AN INSTANT USA TODAY and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER
From the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Barking Up the Wrong Tree comes a cure-all for our increasing emotional distance and loneliness—a smart, surprising, and thoroughly entertaining guide to help build better friendships, reignite love, and get closer to others, whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, socially adept or socially anxious.
Can you judge a book by its cover?
Is a friend in need truly a friend indeed?
Does love conquer all?
Is no man an island?
In Plays Well with Others, Eric Barker dives into these age-old maxims drawing on science to reveal the truth beyond the conventional wisdom about human relationships. Combining his compelling storytelling and humor, Barker explains what hostage negotiation techniques and marital arguments have in common, how an expert con-man lied his way into a twenty-year professional soccer career, and why those holding views diametrically opposed to our own actually have the potential to become our closest, most trusted friends.
Inside you will learn:
- The two things essential to making friends – and what Dale Carnegie got wrong.
- What creates love, reignites love, and sustains love. (There’s no Build-A-Bear store for a happy marriage but this is close.)
- The ethical and effective way to get your partner to change.
- How social media can actually improve relationships.
- The antidote to loneliness and why what we usually hear doesn’t work.
And so much more. The book is packed with high-five-worthy stories about the greatest female detective to ever live, the most successful liar to ever open his mouth, genius horses, thieving hermits, the perils of perfect memories, and placebos. Leveraging the best evidence available—free of platitudes or magical thinking—Barker analyzes multiple sides of an issue before rendering his verdict. What he’s uncovered is surprising, counterintuitive, and timely—and will change the way you interact in the world and with those around you just when you need it most.
About the Author
Eric Barker is the creator of the blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree, which presents science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life. His work has been mentioned in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, TIME magazine, The Week, and Business Insider. He is a former Hollywood screenwriter, having worked on projects for Walt Disney Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Revolution Studios. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MBA from Boston College and a Master of Fine Arts from UCLA.
"Reading Plays Well With Others is like having a hard conversation about relationships with your smartest, funniest friend. Eric Barker's wit and explanatory powers shine through every page." — David Epstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
"An entire branch of social science can be summed up in one phrase: Other people matter. From our highest highs to our lowest lows, our relationships to other people determine our happiness and well-being. In this humorous and profound book, Eric Barker distills what we know about how to make our most important relationships flourish. Plays Well With Others will revitalize your life.” — Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and To Sell Is Human
"Barker’s wide-eyed curiosity and intellectual openness make him an ideal tour guide. The result is a fascinating, myth-busting look at relationships." — Publishers Weekly
“...[a] playful exploration of human relationships...Smart, yet funny, Barker frequently draws from scientifically backed studies, yet the tone is always humorous and conversational.” — Library Journal