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Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Retail Price: $15.99
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Format: Paperback, 336pp.
ISBN: 9780061339202
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Pub. Date: New Edition July 1, 2008

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

It happens when an artist loses himself entirely in his work, or when basketball player enters that zone where it seems everything she throws up will drop in. This is Flow—the freedom of total absorption in an activity, the almost euphoric state of concentration and involvement.

Esteemed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reveals why flow is one of the most rewarding states of being life has to offer. And he demonstrates how listeners can achieve this state at will. The widely acclaimed Flow has already helped thousands of people turn their everyday experiences into opportunities for joy and fulfillment. New listeners will learn to redirect energy, overcome anxiety, and harmonize all of life's elements.

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.

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About the Author

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is professor and former chairman of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. His previous books include Flow and The Evolving Self. Flow was shown on the 1993 NBC Super Bowl broadcast as the book that inspired Jimmy Johnson, then coach of the Dallas Cowboys. It was also a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club.

Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Happiness Revisited     1
Introduction     1
Overview     5
The Roots of Discontent     8
The Shields of Culture     10
Reclaiming Experience     16
Paths of Liberation     20
The Anatomy of Consciousness     23
The Limits of Consciousness     28
Attention as Psychic Energy     30
Enter the Self     33
Disorder in Consciousness: Psychic Entropy     36
Order in Consciousness: Flow     39
Complexity and the Growth of the Self     41
Enjoyment and the Quality of Life     43
Pleasure and Enjoyment     45
The Elements of Enjoyment     48
The Autotelic Experience     67
The Conditions of Flow     71
Flow Activities     72
Flow and Culture     77
The Autotelic Personality     83
The People of Flow     90
The Body in Flow     94
Higher, Faster, Stronger     96
The Joys of Movement     99
Sex as Flow     100
The Ultimate Control: Yoga and the Martial Arts     103
Flow through theSenses: The Joys of Seeing     106
The Flow of Music     108
The Joys of Tasting     113
The Flow of Thought     117
The Mother of Science     120
The Rules of the Games of the Mind     124
The Play of Words     128
Befriending Clio     132
The Delights of Science     134
Loving Wisdom     138
Amateurs and Professionals     139
The Challenge of Lifelong Learning     141
Work As Flow     143
Autotelic Workers     144
Autotelic Jobs     152
The Paradox of Work     157
The Waste of Free Time     162
Enjoying Solitude and Other People     164
The Conflict between Being Alone and Being with Others     165
The Pain of Loneliness     168
Taming Solitude     173
Flow and the Family     175
Enjoying Friends     185
The Wider Community     190
Cheating Chaos     192
Tragedies Transformed     193
Coping with Stress     198
The Power of Dissipative Structures     201
The Autotelic Self: A Summary     208
The Making of Meaning     214
What Meaning Means     215
Cultivating Purpose     218
Forging Resolve     223
Recovering Harmony     227
The Unification of Meaning in Life Themes     230
Notes     241
References     281

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