The Game of Life and How to Play It

The Game of Life and How to Play It

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by Florence Scovel Shinn

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Informal, friendly, and humorous, this little book has inspired thousands since its 1925 publication. Its practical examples show how positive attitudes can make you a "winner" in life. Self-improvement expert Norman Vincent Peale endorsed it as an essential guide, helping readers to "find prosperity, solve problems, have better health."  See more details below


Informal, friendly, and humorous, this little book has inspired thousands since its 1925 publication. Its practical examples show how positive attitudes can make you a "winner" in life. Self-improvement expert Norman Vincent Peale endorsed it as an essential guide, helping readers to "find prosperity, solve problems, have better health."

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Shinn, who died in 1940, was an important American spiritual teacher and lecturer in the early 20th century. She self-published The Game of Life and went on to write three more books, all contained here. Shinn writes in the style of a preacher, quoting extensively from the King James Version of the Bible. In her colloquial manner, she discusses what is now called "attraction theory" and provides meditations on such goals as good health and a successful job interview, as well as meditations on prosperity, marriage, and faith. Best for Christian Bible study groups and self-help completists.
From the Publisher
“By studying and practicing the principles laid down in this book, one may find prosperity, solve problems, have better health, achieve personal relations—in a word, win the game of life.”
Norman Vincent Peale

“One secret of Shinn’s success was that she was always herself . . . colloquial, informal, friendly, and humorous. She never sought to be literary, conventional, or impressive. For this reason she appealed to thousands who would not have taken the spiritual message through more conservative and dignified forms, or have been willing to read . . . at least in the beginning . . . the standard metaphysical books.”
—Emmet Fox
The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn helped my crystallize my own thinking and moved me forward on the path to where I am today.”
Louise Hay


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Chapter 1


Most people consider life a battle, but it is not a battle, it is a game.

It is a game, however, which cannot be played successfully without the knowledge of spiritual law, and the Old and the New Testaments give the rules of the game with wonderful clearness. Jesus Christ taught that it was a great game of Giving and Receiving.

"Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." This means that whatever man sends out in word or deed, will return to him; what he gives, he will receive.

If he gives hate, he will receive hate; if he gives love, he will receive love; if he gives criticism, he will receive criticism; if he lies he will be lied to; if he cheats he will be cheated. We are taught also, that the imaging faculty plays a leading part in the game of life.

"Keep thy heart (or imagination) with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. 4:23.)

This means that what man images, sooner or later externalizes in his affairs. I know of a man who feared a certain disease. It was a very rare disease and difficult to get, but he pictured it continually and read about it until it manifested in his body, and he died, the victim of distorted imagiation.

So we see, to play successfully the game of life, we must train the imaging faculty. A person with an imaging faculty trained to image only good, brings into his life "every righteous desire of his heart" — health, wealth, love, friends, perfect self-expression, his highest ideals.

The imagination has been called, "The Scissors of The Mind," and it is ever cutting, cutting, day by day, the pictures man sees there, and sooner or later he meets his own creations in his outer world. To train the imagination successfully, man must understand the workings of his mind. The Greeks said: "Know Thyself."

There are three departments of the mind, the subconscious, conscious and superconscious. The subconscious, is simply power, without direction. It is like steam or electricity, and it does what it is directed to do; it has no power of induction.

Whatever man feels deeply or images clearly, is impressed upon the subconscious mind, and carried out in minutest detail.

For example: a woman I know, when a child, always "made believe" she was a widow. She "dressed up" in black clothes and wore a long black veil, and people thought she was very clever and amusing. She grew up and married a man with whom she was deeply in love. In a short time he died and she wore black and a sweeping veil for many years. The picture of herself as a widow was impressed upon the subconscious mind, and in due time worked itself out, regardless of the havoc created.

The conscious mind has been called mortal or carnal mind.

It is the human mind and sees life as it appears to be. It sees death, disaster, sickness, poverty and limitation of every kind, and it impresses the subconscious.

