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 while playing in the schoolyard. 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.
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 fulfilment, 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 behaviour. 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.
'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
About the Author
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.