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Games People Play: The basic handbook of transactional analysis. Paperback – Aug 27 1996
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“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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
A classic, that wears well. Helps to give insight into stereotypics, why they behave the way they do, and how to not get emessed in their actions.Published 9 days ago by Eugene Mcmanus
This is an excellent book; read it, it will change your relationships for the better. Speedy delivery, arrived in perfect condition, and a book that you will keep going back to for... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fun to read! Enjoyed every bit of it.
There are instance in the book which you can directly relate to.
I started reading this and its taking me forever to finish. It is too technical. I think a bit more context in the examples would have been better. Read morePublished on April 7 2014 by Orchid
I am still in the process of reading this "textbook"! I find the content good but it is not an easy read.Published on Feb. 24 2014 by C. Cabral
Why should this book be included in a list for "aspiring Shakespearian actors"? As one who is a professional actor (Shakespearian and otherwise), acting coach and one... Read morePublished on July 13 2004
Far be it from me to comment on the validity of such a well-researched and ground breaking psychological phenomenon as transactional analysis, but for me I felt that this book was... Read morePublished on Dec 18 2003 by Matt Black
I hate giving bad reviews because I somehow feel unqualified. But, I bought this book because of all the good reviews, and I feel I've waisted my money. Read morePublished on Oct. 6 2003 by Jimmy Kelley
Wow! What an interesting book! This book shows us that there is much more going on in any human interaction than the exchange of information. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2003
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