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Games People Play: The basic handbook of transactional analysis. Paperback – Aug 27 1996

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; REPR edition (Aug. 27 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345410033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345410030
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.1 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“An important book . . . a brilliant, amusing, and clear catalogue of the psychological theatricals that human beings play over and over again.”
–KURT VONNEGUT, Life magazine

From the Inside Flap

"We think we're relating to other people-but actually we're all playing games.
Forty years ago, "Games People Play revolutionized our understanding of what "really goes on during our most basic social interactions. More than five million copies later, Dr. Eric Berne's classic is as astonishing-and revealing-as it was on the day it was first published. This anniversary edition features a new introduction by Dr. James R. Allen, president of the International Transactional Analysis Association, and Kurt Vonnegut's brilliant "Life magazine review from 1965.
We play games all the time-sexual games, marital games, power games with our bosses, and competitive games with our friends. Detailing status contests like "Martini" (I know a better way), to lethal couples combat like "If It Weren't For You" and "Uproar," to flirtation favorites like "The Stocking Game" and "Let's You and Him Fight," Dr. Berne exposes the secret ploys and unconscious maneuvers that rule our intimate lives.
Explosive when it first appeared, "Games People Play is now widely recognized as the most original and influential popular psychology book of our time. It's as powerful and eye-opening as ever.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on Jan. 23 2004
Format: Paperback
Many times in my life, I was placed in social situations that left me feeling so depleted afterwards and I could not exactly grasp why this was happening. When I read this book, I started to understand how many people play these games that end up making me feel used and hopeless. After a year or so, I also began realizing that I play some of these games myself. I realized that although they work as temporary coping devices, they become obstacles to my personal development in the long run. This is when I really decided to change my life. I began living with a new awareness of the behaviors of not only others but my own as well! It has worked wonders and if I could explain this process, I would like to share it with everyone! But since I am not so good at explaining these things, I will suggest a book that explains this very well. It is called "The Ever-Transcending Spirit" by Toru Sato and it explains all of these things in such a great way! Read this book by Berne! Read the book by Sato! It will be the best gift you give to yourself!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Ever been caught in a conversational loop that you can't get out of? Oh, woe is me...etc. This is the book that finally explained my mother-in-law, a smart but truly wicked person.
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Format: Paperback
"Games People Play" is a thought-provoking book, still salient after all those years. It got me out of a bad relationship, and made me see myself in a new light. It goes to show that new and improved isn't necessarily better.
I had spent a couple of years chasing a drug-loving girl with a heart of gold. I was enchanted by the night-life some of our acquaintances were exposing me to. The darker sides of town are really quite interesting if you view them from within, but my corporate lifestyle, as well as my general avoidance of drugs, had effectively closed me out of this lifestyle after my experimental college days. Thanks to this book, I saw the game I was playing; "Patsy" to a bunch of druggies and alchies.
"Games" has been helpful in my quest for a real Adult-Adult relationship. Even in business, I find myself striving for Adult-Adult relationships. Knowing the games, it makes it easier to spot them and react to them. It also helps me see where others are coming from.
The book itself wasn't earth shattering for me (Peck's "Road Less Traveled" was), but it was one of the more thought-provoking pop-psychology books I have ever read. I like the fact that it doesn't simply rehash Freudian or Jungian psychology, but builds a new quite useful framework to look at relationships. My problem with the book is that it is too short. I wanted more depth. Because of this, I was wavering between four and five stars, so the four star rating is really a 4.5.
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Format: Paperback
"Thank Psyche," that this 1963 classic is still in print. (600,000 copies; N.Y.Times best-seller list for two years.) It's not trendy and forgettable, it's timeless and fascinating. (Here are our human "GAMES" such as "Kick Me," "Ain't It Awful," and "Happy to Help")
But two more subtle pleasures (which the other reviewers here have not yet mentioned) are the doctor's wry WIT-plus real WISDOM.
His thesis is uncompromising. Dr. Berne shows we play "games" taught us by our warped childhood, or the world and culture. Rock-bottom: "Because there is so little opportunity for intimacy in daily life, and because some forms of intimacy (especially if intense) are psychologically impossible for most people, the bulk of the time in serious social life is taken up with playing games. Hence games are both necessary and desirable, and the only problem at issue is whether the games played by an individual offer the best yield for him." Specifically, Berne says we should discard bad psychological games (based on invalid old life-scripts from the past), in favor of the better social games. (And indeed, the games seem giddily-toxic, especially "Look How Hard I've Tried," "See What You Made Me Do," and "I'm Only Trying To Help You")
So alas, for the intimacy-fearful MANY people, the goal-in-life is to cure the "sick" games, and then just play the non-pathological ones. But, for a FEW fortunates, the open-calm-easy-natural responsiveness of truer psychological maturity IS possible. Berne names it "autonomy." It comprises awareness, spontaneity, and intimacy.
Okay. Skim or skip the theoretical Part ONE. But savor the 106 games in the story-time Part TWO.
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Format: Paperback
Being the slightly paranoid, mistrustful, and mildly misanthropic person that I am, this book, which suggests that there are hidden agendas (ulterior motives) behind many people's actions, absolutely knocked me over! I always knew that people had their little games (destructive games, attention-getting games, sympathy-seeking games, etc ...), but this book gives one the ability to put a handle on them; define them, name them, see the "moves" associated with them, describe the "payoffs" associated with them, and plan antitheses to them.
After reading this book, I was able to see and identify games (and rituals and pastimes) being played by people all around me. I even identified games I was playing (read the book honestly and you might also come to that conclusion)! That's one thing I picked up from this book - games are not always conscious.
Read this book and read it honestly with no preconceptions, and it will indeed benefit you. Since this book was a general overview of Transactional Analysis, I am looking forward to reading other materials on this subject.
Happy reading!
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