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Publisher's Summary

Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities. The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games.

Play Anything reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of 11 players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning.

Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances - like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints - as sources for meaning and joy. We can "play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears. Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed - and enjoyed - when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.

©2016 Ian Bogost (P)2016 Recorded Books

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Great book, bad title

I did not find in this book what I was expecting from the title.
It's well written and interesting. I touches briefly on boredom and limits. Much of the time is passed criticizing irony. I would say that irony, instead of play, is the main focus of this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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or become a monk

Being satisfied with everything for what it is and what we are may that the joy out of the things that matter and send it out in the darkness only to return to us as something else.

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Useless

This book has nothing that pertains to practical application. Talks about hipsters obsessions hints that the ideas discussed might have useful applications but does nothing to explore implementation or utilization.

Just a collection of ponderings about pretentious interests

  • Overall
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Convoluted

Would you try another book from Ian Bogost and/or Jonathan Yen?

Not Bogost but Yen was a good narrator

What could Ian Bogost have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

This was very hard to follow in my opinion. I understood the premise that it is the restrictions of things that make it a game, but I felt the examples jumped all over the place.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Yen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No I have not.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

frustration

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • K. Goldschmitt
  • 11-27-16

frustrating

This book was a let-down. Way too biased without any compassion for differences or minorities.

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  • M A Mc
  • 11-01-16

An interesting view, but no practical advice

Listening to this book is probably not the best way to take on Bogost's ideas, and personally I founds the reader's emphasis incoherent with content.

Bogost lectures on the many faults of Ironyer, positivism, mindfulness and others.

Instead he offers allowing things to be what they are, and circumscribing them to explore their potential. But how we are to do ''tis is not clear.

It is less a guide and more philosophical thesis.

There is much to ponder.

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  • C. E. Scurr
  • 09-25-16

Not what I was expecting.

Not what I was expecting at all! Very heavy going at times. It was rather like an endurance test to make it to the end but was thought provoking and interesting. I would not have chosen to listen to this had I realised at the beginning what it contained but am glad that I was mistaken and persevered to the end. Very useful (I would think) for someone studying the meaning of play.

I have given 4 stars as I did, unexpectedly, kind of enjoy it. The impersonation of Marie Kondo I thought to be rather patronising.