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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) Paperback – July 1, 2008
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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.
"Elegantly written...it is more relevant than ever" * The Times * "Mr Csikszentmihalyi illuminates the accuracy of what philosophers have been saying for centuries: that the way to happiness lies not in mindless hedonism but in mindful challenge" * The New York Times *
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Top customer reviews
Tjat said, Csikszentmihalyi sometimes gets I his own way with his writing - his points lose credibility from poor metaphors or examples even though the original ideas are meaningful - and could benefit from a more involved editorial team.
If this review makes any sense to you, I recommend you read the book. If not, look elsewhere.
I suppose that this book would be found in the "Self-Help" or "Psychology" section of the bookstore, but it is not a book of lists of how to be happy. It is more of a delicious dissertation... it is so rich in content. I was looking for it recently, as I was finding myself off balance and not coping with the stresses of daily life adequately.
Briefly, FLOW strives to recognize that "being in the flow" is not accidental. It is not genius. It is not based on your economic status or your state of health. It is not a given that it carries over from one aspect of your life to another easily. It's fostered by an awareness and acceptance of yourself and the idea that you need to give yourself adequate challenges. Probably the most essential part of the book for me at this time are the last two chapters that address how to make sense of tragedy and decide what it is that you are living for so you can rise above it. This book raises interesting moral questions, and above all, seems relevant in every aspect to modern life. Be prepared to be influenced in a new, positive way. I have this in paperback and now Kindle.
Flow is when you lose track of time because you're so involved in what you're doing. People in flow are happy, and it's this kind of happiness which is probably the one that's most important to our lives. The big headline kinds of happiness don't happen frequently, but flow is something that can happen every single day.
This book talks about the science behind flow, how to get into the flow state, what happens when you're in the flow state, and what the outcomes of flow are. While you can get into flow in everyday activities like washing the dishes or doing the ironing, flow can also help you attain life goals. It takes having a goal that is attainable, and doing work that makes appreciable progress towards that goal. So while it's probably not an attainable goal for me to cure cancer since I'm not in the medical field and have no intent of getting there, there are big but still attainable goals in my chosen field, not to mention in my personal interests.
Overall, the book served to remind me that I've been overlooking a lot of potential happiness of late, and that it's time for me to set another big goal for myself and start on the road towards it.