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Flow (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (362 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $8.99
You Save: $7.00 (44%)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 67%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

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Book Description

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.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 634 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0712657592
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (October 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000W94FE6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,150 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
345 of 356 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding Flow February 2, 2009
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". So what exactly is flow?

Well, 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 and is a classic in it's field. Other positive psychology books I liked include "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World".
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312 of 329 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimal Experience: Not One Destination June 16, 2003
Format:Paperback
If anyone is seeking a "recipe" for "optimal experience" do not read this book. This book is not a step-by-step self-help guide. Neither is it a pedantic overview of psychological studies replete with statistical analyses, i.e., hard data, proving "flow" exists. The simplest way to summarize this book is, it describes how different people create meaning in life with full intention and focus and thereby achieve an ongoing state of satisfaction and sense of fulfillment.

The book begins with an overview of how people define and achieve happiness. Essentially, the author contends, most people are not happy because the universe was not created to make us happy but on the contrary, it serves to frustrate us and help us grow ... The primary focus of this book is to show us that "flow" states happen to people despite the challenges of the universe, it happens to people from all walks of life, from all cultures, throughout the world.

Flow is a state of consciousness which can be achieved on an individual path. It also has common elements which anyone who is experiencing the state can identify. The author examines the common experiences which people who are in a state of "flow" describe. It seems people who are in "flow" achieve a state of consciousness that is in harmony with their surroundings and feelings. They do not make distinctions between work and play ... people in "flow" create an inner state of being that brings them peace and fulfillment that is separate from their external environment. They are focused, what they do is meaningful and has purpose, they are absorbed in their activities and they have a sense of connection to their inner self and and also with others. The state called "flow" pertains to enjoyment and satisfaction with one's quality of life.
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127 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Insights into the Mystery of Happiness January 1, 2009
Format:Paperback
Flow are those inexplicable moments of indescribable happiness that we experience at rare intervals, when we are "surprised by joy." These precious moments seem to be gifts, almost accidental peak experiences in which life seems rich with meaning, joy and wonder. When and why do these magic episodes intrude upon our humdrum existences? Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's answer may surprise you: "Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments of our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times ... The best moments of our lives usually occur when a person's body or mind is stretched to the limits in a voluntary moment to achieve something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something we make happen ... For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves."

Csikszentmihalyi's theme is happiness. This philosopher-psychologist points out the Aristotelian concept that all other things we seek, riches, fame, power, etc. are valued only because we believe they will make us happy. Based upon decades of research on the mystery of happiness, Csikszentmihalyi defines it as moments of self-forgetfulness when we are totally absorbed in the process of life ... intervals of peak creativity and self-expression. He expands upon the research of Abraham Maslow and agrees that peak experiences are within the reach of us all. The theme of this book is the introduction of techniques to make this glad to be alive feeling occur more often. It may be stated that this book is no self-help step-by-step program, nor could it be. Each of us is plowing new snow, creating a path that no one else has traveled. The guidelines and the principles are here, but the journey into the sublime uncertainty of our destiny is individual and precious. Flow is one of several extraordinary contributions by this great mind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Should have stopped at chapter 3
I usually don't write reviews but this topic is important to me. The first 3 chapters are great and recommended in that is describes flow. Read more
Published 5 days ago by jablom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is a must read if you are a human
Published 6 days ago by Robert J. Dowling
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring book
This is a really inspiring book about becoming immersed in what you do, and the benefits of the immersion. It's not really about being happy, as the cover suggests. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Andrew Gentile
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great condition
Published 17 days ago by Nick Contreras
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh....
I think the author of this book must really like rock climbing - he uses that example throughout the entire book. I found the theory pretty shallow and elementary.
Published 22 days ago by Clinton J Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Can be a little science heavy at times, but ...
Can be a little science heavy at times, but provides some insight into very practical ways to make the everyday experience more gratifying.
Published 25 days ago by Cara L Unterkofler
1.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most overrated selfhelp book of all time... other than the...
Within the positive psychology literature, almost everyone mentions with great praise this author and his work on "flow"; as such I purchased the audiobook version and was... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Harry M. Shin
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for anyone creating entertainment
Great book. Really helps to get to the bottom of flow. If you are going to create entertainment of any kind, you need this book,
Published 1 month ago by Christopher Parsons
5.0 out of 5 stars clarity and wisdom applied to the human experience with no spiritual...
As good as it gets if you want real clarity about the nature of self fulfillment and optimizing life's experiences without any religious or pseudo spiritual bulls***! Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars The seminal work on the subject!
This may be the seminal work on the subject of being in a flow state. Csikszentmihalyi delivers a fascinating study on what some people refer to as being "in the zone. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter Patrick Smith
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More 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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