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Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life (Masterminds Series) Paperback – April 6, 1998
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Csikszentmihalyi eloquently argues that living fully in the here and now requires that one heed the lessons of the past and acknowledge that today's most seemingly trivial acts inevitably have an impact on the future. -- The New York Times Book Review, Jacqueline Boone
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Csikszentmihalyi goes over the nature of what we experience and classifies them according to the level of challenge vs. the skill we can bear upon them. He then discusses how we feel when doing these different types of activities. The two core chapters cover work and leisure. Csikszentmihalyi shows how engagement with ones job and pursuing active hobbies provide more personal satisfaction than passive entertainment and mere lounging. It is this notion that will clash with many people's belief in what makes them happy; happiness being something that Csikszentmihalyi considers a fleeting emotion and different from true contentment. As has been noted by the philosopher A.C. Grayling, if we are after happiness alone, then we can just self-medicate.
Other chapters examine how relationships are better if you engage in them, rather than merely meet material obligations to loved ones, and what kinds of personalities are better suited to achieving flow. There is a chapter, as well as some discussion throughout, on how to increase flow in your own life. This gives the book an additional self-help angle (which is what the back cover is trying to market it as.) The final chapter begins with some light philosophizing and quickly degenerates into an off-topic discussion of religion, lacking a thesis and coming across as the ramblings of a stoned first-year college student. This is unfortunate in that it mars an otherwise very strong treatment of what constitutes a good life.
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