A groundbreaking book on the science of play, and its essential role in fuelling our intelligence and happiness throughout our lives.
We’ve all seen the happiness in the face of a child who’s playing in the school yard. Or the blissful abandon of a golden retriever racing with glee across a lawn. This is the joy of play. By definition, play is purposeless and all-consuming. And, most important, it’s fun.
As we become adults, taking time to play feels like a guilty pleasure — a distraction from ‘real’ work and life. But as Dr Stuart Brown illustrates, play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition, and the mechanism by which we become resilient, smart, and adaptable people. In fact, our ability to play throughout life is the single most important factor in determining our success and happiness.
Dr Brown has spent his career studying animal behaviour and conducting more than 6000 ‘play histories’ of humans from all walks of life — from serial murderers to Nobel Prize winners. In Play, he provides a sweeping look at the latest breakthroughs in our understanding of play and its implications for our lives, including its role in child development and the way we parent; education and social policy; business innovation; productivity; and even the future of our society.
A fascinating blend of cutting-edge neuroscience, biology, psychology, social science, and inspiring human stories of the transformative power of play, this book proves why play just might be the most important work we can ever do.
Stuart Brown’s 'thoughtful investigation, Play, written with Christopher Vaughan, makes having fun sound like — well, fun, whether you’re dancing, flirting, risk-taking, joking, shopping, painting, or working at something you love. Read this book, then start paying back your “play deficit” — and let the good times roll.'
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'This is one of the most important books I have ever read. Now, more than ever, we need to think more creatively. Dr. Stuart Brown shows us the way. Without play and physical activity we can’t cultivate the skills necessary to handle changing times. For our own sake and the sake of our children, we need to play again with exuberance and give it the place in our lives it deserves. Anyone who cares about the future of our world should read this book. It is a gift.'
John J. Ratey, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, coauthor of Driven to Distraction and author of Spark
'Stuart Brown introduces us to the importance of play in the lives of animals and humans, its role in developing social and locomotive skills in children, freedom from inhibitions and creative thinking in later life. This important book explores how play can improve — and joyously change — your life.'
Jane Goodall Ph.D., DBE , founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace
'For all those who do not play enough — out of guilt, because they don’t have enough time, or for any other reason — this is a must read. In a world obsessed with hard work, Stuart Brown’s playful yet serious exploration of play is a breath of fresh air. Reading this book can help the reader become happier and more successful.'
Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., author of Happier
'Stuart Brown has spent his career exploring and explaining what few others take seriously: that play makes us better people and that play makes the world a better place. Play is fun, natural, and necessary; Play is an important and inspiring book.'
David Kelley, Chairman and founder of IDEO and fuunder of Institute of Design at Stanford University