A Scientific Reason to Drop Everything and Ride: Play – How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, M.D.
“The great benefits of play …are the ability to become smarter, to learn more about the world than genes alone could ever teach, to adapt to a changing world.”
– from Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown, M.D.
✅ Best Best Book Play: How It Shapes the Brain
Wonderful Read – This is a wonderful book. Stuart Brown points out something that the modern world desperately needs to hear: to play is to be human. Brown, drawing on a fair bit of recent scientific research, argues that approaching life with a playful attitude is not only important for being a happy person, but it’s also important for being a creative person. Children lose the desire to learn when they are placed in kindergarten- where “work” and “play” are very strictly separated- and where play itself is sometimes removed entirely, with recess being cancelled to attend to more “serious” things. Brown’s discussion of what constitutes play is especially fascinating.
Finally, horse-lovers have a scientific reason to drop everything and ride, read, and generally have fun with horses! In Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Dr. Stuart Brown reveals that play isn’t just for fun: even a few minutes of horsing around can boost your brain, increase your creativity, improve your health, and refresh you as thoroughly as a good night’s sleep.
Pairing serious research with examples of playful kittens and polar bears – as well as toddlers through CEOs – Dr. Brown explains how kids, teens, and adults can bring play into – or back into – their lives. One particularly powerful example is of a woman who loved horses as a child, left them behind to focus intently on family and career, and then, after making space for them in her busy adult life, rediscovered “irrational bliss” and experienced personal renewal. Brown writes:
“Play is called recreation because it makes us new again, it re-creates us and our world. As Laurel demonstrated when she began riding horses, just a little true play in one’s life can bring everything else, including work, back in balance.”