As published in The Game of Life and How to Play It (Heathen Edition):

Florence Scovel Shinn was a badass.

Hold on, we’ll prove it.

In his book William Glackens and the Eight, William’s son Ira gives us, most certainly, the best biographical sketch of Shinn currently available, telling us that Flossie (as her friends knew her) hailed from “an unaffluent branch of the Biddle family of Philadelphia, an august connection that brought her a few pieces of old Biddle silver and a lock of George Washington’s hair.” Yes, that George. Eventually, all the hair blew away, but the silver remained, and when every publisher in town had passed on the opportunity to publish her first book (the one you are now holding reading about), so assured was she of its future success that she “sold her old Biddle silver and published it herself.”

97 years later and here we are — future success, indeed!

Ira then goes on to note, “Last I heard, it had gone into forty editions.” That was 1984, and try as we might, our research was unable to locate a more recent edition count. It’s surely worth noting, however, that this little book has never gone out of print. We can think of no greater testament to the power of Shinn’s words than that!

Louise Hay, a beacon of New Thought herself, called Shinn, “A real pioneer, she was a powerful woman who put herself out there in a bold way that was very unusual for women of that era.”

To place that observation into its proper perspective, imagine meeting Ms. Shinn in 1925 and hearing her express with absolute certitude, “Any man who does not know the power of the word is behind the times.” Remember, (some) women had only just gained the right to vote in the United States in 1920, so women as a whole were still very much embroiled in the crusade for their seat at the table. That her self-published book succeeded as wildly as it did in spite of the era in which it was first published is further testament to the sureness of her message.

She walked her talk and the proof is in the pudding, as they say, which is why we think Flo-Sco (as we now lovingly refer to her) was such a badass. We were inspired by her grit even before cracking the spine of this little gem. Now, after reading it, our status as newly minted Flo-Sco fans has been cemented for life.

As for the text, we’ve kept our Heathening to a minimum having only cleaned up a few stray commas and modernizing some antiquated hyphened words. Also, Shinn used the Bible as her primary reference, so we have (in addition to our usual research) identified via footnotes the source of every verse quoted.

Inspired, we’d like to employ some of that Flo-Sco philosophy: because you’re a badass, too, your genuine love and enthusiasm for the pages ahead will help propel our little edition to instant bestselling status. #goflosco


The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn (Heathen Edition)