The Game of Life & How To Play It.



For me, this is one of the greatest books about the power of positive thinking. Written in 1925; it makes Florence Scovel Shinn one of the original Thought Leaders in modern literature; and for me, puts her alongside the likes of Napoleon Hill and James Allan.

Scovell Shinn expressed her philosophy as; invisible forces that are ever working for the man and who is always ‘pulling the strings’ himself, though he does not know it. Owing to the vibratory power of words, whatever man voices, he begins to attract.

If life is thought of as a game, we are motivated to learn and apply the rules for our own happiness. Until now, you may have conceived of life as a battle: your might and will against the rest or, alternatively, the pain of constant struggle.

However, if you were to see life as a game, you would worry less about the outcomes and focus on the rules and laws that can lead you to success. This is the path of least resistance. By playing the game, you choose to be a person of faith instead of fear.

For Florence Scovell Shinn, the rules were to be found in the Old and New Testaments. A person can achieve the ‘square of life’, the four points of health, wealth, love, and perfect self-expression if they attune themselves with the unchanging principles that govern life. This total well-being was, she believed, our ‘divine right’.

The three most powerful points I took from the book were;

  1. The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.

  2. Intuition is spiritual and does not explain, but simply points the way.

  3. Giving opens the way for receiving.

Some principles from the book are described below.

The divine design.

Do you ever get a picture of what you could achieve or the person you could be? If yes, you have received a snapshot of your ‘divine design’ from the universe, showing you that greatness is within yourself. Do not pursue things that have nothing to do with the ‘real you’ and would only make you dissatisfied if you were to achieve them. Scovell Shinn mentions that you need to ask for a sign or a message to tell you what your ‘divine design’ is and it will be revealed to you.

Divine right and selection.

We should only ask for something if it is to be ‘by divine right’. She gives an example of a woman who was infatuated with a man who did not treat her very well. Scovell Shinn made her repeat something like: ‘If he is divinely selected for me, he will be mine. If he is not, I will not want him anyway.’ Sure enough, within time, she fell for someone else who matched all her ideals.

Non-resistance.

Playing the game of life successfully involves following what works, instead of battling with what you do not like. This change from a view of life in terms of struggle, to simple faith in good outcomes, will transform your life. Continually send out messages of goodwill, blessing and love to those close to you, to your work colleagues and to complete strangers. Scovell Shinn mentions that this will not only give you peace but you will find yourself ‘protected’ from harm and wrath.

Faith over fear.

‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord.’ Many times the Bible says that the battle is not humankind’s but God’s. What we must learn to do is stand still and let God, go to work.

The power of words.

Anyone who does not know the power of words, the author said, is ‘behind the times. Each of us has an ongoing conversation with ourselves, never realising how it affects, for better or worse, the way we live our life. Whatever words we say to ourselves fall into our subconscious mind as ‘fact’, therefore we must take care of the internal and external words we utter.

‘God is my supply’.

Scovell Shinn would remind clients worried about money that ‘God is my supply’. She made them affirm: God is never too late. But it is not enough merely to say the right words and have faith: we need to demonstrate to our subconscious mind what we expect to receive. ‘Man must prepare for the thing he has asked for when there isn’t the slightest sign of it in sight.’ Acting ‘as if’ opens the way for gain.


What I took from it.

Below are some of the lines I highlighted from the book.

  • The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds, and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy

  • You can control any situation if you first control yourself

  • The robbers of time are the past and the future. A man should bless the past, and forget it, if it keeps him in bondage, and bless the future, knowing it has in store for him endless joys, but live fully in the now

  • There is an old saying that man only dares use his words for three purposes, to "heal, bless or prosper

  • What man says of others will be said of him, and what he wishes for another, he is wishing for himself

  • The subconscious mind has no sense of humour and people often joke themselves into unhappy experiences

  • Man can only receive what he sees himself receiving

  • What man condemns in others, he attracts to himself

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

  • Make an affirmation immediately upon waking. For example: "Thy will be done this day! Today is a day of completion, I give thanks for this perfect day, miracle shall follow miracle and wonders shall never cease." Make this a habit, and one will see wonders and miracles come into his life.

  • 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

  • So we see, to play successfully the game of life, we must train the imaging faculty.

  • Isaiah said, "My word shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that where it is sent

My Rating


I enjoyed this book and many people say that reading it changed their life. It is a short book that you can read in a couple of hours and is worth the time spent. Being originally published in 1925, it was one of the first 'Law of Attraction' books to be published. However, I could not help reading through the book to feel that this was more a lecture recorded and written down. The many 'For examples...' makes you feel that you are being lectured to in a classroom by Shin rather than a literary masterpiece, which it could have been.