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Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  2,439 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Creativity is about capturing those moments that make life worth living. The author's objective is to offer an understanding of what leads to these moments, be it the excitement of the artist at the easel or the scientist in the lab, so that knowledge can be used to enrich people's lives. Drawing on 100 interviews with exceptional people, from biologists and physicists to ...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1996)
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Mark
This was a good if not a great book. Its greatest strength lies in the thesis introduced early on and supported throughout that the kind of creativity that leaves a trace in the cultural matrix rests not in the personal creativity of the individual, but in what Csikszentmihalyi tags the “systems approach “ to creativity. To have any effect, a creative idea must be couched in terms that are understandable to others, pass muster with the experts in the field (i.e. the gatekeepers to the domain), a ...more
Patrick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephbencin
If and when I begin my Oprah-esque empire, in addition to constantly touting Fizzy Lizzy's (best drink ever!!!) I will also employ this brilliant man as my guru. Fortunately for my fan base, this man is an actually intellectual who has devoted himself to the study of psychology and not some quack that believes if you just imagine that you have a refrigerator with a DVD player, one will materialize. Also, Csikszentmihali never did a match.com commercial.
Johnny
Creativity isn’t really a “how-to” book. Rather, it is an exploration of outstanding individuals who have impacted those around them such that they have influenced significant change within or understanding of the endeavors in which they work. It is not a quantitative investigation of those outstanding individuals, but a qualitative consideration of similarities and dissimilarities between those generally thought to be “genius” or “innovative.”

Csikszentmihalyi considers interdisciplinary enviro
...more
Nancy
I believe this is a seminal book for anyone interested in the psychology of the creative process.

I first read Creativity in 1998-1999 and enjoyed it then, but recently picked it up again to take on a trip with me. This time, some 11 years later and after a major career change, the books means so much more to me. I think that is because the first time I read it, I was looking for ways to bring more creativity into my life. Now, after a few years of focusing on art as my career, the content deepl
...more
Anthony
If taken as a collection of anecdotes from interviews with well-recognized elderly 'creative' persons of western european descent who generally were somehow affected by World War II with interspersed observations, Creativity provides several interesting insights that one could incorporate into any practice that has some kind of public recognition as a discipline (i.e. western poetry, painting, music, science, not dinosaur fart impersonation or whatever): 1) The realization that your best ideas g ...more
Ruby
Though it took me a couple of chapters to get used to the author's tone, I have found the book to be very enjoyable. It provides a definition of creativity that I've never thought about before, that includes not only the creative person, but also the community/specialists whose recognition are needed for the creativity to be valid.

The book is very well organized. I like how it breaks creativity and the factors involved in it down into subtopics and offers extensive analysis of each. The book tal
...more
Zhi Ling Tan
with all respect to the author, i felt that the study of creative people which formed the basis of this book wasn't all that impressive. the conclusions on the dialectic poles in creative people's personalities sounded especially fuzzy to me. while the author seemed to suggest that creativity entails possessing dual personalities, what i personally perceived was that it was simply a snapshot of the characteristics of the general population which naturally comprises the two extremes. simply put, ...more
Jason
If you're looking for a prescriptive self-help book on developing your creativity, this might not be the book for you. Csikszentmihalyi conducts a survey on several creative individuals of extraordinary renown (I'm talking nobel prize winners here) and records their answers. The advice offered is quite varied and is meant to be pondered over by the reader. Csikszentmihalyi remains as objective as he possibly can. If you enjoyed Flow you'll probably like this one too, although Flow is easily the ...more
Mangoo
When you enter flow, you are in the best conditions, hic et nunc, to express your creativity. The level of your creativity then depends on a lot of factors (personal attitude, habits and history, environment, social integration, field and domain of activity, age, and so on) that are difficult to systematically rank of capture within a closed formula. This is, in few words, the message of this book from the original investigator of the psychology of flow, which while adding some interesting insig ...more
Vacen Taylor


I enjoyed this book enormously. I would easily recommend this book to any person who is either creative or just intrigued by the arts. Why? Because it reminds us all that the possibility of happiness is a mindful challenge. The book delves into the domain of the creative process. A work of wonder!

