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Games People Play

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  29,689 ratings  ·  1,130 reviews
We think we’re relating to other people–but actually we’re all playing games.

Forty years ago, Games People Play revolutionized our understanding of what really goes on during our most basic social interactions. More than five million copies later, Dr. Eric Berne’s classic is as astonishing–and revealing–as it was on the day it was first published. This anniversary edition
Kindle Edition, 83 pages
Published July 6th 2011 by Tantor eBooks (first published January 1st 1964)
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Greg Patience. Learning the rules. Watching people and even though I might not like the way they play, there is always something to learn. Most important r…morePatience. Learning the rules. Watching people and even though I might not like the way they play, there is always something to learn. Most important rule: everyone likes a compliment. "Your book report is very good", parent to child. (Then, and only then, proceed with a few suggestions, if necessary.) "In the meeting today, your comments on project timing and resources were insightful," adult to adult. (No need for anything else.) And most importantly, as an adult talking to a parent in their declining years, remind them often of how thankful you are.(less)

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Sep 11, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i'm currently reading the 1960-something edition of this book although there is a 1996 edition. it really doesn't matter. i feel like i've found the holy grail. i know y'all's games bitches! that means ima gonna win! fuck yea! eat my metaphoric, insinuating, quadruple entendre shorts! really, i'm learning some heavy shit about human relationships...
Ahmad Sharabiani
Games People play: the psychology of human relationships, 1966, Eric Berne, Esmail Fassih (translator)

Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships is a bestselling 1964 book by psychiatrist Eric Berne. In the first half of the book, Berne introduces transactional analysis as a way of interpreting social interactions.

He describes three roles or ego states, known as the Parent, the Adult, and the Child, and postulates that many negative behaviors can be traced to switching or confusio
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Berne argues that a lot of the behaviour you see around you every day can best be understood as different kinds of "games". A game is a pattern of behaviour usually involving two or perhaps three people. There is a series of interactions, followed by an emotional payoff.

One of the things I found most interesting is that the classification has two dimensions. First, there's the game itself. Second, there's the question of how seriously you're playing: he divides this into First Degr
Candace Dempsey
Aug 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Games People Play has a good chapter about dealing with alcoholics, but Berne's ideas (and I do mean ideas) about women and homosexuals are disgusting and sexist. This book was published in the 1960s and it shows. Scary to think modern psychologists might actually use it as a text or that college students would have to listen to Berne's ugly ideas about women and gays. Nowadays we use research, not "ideas." ...more
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m glad I read it, but it wasn’t ultimately everything that I wanted it to be.

The theory at the beginning was absolutely fascinating and, even though the books itself is from the 1960’s, it has significant value for being the start of the field of transactional psychology.

However, the description of the games themselves was where I found the book lacking. Mostly, this is where I also felt the impact of the book being so dated. Some of his descriptions of games were based on stereotypical gend
Jun 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-science
This was apparently a very big thing when it was published in the 70s, and I can see why. It’s a very interesting way of viewing the world. Unfortunately, like many psychology theories, it takes what is a clever conceit that explains some odd aspects of human interaction and then tries to apply it to everything regardless of whether it fits or not. Add in some very seventies thought processes (which are rather out of favor at the moment but the author probably thought of as universal without rea ...more
James Rye

I found the general concept an interesting metaphor (rather than a scientifically proven social reality). However, I struggled to finish the book. It felt like a series of scribbled notes thrown together - a set of index cards with brief information on 'games'. I needed further explanation and an attempt to engage me rather than having a series of ideas thrown before me.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a fascinating psychological journey into the minds of everyday people (including, and probably ESPECIALLY, your own). Berne's list of psychological "games" we all play with each other is fascinating, as is what you learn about yourself by analyzing which games you tend to revisit regularly.

One little warning: When you learn to recognize these games, you will be forced to eliminate at least 95% of the B.S. in your life and frequently find yourself disgusted by 100% of the B.S. in eve
Mekhala Pande
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My absolute darling of a father has been badgering me to read this book since I was a kid.(strange request to make to a seven year old, but oh well, strange family). But now I see what all the fuss was about.This book is quite the "A-ha, I see your such and such play, and I raise you this seemingly innocuous play". Dare I say it's a bit of enlightened fun when you can even scratch the surface of deciphering something so complex as Human Relationships.

On a psychological-interactive playfield Bern
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
smart. Falls into the category of books that give you the secret reason for why things happen the way they do.
Kaj Sotala
I find this book impossible to rate.

On one hand, it some had very insightful models about human behavior. For example, there is the notion of "strokes" - a metaphor for any social interaction in which one person acknowledges the existence of another. As the book defines them:

‘Stroking’ may be used as a general term for intimate physical contact; in practice it may take various forms. [...] By an extension of meaning, ‘stroking’ may be employed colloquially to denote any act implying recognition
Jay Green
Aug 27, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unconvincing pseudoscientific psychobabble.
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Basically, you're manipulating everyone and everyone you know is manipulating you!

Admittedly, this book is flawed. Because the author is primarily concerned with interpersonal games, he tends to put every possible scenario within that context. Some of his ideas are now dated, bordering on offensive. Nevertheless, I found the book to be all kinds of enlightening and tremendously useful. I recommend it under the assumption that wise readers will be able to sort the good from the bad.
“Awareness requires living in the here and now, and not in the elsewhere, the past or the future.”
― Eric Berne, Games People Play

Here's the thing about this book.

