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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Paperback – Jun 23 2008


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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience + Creativity: Flow And The Psychology Of Discovery And Invention + Finding Flow: The Psychology Of Engagement With Everyday Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 2007 edition (June 23 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061339202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061339202
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

You have heard about how a musician loses herself in her music, how a painter becomes one with the process of painting. In work, sport, conversation or hobby, you have experienced, yourself, the suspension of time, the freedom of complete absorption in activity. This is "flow," an experience that is at once demanding and rewarding--an experience that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates is one of the most enjoyable and valuable experiences a person can have. The exhaustive case studies, controlled experiments and innumerable references to historical figures, philosophers and scientists through the ages prove Csikszentmihalyi's point that flow is a singularly productive and desirable state. But the implications for its application to society are what make the book revolutionary. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Aristotle observed 2300 years ago that more than anything men and women seek happiness. Csikszentmihalyi (psychology, Univ. of Chicago) has for 25 years made similar observations regarding "flow," a field of behavioral science examining connections between satisfaction and daily activities. A flow state ensues when one is engaged in self-controlled, goal-related, meaningful actions. Data regarding flow were collected on thousands of individuals, from mountain climbers to chess players. This thoroughly researched study is an intriguing look at the age-old problem of the pursuit of happiness and how, through conscious effort, we may more easily attain it. Recommended for general readers.
- Terry McMaster, Utica Coll. of Syracuse Univ. Lib., N.Y .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Beth on Dec 5 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Paul Levangie on March 4 2010
Format: Paperback
I know that I am not able to put into words how great a book Flow is. A friend suggested it as good reading so I ordered a copy from amazon. Well I wasn't long placing another order for 3 more.(By the way I ordered the 3 books on Sunday evening and they were in my mail box here in Halifax on Wednesday morning) Since then 4 of us meet each Tuesday for 2 hours and have a great time sharing our thoughts on many of the interesting, down to earth subjects, in this book. There are so many points made about optimal experiences which I can relate to, such as the example given when one learns a piece of music, it gives you the feeling that you are flowing. I started learning to play the piano 14 months ago and I often experience the flow experience.I did no think it would be possible to have that feeling at 79 years of age.
There's still life in the old fellow yet. Thanks to amazon and Flow.
Paul Levangie Halifax Nova Scotia Canada
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beth on Dec 15 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "mezmer" on Jan. 29 2000
Format: Paperback
Flow is an ecstatic state that occurs when according to Dr. C. you are really, really paying attention to some creative or demanding act. And all credit to Dr. C. for brining our attention to flow and how it influences peoples lives. But there is a teensy little problem. Dr. C. tell us what other people tell him 'flow' feels like, but in 300 pages, he never tells us what flow is. This is sort of like reading a book on headaches by Dostoevsky or some existentialist philosopher. You may get the feel of what headaches are like, but to know the physiology of headaches, a better choice would be to rely on DrKoop. Same thing unfortunately with Dr. C. Instead of a scientific analysis of flow that brings in the latest research on cognitive science or neuroscience, Dr. C. ladles on the metaphors like a never ending fountain of curdled verbal gravy. Thus flow "transports one into a new reality", represents an "ordering of consciousness", or represents some "undreamed of state of consciousness". Hmm, may I have some psychic fries with all this psychic goodness?
So Dr. C's book gets two stars for literature, but flunks out as science. Indeed, the latest research in neuroscience has demonstrated that the brain releases the neuromodulator dopamine whenever attention shifts from one salient precept to another. Whenever attention shifts a lot, as when we encounter something challenging, creative, or very interesting, a lot of dopamine is produced. Since dopamine is the pleasure chemical in the brain, as well as is responsible for drug induced highs, it stands to reason that flow is no more than a natural drug high that keeps us riveted on important thoughts. So flow is important, but is hardly best understood by the half baked Jungian analysis that Dr. C.
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