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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience [Paperback]

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition 6.49  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 9.09  
Paperback, 31 Mar 1991 --  
Audio, CD, Abridged, Audiobook 10.28  

Book Description

31 Mar 1991
The theory of "flow" is that it is a means by which we can improve our lives by constantly increasing our experience of happiness. The book examines the challenges of lifelong learning, flow and the family, art, sport, work and sex as flow, the pain of loneliness, optimal use of free time and how to make meaning in our lives.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPerennial; Reprint edition (31 Mar 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060920432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060920432
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 18.5 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 367,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"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) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

This classic popular psychology title explains how, by altering our perspective, we can find happiness, dispel disharmony and enter a state of perfect equilibrium - a state of 'flow' --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
TWENTY-THREE HUNDRED YEARS AGO Aristotle concluded that, more than anything else, men and women seek happiness. Read the first page
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Concordance
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flow: A Path to Happiness 8 Dec 2008
By Beth
Format:Paperback
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: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. So what exactlty is flow and what does it have to do with finding happiness?

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 happiness.

Know from the get-go that "Flow" is NOT a step-by-step book that gives you tips on how to be happy. Instead, the book summarizes years of research, so what you get when all is said and done, are general principles along with examples of how people have used them to transform their lives. The hope, then, is that you will have enough information in the book to make the transition from principles and theory, to actual practice.

In a nutshell, Flow is a unique and interesting book that examines the process of achieving happiness through the control of one's inner life.
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92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book 28 April 2004
Format:Paperback
This book points out something which should be obvious - that in order tohave a happy, fulfilling life you must live your life to have as many"flow" experiences as possible. That is, you must do things that havegoals that you are fully committed to achieving, and that you are highlymotivated to achieve. The human brain has evolved to solve challenges suchas hunting, finding new territory and surviving in inhospitable climates.Having motivating challenges results in a happy and fulfilling life, whilea lack of such factors can lead to depression, fatigue and ill health.
A number of years ago after suffering from suicidal depression, anxietyand chronic illness (CFS/ME), I eventually came to a point where I wasforced to change my lifestyle. Partly by sheer luck, and partly thoughobserving how my lifestyle affected my mental and physical health, Ieventually came to the realisation that having positive goals andmotivation were crucial to maintaining my health, and that a lack of thesefactors lead back down the path of physical and mental deterioration.
In the past few years I have lived my entire life as one long "flow"experience - everything I do is now part of an overall plan for my life,and every day I am working towards short- and long-term goals that I amhighly motivated in. Over the last few years I have completely recoveredfrom CFS/ME and have not suffered from depression, and this is purely downto my change in lifestyle and mental attitude - what Csikszentmihalyidescribes as "flow".
After coming across Csikszentmihalyi's work a few weeks ago, I realisedthat his "flow" concept is exactly the same as the mental attitude andlifestyle factors that have helped me go from chronic ill health anddepression to perfect physical and mental health and living a happy andfulfilling life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deep classic - no quick fixes here 9 July 2010
Format:Paperback
I read 'Flow' in 1993 and it had a great impact on the way I approached life. But this is not a self-help book nor is it a quick fix to Happiness. Nor is it an easy read. It is a scientific investigation by a well-known, respected psychologist.

What this book reveals is a fascinating two decades worth of dedicated investigation into what in human experience seems to bring happiness - i.e. a state of deep concentration and absorption, creativity and total involvement in life which takes us out of ourselves. The author provides some fascinating examples of moments of flow.

These moments of flow are when one feels joy, feels totally in control, transcending the mundane. This can happen at any moment e.g. listening to music, doing something one loves, seeing something beautiful in nature or communing with a person you love and many many more situations where you are totally in the present moment - a total state of flow. All of us have at one time or another experienced moments of flow in our lives but can we sustain it? The question is, how can we stay in that state more often?

We can train ourselves to be in the state of flow more regularly by training the mind/consciousness. All you need is the mind and a willingness to learn to concentrate.

Read the book and you will understand a little more about what makes people happy. Then experiment ...
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flow: A Path to Happiness 15 Dec 2008
By Beth
Format:Paperback
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: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. So what exactlty is flow and what does it have to do with finding happiness?

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 happiness.

Know from the get-go that "Flow" is NOT a step-by-step book that gives you tips on how to be happy. Instead, the book summarizes years of research, so what you get when all is said and done, are general principles along with examples of how people have used them to transform their lives. The hope, then, is that you will have enough information in the book to make the transition from principles and theory, to actual practice.

In a nutshell, Flow is a unique and interesting book that examines the process of achieving happiness through the control of one's inner life.
Read more ›
Comment | 
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Everyone knows what it's like to "be in the zone" and have external...
I got the audio CD version of this title. I've just finished listening to the first of two discs and so far am feeling a bit 'short-changed'. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Dr. T. J. Worrall
5.0 out of 5 stars Good good good
Lovely book ad fantastic condition.
I have not finished the book yet but the writer is great
Published 7 days ago by Manuela
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
I had been meaning to read this book for some time, and I currently now am.
It's an interesting read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Miss Hazel Lightfoot
2.0 out of 5 stars Less an experince a flow, more like wading through treacle
Book was recommended by a course tutor and has plenty of positive reviews. However, reading it is less an experince of flow, more wading through treacle. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Geoff A
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Succint book with clarity of thought and very practical without being prescriptive. Would love further expansion on chapters such as family and use of leisure but the basics are... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Arun K
4.0 out of 5 stars Good so far as he stays on topic
There's an interesting theory here and much of what Csikszentmihalyi writes has a practical side to it (although, for reasons central to his thesis, he doesn't present a recipe of... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr Nobody
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much...
I know it is considered a classic, and I almost feel embarrassed to give it an average score but... it just goes on, and on, and on. And it does not arrive anywhere. Read more
Published 7 months ago by WRW-ER
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly interesrting, a life changing book!
The FLOW of reading this book was incredible! It has depth of thought, very well explained and entertaining study cases (but not with fluff like many others). Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ponchito Tello
3.0 out of 5 stars recommended to me but i only read a few pages.
I found this too superficial and couldn't get into it.
not saying it's not correct but it seemed to be taking too long to get there.
Published 14 months ago by Mr. R. Sylvester
3.0 out of 5 stars An article over-expanded into a book
The author has some interesting ideas and the central premis of his argument is a valid one, but he overdoes it, and the whole book becomes boring after a time.
Published 15 months ago by Mrs. S. I. M. Hodge
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