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am 17. September 1999
When I read the characteristics of "optimal experience" or "flow" (see p. 71), I found myself saying "Yes! That's it!" I had never had a concise description of those experiences in life that practically give meaning to our existence.
As a developer of online environments (MOOs) for language learning, I have had to describe to educators in presentations and published articles just what it is that makes a low-level learner of Spanish stay hooked to the Internet for *hours* while chatting away in a foreign language, and why that experience was so highly motivating that these students were neglecting other studies (in favor of a foreign language??!!) or even missing Spanish class. I have quoted Csikszentmihalyi many times because his is the best description of that experience. The students were "in flow" - the experience had just the right balance of stress (they might not understand me if I don't communicate clearly) and pleasure (I'm enjoying getting to know this person!) to make it highly motivating.
He says on p. 74: "In our studies, we found that every flow activity, whether it involved competition, chance, or any other dimension of experience, had this in common: It provided a sense of discovery, a creative feeling of transporting the person into a new reality." And that is precisely what was happening to my students when they got involved in using MOO (Multi-user-domain, Object-Oriented) for language learning. They were able to create and "live" in a new reality - but all in Spanish!
I suspect that some of the readers of this book either have not had many flow experiences, or have not recognized them as such when they were having them. This book clarifies what they are and thus, bringing this understanding to consciousness, makes it easier to replicate them and increase the time spent in moments of happiness.
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am 14. September 2013
Auf das Buch war ich neugierig geworden, weil in dem für mich höchst lehrreichen 'Thinking, Fast and Slow' -Schnelles Denken, langsames Denken' von Daniel Kahneman auf das Konzept des 'Flow' und den Autor Bezug genommen wird. 'Flow 'ist laut Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (off topic: ein Hurra auf copy und paste!) ein Zustand geistiger Konzentration auf ein konkretes Ziel, der zu einer 'optimalen Erfahrung', führt, die ziemlich nahe an dem liegt was man normalerweise als Glück, Erfüllung und Zufriedenheit ansieht. Ich hegte die Hoffnung auf ein Werk, das weder in mit meinem hessischen Abitur nicht nachvollziehbare intellektuelle Sphären abhebt noch sich auf ein 'In zwei Wochen zu einem besseren Leben'-Niveau herablässt. Diese Erwartung wurde durchaus erfüllt, das Ding ist auch auf Englisch gut zu lesen, es ist klar als populärwissenschaftliches Sachbuch und nicht als Selbsthilfe-Anleitung gedacht.

Aber: Für so ein Thema braucht man für meinen Geschmack eine Darstellung, die Thesen mit einer strukturierten logisch nachvollziehbaren Argumentation vertritt, die nicht behauptet sondern so gut es geht belegt, die das mit wissenschaftlichen Methoden tut und dabei auch mal über den Tellerrand der eigenen wissenschaftlichen Disziplin (hier: Psychologie) schaut. Dieses Buch gehört nicht zu dieser Kategorie. Eine Fülle von Einzelbeispielen wechselt sich ab mit grundsätzlichen Behauptungen über das menschliche Dasein, die mir häufig als eine Mischung aus Verallgemeinerungen, Werturteilen und logischen Zirkelschlüssen vorkamen, immer dem Ziel untergeordnet alle Aspekte der menschlichen Existenz dem 'Flow'-Prinzip unterordnen zu können. Gegen Ende des Buches gerät dann selbst dieses Hauptthema in den Hintergrund, weil der Autor noch mal schnell erklären möchte, wie das mit dem Sinn des Lebens so ist. Spoiler alert: Es gibt keine einfache Antwort, aber Dante lesen hilft. Nichts gegen Dante, aber in der Hinsicht bleibt Douglas Adams mein Mann und 'Flow' wandert endgültig in die Abteilung 'Enttäuschungen' meines Bücherregals.
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am 6. Dezember 1998
If you've ever wanted to achieve happiness in life -- not just fun or pleasure but true, profound happiness -- you should read this book. Since perhaps no desire than this one is more fundamental to every human being's struggle, it's hard to imagine a more important subject for a book.
