When 100 senior citizens in nursing homes were polled about what they would do differently if they could do it all over again, here is what they said:

  1. Laugh more
  2. Spend more time with loved ones
  3. Take more risks


In other words…play!

Here’s what you need to know about the book “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul,” by Stuart Brown, founder of The National Institute for Play.

We know play lies at the core of creativity and innovation but yet we don’t seem to do it enough.  The book highlights several key examples of the importance of play and why we feel more alive when we do.  While one of the examples is extreme, I think it best exemplifies the dangers of not playing enough.

In 1966 Charles Whitman climbed the infamous clock tower at the University of Texas and started shooting people.  It became known as the Texas Tower Massacre.  When the event was over, a team of psychologists, criminologists, medical doctors, psychiatrists, etc., were all asked to review the case by the Governor of Texas.  What they found was deeply troubling.  As a kid, young Charles Whitman was never allowed to play outside or with friends.  His parents had dreams of him becoming a concert pianist. In fact, they would make him perform in front of their adult friends while he could see out the window that his neighbors were playing in the street.  He never played sports and never had a pet.  Long story short, he never played.

Now this is an extreme example and I’m sure there’s even more to the story.  But even today, it is often found that high functioning employees are the ones that played in their youth.

“Play,” a national bestseller, is a quick read and well worth the time….and now you have some evidence and a good excuse to add more play to your life.

Editor’s Note: Check out Stuart Brown’s Ted Talk on the subject of Play.

Book review by
Andy Gallardo, CPT-NASM
Healthy Workforce, Director of Fitness