Play by Stuart M. Brown Jr.


Read Stuart Brown's posts on the Penguin Blog.From a leading expert, a groundbreaking book on the science of play, and its essential role in fueling our intelligence and happiness throughout our lives.We’ve all seen the happiness in the face of a child while 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,...

Details Play

Release DateMar 5th, 2009
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Parenting, Education, Science, Plays

Reviews Play

  • Pat
    The brief synopsis:(1) Everything good about being human comes from play.(2) If you stop playing you will hate your life, get divorced and probably become a serial killer.O rly?The book is an exhaustive list of claims. They are unsubstantiated. No footnotes, no journal citations. Just a whole bunch of I've been studying play for decades and I am certain it will make you enjoy your job, fornicate with your spouse more often and be more creative.Th...
  • Dan
    This book was recommended to me by a friend who just had a baby boy last year. He told me that it was great for new parents because it teaches how play is so important to young children. However, the book was also engaging to him because it talks about how play is so important for adults as well.He was right on the money.This book won't win any awards for writing style, but the ideas present you with a fresh look at the everyday world. The author...
  • Lars Guthrie
    'Play' starts out strong, connecting animal play to that of humans and our inherited need for play. '...[T:]here is a strong positive link,' he tells us, 'between brain size and playfulness for mammals in general.' Brown quotes Robert Fagen, preeminent animal behaviorist, to get at the cause for that need: 'Play allows "pretend" rehearsal for the challenges and ambiguities of life, a rehearsal when life and death are not at stake.' And Brown's bo...
  • Sandy
    There were days at the middle school where I teach when I just wanted to fold paper with my students to see them interact with me and each other. These are inner-city toughies who really don't respond to much that passes for standard curriculum. They are angry and antsy and difficult and disrespectful. To watch them transform scraps of paper into sublime objects of beauty. To watch them as they reached outside their usual way of thinking to do so...
  • Orsolya
    Confucius says: All work and no play results in cranky jerks. Okay, this isn’t true but we can all attest to the importance of ‘fun’. Playtime (and this includes hobbies, arts, etc) is hardwired in our brains and helps us improve life and build strong relationships. No one knows this better than Stuart Brown, MD who explores this field in, “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul”.The first pages o...
  • Tim Kadlec
    If I could give half star reviews , this would've gotten 3 1/2 stars instead of four. I enjoyed the concepts being discussed, and agree with the overall premise - that play is an essential and underappreciated part of life.It just would've been nice to have more specifics about the studies he mentions, or at the very least, some footnotes so I could have a look at them in more detail.
  • Sergei_kalinin
    Добротная научно-популярная книга. Насколько смог увлекательно автор рассказал об увлекательном :)) . Феномен игры охвачен, так сказать, и в ширину (от этологии и зоопсихологии до применения игротехник для развития бизнеса), и в глубину (игра в онт...
  • C.J. Darlington
    Who would've thought play would be so important in our lives? This book brings to light something I think many of us know on a subconscious level but need to remind ourselves over and over again. After reading this book I believe play is a missing puzzle piece not only in my own life but probably in many of the lives of people I know. Scientific yet still readable, Brown explains why he believes play is the cornerstone to happiness. A few section...
  • George Martzen
    It's ok. Go ahead and play in the mud. This is a very readable book that gleans largely from medical research but also uses lots of stories and anecdotes. I especially like his JPL account that highlights the link between childhood manual play and adult capacity for problem-solving. I would have liked to see some sort of citations or at least a bibliography at the end.
  • Dan Connors
    I was not aware of a National Institute of Play, but it sounds like a good idea. This book came out in 2008 and didn't hit any best-seller lists, but the author is an expert in the power of play and he makes many good points.From an evolutionary standpoint, there doesn't seem to be any good reason for play to exist. It doesn't make you stronger, bring in food, or help with reproduction, so there seems to be little biological advantage for those s...
  • Michael Burnam-Fink
    Play is a real treasure of a popular science book. Based on Brown's work as a clinician and deep familiarity with the literature, it moves through the deep important of play to all animals, and especially human beings. Far from being frivolous, play and a playful attitude is associated with learning, with success, and with a longer and healthier life. Imaginative play, exuberant play, and play free from consequence or adult supervision, is what m...
  • Varina Denman
    I love my work (writing), but I've become a workaholic. This book has reminded me of the value of playing. I think this will be a life-changer for me. I hope so!
  • Herve Tunga
    Good read. I liked that the author looks at games from a broad perspective. It can be useful to break ice, encourage people to engage through an invitation to play.
  • Denis Vasilev
    Приятная, но не особо познавательная книга про игры
  • Emily