Csikszentmihalyi's observations, as he notes himself, are nothing new; you can find them in an array of ancient philosophies and religions, especially Eastern ones. But what makes this book so compelling and so important for contemporary readers is that he has arrived at his conclusions through over two decades of scientific research. Therefore, they are endowed with an authority and a clarity of definition which members of our cynical, secular society often find frustratingly lacking in philosophies from other times and other places. At the same time, this scientific dovetailing with the likes of Buddhism and Taoism and other systems of thought lends those "religions" greater substance and relevance for contemporary readers.
Some enlightened souls may find the revelations here less than revelatory. Other people may find that they suddenly hear the lyrics that have been sung to them in chorus after chorus by ancient and mystical voices, and will recognize the common truths of those verses for the first time. Those are the ones whose lives will be changed by reading this book.
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am 16. April 1998
For me, this book provided my first insight into how people really become happy. We're happy when we are in flow. Unlike many of the "happy psychology" books that are available, this one feels true. It's also backed up by real research; the author is not a pop psychology dude but a real researcher. (I understand from the university psych community that M.C.'s work may not be universally admired, but that may simply be because it is approachable and understandable by your average educated person.)
It's rare to find a book that agrees with both what I think and what I feel. For anyone who wants to have new insights into what makes us feel happy (and who doesn't?), I highly recommend this book.
Additionally, I recommend his latest book, Creativity. I would skip much of his second popular book, Finding Flow, which gets into a lot of metaphysical stuff that doesn't agree with either how I feel or how I think. Flow, however, is the key to understanding the rest of his work.
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am 4. Januar 2016
Even though this book is from the 90's, its content is as valid now as it was back then. I gained lots of insights about how to achieve meaningful experiences in life. The text is easy to read despite the academic background of the author. I really enjoyed it
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am 9. Mai 1997
The author explains the flow state as that period when the task at hand is challenging enough to totally engage us, rescuing us from boredom, but not so challenging that we fail, frustration setting in. Between the two extremes of boredom (too easy) and frustration (too hard) we find the flow channel -- blissful execution, seemingly effortless progress, and an overall feeling of happiness. The author goes on to explain learning as excursions out of the flow channel -- becoming too comfortable (bored) so that we seek harder challenges, or seeking more skills so that we can overcome the frustration of failing at difficult tasks. Hence all learning is seen as driving us back into the flow channel from either above or below. There is even a beautiful graph to illustrate the process. This book gives you a new way of looking at the world, and makes you wonder why we all can't spend more time in the channel being happier. Read it
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am 18. August 2015
Das Buch ist voll gepackt mit nützlichen Wissen, viel zu umfangreich um es hier anzusprechen.
Ich kann es nur jedem empfehlen, es enttäuscht auf keinen Fall.
~Fabian I.
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am 8. August 1997
This is an extraordinary book. The author's writing style is unusually concise and he is able to explain complex ideas in a simple and understandable style. The concept of flow is intuitively very appealing. The author conducted an apparently well structured empirical study of the causes and conditions that resulted in "optimal experience" (ie happiness) and reached some insightful and convincing conclusions. The ability to achieve "optimal experience" is tightly linked to the ability to focus on fulfilling personally determined goals. Although the book is useful as a personal blueprint for achieving "optimal experience" I found more facinating his compelling arguments about the functioning of the human mind and spirit
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am 1. März 1997
Flow cascades with liberating insight on how to derive real enjoyment moment-by-moment and taste the true richness of living. Csikszentmihalyi's (pronounced chick-sent-me-high) intelligence tuned my worldview to the positive flux of a pleasurable state of mind marked by concentration and deep satisfaction. With this keen manual for optimal existence, I now set "autotelic" challenges via an action system that accentuates the ebb between being and becoming. The rewards are powerful; a contented context - a connecting order that illuminates meaning and the potential to transform the entirety of life into a single flow activity that provides constant evolutionary purpose. An essential emanation for the idea generation. **** Mark Riv
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am 19. November 2014
muss einfach in jedem Buchregal bei einem Zuhause stehen. Keine leichte Kost aber lohnenswert. Kann ich besten Gewissens nur weiterempfehlen.
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