Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul


By (author) Stuart Brown, By (author) Christopher Vaughan

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  • Publisher: Avery Publishing Group Inc.,U.S.
  • Format: Hardback | 228 pages
  • Dimensions: 147mm x 213mm x 25mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 3 May 2009
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1583333339
  • ISBN 13: 9781583333334
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 152,955

Product description

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, 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. 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 behavior and conducting more than six thousand "play histories" of humans from all walks of life--from serial murderers to Nobel Prize winners. Backed by the latest research, "Play" explains why play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve, and more. Play is hardwired into our brains--it is the mechanism by which we become resilient, smart, and adaptable people. Beyond play's role in our personal fulfillment, its benefits have profound implications for child development and the way we parent, education and social policy, business innovation, productivity, and even the future of our society. From new research suggesting the direct role of three-dimensional-object play in shaping our brains to animal studies showing the startling effects of the lack of play, Brown provides a sweeping look at the latest breakthroughs in our understanding of the importance of this behavior. 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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Author information

Stuart Brown, M.D. 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 country on the significance of play in our lives. The producer of a three-part PBS series, "The Promise of Play," he has also appeared on NPR and was featured in a front-page story in "The New York Times Magazine." He lives in Carmel Valley, California. Christopher Vaughan has been a journalist for more than twenty years. He cowrote the national bestseller "The Promise of Sleep."

Review quote

aThis 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 canat 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.a --John J. Ratey, MD, clinical associate professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, coauthor of "Driven to Distraction" and author of "Spark" aStuart 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.a --Jane Goodall Ph.D., DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace aFor 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.a --Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D., author of "Happier" aStuart 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.a --David Kelley, Chairman and founder of IDEO andfounder of Institute of Design at Stanford University a[Brown] has collected more than 6,000 aplay historiesa from human subjects. The founder of the National Institute for "Play," he works with educators and legislators to promote the importance of preserving playtime in schools. He calls play aa fundamental biological process.a aFrom my viewpoint, itas a major public health issue, a he said. a a Tara Parker Pope "New York Times" a{Stuart Brownas} thoughtful investigation, Play, written with Christopher Vaughan, makes having fun sound like a well, fun, whether youare dancing, flirting, risk- taking, joking, shopping, painting, or working at something you love. Read this book, then start paying back your aplay deficita a and let the good times roll.a a "Oprah" Magazine aFinally, a good excuse to goof offa] [Brown] builds a compelling case for the importance of recreation to success and creativity a and insists that grown-ups need it too.a a "Discover" aQuick, whatas completely pointless and absolutely indispensable? Youall find the answer in the title of the new book by Stuart Brown, M.D.a a "Body + Soul"

Table of contents

playPart One. why play? Chapter One. the promise of play Chapter Two. what is play, and why do we do it? Chapter Three. we are built for play Part Two. living the playful life Chapter Four. parenthood is child's play Chapter Five. the opposite of play is not work Chapter Six. playing together Chapter Seven. does play have a dark side? Chapter Eight. a world at play Acknowledgments Index