Book notes: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline book review summary and key ideas.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


“At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut – part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of 10,000 planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune – and remarkable power – to whoever can unlock them.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt – among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life – and love – in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

The only thing I really know about this book is that it turned into a huge Hollywood movie that I watched and enjoyed. However, when I saw the amount of reviews/ratings this book had on Audible, I was amazed. I think this is the most reviewed/rated book I’ve ever seen on the site, and such a high average rating. I really hope the hype is worth it.

Key notes:

Reader’s note: Interesting how this world is a social commentary on our society. In this world, people don’t believe in faith or God. However, greed, wars and lusts for power caused the global energy crisis, global warming/pollution, homelessness, famine, etc. The Oasis and Halliday’s hunt is the only thing that gives people, especially his generation, hope.

  • Teaching was easy in the Oasis because of the technology and software
    • The teachers could focus on teaching and their resources if your trip abilities were endless
    • And they didn’t have to focus on being disciplinarians

Reader’s note: It’s crazy how obsessive and thorough Wade is on his research of Halliday and his entire life. It seems like he spent almost every waking minute on research into all of Halliday’s interests, and everything about him. He said he was trying to get every possible advantage and he definitely covered all his bases. I’m sure he spent at least 10,000 hours and the better part of those five years becoming one of the leading experts. It’s no wonder why he became so successful in the quest. I think the lesson here is that these efforts pay off for disciplined focus and continuous study.

  • He literally consumed and learned everything about everything
    • He had complete obsessive focus, and he admitted he definitely went overboard, maybe a bit insane
  • Video games in particular were his specialty, his area of expertise
    • His double weapon specialization and dream Jeopardy category
  • He soon discovered that he had a knack for video games and almost nothing stumped him
    • In fact, the harder it was the more he loved it. Everything just seem to click
    • And he was even better the old arcade games

Reader’s thoughts:

  • I really enjoy how this world combines the future with the past
    • I think this is a key element in why this book is so relatable, is because people can connect with these elements brought in from the past
    • That’s probably why this fictionalized world is so appealing to people
  • What I like about Wade is that even though he doesn’t come from much, and in fact he comes from very little and is very poor, but that doesn’t stop him or dissuade him from having or pursuing his dreams of winning the quest
    • He doesn’t take handouts from people and he has his own code of pride and conduct
    • And he’s a hard worker, which is something I feel like we should aspire to do
    • All he has his passion and his hard work and perseverance, no advantages like having money
  • I love how authentically happy H is for Wade for his accomplishment and his new God status in the community
    • I love that they are true friends and they truly support each other

Main ideas / Themes:

  • Having a focus and finding your purpose/mission in life gives you meaning
  • Almost nothing is more important than surrounding yourself with good people who root for your success
  • In a world moving closer and closer to a virtual world, it becomes even more important to see the value in reality and the real world

Closing thoughts:

I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! It seriously makes me rethink my whole reading approach. Half of the time I was reading this book was during my trip to Japan, and I couldn’t help but sneak away from reality for a bit while I was on the train to listen for 10-15 minutes here and there. Each time I was literally on the edge of my seat, so to speak.

Seriously though, the author is a genius and this was a masterpiece. The story, the characters, the world, everything went together so well. I was also surprised to see how much the actual book deviated from the movie version, or rather the other way around. I actually rewatched the Steven Spielberg version on the plane to refresh my memory because I kept forgetting which elements of the book deviated from what I remember in the movie.

Turns out a LOT of the story was changed for the movie. But I thought what they did change was tasteful. I did appreciate how they still kept the spirit of the characters, but changed the story events to suit more of a moviegoing audience. I totally see why they made the changes they did.

That being said, I loved the details and how the story progressed in the book. For me, the movie made a lot more sense during my second viewing while on the plane because I got a lot more context of the characters from the book, so it was easier to understand what was going on. I admit to being a bit lost the first time I watched the movie in theaters.

Overall, the story was amazing, and I loved the way it ended. It was such a twist and rollercoaster ride from beginning to end, I can’t imagine NOT listening to this again sometime down the line, maybe in a few years or so. Definitely jumps to the top of the list of my favorite fiction books of all time, and even my top 5 or 10 books ever. At least it’ll be in my top recommended for people who want to listen to a hugely entertaining fiction book.

One Takeaway / Putting into practice:

One Takeaway:
  • Be more cognizant of how much time I spend in the “fake” world of social media and the internet, and consciously spend more time in the real world with people.


Wade Watts attempts to save the virtual world of the Oasis by hunting for Halliday’s Egg and subsequently stop the evil corporation IOI from taking over.



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