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The Play Ethic: A Manifesto For a Different Way of Living Paperback – Unabridged, 3 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1 edition (3 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333907361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333907368
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 384,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A brave attempt to inject a little playfulness... into the dull grind of the working stiff.' -- Iain Finlayson, The Times

'Fizzes with intellectual curiosity. Kane writes engagingly and with a humility difficult fo find among idea-entrepreneurs.' -- James Harkin, Independent

The Play Ethic ought to be the most influential book by a Scot since R.D.Laing's The Divided Self. -- Christopher Harvie, author of No Gods and Precious Few Heroes, and Professor of British Studies at the University of Tubingen.

Pat Kane has rescued play from the margins of our life and hauled it to the center, where it belongs. -- Daniel H. Pink, author of Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind (forthcoming), ex-speechwriter to Al Gore

Pat Kane should convince even skeptical work addicts of the interdependence of play, purpose, and profit. -- Douglas Rushkoff, author of Coercion and Children of Chaos, and Professor of Virtual Culture at New York University

Book Description

We all think we know what play is. Play is what we do as children, what we do outside of work, what we do for no other reason than for pleasure. But this is only half of the truth. The Play Ethic explores the real meaning of play and shows how a more playful society would revolutionize and liberate our daily lives. Using wide and varied sources – from the Enlightenment to Eminem, Socrates to Chaos theory, Kierkegaard to Karaoke – The Play Ethic shows how play is fundamental to both society and to the individual, and how the work ethic that has dominated the last three centuries is ill-equipped to deal with the modern world. With verve, wit and intelligence, Pat Kane takes us on a tour of the playful world arguing that without it business, the arts, politics, education, even our family and spiritual lives are fundamentally impoverished. The Play Ethic seeks to change the way you look at your daily life, how you interact with others, how you view the world. It is a guidebook to new, exciting – and unsettling – times. But even more than this it is a survival guide for those seeking to break the shackles of work dominated society. Shocking, controversial and magnificently argued, The Play Ethic is a book no one who works - or has ever worked - can afford to be without.

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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James Richards on 27 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback
I think this is a great book that demonstrates that the British work ethic is on its last legs. Play is without doubt the answer. However, as only about 15 per cent of all workers are employed in 'knowledge work' who is going to let us play as much as we should? We should never forget the omnipresence of big business and how it is forever creeping into our lives and commercialising what wasn't. Therefore a play manifesto is great for those who can get it on a regular basis, but for the vast majority are going to have to fight hard to get some of the action.
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18 of 31 people found the following review helpful By NH on 19 July 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is very well presented and researched. Its argument is well put and challenging, both in the intellectual and stylistic sense.
The main problem is the author has obviously spent no time at all in the real world. He advocates that by (re)discovering the 'playful' side of our personalities we can somehow transform our working environment, to being something that its not - eg no longer work.
Yeah, well, that's fine if you're in a creative job, like being a musician, or working in an advertising agency. But try applying it to being a nurse, teacher, claims handler, farmer, data inputter or any of the million other mundane jobs people struggle through to pay their dues in our screwed up economy.
The notion falls flat straight away, because, actually, in the real world there are profits to be made and targets to be reached. People also desire power, and ruthlessly compete with each other for wealth and status.
I'm trying not to be a boring old cynic. People read books like this and genuinely get inspired to live more meaningful lives. Good for them. But, at the end of the day, its completely stupid to think ideas like this can change the world. To do that requires a lot of effort, persistance and... no pun intended - Work.
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