Plays Well with Others

The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Relationships Is (Mostly) Wrong

By scientifically challenging the advice we’ve been given about relationships, I found a path that can lead us all to more fulfilling friendships, love, and community.

What people are saying…

“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 Drive and To Sell is Human


“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


Barker’s wide-eyed curiosity and intellectual openness make him an ideal tour guide. The result is a fascinating, myth-busting look at relationships. 

Publisher’s Weekly


About The Book

My first book scientifically tested the maxims we all grew up with about success (Do nice guys really finish last? Is it what you know or who you know?). This time I applied the same model to relationships (Does love conquer all? Is a friend in need a friend indeed? Is no man an island? Can you judge a book by its cover?) In Plays Well With Others, we’ll dive deep into these questions, drawing on science to reveal the truth beyond the conventional wisdom about human relationships.  

This book is a witch’s brew of social science, intellectually shrinkwrapped to not just smack you back to your factory settings of social harmony but to make you even better. Leveraging the best evidence available—free of platitudes or magical thinking—we’ll find the surprising, counterintuitive ways to more fulfilling relationships.  

You’ll learn: 

And much, much more…

Far from a dry reference book, it’s packed with high-five-worthy stories about Casanova, the friendliest people in the world, 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, leper colonies, super soldiers, pillow girlfriends and placebos. It will undeniably turn you into a superhero of social skills. (“You should make it clear that last line was a joke,” says Eric’s lawyer.) 

Most importantly, it’s honest. I will talk about the things most relationship books don’t. Hard truths. Life has been difficult these past few years and we need honest answers now more than ever. 

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