Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life

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Part psychological study, part self-help book, Finding Flow is a prescriptive guide that helps us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on a far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in ...

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Overview

Part psychological study, part self-help book, Finding Flow is a prescriptive guide that helps us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on a far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement. Thought they appear simple, the lessons in Finding Flow are life-altering.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Csikszentmihalyi's theories of flow, elucidated in his Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), have been immensely influential for their ideas about an accessible, optimal, Zen-like state of being. In this useful, self-help follow-up to Flow, he extends some of those ideas, arguing that while our lives are shaped by age, gender and social position, our actions and attitudes, and consequently our emotions, are ours to choose. Csikszentmihalyi encourages readers to set goals, to be truly engaged in living. Believing that our technologically advanced society emphasizes individualism, he makes a convincing case for becoming deeply involved with other people and with everyday activities. It is this mundane immersion, according to Csikszentmihalyi, that can carry us beyond an ephemeral sense of happiness to a fundamental sense of flow. The author includes excellent notes and references.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Csikszentmihalyi's theories of flow, elucidated in his Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), have been immensely influential for their ideas about an accessible, optimal, Zen-like state of being. In this useful, self-help follow-up to Flow, he extends some of those ideas, arguing that while our lives are shaped by age, gender and social position, our actions and attitudes, and consequently our emotions, are ours to choose. Csikszentmihalyi encourages readers to set goals, to be truly engaged in living. Believing that our technologically advanced society emphasizes individualism, he makes a convincing case for becoming deeply involved with other people and with everyday activities. It is this mundane immersion, according to Csikszentmihalyi, that can carry us beyond an ephemeral sense of happiness to a fundamental sense of flow. The author includes excellent notes and references. (May)
Library Journal
While many self-help books purport to tell readers how to find happiness, few such titles can claim to be based on any scientifically valid, large-scale studies. One of the happy exceptions was University of Chicago psychologist Csikszentmihalyi's Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (LJ 3/15/90). There the author published the results of studies using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), in which he found that people were happiest when most absorbed in their actions, a state the author termed flow. The current book (part of Basic's series purporting to present "a crystallization of a lifetime's work and thought" by noted scholars) presents similar material, but with an emphasis slightly shifted toward practical applications of the ESM findings. Public librarians should check their shelves: if their copies of Flow are tattered or nonexistent, they should definitely buy this new title; if they have a decent copy of the older book, this is still a recommended purchase. Academic libraries need to have the author's more scholarly book but will find this popular with undergraduates.Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, Wash.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465045136
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Series: MasterMinds Series
  • Pages: 181
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is professor of psychology and education at the University of Chicago. He is the author of a number of books, including the bestselling Flow, The Evolving Self, Creativity, and Being Adolescent.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 The Structures of Everyday Life 1
2 The Content of Experience 17
3 How We Feel When Doing Different Things 35
4 The Paradox of Work 49
5 The Risks and Opportunities of Leisure 64
6 Relationships and the Quality of Life 78
7 Changing the Patterns of Life 97
8 The Autotelic Personality 116
9 The Love of Fate 131
Notes 149
References 159
Index 169
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