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Flow is an optimal state of being in which active concentration and absorbtion in creative activity leads to the sense of completely suspended time—one is alert, energized, and free of self-consciousness. Through an extensive amount of case studies, controlled experiments, and research of historical figures, this study illustrates that flow is a singularly productive and desirable state. Instructions are included for reaching a state of flow and using it to release anxiety and boredom, set goals, and redirect energy to take control of one's life.
 
En la vida, cada persona siente de vez en cuando un estado de experiencia óptima, eso momentos en los que uno se siente poseído por un profundo sentimiento de gozo creativo, de concentración activa, de absorción en lo que se está haciendo. Como resultado de investigaciones sicológicas, este libro explica que el meollo de la “experiencia óptima” es un estado de conciencia al que denomina fluir. También explica cómo este fluir puede ser controlado y provocado, cómo uno puede ajustar sus energías y sus habilidades a los retos concretos de la vida.
Published: Editorial Kairos an imprint of Independent Publishers Group on Jun 1, 2005
ISBN: 9788472457898
List price: $15.99
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I’m not big on these types of books but read this one as it was given to me by a friend who had found inspiration within its pages; it essentially explains how taking control of one’s life, both through controlling how one interprets the somewhat random events life may throw our way, as well as actively taking on challenges, is the key to happiness.Just this quote:“But when we are left alone, with no demands on attention, the basic disorder of the mind reveals itself. With nothing to do, it begins to follow random patterns, usually stopping to consider something painful or disturbing. Unless a person knows how to give order to his or her thoughts, attention will be attracted to whatever is most problematic at the moment: it will focus on some real or imaginary pain, on recent grudges or long-term frustrations. Entropy is the normal state of consciousness – a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable.”read more
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A practical psychology/self-help book. For some reason, i don't like self-help books that just give out advices left and right and spit out words like "you can achieve whatever you can think of...blah...blah". But i do like pragmatic, practical and books with a philosophical bent. I would categorize this book under that.read more
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I find this book somewhat straggly. Ostensibly, this book is about the "flow"-feeling, but his definition of flow gradually becomes so wide as to be almost indistinguishable from general happiness (could the situation of a mother reading stories to her child be thought of in terms of an adequate challenge for her mothering skill? Or is there another form of satisfaction involved? When some ordinary people gather for a Friday evening dinner, are they using their social skills to engage in challenges of socialising? Is his diagram from the beginning of chapter 4 applicable to that situation?). The book becomes a general self-help book with advice on everything from parenting to how to handle stress and catastrophic life changes.In chapter 8, he describes ordinary people playing cards, throwing darts and playing checkers as a waste of time, yet those activities might well be flow-creating. He seems somewhat condescending - normal people don't experience flow because they're lazy. Friendships between ordinary people are not as good as the friendships he describes.I also dislike the way he organized the references (though I do like the full and thorough comments in the reference list - not just an austere list of works). There are no inline citations. If you're interested in a certain paragraph, you'll have to turn to the reference list at the end of the book and just hope that he wrote something about that section.I've also read "Finding Flow", by the same author, and the two works are largely overlapping. If you haven't read either of them, I suggest you read that book instead of this one, as that book is somewhat more to-the-point.read more
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I’m not big on these types of books but read this one as it was given to me by a friend who had found inspiration within its pages; it essentially explains how taking control of one’s life, both through controlling how one interprets the somewhat random events life may throw our way, as well as actively taking on challenges, is the key to happiness.Just this quote:“But when we are left alone, with no demands on attention, the basic disorder of the mind reveals itself. With nothing to do, it begins to follow random patterns, usually stopping to consider something painful or disturbing. Unless a person knows how to give order to his or her thoughts, attention will be attracted to whatever is most problematic at the moment: it will focus on some real or imaginary pain, on recent grudges or long-term frustrations. Entropy is the normal state of consciousness – a condition that is neither useful nor enjoyable.”
