Finite and Infinite Games

by James Carse

Category: Philosophy

Book Reviews

  • @VinnyKurban Kindle doesn’t generate a list of books you read again this year, unfortunately. Here’s a short list of stuff I remember re-reading at least partially: The Laundry Files series by @cstross HPMOR by @ESYudkowsky Understanding Media by McLuhan Finite and Infinite Games by CarseLink to Tweet
  • James Carse’s book Finite and Infinite Games has been one of the biggest influences on how I think about life. May more people abandon finite games and embrace the joy of never ending play. to Tweet
  • Am seeing a few tweets that James Carse has passed away? RIP. His book Finite and Infinite Games is sort of a cult hit in Silicon Valley, but it still feels under-read. Reading it changed me forever. to Tweet
  • Last week I told a friend about Finite and Infinite Games, and I realised what a privilege it is to introduce somebody to a potentially life-changing book. So much responsibility in book recommendations - and boy is it rewarding!Link to Tweet
  • @BooksChatterBot This is a cool idea! Please add all the books found at the following link. These are the best of the best - the top 5% of what is now over 600 books read and summarized to Tweet
  • @peternlimberg @macterra @LetterWiki Finite and Infinite Games is one of my all-time favorites. It's been a long time since I read my tattered and well-worn copy.Link to Tweet
  • The outcome is the finite game, the friends we made along the way are the infinite game. to Tweet

About Book

“There are at least two kinds of games,” states James P. Carse as he begins this extraordinary book. “One could be called finite; the other infinite.” Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life; they are played in order to be won, which is when they end. But infinite games are more mysterious. Their object is not winning, but ensuring the continuation of play. The rules may change, the boundaries may change, even the participants may change—as long as the game is never allowed to come to an end. What are infinite games? How do they affect the ways we play our finite games? What are we doing when we play—finitely or infinitely? And how can infinite games affect the ways in which we live our lives? Carse explores these questions with stunning elegance, teasing out of his distinctions a universe of observation and insight, noting where and why and how we play, finitely and infinitely. He surveys our world—from the finite games of the playing field and playing board to the infinite games found in culture and religion—leaving all we think we know illuminated and transformed. Along the way, Carse finds new ways of understanding everything, from how an actress portrays a role to how we engage in sex, from the nature of evil to the nature of science. Finite games, he shows, may offer wealth and status, power and glory, but infinite games offer something far more subtle and far grander. Carse has written a book rich in insight and aphorism. Already an international literary event, Finite and Infinite Games is certain to be argued about and celebrated for years to come. Reading it is the first step in learning to play the infinite game.

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