Play: how it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul

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Scribe Publications Pty Limited, Jun 28, 2010 - Psychology - 240 pages

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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pmtracy - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bostonian71 - LibraryThing

Engaging if somewhat simplistic. I liked the specific anecdotes about people and their play experiences, but wished there was more detail about the studies Brown cites. (As other reviewers noted ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Stuart Brown, MD, is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, clinical researcher, and the founder of the National Institute for Play. He speaks regularly to Fortune 500 companies and groups across the US on the importance of play in our lives. The producer of a three-part PBS series, The Promise of Play, he has also appeared on National Public Radio and was featured in a cover story in The New York Times Magazine.

Christopher Vaughan has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He co-wrote the US bestseller The Promise of Sleep.

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