The superconscious mind is the God Mind within each man, and is the realm of perfect ideas.

In it, is the "perfect pattern" spoken of by Plato, The Divine Design; for there is a Divine Design for each person.

"There is a place that you are to fill and no one else can fill, something you are to do, which no one else can do."

There is a perfect picture of this in the superconscious mind. It usually flashes across the conscious as an unattainable ideal — "something too good to be true."

In reality it is man's true destiny (or destination) flashed to him from the Infinite Intelligence which is within himself.

Many people, however, are in ignorance of their true destinies and are striving for things and situations which do not belong to them, and would only bring failure and dissatisfaction if attained.

For example: A woman came to me and asked me to "speak the word" that she would marry a certain man with whom she was very much in love. (She called him A. B.)

I replied that this would be a violation of spiritual law, but that I would speak the word for the right man, the "divine selection," the man who belonged to her by divine right.

I added, "If A. B. is the right man you can't lose him, and if he isn't, you will receive his equivalent." She saw A. B. frequently but no headway was made in their friendship. One evening she called, and said, "Do you know, for the last week, A. B. hasn't seemed so wonderful to me." I replied, "Maybe he is not the divine selection — another man may be the right one." Soon after that, she met another man who fell in love with her at once, and who said she was his ideal. In fact, he said all the things that she had always wished A. B. would say to her.

She remarked, "It was quite uncanny."

She soon returned his love, and lost all interest in A. B.

This shows the law of substitution. A right idea was substituted for a wrong one, therefore there was no loss or sacrifice involved.

Jesus Christ said, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you," and he said the Kingdom was within man.

The Kingdom is the realm of right ideas, or the divine pattern.

Jesus Christ taught that man's words played a leading part in the game of life. "By your words ye are justified and by your words ye are condemned."

Many people have brought disaster into their lives through idle words.

For example: A woman once asked me why her life was now one of poverty of limitation. Formerly she had a home, was surrounded by beautiful things and had plenty of money. We found she had often tired of the management of her home, and had said repeatedly, "I'm sick and tired of things — I wish I lived in a trunk," and she added: "Today I am living in that trunk." She had spoken herself into a trunk. The subconscious mind has no sense of humor and people often joke themselves into unhappy experiences.

For example: A woman who had a great deal of money, joked continually about "getting ready for the poorhouse."

In a few years she was almost destitute, having impressed the subconscious mind with a picture of lack and limitation.

Fortunately the law works both ways, and a situation of lack may be changed to one of plenty.

For example: A woman came to me one hot summer's day for a "treatment" for prosperity. She was worn out, dejected and discouraged. She said she possessed just eight dollars in the world. I said, "Good, we'll bless the eight dollars and multiply them as Jesus Christ multiplied the loaves and the fishes," for He taught that every man had the power to bless and to multiply, to heal and to prosper.

She said, "What shall I do next?"

I replied, "Follow intuition. Have you a 'hunch' to do anything, or to go anywhere?" Intuition means, intuition, or to be taught from within. It is man's unerring guide, and I will deal more fully with its laws in a following chapter.

The woman replied: "I don't know — I seem to have a 'hunch' to go home; I've just enough money for carfare." Her home was in a distant city and was one of lack and limitation, and the reasoning mind (or intellect) would have said: "Stay in New York and get work and make some money." I replied, "Then go home — never violate a hunch." I spoke the following words for her: "Infinite Spirit open the way for great abundance for — —. She is an irresistible magnet for all that belongs to her by divine right." I told her to repeat it continually also. She left for home immediately. In calling on a woman one day, she linked up with an old friend of her family.

Through this friend, she received thousands of dollars in a most miraculous way. She has said to me often, "Tell people about the woman who came to you with eight dollars and a hunch."

There is always plenty on man's pathway; but it can only be brought into manifestation through desire, faith or the spoken word. Jesus Christ brought out clearly that man must make the first move.

"Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Mat. 7:7.)

In the Scriptures we read:

"Concerning the works of my hands, command ye me."

Infinite Intelligence, God, is ever ready to carry out man's smallest or greatest demands.

Every desire, uttered or unexpressed, is a demand. We are often startled by having a wish suddenly fulfilled.

For example: One Easter, having seen many beautiful rose-trees in the florists' windows, I wished I would receive one, and for an instant saw it mentally being carried in the door.

Easter came, and with it a beautiful rose-tree. I thanked my friend the following day, and told her it was just what I had wanted.

She replied, "I didn't send you a rose-tree, I sent you lilies!"

The man had mixed the order, and sent me a rose-tree simply because I had started the law in action, and I had to have a rose-tree.

Nothing stands between man and his highest ideals and every desire of his heart, but doubt and fear. When man can "wish without worrying," every desire will be instantly fulfilled.

I will explain more fully in a following chapter the scientific reason for this and how fear must be erased from the consciousness. It is man's only enemy — fear of lack, fear of failure, fear of sickness, fear of loss and a feeling of insecurity on some plane. Jesus Christ said: "Why are ye fearful, oh ye of little faith?" (Mat. 8:26.) So we can see we must substitute faith for fear, for fear is only inverted faith; it is faith in evil instead of good.

The object of the game of life is to see clearly one's good and to obliterate all mental pictures of evil. This must be done by impressing the subconscious mind with a realization of good. A very brilliant man, who has attained great success, told me he had suddenly erased all fear from his consciousness by reading a sign which hung in a room. He saw printed, in large letters this statement — "Why worry, it will probably never happen." These words were stamped indelibly upon his subconscious mind, and he has now a firm conviction that only good can come into his life, therefore only good can manifest.

In the following chapter I will deal with the different methods of impressing the subconscious mind. It is man's faithful servant but one must be careful to give it the right orders. Man has ever a silent listener at his side — his subconscious mind.

Every thought, every word is impressed upon it and carried out in amazing detail. It is like a singer making a record on the sensitive disc of the phonographic plate. Every note and tone of the singer's voice is registered. If he coughs or hesitates, it is registered also. So let us break all the old bad records in the subconscious mind, the records of our lives which we do not wish to keep, and make new and beautiful ones.

Speak these words aloud, with power and conviction: "I now smash and demolish (by my spoken word) every untrue record in my subconscious mind. They shall return to the dust-heap of their native nothingness, for they came from my own vain imaginings. I now make my perfect records through the Christ within — The records of Health, Wealth, Love and perfect self-Expression." This is the square of life, The Game completed.

In the following chapters, I will show how man can change his conditions by changing his words. Any man who does not know the power of the word, is behind the times.

"Death and Life are in the power of the tongue." (Prov. 18:21.)

