This volume should really be titled A Guide to Being Human. I recommend you read only a page or two at a time. Let it sink in. Apply it. Revel in it.
It’s authored by game designer and deep fun theorist Bernie DeKoven. I got the chance to interview Bernie last year and immediately found myself wishing he were my next door neighbor. (I still do.) For 40-something years Bernie has been promoting playfulness. He was instrumental in the New Games movement and a pioneer in computer game design. He’s developed games for the likes of Lego, Ideal Toy Company, Mattel Toys, and Children’s Television Workshop. He’s collected little-known games, created new ones, researched the value of fun, and organized all sorts of play events.
The book is actually titled A Playful Path and it’s jam-packed with awesomeness. It’s made up of tools and ideas to inspire the possibility-building, wide-open glory of playfulness. DeKoven writes,
Fun is at the heart of things—of things like family, marriage, happiness, peace, community, health; things like science and art, math and literature; like thinking and imagining, inventing and pretending.
Sure, the playful path can enhance relationships, advance careers, and promote health. It can also help us deepen into who we truly are, beyond the limits of rules and score-keeping. As DeKoven calls it, becoming “embiggened.”
For adults, following a playful path is a practice, something you put into practice, and then practice some more. When you were a kid, it wasn’t a practice. It was what you did, always. You had to be reminded not to be playful. And you were. O, yes, you were. But now that you have become what you, as a kid, called “an adult,” you find that play is something you have to remind yourself to do, playful is something you have to allow yourself to be.
And once you again take up that playful path you knew so well, you discover that it’s different, you’re different. You can play much more deeply than you could before. You are stronger, you understand more, you have more power, better toys. You discover that you, as a playful being, can choose a different way of being. A way of being as large as life. A way of being you, infinitely.
Written in short one to two page segments, A Playful Path is perfect to read on an as-needed basis, sort of an antidote to all the not-fun that drags us down. A Playful Path is an entertaining book. It’s also wise, true, and entirely useful. Just like play. Get your copy in paperback or as a free e-book.
For more Bernie in your life you can keep up with him on G+ and Facebook, stay current with his blog. and read MIT Press’ re-release of his groundbreaking book, The Well-Played Game: A Player’s Philosophy. Oh, and be sure to bookmark his collection of games!
Play is how we have learned to learn. Instructions? We don’t need no stinkin’ instructions. Bernie DeKoven