I first read The Game of Life and How to Play It more than 20 years ago. It continues to be my ‘go to’ personal development classic’ whenever I’m feeling stressed or in need of guidance. Florence writes with such positivity and hope that I always manage to find the perfect story or affirmation to lift my spirits. If you are reading this review because you are searching, I’m confident you will find what you are looking for in this unassuming but powerful work.
Florence Scovel Shinn wrote this short book in 1925. Her words are stunningly relevant to the ‘modern’ condition. Maybe it’s because she has written with such compassion and kindness. She covers a range of spiritual topics including:
- The Law of Prosperity
- The Power of the Word
- The Law of Non-resistance
- The Laws of Karma and Forgiveness
- Impressing the Subconscious Mind, and
- Divine Self-expression.
In a series of interesting and entertaining chapters, Florence explains that our life difficulties, disease, lack, unhappiness, misfortune and financial problems, are usually the outcome of subtle suggestions that we have impressed on our subconscious minds. Through our constant negative self-talk, or negative self-thinking, we support the manifestation of the very situations we are seeking to avoid. This is how we have turned life into a battle rather than the game or fun that it was meant to be. The good news is that these bad habits can be broken through the realisation of these counter-productive patterns, the use of affirmation and giving as well as receiving.
Are any of Florence’s suggestions earth-shattering or new? Not really. The real strength of these writings is her ability to make spiritual concepts accessible, easy to understand and effective. Her charming personal anecdotes are skilfully used to bring spiritual laws to life and her simplicity of expression cuts through the usual esoteric waffle.
It’s worth mentioning that Florence illustrates her teachings with frequent bible quotes or stories. She does this in a very practical way and it definitely doesn’t come across as churchy or preachy. Unfortunately, some people have interpreted this as meaning ‘The Game of Life and How to Play It’ is a book about religions or Christianity. From my point of view, given how long ago the book was written I think that she was just trying to connect with her readers at that time who would have been far more comfortable with the words of Jesus Christ than the words of Budda. Florence is just trying to illustrate the ‘Laws of the Universe’ with examples that people could relate to – it’s a pity that this now alienates the occasional person in modern times.
The Game of Life and How to Play It is compact enough to read in one sitting and easy to ‘pick up’ in between times if you never have more than five minutes to yourself. It is a wonderful present to yourself and a lovely gift for anyone going through difficult times.