Copyright © 1925 by Florence Scovel Shinn

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The Game of Life and How to Play It 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book over 5 years ago and it's still apart of my life today. I use the affirmations on a daily basis and they're an important factor in my life. This book taught me to have strong beliefs in the spoken word and how to pray (using the word Devine). I feel so strongly in the word 'Devine', that I plan to name my first born child 'Devine' (giving thank to Florence Scovel Shinn). The Game of Life was a blessing to me and I feel everyone on this planet should read it and watch how their lives change for the better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went to the bookstore to find a book to help me from feeling so angry. I wanted to feel happy again. A young man gave me this book! I believe it wasn't just a conincidence. When I started reading it, I was elated!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Doctor recommended this book and it has been a true blessing! It has taught me to see and live life totally different! After reading and owning over 3600 books in my lifetime, my library has lit up tremendously. If one is to read only one book in his or her lifetime, this has got to be it! Maria Perez, Florida.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first sat down with this book, I couldn't put it down. Read it cover to cover in one sitting. When I put into practice some of the teachings, I was amazed at how things just started to "click" for me. Now, when I start to say or think something I shouldn't I am finding that I am catching myself, and re-saying it. The author talks about speaking things into existance. This is not a new concept, but the way the author relates it to things written in the bible, brought a new found clarity to my understanding of some scriptures and how I can actually apply them to my life, today. I really have to credit what I learned in this book for developing me into the person I have become. I would recommend it to everyone, even those who are not religious. It is not a book about religion. It's a book about life. One that made a HUGE impact on me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've ever asked yourself 'Why?' or felt like you needed to understand something or someone....please read this book. Then read it again, then pass it on to friends and loved ones. It is an incredible real life lesson book. For the beginner or advanced seekers of spirituality...or for those who really don't belief in 'that stuff'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was recently given this book by a wonderful woman. At first I was wary, the cynic in me. But as I got into it, it made so much sense. In a world where our lives have become so stressful, intensified by our need for instant gratification, and so many of us overwhelmed with financial burdens, it's nice to slow down a bit and read through this book. It gives you a positive outlook on life and allows you to see things more clearly. Highly recommended whether you consider yourself religious or not.
paulette8 More than 1 year ago
This great little book is a charm & true treasure. Simply written, yet deeply poignant. Florence Shinn had the key - way back in 1925! Pick it up and it will lift your life and spirit. Good for any and everybody - a must read...over & over & over again. Enjoy. Your spirit, mind & life will thank you for it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is nothing like finding an old book of wisdom truths...this book brings many treasures of knowledge...yet simple,easy,and creative. I've applied what I've learned and many many miracles have happen! This wise women has profound insight, it truly works! To know this was written back in the 1920 makes it even more fascinating! Grab one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the best book I ever read. It changed my life forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the book of ages. It really talks to you in layman terms. It give you insights like never before on what life is all about by telling you about the Spirtiual Laws working around you everyday, how to understand them and apply them in your everyday life using the simplist of things. 1) Living in a Nonesistance way. 2) Learning how to prosper. 3) Karma and forgiveness. 4) How to unlock the secrets of Love and Giving like never before. This is a great book for men and women of all ages. A must have and a definite GIFT for someone you Love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the third time I have purchased this book. I purchased several copies the second time around so I could give it to everyone I cared about. I had no idea the book was written years before I was born until I came upon a reference to a 'Victrola' and then went to check the copyright! The messages in this book are timeless and it is one of the few books I have reread many times. As Personal Life Coach, it is on my list of highly recomended reading list for clients and audiences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book fell off a shelf at my feet over 20 years ago. I was searching for answers in my life, I opened the book and found what i was looking for. I have given over a 100 copies of this book away over the years. I teach self awareness classes and also do physic readings. I have my clients take the book, and say' WHAT IS IT I NEED TO KNOW' open the book. YOU will get your answer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has changed my life. I am sending it to all I care about
Guest More than 1 year ago
Florence Shinn's style of writing is fluent and simple, yet extremely POWERFUL! The Game of Life is about how the power of life and death are undoubtly in the tongue. Florence, combines scripture and real life examples to drive her points home. Once you've read The Game of Life, you will NEVER be the same. You will choose your words carefully and rethink your thoughts. I recommend this book for EVERYONE! It is life changing!
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Joyachiever More than 1 year ago
“The Game Of Life and How To Play It” by Florence Scovel Shinn centers around utilizing personal imagination for making the best out of life. Being careful how you ask (page 47), the role of orderliness in manifestation (pages 50-51), and being a strong receiver (page 97) are some of the nurturing details contained in this guide. “The Game Of Life and How To Play It” by Florence Scovel Shinn is a fun book for those who truly believe that life is akin to playing a game.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a life changer. I buy them to give away to friends, family & people asking for money on the street.
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Karrfifive More than 1 year ago
This book reads incredibly fast. I didn't want it to end!! Most valuable book for making a positive difference in your life.
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A must have :)