and author of The Patriarchs and Superior

“Chemaly has once again written the book we desperately need. In The Resilience Myth, Chemaly skillfully weaves science, anthropology, and history with poignant personal stories teaching us not only what real resilience looks like, but also why a new definition is more urgent than ever.”
—Dr. Pooja Lakshmin MD, psychiatrist and bestselling author of Real Self-Care

“Soraya Chemaly has written a searing indictment of one of the most pernicious fictions in America: that self-reliance can save us. With her signature clarity and penetrating mind, she subverts the ideologies of isolation that keep us divided and dissociated from ourselves and other people. Deeply informative and inspiring, The Resilience Myth is an urgent corrective to the mind/body and self/other ruptures at the heart of our collective crises. It’s a groundbreaking road map to true strength: shared struggle.”
—Jean Guerrero, author of Hatemonger

“Getting back on one's horse after a personal catastrophe feels evermore challenging—and Chemaly has, with clarity, patience, and rigor— illustrated why it's not just you, when all of us are asking, ‘Is it just me?’ She makes sense of what exists in our culture that isolates us from one another during times when we need each other most, providing a guiding light toward strength and interdependence, and ultimately, love.”
—Soraya Nadia McDonald, award-winning cultural critic and journalist

Product Details
ISBN: 9781982170769
ISBN-10: 198217076X
Publisher: Atria/One Signal Publishers
Publication Date: May 21st, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English