High signal digest #5
Games people play: basic handbook of transactional analysis + 5 eclectic internet snippets
est reading time 3 min
Today at a glance:
Book: Games people play: the basic handbook of transaction analysis by Eric Berne, M.D. No silver bullet insights, but it makes you think about relationship dynamics.
Internet snippets: 2nd order thinking, biomanufactured clothing, be kind to the janitor
Why did I read this? Was looking into behavior psychology, ego/self (Freud), and stumbled onto this. Eric Berne built on some of Freud’s ideas and is considered the father of transactional analysis. Turns out this book stood the test of time (written in 1964) and is popular (bunch of 5 star reviews on Amazon + recommended by smart people so gave it a shot).
Cool story. The title is eerie.
Why did you really read this? (1) I am interested in human interactions/behavioral psych and (2) part of my job is to play games. This is especially true when the team grows or when you are part of a lager company.
We all play games - whether we acknowledge it or we don’t. If I am responsible for a team or a vision - I am playing on behalf of others. And so I will do what I need to do (within ethical boundries) to get us an edge. I don’t enjoy it, but I will do it. That’s it!
A large part of the book is a breakdown of actual games we play, ranging from marital games (ex “look how hard I tried”) to party/social games (ex. “ain’t it awful”) to life games (ex. “see what you made me do”) and other domains. I am not going to summarize any of the specific games, but if curious - you can check out the book.
Here are my raw notes from the book:
3 states: parent, ego, child
Child = intuition, creativity, spontaneous drive, enjoying
Adult = survival. Process data and compute probability to deal with outside world
Parent = act as parent of actual children and promote human race survival, make all responses automatic
Child determines outcomes in most games
At the social level it can be adult-adult, but at the psych level it is often adult child. Ask yourself who am i transacting with?
Adult / Adult = exchange to get outcomes
Games = zero sum and dishonest
Lesson = do not take all gimmicks/games literally. Let it pass - see your partners POV
Communicate = solution to most
Part of raising children is teaching them what games to play and how
Different social circles play have different game dynamics. Understand them.
Autonomy = awareness + spontaneity + intimacy
Autonomous can rise above pre-programmed transactional analysis
Simple post on 2nd order thinking. Applicable to chess and poker (patterns are everywhere). Thinking multiple moves ahead. Or thinking of all outcomes and evaluating each one even if there is an obvious choice.
Biomanufactured materials might be in our lives sooner than we think. Cool implications for high-tech clothing, performance/sports gear, and obv military.
Don’t ignore the janitor. You know what this is going to be about without opening the link. Think it’s an important reminder to be kind. Some of the people who are the most in need of affection are the ones who are the most alone. We all see it. All the data supports it. We are growing more distant. More callous.
Reddit’s favorite products in one place. Useful and well-done site. Wisdom of the crowd/community > paid recs from bloggers and newspapers.
New Steve Jobs archive has great insights. We’ve all heard some of these, but this letter has been making the rounds. It is so simple and pure.
Good note to end on. Have a peaceful Sunday.