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A practical psychology/self-help book. For some reason, i don't like self-help books that just give out advices left and right and spit out words like "you can achieve whatever you can think of...blah...blah". But i do like pragmatic, practical and books with a philosophical bent. I would categorize this book under that.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I find this book somewhat straggly. Ostensibly, this book is about the "flow"-feeling, but his definition of flow gradually becomes so wide as to be almost indistinguishable from general happiness (could the situation of a mother reading stories to her child be thought of in terms of an adequate challenge for her mothering skill? Or is there another form of satisfaction involved? When some ordinary people gather for a Friday evening dinner, are they using their social skills to engage in challenges of socialising? Is his diagram from the beginning of chapter 4 applicable to that situation?). The book becomes a general self-help book with advice on everything from parenting to how to handle stress and catastrophic life changes.In chapter 8, he describes ordinary people playing cards, throwing darts and playing checkers as a waste of time, yet those activities might well be flow-creating. He seems somewhat condescending - normal people don't experience flow because they're lazy. Friendships between ordinary people are not as good as the friendships he describes.I also dislike the way he organized the references (though I do like the full and thorough comments in the reference list - not just an austere list of works). There are no inline citations. If you're interested in a certain paragraph, you'll have to turn to the reference list at the end of the book and just hope that he wrote something about that section.I've also read "Finding Flow", by the same author, and the two works are largely overlapping. If you haven't read either of them, I suggest you read that book instead of this one, as that book is somewhat more to-the-point.
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This is a two-hour discussion by the author on "flow", as discussed in his book. It is produced by Nightingale-Conant, and is very much in the "self-help" genre. The author discusses the behavioral steps necessary to attain "flow" and states how acquiring these "habits" will enhance one's inner life. The reverse may be closer to the truth: those who have the inner state of "flow" exhibit the traits the author discusses. It is not certain that the inner state is achieved by developing these traits. "Flow" is more than a "self-help" instruction!
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"Flow," as the author of this book defines it, is what happens when we experience the right kind of challenge in the right frame of mind so that our whole being focuses on what we're doing, and worry, distraction, self-consciousness, even our perception of time all disappear. He believes that it is this flow state that constitutes real and substantial happiness, the "optimal experience" of the subtitle.This "flow" experience is a familiar one to me, but also mysterious and fascinating and very much worth investigating. But while most of what the author has to say about it here seems sensible enough, I think this is a rather flawed exploration of the subject. For one thing, he sometimes seems to define the concept of "flow" so broadly that its meaning becomes blurred. For another, I'm highly dubious about the idea of anything, however broadly defined, being presented as the one and only key to happiness. But the biggest problem, I think, is that the book doesn't really seem to know whether it wants to be a scientifically-based explanation of a particular aspect of psychology, or a philosophical consideration of what it is to live a meaningful life, or a sort of self-help volume meant to encourage readers to live more satisfying lives of their own. As a result, it's not terribly successful at being any of them, and far too much of it is taken up by somewhat repetitious examples of various areas in which people can find fulfilling challenges. I have a few other quibbles with it, as well, including a dislike for some of the terminology he uses, but those are comparatively minor.So, kind of a disappointing read. And yet, it was still a fairly thought-provoking one, as I frequently found myself, especially in the earlier parts of the book, wanting to argue certain points, or coming up with my own examples of things, or pondering how our relationship to "flow" has changed in the 22 years since this book was published. (For instance, what does it mean that we're increasingly living in a world where not only are interruptions and intrusions increasingly unavoidable, but where failing to concentrate completely on any one thing (aka "multitasking") is regarded as a sort of virtue?) That's a good thing, at least, but it just makes me think that this could have been a lot better than it was.
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There a lot of internal contradictions in this book that annoyed me. I wrote a lot of marginal comments. C. talks mostly about flow in extraordinary situations and seems to derive his description of it from the extraordinary. Then he suggests we cultivate the same level of challenge and intense concentration in everything we do. He once cited dishwashing as an example. He calls flow an optimal experience but found that sometimes when people are technically (by his definition) in flow at work that they would rather be doing something else. In other words, flow is not providing them with the enjoyment it's supposed to. Does C. examine this to see if there is some element he is leaving out of the equation? Only to essentially blame it on the people reporting, saying that they simply have an overriding negative association with work. He denigrates mere pleasure (which is less intense) and can't understand why maybe people need periods of flowless rest.While I applaud C. for looking into positive experiences as a subject of study, I certainly don't think he has discovered enough to live up to the NY Times Book Review's comment on the cover: "illuminates the way to happiness."
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