I come from a family of Psychologists, social workers, ETC. I have read many books on this subject from human relationships, to dysfunctional people to transactional Analysis and human behavior, maladaptive behavior , personality disorders. I love some of these books, hate others, are in between on most.

This remains one of the few I cou
Joshua R. Taylor
From the start it felt like the model of human relationships Berne describes in this book had so much potential. I think to some extent people already intuitively know that we play social games with each other, quite often without noticing. This book rigorously formalises these games and explores how they're often used to fulfil some need or lack of intimacy. The school of psychotherapy spawned by Berne, transaction analysis, appears to have many practical mental tools and models of thinking for ...more
Danni Green
The basic idea behind this book -- that human interactions often follow patterns, and many of these patterns can be described in the manner of games and understood better if analyzed as such -- is fundamentally sound, and a really useful paradigm. The book contains a lot of victim-blaming and creepy gender constructions, which detract from the overall message. But I found the basic concepts to be valuable, and would be really interested to read more contemporary, less misogynistic perspectives o ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, 2016, textbook
DNF at 70%

This book is not only heavily reliant on Freudian and Jungian paradigms (and thus hermeneutics rather than evidence-based psychology) but also displays a stunning amount of sexist bias. Not for me, though the premise is fascinating.
Oct 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who likes to understand social interaction
how to recognize patterns of behavior and
motivation inin relationships and conversations -
puts a name on various ambiguous manipulation methods
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This has more acronyms than you can shake a stick at.

I hate acronyms.
Ardon Pillay
Not a book I particularly enjoyed reading.

For one thing, the author uses a lot of strange terms throughout the book without ever properly defining them. I found myself constantly looking back to try and see if I missed something.

The writing style is also very jarring and generally hard to follow.

Another issue is that the main subject of this book, transactional analysis, is apparently a somewhat outdated model of human interactions, something I only found out about halfway through the book.

Apr 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Highly recommended
I've read this book two times, this is the third book written by Prof. Eric Berne, which I've read up to now, and I believe this is the best one. It's hard to explain how much i've learned from this book, I think I should read the book once more to learn some new things.
This book shows you the "Games" which are behind the human's relationships, it believes that a great number of human's relations are a kind of "Game" indeed. But at the end of the book, Prof. Eric Berne explains that the highest
Bon Tom
This definitely requires one more reading. Then I'll know more about what I think about it.

Ok, after second reading. I'd say it's a little more than a list of some of the possible interpersonal games people play. In no way can it be considered a handbook of transactional analysis, which is what I hoped for. My mistake, I guess.

However, it's solid "give a taste" sort of book, exemplary collection of some of the possible games people play. It will open your eyes for this kind of interpersonal tran
Tony duncan
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who isn't perfect
This a an excellent readable and practical explanation of destructive social interactions, He breaks down common patterns (this is from the 60's so there are variations now) and shows easy ways to identify games that people are acting out , and what it looks like to live game-free

Berne is funny and insightful. It is a shame that so few people I know really are willing to look deeply at these kinds of issues. Sort of like feminism I find an attitude of "we're past that", but then i see all the pr
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Needs to be completed in my point of view there are lots of other games that exist in every day life and it is not covered in this book yet
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Games People Play, the book speaks of the Psychology of human relationships. It introduces the theory of Transactional Analysis. The author, Eric Berne, suggests that all the communication that happens between individuals is actually a transaction between the ego states.

An ego states as he defines is “simply the combination of a person’s feeling and his behavioural patterns” and any transaction or communication between individuals takes place through the communication these ego
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Growing up, I more or less romanticized the idea of psychology being an exact science. I thought that, with a little effort, human behaviour could be observed in a very structured manner and condensed in a handbook to help with interpersonal relationships. I have since shed some of that wishful thinking, but sometimes I indulge in that fantasy from time to time.

Games People Play is the type of interpersonal handbook that I expected to exist as a child. In the book, Berne discusses the concept o
Cristian Strat
Berne presents the theory of transaction analysis (all communication that happens between individuals is actually a transaction between the Parent, Adult and Child ego states) and then goes on to expose and analyze a series of mind games that people play with each other, consciously or not. Mind games are superficially plausible interactions between people that conceal private significance to the parties involved. (What may appear to be a plausible conversation between two adults might carry an ...more
Aya Hamouda
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Games People Play is considered a timeless classic in the field of Psychology. Really It's A very Interesting Way for Explaining Behavior .

One of My Favourite Games in this Book is :

Blemish (Party Game):
-Played from the Child position of “I am no good” but is masked when this individual meets a new person, to “they are no good”
-The “player” then seeks out to prove that they are no good, with thesis’ ranging from “they haven’t got as much as money as I”, “they aren’t nearly as educated”, “they
Nino Meladze
This one was probably a sensational book in 60s and 70s. I found some of the concepts quite outdated, a bit stereotypical and very black and white.
What I liked
This gave me a new lens for seeing interactions between people as having "patterns", with surface-level intent and ulterior intent. One game I recognized clearly was "Why don't you.. yes but", where a person asks for advice, then rejects every piece of advice given.

Another nice observation was that we don't like people who don't play our games. So if a group of people usually plays a complaining game (e.g. "Ain't it Awful"), then someone who joins the group and doesn't play along wil
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Eric Berne was a Canadian-born psychiatrist best known as the creator of transactional analysis. Eric was born on May 10, 1910 as Eric Lennard Bernstein in Montreal, Canada.He and his sister Grace, who was five years younger than Eric, were the children of a physician and a writer, David and Sara Gordon Bernstein.David Bernstein died in 1921, and the children were raised by their mother.


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