Eric Berne, author of Games People Play and Creator of Transactional Analysis

Eric Berne on the back cover of Games People Play, 1st edition.

Dr. Eric Berne is the author of Games People Play, the groundbreaking book in which he introduces Games and Transactional Analysis to the world.  According to Dr. Berne, games are ritualistic transactions or behavior patterns between individuals that can indicate hidden feelings or emotions.  A runaway success, Games People Play spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list in the mid 1960s – longer than any non-fiction book over the preceding decade. Games People Play and Transactional Analysis have gone on to influence and inspire millions of people, including Thomas A. Harris, author of I’m OK – You’re OK and Muriel James, author of Born to Win.

Five million copies later and nearly fifty years after it first debuted, Games People Play remains popular and continues to sell across the world.  It has been translated into almost 20 different languages, with millions of laypeople and trained psychotherapists employing Dr. Berne’s techniques.

Games People Play 40th anniversary book edition

Soft cover version of Games People Play celebrating the 40th anniversary.

An important book . . . a brilliant, amusing, and clear catalogue of the psychological theatricals that human beings play over and over again. The good Doctor has provided story lines that hacks will not exhaust in the next 10,000 years.”   Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Life Magazine, 1965.

A fascinating book... These are not necessarily ‘fun’ games. In fact, most of them are hair-raisingly neurotic rituals in which tensions are discharged and satisfactions are gained, usually at the expense of others.”  Newsweek Magazine.

Original, disturbing, and delightful, a prime conversation piece… Many of these games are real-life horrors, played in dead earnest in public places, the parlor, bedroom, consulting room.”  The Chicago Tribune.

In 1966, The New York Times described how Eric Berne played games with Frank Sinatra in a famous article.  And in 2004, the Times illustrated how Games People Play and I’m OK – You’re OK  were the first “self-help” books published.

About Eric Berne and Transactional Analysis

Eric Berne, author of Games People Play, with his trademark pipe

Dr. Eric Berne MD with his trademark pipe.

Dr. Eric Berne (1910-1970) was a prominent psychiatrist and bestselling author. He grew up in Montreal, Canada, and received his MD degree from McGill University in 1935. He completed his psychiatry training in the United States and then entered the US Army as a psychiatrist.

After the war, Berne moved to Carmel, California. He continued his work as a psychiatrist, but felt increasingly frustrated with the psychoanalytic approaches at the time. As a result, he began developing a new and revolutionary theory, which he called Transactional Analysis. In 1958, he published the paper “Transactional Analysis: A New and Effective Method of Group Therapy” where he outlined this new approach.

After creating Transactional Analysis, Berne continued to develop and apply this new methodology. This led him to publish Games People Play and to found the International Transactional Analysis Association. He led an active life and continued his psychotherapist and writing duties up until his death in 1970. He left a remarkable legacy, including the creation of Transactional Analysis, Games People Play and 30+ other books and articles, and the founding of the International Transactional Analysis Association.