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Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning Paperback – Bargain Price, March 30, 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's definition of leadership, the personal is political. The best-selling author of Flow interviewed several dozen exemplary CEOs whose wisdom provides the radical job description of the book’s premise: "Leaders must make it possible for employees to work with joy, to their heart’s content, while responding to the needs of society." Csikszentmihalyi leverages his definition of "flow"—-the capacity for full engagement in an activity—-to create a blueprint for a workplace in which bringing out the best in workers comes before products and profit. When leaders select and reward employees who find satisfaction at work, they can create an upwardly moral organization.

In this view, leadership is a privilege that requires checking ego in the coatroom and peering into the mirror to ask tough questions. For example, "How do I determine if something is right or wrong?" Or, "What is my business doing to benefit human well being?" He offers some inspiring stories from leaders who engage employees to go with the flow, including Body Shop CEO Anita Roddick, Patagonia crown prince Yvon Chouinard, and media mogul Ted Turner. Some of Csikszentmihalyi’s advice will sound familiar. Yet he creates a compellingly fresh vision of good business in both a material and spiritual sense. Ultimately, the success of this book lies in its powerful, non-flaky ability to define corporate soul in terms of a company becoming a stakeholder in an entity larger than itself.--Barbara Mackoff --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Asking business leaders to turn a profit in this climate is tough enough, but psychologist Csikszentmihalyi challenges them to do something even tougher: make people happy. The author first explored flow, the enjoyment felt when an individual is focused on a complex task, in 1991's bestselling Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, and he has often returned to the subject (The Evolving Self; Creativity; etc.). Now he wants to show business leaders how to foster flow and use their psychic energy to enhance the happiness of their employees, customers and even themselves. The advice book offers predictable but sound guidance to business leaders: know oneself, set clear goals for employees and consider the consequences of business decisions. Insightful quotes from figures like Aristotle, Dante Alighieri and John Locke provide some historical grounding, but mostly the author focuses on how modern businesses motivate employees and contribute to the common good. By conducting extensive interviews, the author collects the secrets of successful business leaders, including the Body Shop CEO Anita Roddick; McDonald's chairman and CEO Jack Greenberg; and AOL Time Warner's Ted Turner. Roddick, for example, says that looking at company's lavatories and cafeteria can reveal a lot about a firm's corporate culture and the happiness of its employees. If a firm fails to create a clean, healthy environment for its workers, it probably isn't doing much good. Csikszentmihalyi shows how moral responsibility, respect for the environment and clean bathrooms can make a business good and the whole world better.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Group USA (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014200409X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142004098
  • ASIN: B000HD1OUU
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,332,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the Hungarian-born writer of the bestseller Flow. This professor of Psychology and Education at the University of Chicago has been studying this concept of Flow for many years and has written several interesting books, among which Flow (1990) and Finding Flow (1997). Now he has written a new book: Good Business. It turns out to be just the book I hoped he would write: a book about Flow and work.

=WORK CAN CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR WELL-BEING!=
Although many people view work primarily negatively, it can actually contribute importantly to your well-being, more so than gaining more and more possessions. And because work is so important, it is vital that managers and employees create conditions in which good work can happen. But what is good work? It is enjoying doing your best while at the same time contributing to something beyond yourself. Csikszentmihalyi explains how this can be achieved through two processes: 1) experiencing flow and 2) growth toward complexity. What precisely do these two things mean?

1. Experiencing Flow
In situations of flow, tasks demand the full involvement of the person. In these situations there is a perfect balance between the challenge of the task and the skills of the person. The so-called 'flow channel' represents optimal experience, where both challenges and skills lie above the average level. More challenge than skill leads to arousal, anxiety, or worry. More skill than challenge leads to control, relaxation, or boredom. Flow depends on eight conditions: 1) goals are clear, 2) feedback is immediate, 3) a balance between opportunity and capacity, 4) concentration deepens, 5) the present is what matters, 6) control is no problem, 7) the sense of time is altered, 8) the loss of ego.

2.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The premise of the book is that our jobs are a primary component in our life and that when we are happy in our work we are the most productive and of the most value to our business.
Mihaly reviews the concept of "flow" from his earlier studies which is a state where we fully utilize our skills and capabilities and how we are able to reach that state and what inhibits us from reaching it. We also learn about our own development stages and how we improve through the combination of
realizing our uniqueness and by valuing human relationships.
This book teaches us about good leadership qualities and how we (being led) can find satisfaction in our work.
Organizational leaders must clarify the goals of a business and ensure it is well communicated.
Three levers are available to managers to enable flow and create a great organization: make the environment attractive and comfortable; imbuing jobs with meaning and value; and by rewarding individuals who find satisfaction in their work.
Flow presents opportunity (such as finding more satisfaction) and challenge (as in the case of changing a job that sucks the life out of people).
Innovation is seen as repeatable through flow - but certain practices must be met such as: stay away from micro managing people; let people know the problems that need to be solved; and how to set and achieve performance goals (prioritizing tasks throughout a company has the effect of ensuring a company
won't meet its goals).
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Format: Hardcover
A brilliant work taking the author's concept of FLOW and applying it specifically to work and business. The approach may have been taken previously ... though never so well or so clearly. There are practical, concrete matters addressed as well as the overall psychology of FLOW. It quickly becomes clear why some employees stagnate in their work, even though they may be highly skilled. There is much that business owners, managers and leaders can take away to enhance their own lives, the lives of their employees and of society on the whole. And the not-so-surprising outcome of these endeavors is greater success for individuals and for the business.
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Format: Paperback
Work can and should make you happy. If it doesn't something is wrong, according to the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning. We spend much of our lives working, and it is not just a waste of time and energy when we do not enjoy it. Our output suffers, which the author argues is bad for society, not just for ourselves. Hungarian-born Csikszentmihalyi wrote the groundbreaking 1990 book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience that brought his research into human behavior to a wider audience. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, described Csikszentmihalyi as the world's leading researcher on positive psychology. In 1999, after a long career teaching psychology at the University of Chicago, he began teaching the subject to MBA students at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. He is also the director of the Quality of Life Research Center, a nonprofit institute in Claremont, California. The book centers on the topic of flow. Flow means being so absorbed in an activity that we shut out distractions and worries to devote all our energy to the task at hand. It can occur in work or play, but the focus in this book is on how people can find flow when they work, and how leaders can encourage flow in employees. Flow occurs when there is a balance between high challenges and skills. Flow is unlikely in an activity until we become proficient in it. It's also not static. Without continual challenge, boredom creeps in. "The important factor to keep in mind is that personal growth is contingent on the balance of opportunities for action and the capacities to act that a person encounters at work," he writes.Read more ›
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