I quote from the book: "Creative persons differ from one another in a variety of ways, but in one respect they are unanimous: The all love what they do" Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Rickey
May 24, 2014 Rickey marked it as to-read-more-if  ·  review of another edition
This book takes a bit of effort to slog through. However, there seem to be some interesting parts. I find the research, and reporting on the research, to be valuable. Some of the authors conclusions or over-laborious musings go on a bit too long.

Here are some parts that intrigue me so far:

Our respondents unanimously agree that it is important to let problems simmer below the threshold of consciousness for a time. One of the most eloquent accounts of the importance of this stage comes again from
...more
Alex Woods
This book is pretty good, although it is not concise. I am much more interested in the theoretical concepts behind creativity, and how to become more creative myself. This book did give me that information, but it also included maybe 60 to 100 anecdotes.

I do recommend this book if you're looking to become more creative, but I would probably just tell you to read certain chapters.
Charlotte Hutson Wrenn
Dec 10, 2012 Charlotte Hutson Wrenn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artists, scientists, curious people
Recommended to Charlotte Hutson by: self
Shelves: favorites
I could not put this book down. I am an artist, and the interviews with other creative people fascinated me. The book is highly accessible, full of great research, and actually changed me. I marked it up for reference like I usually do so I can refer back to important parts but I think I may read the entire book again it was so good. Highly recommend.
Diana Glyer
I use this as a textbook in a class that I teach about the creative process. "Creativity" does a great job of exploding the myth that creativity is some kind of mystical experience, abundant outpouring of talent, innate genius, or uncontrollable impulse. Everyone is creative; everyone can increase their creativity. This is worth knowing because being creativity benefits every profession. It's not just for poets and painters: think about the way that thinking-outside-the-box is the key to success ...more
Michael Brady
Fortunately Csikszentmihalyi is easier to understand than his name is to pronounce. I'm tempted to recommend this book but I think I'll try his book on Flow first.
dersteppenwolf
Demasiado extenso. El autor se excede con la transcripción de las entrevistas
Jana L.
An excellent book on what it takes to contribute meaningfully to a field of study or culture, extrapolated from interviews with particularly creative people. Csikszentmihalyi takes the interviewees' experiences in congregate and develops a framework for creativity based on the more common personality characteristics, habits, social conditions, and opportunities. Essentially, creative people are curious, driven, complex, adaptable, passionate, objective about their own ideas, and quite lucky.

He
...more
John Orman
Mihaly's book "Flow" told us that the way to happiness involves mindful challenges.

The author studied creative people, and tells us what he found. But more importantly for the reader, he gives us his ideas for making our lives as creative as his interviewees.

10 Dimensions of Creativity

Physical Energy
Smart
Playfulness & Discipline
Fantasy & Reality
Extrovert & Introvert
Humble & Proud
Escape Rigid Gender Role Stereotyping
Traditional & Rebellious
Passionate
Suffering and Enjoyment


For
...more
Matt Mackey
Nov 21, 2008 Matt Mackey rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone and anyone.
Quite the intriguing read.

If you care at all about creativity (and you should), this book is at least worth flipping through.

A lot of what I got from the book can be surmised from chapter titles and skimming through reading topic sentences. It often reads like something of a textbook--it's not a narrative, but draws upon interviews with hundreds of creative individuals (including nobel prize winners, CEOs, writers, poets, and more), offering insights based on trends and with copious excerpts fro
...more
Eugene
An extremely thought intriguing read. Consists of a compact compilation of research results with corroborated hypotheses on the subject of creativity, in which the author has spent, a course of 30 years studying in - to coin his trademark, flow.
- The characterization of different fundamental forms of creativity
- Personal creativity
- Brilliance
- Creativity [With the capital C]
- The incorporation of the systems approach into the processes of how creative ideas are born and released into socie
...more
Mahmoud Shehata
This is the second of Dr. Mihaly's books that I've read. So i'll try to review him as an author in the shadow of both books; not only this book.

