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Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart M. Brown Jr. Review

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

Author: Stuart M. Brown Jr.

First published March 5, 2009

240 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9781583333334 (ISBN10: 1583333339)

Rating: 3.88


If you’ve ever felt guilty about taking time out of your busy day to play, then this book is for you. In Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Stuart M.

Brown Jr. shows us that play is not only essential for happiness, but it is also a biological drive that is just as important to our health as sleep and nutrition. Brown has spent his career studying animal behavior and conducting “play histories” of humans from all walks of life, and his research shows that play is hardwired into our brains and is the mechanism by which we become resilient, smart, and adaptable people.

This book is a fascinating blend of cutting-edge neuroscience, biology, psychology, social science, and inspiring human stories of the transformative power of play. Whether you’re a parent, an educator, a business leader or just someone who wants to live a happier life, this book will show you why play may be the most important work you can ever do.

Editoral Review

In “Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul,” Stuart M. Brown Jr. examines the fundamental importance of play in the human experience.

Published in 2009, this book is a significant contribution to the field of psychology and neuroscience, exploring the benefits of play in all aspects of our lives. Brown’s writing style is engaging and accessible, allowing his theories to be easily understood by a wide audience.

He introduces the subject of play through fascinating case studies and personal anecdotes, drawing the reader in with his infectious enthusiasm. The book covers a broad range of topics, including the evolutionary origins of play, the cultural differences in play behavior, and the therapeutic uses of play in various populations.

Brown also touches on the effects of play deprivation and emphasizes the importance of incorporating play into adult life. One of the strengths of this book is its interdisciplinary approach, drawing on research from multiple fields to support Brown’s arguments.

His integration of neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, and history provides a well-rounded analysis of the benefits of play. However, the book does suffer from some weaknesses.

At times, Brown’s writing can be repetitive, with certain concepts being presented multiple times throughout the book. Additionally, while the case studies are engaging, they sometimes take away from the broader points Brown is trying to make.

Overall, “Play” is a fascinating examination of a fundamental aspect of the human experience. Brown’s passion and enthusiasm for the subject are infectious, making this a captivating read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the psychology of play or looking to incorporate more play into their lives. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.