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The Evolving Self: Psychology for the Third Millennium, A (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $4.74
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

The author of the bestselling Flow (more than 125,000 copies sold) offers an intelligent, inspiring guide to life in the future.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this wise, humane inquiry, Csikszentmihalyi ( Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience ) argues that genetically programmed behaviors that once helped humans adapt and multiply now threaten our survival. These traits include obsessions with food and sex, addiction to pleasure, excessive rationality and a tendency to focus on the negative. A University of Chicago psychology professor, the author also believes we must free our minds of cultural illusions such as ethnocentric superiority or identification with one's possessions. He urges readers to find ways to reduce the oppression, exploitation and inequality that are woven into the fabric of society. Further, he wants us to control the direction of human evolution by pursuing challenging activities that lead to greater complexity while opposting chaos and conformity. Each chapter concludes with self-help questions and mental exercises designed to help readers apply the insights of this literate manifesto to their daily lives.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This title aims to provide "a deeper understanding of the direction in which life on earth has been going, and hence a clearer sense of what the meaning of one's own life might be." The author believes that becoming an active, conscious part of the evolutionary process can give our lives meaning and joy. In fact, the fate of humanity in the next millennium depends on the kind of selves we become today. An interesting feature of this book is the space provided at the end of each chapter for readers to jot down their thoughts about the issues covered, though libraries might find this problematic. Csikszentmihalyi goes beyond the psychobabble and traces human behavior from the beginning of time and shows with great clarity why we do the things we do. Most general readers may find it too "deep." Recommended for libraries with a solid psychology collection.
- Belinda J. Pugh, Kings Bay Base Lib., Ga.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 587 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000W94GR2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,679 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE first book to start understanding who you are August 24, 1998
While "everyperson" might not find this entertaining reading, I think this book is the first one I would/will give my children as they try to become adults. It ought to be required reading for every adult in every culture, especially those who think they're "right." Csikszentmihalyi's insight and ability to weave a powerful story from myriad perspectives is simply awesome. We may think we are "people" but until we understand the interconnection of our genetic heritage and our mimetic heritage, and develop our own sense of flow in the world, we are little more than reproductions of other (dead) people's thinking. The concepts of memes and complexity and the invitation to become a transcender ranks Csikszentmihalyi right along side Carl Rogers as the most informed about how we can become truly individual, contributing human beings. Don't miss this book!
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Wheat, Some Chaff March 30, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Oh, I don't know. I think C. has some important points to make about the role that genetic and cultural influences have in shaping our unconscious, and, hence, our decisions about our lives. But I think he needs to go back to the drawing board on some of his analysis of "self." Many of the features that he attributes to the self, are, in my opinion, also generated at the genetic/cultural, and more importantly, familial (i.e. early childhood) levels, not the absolutes that he claims. (Although I really liked his idea of the self as both a manifestation of our awareness, and its director.) I also liked the "flow" stuff. I think he is on to something there, the need for involvement and challenge and discovery. But I was not nuts about his semi-proselytizing tone, and the idea of directed evolution. I'm not sorry I read it, but it does feel to me like he is only half way to where he thinks he is, and where he wants to be. Which is a pretty cool place.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 2011 Favorite - Published in 1993 April 29, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase

I have a personal discipline. For every 5 books I read, one of those books MUST be at least five years old. Once again, I have been immensely blessed by this discipline.

What honestly startled me about this book, published in 1993, the unfinished business that remains to be realized is both profound and poignant. It's simply that prescient.

The following are a few tidbit excerpts. As you read them, please consider their pertinence today:

"At this point in our history it should be possible for an individual to build a self that is not simply the outcome of biological drives and cultural habits, but a conscious, personal creation. That self will be aware of its freedom and not fear it." P. 4.

The point is not to be browbeaten into the belief that you are powerless. It is in the interest of those who control our energy to make it seem that the status quo is natural, right, and impossible to change. It is in our interest to figure out that this is not always true. P. 105.

Having learned that boredom and worry are the norm in the family, in the school, and in the community at large, children give up curiosity, interest, the desire to explore new possibilities, and become used to passive entertainment. P.203.

Most novel ideas or behaviors are generated by people who try out new things because they are bored by old routines, or because they are confounded by chaos. P. 255.

If you're bored by old routines and/or curious or concerned about chaos in this world, this book is for you.

One of my favorites YTD in 2011 --- even though it was published in 1993.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important to Read this Book July 18, 2009
"The Evolving Self" is not a typical general interest psychology book. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi puts on the philosopher hat for this book. The book takes the position that everyone needs to take responsibility for directing our future for the better. Mihaly warns that we cannot assume our civilization will always improve. He argues that the third millennium could prove to be a turning point where societal improvement will stop becoming automatic and may require we consciously direct bringing greater order to the world.

"The Evolving Self" is a heavily researched book. The book will take your mind across the span of history and cultures. In that sense, it is a joy to be exposed to all these aspects from the perspective of a psychologist (but wearing a philosopher's hat mind you).

My main criticism of "The Evolving Self" is the language used. This term meme is used through out. Meme was introduced by Richard Dawkins in 1976 and is not considered part of mainstream social science thinking. Memes are hard to wrap your head around because they treat cultural ideas almost like evolving life forms. It's a little weird and just a theory at this point, but Mihaly uses it as the foundation to how we can direct our own evolution. Other language that is a bit weird is "entropy" and "complexity". We want our actions to not increase entropy and increase complexity. This is kind of abstract and not as inspiring as it could be when we are really just talking about trying to make the world a better place.

The part of the book I was really looking forward to is the early part of the book. Mihaly teased of covering the new field of evolutionary psychology.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and insightful
I first read this shortly after it was released, but I often pick it up to breeze through and explore the questions. Read more
Published 15 months ago by thinfilm
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating fiction
A captivating compendium of highly personal perspectives on the human condition. Being fully committed to senescence (85). Read more
Published 17 months ago by Robert M. DeRycke
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
It's an old book form a library, Its cover is not so good and there is many stamps. Buta it has all pages ok
Published 24 months ago by Daniela Lopes Maia
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
It makes you ask yourself important questions instead of just going along with your daily routine - makes you think out side of the box
Published on November 21, 2012 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars If had to recommend just one book this would be it.
A truly fantastic book for important worldly wisdom and a reliable guide for living. My favorite book of all time thus far and for the last two years I have been on a mission... Read more
Published on August 16, 2011 by oliver stevens
2.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps devolving would've worked better
I wish I could say this book really represented an evolution in psychology or how we conceive of the self, but the truth is, it really doesn't. Read more
Published on June 19, 2009 by Taylor Ellwood
5.0 out of 5 stars If you can muster it...... life changing
I read a lot, and never post reviews. This book is special though.

A very well researched and articulated book, the author throws light on the most important subject -... Read more
Published on April 27, 2008 by J. Farley
5.0 out of 5 stars Align with the Divine Inteligence
Professor Mike is on to something with this book. When you follow your positive emotions, especially Flow, you are following the guidence of the Divine Intelligence that is... Read more
Published on December 16, 2003 by Steve Moeller
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and Positive Message
By discussiing the evolution of the mind, this book gives us a clear and positive message about the future direction of our species. Read more
Published on November 5, 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book - Amazon misspelled author's name!!
Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi
This is the author's correct name, taken from the actual titles themselves. Amazon[. Read more
Published on April 21, 2003
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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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