From one of the books I'm currently reading (Blueprint, The evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, by Nicholas Christakis — itself a great read), I learnt of an interesting book reference: Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture (1938).
The abstract sounds promising:
"[...] With cross-cultural examples from the humanities, business, and politics, Huizinga examines play in all its diverse guises—as it relates to language, law, war, knowledge, poetry, myth, philosophy, art, and much more. As he writes, “Civilization is, in its earliest phases, played. It does not come from play like a baby detaching itself from the womb: it arises in and as play, and never leaves it.” [...] Starting with Plato, Huizinga traces the contribution of “man the player” through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and early modern world. [...]"
Fresh book recommendations delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday.