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Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis. Paperback – August 27, 1996


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Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis. + I'm OK--You're OK + Scripts People Live: Transactional Analysis of Life Scripts
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345410033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345410030
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

Dr. Eric Berne, as the originator of transactional analysis, has attained recognition for developing one of the most innovative approaches to modern psychotherapy. Discover how many of these "secret games" you play everyday of your life: Iwfy (If it weren't for you); Sweetheart; Threadbare; Harried; Alcoholic, and many more. A groundbreaking book that bores deep into the heart of all our relationships, GAMES PEOPLE PLAY is a classic that should be read again and again.


From the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

This book changed my life for the better.
H. Temple
The bulk of Berne's book consists of a thesaurus of many of the games we play with people as a substitute for engaging with them intimately.
Cherilyn Keall
Overall, I found this book to be very useful in understanding my relationships with people.
Pen Name Nick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

198 of 209 people found the following review helpful By Infovoyeur on May 15, 2001
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.
Read more ›
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Pen Name Nick on September 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was initially a little skeptical of a book that was a bit old, thinking it would be outdated, but I found this to be extremely relevant. Upon buying the book, I initially jumped to the games section, skipping over the details of Berne's theories. I was immediately struck with how many games I was unconsciously playing in both my relationship with my spouse and in my work life. With my spouse, I found the games "If It Weren't For You" and "Look How Hard I've Tried" to be hauntingly similar to some of our interactions. I've recently been analyzing my transactions with colleagues at work and noticed patterns that fit many of the games described here as well.

Berne's section on the theory behind games is fascinating. I recommend reading about some of the games first and then moving to the theories. By understanding the theories, you learn WHY you inevitably participate in these games. After I understood why I was being drawn into these patterns, I was able to understand my motives. And ultimately, after understanding my motives, I was able alter my actions and responses when needed.

Overall, I found this book to be very useful in understanding my relationships with people. It is refreshingly different than a lot of the self-help material out there. This book cuts right to the chase and gives you tools to live by. I highly recommend it. After reading this book, I also read What Do You Say After You Say Hello by Eric Berne as well as Scripts People Live by Claude Steiner.
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107 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is Eric Berne's popularization of Transactional Analysis, the approach to understanding and treating realtionship disorders that he largely developed. Whatever its efficacy as a form of therapy, it is a fascinating way to veiw ordinary human interactions. I first read this book more than two decades ago and have gone back to reread portions of it ever since.
While Berne's categorizations of pastimes and games seems somewhat skimpy (after all, behavior is infinitly richer than any theory can easily handle) the basic assumptions of Transactional Analysis provide a new way of understanding much that people do that otherwise seems either meaningless or baffeling. It is a real contribution to understanding ourselves.
My life is not 'game free' but at least I recognize more of the games I play, and am less likely to mistake their arbitrary rules for life and death imperatives.
Definitly worth reading for anyone who values self examination.
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
When I finished this book, my immediate reaction was one of disappointment. It attempts to treat its subject more scientifically than is practical -- sometimes the "players" are identified, and sometimes they are not, sometimes the game has an antithesis and sometimes it does not. Berne would like to pretend that all of the games are structurally analogous, but it becomes clear that this is simply not so.
Interestingly enough, though, disappointment though it was, I don't regret reading this book one bit. I started to see some of these games going on around me, and I was able to identify other games that weren't mentioned in the book. The whole book reinforces an important concept -- that people can act and interact for reasons that have nothing to do with their own happiness.
Read the book and you'll understand, though perhaps not right away.
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