Deep Play paperback






Deep Play hardcover



This book invites people to look closely at the human saga, and consider how much of it revolves around play. Simple play, elaborate play, crude play, sophisticated play, violent play, casual play. Most animals play. Evolution itself plays with lifeforms. Whole cultures play with customs, ideas, belief systems, and fashions. But it’s a special caliber of play, deep play, that makes thrill-seeking understandable, creativity possible, and religion inevitable. Deep play awakens the most creative, sentient, and joyful aspects of our inner selves. More than anything else, our passion for deep play has made us the puzzling and resplendent beings we are. 




“An original, exultant, sage, poetic, and generous meditation on the importance of enchantment.” — Booklist


“Combining a scientist’s erudition with an artist’s eye, weaving  together observations from her own remarkable life and her wide reading, she drew me in from the first sentence.” — The Montreal Gazette


“Ackerman’s playful romp through facts and ideas of all shapes and sizes is irresistible fun.”  — San Antonio Express-News


“...untethered, exalted states of immersion and transcendence   from the ever-dulcet Ackerman, an exquisite natural historian.” — Kirkus Reviews


“An engaging, well-conceived work.”  — New Age Journal


“Why do I love Diane Ackerman? Let me count the ways: Scholar, Scientist, Siren, Scribe, Renaissance woman. My only concern is that after the readers put it down (if they can), everyone will be knocking on her door and asking if they can play, too.”  — Sarah Ben Breathnach


“Diane Ackerman is like no other writer I have ever encountered. She writes a swiftly moving and sensuous prose that is extremely accessible but also reflects the encyclopedic knowledge and attention to minutiae of a laboratory scientist.... She is a master of the startling, substantial, and fascinating digression.” — The Washington Post


“Diane Ackerman’s  Deep Play opens up a fascinating new territory of discussion, which could forever alter your approach to play in daily life.”  —, Top Ten Books of the Year in Spirituality and Inspiration


"A fascinating subject, written in a swiftly moving and sensuous prose." — Washington Post Book World