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Play at Work: How games inspire breakthrough thinking

Adam L. Penenberg

1 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, Business & management, Business ethics & social responsibility

A fascinating look at how games can help us learn, create, and innovate.

Once thought to be nothing more than diversions for children and nerds, games have become an integral part of everyday life. Educators are trying to make learning more fun by introducing games into the classroom while cutting-edge managers are doing the same in the workplace. Doctors, scientists, and entrepreneurs are deploying games to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems.

But according to Adam Penenberg, it's not the games themselves that improve our lives, but rather smart game design and its impact on the brain that can lead us to become immersed in a task we find enjoyable. The individuals and institutions that have used games to achieve this effect are often rewarded with astounding results.

Examples include:
- A software developer who changed Microsoft's mind-numbing code review process into a fun, team based game
- Google, which indexed its massive image database with unpaid volunteers by turning the process into a game.
- A medical student who created a simple game that helped her overcome distractions and dramatically increased her productivity.

Drawing on the latest brain science on attention and engagement plus his own firsthand reporting, Penenberg shows how organizations like Google, Microsoft, hospitals, and the military have used game design in bold new ways.

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Praise for Play at Work: How games inspire breakthrough thinking

  • It's happening all around us, but if you're not paying attention you may miss it. Adam Penenberg provides an insightful guide into how gamification is infiltrating the marketplace, and more importantly, how it can be leveraged to make experiences more immersive and addictive. Read it, and prepare to see your everyday experiences through new eyes - Todd Henry, author of DIE EMPTY

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Adam L. Penenberg

Adam Penenberg is the editor of, a Web site that follows tech start-ups. He has written for The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., Slate, and Wired among other publications. He is the author of Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves and is a journalism professor at New York University.

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