Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
4.2 45

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Overview

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of "optimal experience" have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061876721
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 30,353
File size: 629 KB

About the Author

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor at Claremont Graduate University and former chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. His previous books include The Evolving Self and the national bestseller Flow.

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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Besides having more vowels in his name than any other researcher in the field of positive psychology, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi is probably best known for his book "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience". So what exactlty is flow and what does it have to do with finding happiness?

There are short and long ways to define the concept of flow. The short way is to tell you that flow is roughly the equivalent to what most people refer to as being "in the zone" or "in the groove". More elaborate definitions might be that it is "the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people do it even at great cost, for the sheer state of doing it."

Being such a desirable state, flow is naturally linked to happiness. The book feels that the path to happiness is a circuitous one that begins with one achieving control over the "contents of our consciousness". I'm taking that to mean that if I learn to find flow experiences, it will lead to greater happiness.

Know from the get-go that "Flow" is NOT a step-by-step book that gives you tips on how to be happy. Instead, the book summarizes years of research, so what you get when all is said and done, are general principles along with examples of how people have used them to transform their lives. The hope, then, is that you will have enough information in the book to make the transition from principles and theory, to actual practice.

In a nutshell, "Flow" is a unique and interesting book that examines the process of achieving happiness through the control of one's inner life. I didn't find it as easy to read as some books written by academic individuals, such as David Myer's "The Pursuit of Happiness: Discovering the Pathway to Fulfillment, Well-Being, and Enduring Personal Joy", but it's definitely a "digestable" read for the general audience.

I'll tell you, though, after reading a lot of positive psychology books, you start to see some common threads. In "Flow", one of the conditions that makes flow occur is that you have a clear goal. And in the book "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World", it reveals that one proven way to increase long-term happiness (according to controlled trials cited in the book) is to set intrinsic/self-concordant goals. With much happiness research coming to similar conclusions, perhaps an important take-home message is this: the kinds of things we choose to spend our time on can have a HUGE impact on how happy we are. Happy trails!
shoyu More than 1 year ago
This is the first "Flow" book and the least expensive. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow through examples instead of direct instruction for most of the book. The book is slow for the first half, but picks up after that. There is a bit of repetition, but that is common in nonfiction. The idea of flow is to open yourself enough to experience an event to its fullest potential, such as when running a marathon or reading a book. You probably don't need to read the whole book to understand the concept, but the rest can serve as reinforcement. One thing I like about this book is it pulls highlights from other books such as "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read Flow once and I've listened to the CD countless times. The author is right on the mark and better than that he backs his information up with research. It's also fun to read and listen because he presents so many stories instead of simply facts. The book has made a real difference in the way I go about accomplishing my goals. I take many more and much smaller steps than I used to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want to learn about Flow, what it is and its benefits, this is a great place to start. A true scholar, this author gives a great presentation and it is very well written. Highly recommended. Also, to gain a better sense of states like flow, see 'Effortless Wellbeing' because it is more of a how-to book and really helps to experience a flowing state.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading this book has created so much creativity for my clinics. I work extensively with women going through transition who are in search of more'flow' in their lives. This book is filled with so much meaning and substance and can only add more value to the life of the reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cziskszentmihalyi introduces an experiential concept that he calls ¿Flow¿. He suggests that this experiential state is intricately related to our happiness and explores the central factors that are associated with the phenomena. By comparing various examples of moments of ¿Flow¿ and others not of ¿Flow¿, the author provides an in depth investigation into this subjective state of mind. Some of the author¿s scientific research on this topic is also discussed. It is clear that the author is onto something very interesting and important just from the fact that this concept has crept into many books on Psychology in the past few years. The writing is not too technical and is understandable for people who are not experts in the field. Highly recommended! If you are interested in a fascinating book that takes this even one step further and places these experiences in a larger context, I suggest ¿The Ever-Transcending Spirit¿ by Toru Sato. It is an incredible book that explains the connection between consciousness, relationships, life, spirituality, human development and evolution in such a simple way that it will astound you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent demonstration of hot to write the results of psychological research in comprehendible language. As a professor of psychology, I plan to require this book as reading for my students in sport psychology. If you are someone interested in the psychology of optimal experience in sport or other domains of experience, and how to experience it yourself, you must read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You don't see many profound, significant books that are, at the same time, practical. This book is one of the few. The first three chapters take an unflinching look at our human condition and ask the question, 'Given that, how can you enjoy life?' The rest of the book is an answer to that question. And Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chick-ZENT-me-high) is not being philosophical. He answers the question scientifically. He's done an unusual kind of research for about 35 years, strapping pagers on thousands of people. The pagers go off randomly during the day and the volunteers stop what they're doing and fill out a questionnaire measuring their mood, their level of involvement in what they're doing, etc. He's gotten more than 100,000 of these snapshots of people's lives and discovered a state of mind he calls FLOW. And he tells you what conditions are the most conducive to creating a state of flow. The flow state is not only enjoyable, but a person in flow is at her best. Her mind is concentrated, she's using her capabilities close to the maximum, and she's INCREASING her capabilities the most (people learn fastest and improve the best in a state of flow). It's a fascinating book. I'm the author of Self-Help Stuff That Works, and I'm an expert on what kind of information really makes a difference. This book is in my top five list.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend recommended this book to me, and before reading it I was not sure if I would understand the psychological writtings of what 'flow' is. I was incorrect in my assuption. Mihaly's writting is very understandable and insightful. I was amazed at the extensive data collection from hundreds of thousands of different people where they similarly described what 'flow' experiences meant to them. Where their everyday lives became more satisfying. If you enjoyed this book another book you might like is called 'WORKING ON YOURSELF DOESN'T WORK' by Ariel and Shya Kane. Eventhough I wasn't not sure what 'flow' meant before reading Mihaly's book, after reading it I can honestly say I have many 'flow' experiences in my life and that is a direct result of reading the Kanes' book, listening to their audio tapes (check out the PRINCIPLES OF TRANSFORMATION-it's great) and attending their seminars. For me the Kanes' book is a practical guide to living in the moment where life has become miraculous and satisfying on a day in day out basis.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good ideas. Flow is good. Really it is about living your life with totality. Sometimes a bit over-intellectual. Also - read a book about Living in the NOW( read 'Flow') by two masters of teaching people how to do it, Ariel & Shya Kane. Great book. Really teaches you HOW TO LIVE IN FLOW, Practically as opposed to conceptually...
Anonymous 28 days ago
Great tool to maintain energy for life
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