The one-sentence summary

Play is the fermenting ground for exploring alternatives and as such is the very essence of creativity.


  • Politicians arguing consistently for a work ethic are missing the point. We are essentially designed to play.
  • We all think we know what play is (what we do as children, outside work, and for no other reason than pleasure), but understanding the real meaning of it would revolutionise and liberate our daily lives.
  • Huge numbers of companies now make their money out of play elements – who is to say that is wrong? Play offers learning, progress, imagination, a sense of self, identity and contest. It is also the fermenting ground for exploring alternatives – the essence of creativity.
  • Your mind is a ‘possibility factory’ – use it.
  • The new generation of Soulitarians are more interested in the quality of life and what they do for a living than the money. They are Lifestyle Militants.
  • Poiesis is the act of producing something specified – too few people can do this.


  • The idea that when work becomes too humane (nice to do), we do too much of it is interesting.
  • Sick related stress costs companies £370m a year –they should be more enlightened about job sharing and working from home to reduce this.
  • Much so-called play (such as computer games) constitute ‘hard fun’ – if they do not represent a challenge, they aren’t considered to be good.
  • ‘I think, therefore I produce’ is an interesting new credo for people in the information age.
  • Technology was supposed to make our lives easier, but it annihilates our time by intruding on every moment of the day – we need to offset this.


  • This is a complicated and detailed read. You could dip in, but it is more of a long essay or dissertation, so it is best to read end to end.
  • It is very widely researched, but you would have to work extra hard to track down all the lines of enquiry that it suggests.