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“Csikszentmihalyi arrives at an insight that many of us can intuitively grasp, despite our insistent (and culturally supported) denial of this truth. That is, it is not what happens to us that determines our happiness, but the manner in which we make sense of that reality. . . . The manner in which Csikszentmihalyi integrates research on consciousness, personal psychology and spirituality is illuminating.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
The bestselling classic that holds the key to unlocking meaning, creativity, peak performance, and true happiness.
Legendary 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 ("the leading researcher into ‘flow states’" —Newsweek) 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, unlock our potential, and greatly improve the quality of our lives.
“Although the benefits of this study to scholars are obvious, this thought-provoking mixture of scholarly and colloquial will enlighten inquisitive general readers, too.” — Library Journal (starred review)
The classic study of the creative process from the bestselling author of Flow.
Creativity is about capturing those moments that make life worth living. Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (“The leading researcher into ‘flow states.’” — Newsweek) reveals what leads to these moments—be it the excitement of the artist at the easel or the scientist in the lab—so that this knowledge can be used to enrich people's lives. Drawing on nearly one hundred interviews with exceptional people, from biologists and physicists, to politicians and business leaders, to poets and artists, as well as his thirty years of research on the subject, Csikszentmihalyi uses his famous flow theory to explore the creative process. He discusses such ideas as why creative individuals are often seen as selfish and arrogant, and why the "tortured genius" is largely a myth. Most important, he explains why creativity needs to be cultivated and is necessary for the future of our country, if not the world.
What makes a good life? Is it money? An important job? Leisure time? Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believes our obsessive focus on such measures has led us astray. Work fills our days with anxiety and pressure, so that during our free time, we tend to live in boredom, watching TV or absorbed by our phones.
What are we missing? To answer this question, Csikszentmihalyi studied thousands of people, and he found the key. People are happiest when they challenge themselves with tasks that demand a high degree of skill and commitment, and which are undertaken for their own sake. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Take a routine chore and figure out how to do it better, faster, more efficiently. In short, learn the hidden power of complete engagement, a psychological state the author calls flow. Though they appear simple, the lessons in Finding Flow are life-changing.
The acclaimed sequel to the international bestseller Flow: an intelligent, inspiring guide to unlocking the evolutionary history of our present consciousness, and “becoming at one with the power that is the universe.”
“A book of singular importance and timeliness, one with momentous implications for the future.”— Howard Gardner
In Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s bestselling Flow, he introduced readers to a radical new theory of happiness. Now in The Evolving Self—his breakthrough sequel—he demonstrates how we can understand and overcome our evolutionary shortcomings. Premised on the idea that only through a reckoning with our evolutionary past can we build a stable, meaningful future, The Evolving Self covers the challenges associated with our cognitive evolutionary history (“As far as controlling the mind is concerned, we are like a novice driver behind the wheel of a racing car”); the distortions of reality we experience due to genes, culture, and our sense of self; and the central importance of “flow” from an evolutionary perspective as we look toward the future.
Erudite, perceptive, and insightful—and more important now than ever, as our consciousnesses are increasingly mediated by electronic devices—The Evolving Self is a timely resource for anyone looking to improve our world for ourselves and for generations to come.
Good Business starts with the premise that this is an age in which business and work have replaced religion and politics as central forces in contemporary life. The book reveals how business leaders, managers, and even employees can find their "flow" and contribute not only to their own happiness, but also to a just and evolving society. It identifies the factors crucial to the operation of a good business: trust, the commitment to fostering the personal growth of employees, and the dedication to creating a product that helps mankind. Good Business is sure to become a must-read text for anyone who values the positive contributions of individuals in the changing world of business.
The third volume of the collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi covers his work on the application of flow in areas that go beyond the field of leisure where the concept was first applied. Based on his personal experience with schooling and learning, as well as that of many others and contrary to what Cicero claimed, Csikszentmihalyi arrived at the conclusion that instead of taking pride in making the roots of knowledge as bitter as possible, we should try to make them sweeter. Just as flow became a popular and useful concept in voluntary activities, it could likewise be applied in education with the end result of young people being more likely to continue learning not just because they have to but because they want to.
This volume brings together a number of articles in which Csikszentmihalyi develops ideas about how to make education and more generally the process of learning to live a good life, more enjoyable. Since theory is the mother of good practice, the first eleven chapters are devoted to theoretical reflections. Some are general and explore what it means to be a human being, what it means to be a person, when we look at life from the perspective of flow. Others are more narrowly focused on such topics as consumption, education, teaching and learning. They help laypeople reflect how they can arrange their lives in such a way as to leave a small ecological footprint while getting the most enjoyment. The second section of the volume contains a dozen empirical articles on similar topics. They deal with the development of identity and self-worth; with the formation of goals and motivation; with loneliness and family life.
This first volume of the Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi represents his work on Art and Creativity. Starting with his seminal 1964 study on creativity up to his 2010 publication in Newsweek, the volume spans over four decades of research and writing and clearly shows Csikszentmihalyi’s own development as an academic, psychologist, researcher and person. Unconventional and unorthodox in his approach, Csikszentmihalyi chose the topic of creativity as a field of study believing it would help him be a better psychologist and advance his understanding of how to live a better life.
The chapters in this volume trace the history of the study of creativity back to the days of Guilford and research on IQ and Jacob Getzels’ work on creativity and intelligence. Firmly grounded in that history, yet extending it in new directions, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi started his life-long study on artistic creativity. His first extensive study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago enabled him to observe, test and interview fine art students drawing in a studio. The study formed the very basis of all his work on the subject and has resulted in several articles, represented in this volume, on such creativity-related concepts as problem solving versus problem finding, the personality of the artist, the influence of the social context, creativity as a social construction, developmental issues and flow. The main contribution to the topic of creativity and also the main concept explored in this volume, is the Systems Model of Creativity. Seven chapters in this volume discuss the development of this conceptual model and theory.
The second volume in the collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi covers about thirty years of Csikszentmihalyi‘s work on three main and interconnected areas of study: attention, flow and positive psychology. Describing attention as psychic energy and in the footsteps of William James, Csikszentmihalyi explores the allocation of attention, the when and where and the amount of attention humans pay to tasks and the role of attention in creating ‘experiences’, or ordered patterns of information. Taking into account information processing theories and attempts at quantifying people’s investment, the chapters deal with such topics as time budgets and the development and use of the Experience Sampling Method of collecting data on attention in everyday life. Following the chapters on attention and reflecting Csikszentmihalyi’s branching out into sociology and anthropology, there are chapters on the topic of adult play and leisure and connected to that, on flow, a concept formulated and developed by Csikszentmihalyi. Flow has become a popular concept in business and management around the world and research on the concept continues to flourish. Finally, this volume contains articles that stem from Csikszentmihalyi’s connection with Martin Seligman; they deal with concepts and theories, as well as with the development and short history, of the field and the “movement” of positive psychology.
Ask any serious runner and they’ll tell you that being mentally sound is vital to success in the sport. The ability to enter a flow state of mind is something that Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has devoted his entire career to understanding.
In Running Flow, Dr. Csikszentmihalyi is joined by fellow psychologist Christine Weinkauff and running journalist and coach Philip Latter. This landmark work is the first book dedicated to helping runners achieve the state of flow in competitive and training environments. You’ll find comprehensive coverage of the phenomenon, unique practice exercises that stimulate its occurrence, and firsthand accounts from elite runners about their flow experiences.
The psychological barriers associated with training and competition can be as demanding as the physical ones. Destined to become a running classic, Running Flow will open your mind not only to better performance but also to a better, healthier, and more enjoyable experience.