When it comes to knowledge and science there is no doubt he is one of the best out there. In both books that I've read (FLOW & Creativity) the way he deduces conclusions and observations from his interviews with candidates is quite amazing. I like that he doesn't start by stories about his candidates, but starts by concluding the findings of the rese
...more
Vicky
2 stars="it was ok"

I was interested in this book at first, but Csikszentmihalyi believes your work has to go thru the acceptance of those already in the field and contribute to the culture in order to be considered "creative." I was thinking, "I don't think I agree but I'll keep reading. . .because I have to. For class." Then I felt annoyed that I had to read about creative men who couldn't bother with mundane life responsibility stuff, gender role stuff, and I was like, "Should I skim this? ugh
...more
Stig E.

The book is accessible and at times very interesting when delving into the traits and behaviours that make creative people creative. When it looks for the backgrounds and root causes for people's creativity it reaches conclusions too fast and heads for the nearest plausible narrative. When the author moves out of his field of study to put creativity in greater context he is also on thin ice. The worst exampple being when he claims that systemic thinkers (sociologists, environmentalists etc) have
...more
Chris Fitzgerald
An excellent study of the habits of some of the world's most creative people from the second half of the 20th century, this book strikes a remarkable balance between reporting commonalities in the experiences of others and offering possible pathways to explore for the reader. While it focuses on the achievements of people whose life work is at the forefront of their fields, the conclusions drawn are usually applicable to everyday life and more basic spheres of achievement. While I normally disda ...more
Kelsey
It ha a lot of great things to say and they support from interviews keeps it entertaining. However, there was just a little too much justification on the data collected for me to find a firm belief in a lot of these thesis support.
Jcrane1095 Crane
It was a tough read at times (the creative spririt of a botanist or nuclear scientist wasn't too exciting) but towards the end, it picked up and I found the practical applications of "Creativity" to very useful and confirmed some of the theories that I already had in mind (as well as giving me some new ones). This book is not as good as Mihaly's other book, "Flow", but is still a worthy read for anyone looking to learn more about how to foster a creative energy in their life.
Gilang Danu
In general, this is a very good book, though there's this one point that bugs me the most: the author reduces creative people into some kind of one-trick pony, people who are very well-versed and competent at their own fields of expertise but lack knowledge and skill at other things. While the logic is sound (to be some kind of expert, after all, you need to spend your whole life practicing and honing a very specific skill set -- and this leaves you with very small time to develop another intere ...more
Torben Rasmussen
Mihaly's book on creativity is certainly an original attempt at improving the understanding of creativity -- "... to bring into existence something genuinely new that is valued enough to be added to the culture"
Based on interviews of more than 90 renowned creative individuals there is substance and weight to the conclusions presented.
In some chapters the book it feels like the work relies too much on citing passages of the interview. More work could have gone into distilling the information an
...more
Vamshi Krishna
An excellent read for someone who would like to know about the conditions for creativity! Well- organised and precise, the book presents a delightful journey of the most creative contemporaries.
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27446
A Hungarian psychology professor, who emigrated to the United States at the age of 22. Now at Claremont Graduate University, he is the former head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago and of the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College.

He is noted for both his work in the study of happiness and creativity and also for his notoriously difficult name, i
...more
More about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi...
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“I mean, we’re only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention. In some ways, this is getting far afield. I mean, we are—as far as we know—the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness.” 5 likes
“All our contemporaries...had some big ideology to live for. Everybody thought he had to either fight in Spain or die for something else, and most of us had to be in prison for one reason or another. And then at the end it turns out that none of these great ideologies was worth your sacrificing anything for. Even doing personal good is very difficult to be absolutely sure about. It's very difficult to know exactly whether to live for an ideology or even to live for doing good. But there cannot be anything wrong in making a pot, I'll tell you. When making a pot you can't bring any evil into the world. - Eva Zeisel, ceramist.” 3 likes
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