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Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life (MasterMinds) [Paperback]

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Mar 1998 MasterMinds
Part psychological study, part self-help book, Finding Flow is a prescriptive guide that helps us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on a far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement. Thought they appear simple, the lessons in Finding Flow are life-altering.

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Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life (MasterMinds) + Flow: The Psychology of Happiness: The Classic Work on How to Achieve Happiness + Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention
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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; New Ed edition (16 Mar 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465024114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465024117
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.6 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is professor of psychology and education at the University of Chicago. He is the author of a number of books, including the bestselling Flow, The Evolving Self, Creativity, and Being Adolescent.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
87 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is a good life? 3 July 2002
'What is a good life?', is basically the question addressed by this book. Well, isn't a good life just about being happy? Ok, but that is not the complete answer. For how do we become and stay happy? Not by watching TV, eating, or relaxing all day! In small doses these things are good and improve your daily life, but the effects are not additive. In other words: a point of diminishing returns is quickly reached. Also you don't become happy by having to do nothing. Csikszentmihalyi's research shows that both intrinsic motivation (wanting to do something) and extrinsic motivation (having to do something) are preferable to not having any kind of goal to focus your attention.
Csikszentmihalyi argues that a life filled with 'flow activities' is more worth living than one spent consuming passive entertainment. He says, the point is to be happy while doing things that stretch your goals and skills that help you grow and fulfil your potential. In other words: the content of your experiences over a lifetime determines the quality of your life. Then what exactly ìs 'flow'? Is it just some vague new New Age concept? Not at all! It is precisely defined and well-researched. The experience if flow is the sense of effortless action we feel in moments that we see as the best in our lives. In order to have flow experiences you need clear goals/demands, immediate and relevant feedback and a balance between your skills and the demands. Then your attention becomes ordered and fully invested. Because of the total demand on you psychic energy you become completely focused, your self-consciousness disappears, as does your sense of time, yet you feel strong and competent.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We could all do with finding more 28 July 2006
Csikszentmihalyi argues that the majority of the time during everyday life we are not completely focused on what we are doing, we are thinking about a conversation we had yesterday, or worried about a test we have next week. But on the rare occasions when we are doing something which we really love, be it skiing, playing poker, listening to music or cooking a meal, we may experience moments where "what we feel, what we wish, and what we think are in harmony," Csikszentmihalyi calls these exceptional moments of complete immersion, flow experiences.

There are two important factors that seem to be required for flow to be experienced, the first is, the balance between ones skill and the challenge involved must be equal and high, too great a challenge and one will get frustrated, not enough challenge and one will get bored, if skill and challenge are balanced but low then one will fell apathetic to the task. Csikszentmihalyi thus suggests that "flow acts a magnet for learning" the more we participate in the activity the more our skill increases and the higher challenge we have to set ourselves next time. The other important factor in flow is that we must have clear goals and receive immediate feedback on our actions, for example the mountaineer getting one step closer to the summit.

Csikszentmihalyi highlights that we all have flow experiance which add to the richness of life. by identifying it's sources and understanding it's benefits we can seek to find more flow experiances and thus further enrich our lives.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
At an intuitive level I "knew" this book was valuable to me. But just reading it did not allow me to gel all of the life-affirming and wisdom-based messages. It was not until I mindmapped the book -- tore its ideas apart -- and rebuilt them -- that I totally grasped all of its positive life-altering ideas. By mindmapping the book, its ideas are now an ever-growing part of my "new" life.
This book has/is/continues to dramatically alter my life in powerful/positive directions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An aternative guide for living 12 May 2010
Live a good life. Help others to do likewise. Csikszentmihaly provides a quick overview of the ways we behave that will make us and those around us more satisfied with life, but more important is his exhortation to use our efforts to reduce "entropy" around us. Entropy in this view is that chaos that all things tend towards, and is allowed to expand whenever we are passive participants rather than absorbed in some useful activity. Flow is that "in the zone" unconscious mode of operation we find in hobbies or work when we are fully engaged, and unsurprisingly, people feel better the more "flow" they experience. If you dislike organised religion and its dogma, Flow provides a good, albeit pseudo-religious guide to living a good life. On the downside this book barely touches the promised subtitle "The psychology of engagement with everyday life", and the snippets of research presented serve to show the totally obvious, such as people find more "flow" when engaged in hobbies, sports and study than watching TV, or that we're more likely to find flow when the degree of challenge we're presented with is great enough, but not so great as to overwhelm us. Buy it, read it, but don't expect too much really practical advice or depth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice balance of science and self-help 2 Aug 1998
By A Customer
I just finished "Flow" and was delighted. Csikszentmihalyi has done an excellent job of bringing together research (most of it his own)and presenting it in a clear, engaging way. Even better, the concept of "flow" is real and important -- I found myself frequenty brought out of an intellectual assessment into more personal reflections on flow in my life. And cheaper than psychotherapy! My only criticism is that the layout is a bit too straightforward -- more visual variety would have been appropriate straightf
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