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 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 and greatly improve the quality of our lives.
By a reader - February 2, 2009
Besides having more vowels in his name than any other researcher in the field of positive psychology, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi is probably best known for his book "Flow". So what exactly is flow?
Well, there are short and long ways to define the concept of flow. The short way is to tell you that flow is roughly the equivalent to what most people refer to as being "in the zone" or "in the groove". More elaborate definitions might be that it is "the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people do it even at great cost, for the sheer state of doing it."
Being such a desirable state, flow is naturally linked to happiness. The book feels that the path to happiness is a circuitous one that begins with one achieving control over the "contents of our consciousness". I'm taking that to mean that if I learn to find flow experiences, it will lead to greater... read more
Optimal Experience: Not One Destination
By Erika Borsos "pepper flower" - June 16, 2003
If anyone is seeking a "recipe" for "optimal experience" do not read this book. This book is not a step-by-step self-help guide. Neither is it a pedantic overview of psychological studies replete with statistical analyses, i.e., hard data, proving "flow" exists. The simplest way to summarize this book is, it describes how different people create meaning in life with full intention and focus and thereby achieve an ongoing state of satisfaction and sense of fulfillment.
The book begins with an overview of how people define and achieve happiness. Essentially, the author contends, most people are not happy because the universe was not created to make us happy but on the contrary, it serves to frustrate us and help us grow ... The primary focus of this book is to show us that "flow" states happen to people despite the challenges of the universe, it happens to people from all walks of life, from all cultures, throughout the world.
Flow is a state of consciousness which... read more
By Ivan - January 12, 2010
Amazon already did a good job summarizing Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's Flow, so I will instead focus on evaluating its content.
The book is set up in a way where the first few chapters concentrate on defining and analyzing the intricate relationship between human consciousness and happiness. Once this is firmly established, Csikszentmihalyi goes on to introduce the concept of flow, its physiology and its conditions. All subsequent chapters then examine flow in various aspects of our lives and the last chapter focuses on the philosophical implications of the concept and whether it relates to finding "meaning in life".
It has been said in science that any researcher should have the ability to explain their theory clearly and concisely to a layman. I felt that Csikszentmihalyi's style of writing is very true to this statement, as he puts in a particular effort to make his book accessible and very easy to read for just about anyone. I would even say that he is overly... read more