Games People Play Book Cover

Games People Play

The Psychology of Human Relationships
Book by: Eric Berne
Publishing Year: 1964
Reading time: Key takeways: Quotes:

What’s inside

Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships written by Eric Berne is the bestselling book published in the year 1964. It has sold more than five million copies to date. This book explains both functional and dysfunctional social interactions. The book is divided into three sections with three different titles for each. The first part titled “Analysis of Games” introduces transactional analysis as an approach to comprehend social interactions. The second part titled, “Thesaurus of Games” categorizes a series of "mind games". People interact with a patterned and predictable series of "transactions" that are somewhat plausible but concealing motifs which lead to a well-defined and predictable outcome. The third part titled, “Beyond Games” extends an opportunity to the readers to understand why people play games.

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Lesson 1. The Three Ego States.

There exists a chain of recurring behavioural patterns in the universal chaos of general human behaviour. 

Berne identifies three "ego states" from which people choose to interact with each other - the Parent, the Adult, and the Child. 

It mostly depends on our past and present experiences, which ego state we choose to act from at our convenience. 

It is a known fact that a Child grows up imitating his or her Parents. We generally tend to normalise the things which are not normal because we have watched our parents doing it while growing up. The Parent state is not necessarily negative. It should be seen as an unconscious imitation of the parents. 

The Adult ego state adds rationality to our lives. It is necessary for survival. The Adult ego state allows us to act on our present and helps us to face problems with logical thinking. It emerges when you try to get to the roots of problems instead of jumping to the conclusions. 

And the Child ego state is nothing but unleashing of our inner child. Our emotions have originated from this ego state. And our creativity and imagination are at their peak when we are acting from this ego state. As we grow up the Child gets buried underneath the other two ego states. 

Lesson 2.   The Predictability.

According to Berne, the game is an ongoing series of transactions with a hidden motif and hope of a well-defined predictable outcome. 

The better comprehending of ego states helps us to understand the various kinds of games people play.

Every person is playing a game whether they are aware of it or not. People act from one particular ego state while interacting.

Consider this for an example: when a teacher is interacting with his student, he is acting as the Parent, guiding the student with his wisdom for the student's benefit. And the student is acting as the Child seeking help and guidance from the teacher. 

People need not have to always be the Parent and the Child. Sometimes people communicate from the Adult state. The Parent and the Child ego states have a codependent pattern. But the Adult ego state is independent.

The interaction between a retailer and his customer is an Adult-to-Adult interaction. 

The whole series of interactions are predictable once the first transaction has been initiated. 

When we try to do something under the cloak of something else, we begin to play games. 

People do not always consciously manipulate

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About the author

Eric Berne Image

Eric Berne, a psychiatrist and author renowned for his work on transactional analysis. His theories on human behavior, particularly in social interactions, reshaped psychotherapy, paving the way for a deeper understanding of communication patterns and relat...

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Chapter List
  • Lesson 1. The Three Ego States.
  • Lesson 2.   The Predictability.
  • Lesson 3. The Life Games.
  • Lesson 4. The Marital Games.
  • Lesson 5. The Party Games.
  • Lesson 6. The Sexual Games.
  • Lesson 7. Beyond Games.
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In the summary of Games People Play book, there are 7 key lessons. These lessons include:

  1. Lesson 1. The Three Ego States.
  2. Lesson 2.   The Predictability.
  3. Lesson 3. The Life Games.
  4. Lesson 4. The Marital Games.
  5. Lesson 5. The Party Games.
  6. Lesson 6. The Sexual Games.
  7. Lesson 7. Beyond Games.

Games People Play by Eric Berne was published in 1964.

Once you've completed Games People Play book, We suggest reading out The Hidden Life of Trees as a great follow-up read.

Yes, the book Games People Play is really good to read. 68 people have searched for the book summary on the Wizdom platform. The book summary has a rating of 0.0, 0 on our platform.

In the printed version of Games People Play book have over 300 pages and usually takes 8-10 days to finish. However, with the Wizdom app, including its summary and audiobook, it can be completed in just 15 minutes.

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