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Flow: The Psychology of Happiness: The Classic Work on How to Achieve Happiness Paperback – 1 Aug 2002
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"[He] has done more than anyone else to study this state of effortless attending" (Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow)
"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)
What really makes people glad to be alive? What are the inner experiences that make life worthwhile? For more than two decades Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied those states in which people report feelings of concentration and deep enjoyment. His studies revealed that what makes experience genuinely satisfying is 'flow' - a state of concentration so focused that it amounts to complete absorption in an activity and results in the achievement of a perfect state of happiness. Flow has become the classic work on happiness and a major contribution to contemporary psychology. It examines such timeless issues as the challenge of lifelong learning; family relationships; art, sport and sex as 'flow'; the pain of loneliness; optimal use of free time; and how to make our lives meaningful.See all Product description
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The book goes through every type of activity and how to find flow in these. It even explores personal relationships such as talking with friends.
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a different approach to find meaning in our chaotic lives.
This book took a long time to read and is quite long winded but the author writes well and I found the content engaging and I stopped reading often to contemplate the meaning of certain passages.
The author could have improved the book by making the content more succinct and summarising the key points more clearly.
Here are some of the ideas that I took away from the book:
• Happiness is a choice
• Our ability to be happy depends on how we interpret events. i.e. control over our consciousness
• A person that has control of their consciousness can focus for as long as necessary to achieve their goals and not be distracted by what the world throws at them in terms of thoughts and other distractions
• The pursuit of material goals does not enhance our ability to control consciousness.
• We should therefore spend more time learning to control consciousness than pursuit of material goals
• The key to flow is growth of the self through a sense of discovery and redefined consciousness
• It’s not what we do that makes us happy, it’s how we do it
• Focus on activities that can create flow
• If you can train your mind well enough then it can entertain you in any moment
• Flow can be diminished if choice is removed and people feel a necessity to complete a certain activity rather than using it as a hobby
• Simply investing psychic energy in an otherwise meaningless task can make it meaningful
• If you lack the ability to control your consciousness then try changing your activity to make it more like a game with inherent rewards
• Hobbies that are most conducive to flow should include skill, goal setting and require discipline
• Invest your time in real challenges rather than watch other people on TV
• Passive entertainment is a waste of time
• Quality of life depends on our work and our relationships
• Flow in relationships can be maintained by constantly finding new challenges
• The value of education is equipping students with the ability to understand and produce flow throughout their lives
• When in a stressful situation do not focus attention on your self but try to focus attention on others and the wider world
• Transform stressful activities into flow activities by setting goals, immersing yourself in the activity and focusing
• The meaning of life is to have a meaning, whatever it is
• Ideally your life’s meaning should transcend the changing conditions of life so that when events unfold you are able to adapt.
• In all aspects of your life choose a goal and go for it.
As for the content it really made sense and didn’t just give you some “formula” to achieving happiness but instead described what true happiness was and you as the reader had to draw your own conclusions on how to apply those examples to your own life. I never thought I would be the kind of person to think of revisiting a informative book, but I just know that I’m not done reading this book and I need to reread some where down the road, so would definitely recommend it to everyone, even if you are happy with your life this might give you some ideas to make it even more eventful and entertaining.
Have reread the reviews and am asking myself whether we have actually read the same book!
The requirements for 'flow' is essentially summarised in one page at the beginning and the rest of the book refers to historical anecdotes which support these points.
Too long winded and too much intellectual m for my taste. Wasn't what I was looking for. Hate not finishing books but this will be one of them.