Book of the Month – December 2021

Psychologist Mihaly 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.

To overcome the anxieties and depressions of contemporary life, individuals must become independent of the social environment to the degree that they no longer respond exclusively in terms of its rewards and punishments. To achieve such autonomy, a person has to learn to provide rewards to herself. She has to develop the ability to find enjoyment and purpose regardless of external circumstances.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

A life-changing experience

Brilliant! This is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read this year. For me, its most outstanding quality is that it’s thought-provoking. I found it to be more philosophical than scientific, and it questions the meaning of happiness and what is a life worth living. In an overly simplified statement, the thesis of the author is that flow maximizes our ability to experience the world and by achieving the right kind of flow we can maximize happiness and live a more virtuous life.

I found the advice in the book to be particularly helpful in my case and I believe that reading it changed me in fundamental ways, and helped me see the world from another angle that perhaps it is obvious to others, but it was not so obvious to me. It opened my eyes to a new perspective on how to experience life, and when I tried the thesis, I felt it had truly made me grow.

For sure, this book will have a special place in my bookshelf from now on. – Edwin Dalorzo

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