the little book of resilience

The Little Book of Resilience

Quick Overview

How to bounce back from adversity and lead a fulfilling life

The Little Book of Resilience is about how we can fortify our lives mentally, emotionally and physically. It is not about what happens when we get knocked down but more about what happens when we get up again. It is a book about what resilience is and how we grow and maintain it. The first step in understanding resilience is accepting what you can and cannot change. You can't change the weather but you can certainly change the way you interact with it; using an umbrella, a jacket or sunscreen. Just as you can't change your history, family, race, or past hurts and events but with the right direction and understanding you can certainly change how you look and feel about them moving forward. Life doesn't always turn out as we'd expected. It can be complex, harsh, joyful, mean, hilarious and utterly perplexing. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we will be able to cope with whatever life throws our way. For the majority of life's adversities, there is no magic pill or silver bullet – to get over anything we generally have to go through it – but if we're prepared to learn from that experience, good can certainly come from bad. We can grow to be wiser, more empathetic and understanding and from that we can create greater purpose in our lives.

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Health Professional Review

Health Professional Reviewer: Clare Greensmith, Registered Psychotherapist. Reviewed 28 September 2015.

Book Title: The Little Book of Resilience – how to bounce back from adversity and lead a fulfilling life

Author: Matthew Johnstone describes himself as a passionate mental health and wellbeing advocate. He has written a number of self-help mental health books, including the co-authoring of the book ‘Living with a black dog’.

Date published: 2015

Suitable for: It is written for adults, although the format would also make it suitable for adolescents. Intermediate reading level.

Problems addressed: 

How to develop and maintain resilience in life.

Book Summary: 

This is a pocket-sized picture book that explains concepts about resilience. It describes ways of developing flexibility and acceptance to events in life, and ways to be able to bounce back afterwards. It is not targeted towards any particular situation but does use examples of how people may experience concerns. It has a wide applicability to people of all ages and circumstances.

 Strengths and Weaknesses:

The book has plenty of illustrations and starts off with pages featuring a small amount of written material. The amount of written material increases throughout the book, as concepts with greater complexity is explored and discussed. There are good references to everyday examples that many people could relate to. The language used is relatively informal and user-friendly, but would require the reader to have a moderate level of literacy.

It is the sort of book that can be picked up and put down, without losing one’s thread, which is useful if concentration is an issue.

The therapeutic value is high, as the book discusses attitudes and ways to reframe one’s situation, as well as practical steps to manage situations.


I would recommend this book to someone with moderate literacy levels who was curious to find out more about resilience. This book would provide them with material that they could use to put into practice in their life. As it is divided into two parts, people would be able to pace themselves in this process.

Part one explains concepts around resilience and part two provides information to make changes in one’s life.


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