    Dr. Brown takes playing very seriously:"Play is a profound biological process.""The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person."Play is the vital essence of life. It is what makes life lively.""Play is like fertilizer for brain growth.""Play is the purest expression of love."With statements like that, Dr. Brown seems to imbue play with some sort of super...
  • Jennifer
    What is not to like about a book that encourages me to do what I naturally enjoy doing? This was a light, enjoyable read, that gave good reminders of the importance of play, both for proper childhood development and for happiness throughout life. I found most interesting the research about brain development and play (and sleep, another thing which I love and have long believed is necessary to growth and healing). Brown shares research in both ani...
  • Paul
    Stuart Brown, MD is the founder of the National Institute for Play. This book summarizes some of the research he's done over the years and it includes some interesting findings that can help make yourself and your teams more creative and effective. In short, making play a part of our daily life is the most important factor in being a fulfilled person.We all play as children, it's part of our make-up, but something happens as we age and many adult...
  • Caely
    I picked this book based on the recommendation in Brene Brown's Gifts of Imperfection, and I was pretty disappointed. The general principles are sound, and some of the anecdotes are inspiring - I especially liked an early story about a dog and polar bear playing together in the arctic. But overall, the book feels disorganized and half-baked. Stuart Brown's career and credentials are impressive, but it seems like his ghostwriter just piled a serie...
  • Jacquelyn Fusco
    A joyous read. I think we all need this book. I have always been a playful person, but I am renewing my intentions to make my life more playful. Last year, I was very depressed. I became very anxious about how to use my time. I was unemployed, with lots of time, which was what I always dreamed I wanted when I was in school. After an inciting event sparked the depression and it stuck around, I began to despair that life was just a choice between w...
  • Monika
    Great Great Great! This is a book that I plan to re-read many times in my life, as a refresher on how Play shapes life, and how it is the center of how we progress as we grow. It was so inspirational and made me see things in a new light. I kept picturing how I can adapt his advice to all aspects of my life, and how easy it really is....we just live in a society where we work work work, and burn ourselves out...we need to make time for ourselves,...
  • Cynthia Scott
    I bought this book two years ago having read great reviews of it, read a couple chapters and let it sit. Recently came across extenive quotes from it an essay and began a serious read. It is delightful, informative, and a good self-study.It explains the importance of play behavior to evolution (of all animals), the place of play in human maturing, and is positive about a lot of behaviors commonly thought to be worthless or worse.Play is not the o...
  • Lauren Sheil
    It wasn't exactly what I was looking for. It it a good example of the psychology and anthropology of play but it only scratches the surface of the development of social interaction, morality and ethics, which is my preferred area of study. The best moment in the book is actually a quote from James Michener."The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, hi...
  • David Waldock
    I can't begin to say how useful I found this book in thinking about how to facilitate growth and development at the personal and organisational levels. It's an exploration of what play is, what it does, and how you can use it to make your life better. I've been using play at work for some time, particularly for solving large complex problems, but this really opened my eyes to some of the psychology behind it.Recommended for everyone.
  • Matt Lydon
    Stuart Brown's book was a really interesting and very readable introduction to the "state of play" and its importance in our lives. I did wish it was longer and went a bit more in depth, but Brown did mention several colleagues who have written other books to seek out. But hey, for 25 cents at a goodwill? I'll take it!
  • Shirley
    A wonderful book! Brown lays out his scientific findings in such clear engaging terms, one can hardly take exception. Fair warning... serious hard work precedes reaching play nirvana. Even so I say, let's do it!
  • Michael
    READ THIS BOOK!!! There are some minor weaknesses in its craft, but the overall impact is stupendous. This stuff might shake up the world, and I hope it does. I'd place Play among my top five most highly-recommended books. It's that important.
  • Jonathan
    This is a great quick read that puts something as abstract and diverse as play into concrete terms.
  • Beth
    Who knew that there was a science to play? Stuart Brown explores why play is so important in our lives and how our quality of life and relationships diminish when play ceases to exist.
  • Kamy
    In this book Stuart M. Brown Jr. and Christopher Vaughan explain the science behind play and how it shapes our brains and fuels our intelligence and emotions. This book explains how play is essential to all living things, and how it teaches life lessons and skills. Play is also said to be essential and prominent with child development. As people get older they realize that something in their life is missing that makes us excited for our journey o...
  • Gloria Denoon
    I picked this book to read because we have a creative son who loves to play and recently has seemed to develop some aversion towards work or the concept of work, and because I wanted to learn how exactly play enhances learning in educational settings. I’m pleased to learn there should be a continuous dynamic interplay between work and play, and how this interplay may guide us to discover our passion, plan out our paths, fulfill our potentials a...