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Play It Away: A Workaholic's Cure for Anxiety Paperback – February 7, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 271 customer reviews

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  • Play It Away: A Workaholic's Cure for Anxiety
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charlie Hoehn is the author of Play It Away (#1 Stress Management) and Recession Proof Graduate. He is also the founder of The Recess Project (therecessproject.com).

Charlie's article about the power of play is the #1 worldwide result on Google for the search "cure anxiety" (above Oprah.com), and has been read by over one million people. His work has been featured on NPR's TED Radio Hour, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Globe and Mail, Mating Grounds, and many others. He lives in Austin, where he hosts weekly recess at Zilker park and performs improv at the Hideout Theatre. Blog: charliehoehn.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: CharlieHoehn.com (February 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615918174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615918174
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ryan C. Holiday VINE VOICE on February 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I've known Charlie for a long time. For most of the time I've known him, he's been working on a book--a book that is not Play It Away. For that reason, the publication of Play It Away caught me totally by surprise. I think it was the book that Charlie HAD to write, perhaps literally to save his own life. Struggling with anxiety and stress, he'd tried a million things and none of them worked. This book came about because he finally had a breakthrough.

That breakthrough is simple: The way to cure anxiety is through play. It's not through medication or therapy but through games and fun. Very few children are anxious and overworked--that should tell us something. Having applied this mindset to his own life, Charlie turned into a book so you can learn from his example. It's short, simple and packed with a bunch of good lessons and quotes.

Read it. You'll love it and it may save your life too.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I chose to write this review because this book cured my anxiety, and I feel that everyone who is suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, depression or agoraphobia needs to read it. I'm writing this to you like a friend, because I know how hard it is to go through. If you are experiencing any of the things I mentioned, you will be relieved to know that it won't take very long to get back to the way you were before. You will feel like yourself again, and I don't believe there is a better resource than 'Play It Away' out there on how to do it.
For nearly a year before reading it, I was suffering serious anxiety and panic attacks, and at my worst, agoraphobia. My entire life was affected. It was, by far, the most challenging year of my life.

Now, I'm writing this to you, four months after reading the book (I had the good fortune of reading an advanced copy), almost entirely cured from all symptoms. I literally have not had a panic attack in four months. I finally feel just about back to my normal self.

Just to give you an idea of what my last year looked like, here are some highlights. Maybe you can relate to some of them:

- Having the ambulance come on two occasions, because I mistook the symptoms from my panic attack as being life threatening.
- I spent a week locked in a hotel room because I became agoraphobic while on a work trip. I was so afraid of having a panic attack in an unknown place that I would only venture downstairs to pick up food.
- On an airplane to San Francisco, I had to be pinned down in the flight attendants booth with a blanket because my body was having such severe tremors from a panic attack. I once again thought I was dying.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I started my career on Wall Street, which destroyed whatever attention span I had remaining after spending years busting my ass for my degree. The long hours and stress were a badge of honor in corporate culture. Even after leaving the finance industry, I carried with me numerous bad habits, including workaholism. I'd completely forgotten how to play. Literally, I did not understand children and why they were so happy. I couldn't understand why I was so stressed out and miserable all the time, either.

"Play It Away" made me realize that, while focusing so hard on succeeding in school and work, I'd lost something fundamental about myself. I'd gotten wrapped up in my head and ignored key areas, including hobbies and relationships. They say the first step is admitting you've got a problem, right?

This book is fun to read and clearly doesn't take itself seriously. The author has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and comes across as incredibly sincere in his desire to help people turn around their anxiety and depression.

What really helped me, though, is that the author provides a strategy to relearning how to play. I'll be honest: playing is uncomfortable when you've spent years being serious and have come to associate work with success. Hoehn gives clear steps for you to take and tells some funny stories along the way.

As a result of reading this book, I've found new hobbies, made new friends and sleep better at night, which I haven't done since grade school. Also, because I've given myself permission to have down time, my business has actually improved. You can't work yourself into the ground and expect to operate at 100% capacity 24/7. You'll stroke out.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I learned that curing anxiety is far more fun than I ever would have imagined.

When you're in the grip of anxiety, everything seems so serious and severe. In the worst of my anxiety, I would have never guessed that being playful would be the solution but that's precisely why it is. Everything gets far too serious when you have anxiety. Intentional play is the only way out.

It's not enough to play catch once (or once in a while). If you really want to start enjoying your life again, you need to make play a priority.


It has changed my outlook on life. Coping with stress is no longer about breathing exercises to do when I'm overwhelmed and hyperventilating. It's about creating a better life where joy fills the space where anxiety would otherwise live.

As someone who works remotely and spends the majority of his time in front of one screen or another, it has encouraged me to become more social and to look for more activities and venture outdoors. I'm actively looking for fun things to do. I'm not waiting around for my life to get better. I owe it to myself to create a life where my wellbeing is assured.

I will take the core principles I learned from this book as I go forward in life. I'm just getting started really having fun. It's such a wonderful feeling to realize that your life is just going to get funner as you get older.


What I'd say to someone thinking about reading this:

Play it Away is quick and pleasantly easy read. The last thing you need when struggling with crippling anxiety is something that is laborious to read.

This isn't an airy book telling you to "take it easy" (even though you probably should). It is very actionable and results-oriented.
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