Games People Play The Psychology of Human Relationships by Eric Berne


“The more disturbed you are, the more games you play”. Well, they are games of a different kind. And the author describes them as “patterned and predictable series of transactions which are superficially plausible but which actually conceal motivations, include private significance to the parties involved, and lead to a well-defined predictable outcome, usually counterproductive”. Games People Play an all-time bestseller that looks like a pocketbook that introduces you to yourself. And shows you the futile part of you.

The first part of the book talks about the transaction analysis. Giving you a very simple pictorial representation of the three ego-states in all human being viz Parent, Adult, and Child. And how we have harmonious or non-harmonious interactions based on what ego-states we operate from in the interactions. Though the discussion is very simplistic, this is just enough for the layperson to understand the concept. And the fact that we all have these 3 states within us and all our interactions are a series of these simple looking interactions.

Games People Play by Eric Berne

Next, he takes you through a series of usual games. Describing the game very briefly and giving it a catchy title that is based on the situation that you might have been either involved in or may have observed around you. You would invariably smile as you read through these games. They have been put across so simply that you can literally visualize the incidents happening in front of your eyes. He has categorized the games as Life games, Marital games, Party games, Sexual games, Underworld games, Consulting room games and Good games.

It is in the end that he tells you why he wanted you to read about Games. If you cannot read the whole book, do read the chapter on autonomy though it would make more sense after you read all about games. It tells you when you do not have the need to play games. And probably a point that we all need to aim for. He says you attain autonomy through awareness, spontaneity & intimacy. Awareness makes you alive by allowing you to live in present and not in past or future. Spontaneity liberates you from the need to play games. Intimacy allows you to interact as a normal child, out of affection. At the end of it tells you what most spiritual seekers would tell you: Live in present, do not manipulate and do so you have to maintain your child like nature and have compassion.

Somehow this book Games People Play fits into my current theme of “Simplify”. The more games you play the more complications you introduce in your life and hence in the lives of those you play games with. How simple would this world be if fewer games were played? But will it make life a bit boring too?

Buy this book – Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships
by Eric Berne at Amazon India.

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  1. Had read the book in early 1982. Fr Denis Carneiro our college principal introduced me to this and also Born to Win , Naked Ape and many such of the genre. Yes indeed world would be a far better place if People did not play such games. Visit to your blog always throws surprises all due to your varied interests.


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