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A Playful Path Paperback – February 27, 2014
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About the Author
In 1971, Bernard De Koven founded The Games Preserve, a retreat center for the exploration of games and play in Eastern Pennsylvania. The Games Preserve served many organizations and individuals, and functioned as the East Coast branch of The New Games Foundation. In 1978, DeKoven published The Well-Played Game, which is currently being re-released by MIT Press. During his long career, he has designed games of all kinds: board and table games, computer games, social games for small and large groups, city-wide game celebrations, theater games, games for couples, families, children and elders. But his greatest impact has been his development of a theory of fun and playfulness and how it can impact every aspect of personal and interpersonal, community and institutional health. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Later, as I read The Well-Played Game, a book first published in 1978, I was again reminded of another book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), in which Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discusses a state (i.e. "flow") during which creative artists, for example, are not consciously thinking about the next note to play or the next stroke to make on a painting. Athletes call it being in a "zone" as when Michael Jordan feels that he will make every a basketball shot or when Tiger Woods feels that he will sink every golf putt.
That does not mean that their actions are random or mechanical or that optimal performance will continue indefinitely. Those in a "flow" feel as if guided by a set of internalized rules or strategies. These rules influence the result but those involved do not need to consciously "will" each intention in action. Results occur naturally if allowed to. This is precisely what happens on hundreds of public basketball courts and playing fields throughout the U.S. when games are played without officials.
I thought about the aforementioned essay and book as I began to read A Playful Path, De Koven's latest book. They can serve as an excellent introduction but that is not essential. It is easy to explain what this book is about. At least here are what De Koven shares that are of greatest interest and value to me:
o What play is...and isn't
o What a game is...and isn't
o Playful relationships with family members, friends, business associates, et al
o Why activities and initiatives (e.g. formal, structured games) will -- and won't -- nourish playfulness
o How and why "letting go" can help us to become joyful
o Why joy is preferable to pleasure
o Channeling Walt Whitman, why each of us is "large" and "contains multitudes"
However, only those who read it can explain what it means to them -- the nature and extent of its value -- because each has followed a different path up to the point of becoming engaged with De Koven's narrative. What the book means to them will largely depend on the path they then follow. A Playful Path is Bernie De Koven's memoir of his own spiritual journey thus far, a journey that has nourished him, one that has been a mirror as well as a window.
To his great credit, De Koven shares details of his own journey, of time and effort on his own path, but respects his reader enough to decide (a) whether or not to embark on the same journey and (b) on which path to proceed.
One final point. With all due respect to the information, insights, and counsel to be found in this book, we are well advised to remember this ancient Hebrew aphorism: "Man plans and then God laughs." That is probably what Raphael Sabatini had mind in the opening line of one of his novels, Scaramouche: "He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad." To laugh is to breathe.
While he honed in on experiences and applications he always observed the impact of games on people, and the interactions between players. He provided his skills to the practical implementation of creating, and evaluating games.
He offers a potpourri of play that you can enjoy alone, or with family, friends, or coworkers, on the playground, home, office, school, on inner playground.
Bernie has shared over many years as a friend, mentor, and fellow player, his practical approaches to the value of play. He continues his contributions to keep playfulness vibrant and accessible. He opens the door to playfulness of all kinds, and invites the reader to step inside the playground, and commence to explore play, and joy (with and without any props) and to fully immerse oneself, and laugh.