Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning
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Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  222 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Since Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi published the groundbreaking Flow more than a decade ago, world leaders such as Tony Blair and former President Clinton, and influential sports figures like Super Bowl champion coach Jimmy Johnson have all been inspired by the book. In today's corporate upheaval, a new business paradigm is evolving. While many CEOs are being exposed for their...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Penguin Books (first published April 1st 2003)
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April
Much of the arguments are obvious, but having my instincts confirmed was nice. For example, I feel like I can defend my recent learning initiatives with this:
"Through learning we grow, becoming more than we were
before, and in that sense learning is unselfish, because it results in
the transformation of what we were before, a setting aside of the
old self in favor of a more complex one."

There were some interesting stories from executives, but many of them were not from companies I would want to emu...more
Hisham Hafiz
The central idea of this book is "flow", a state of mind caused by deep engagement in a physical or mental activity. In "Flow" all of one's being is focused and the passage of time cannot be felt or perceived. Reaching "flow" is essential in business if one wants to look forward to work, enjoy what he is doing, and excel in it. There are several advices in how to reach flow and how to help employes reach it.

Although the book contains powerful ideas and excellent arguments which are supported by...more
Jonathan Biddle
Pretty much just common sense written in intelligent-sounding prose. His overview of "Flow" was helpful, but the main reason I read it was just to say I've read a book by a guy with that last name (OK, not completely...).
Tara Deland
I liked this better than Flow.

Take Aways
Three things necessary to achieve flow; Goals are clear, Feedback is immediate, A balance between opportunity and capacity

Csikszentmihalyi argues that with increased experiences of flow, people experience “growth towards complexity,” in which people flourish as their achievements grow. Creating a workplace atmosphere that allows for flow and growth can increase the happiness and achievement of employees.

However, there are barriers to achieving flow in th...more
Daley Times
The book does cover Flow in some detail but not in a way that was derivative. This text, focused as it is on business, brings a different perspective. It offers something to everyone at every level in an organisation; from leadership to entry-level graduates deciding on what is the right first-time career move or company for them.

It's principles of purposeful and meaningful business are noble but somewhat undermined by some of the example companies. That aside, its values are sound, it's argumen...more
Caroline Gordon
Really enjoyed this book, it is all about why flow is so important for anyone in their job. How can companies create flow - clear goals, a good match between skills and challenge and immediate feedback. It sounds simple but like the author says, a book could be written about each of these. Some great food for thought about how we live our lives in general, pearls like seeing your life as an accumulation of those moments you spend paying attention to particular things. So what are you paying atte...more
John Stepper


This book is largely just an echo of "flow" (which was excellent) and comes across as a simplistic set of guidelines for business practitioners.

Though it was funded by a grant and based on research of leaders, the few examples are dominated by quotes from heads of Lockheed Martin and Monsanto ("flow companies"? Really?), a venture capitalist, and a handful of others Ina an extraordinarily non-representative sample. When the aerospace/weapons manufacturer CEO waxes on about religion, that as ju...more
Derek
Generally good book on good business. I enjoy books with many examples, and Mihaly did a great job of that. A wide wide variety of company owners/executives who create a deeper meaning to why they do what they do and how they unite their employees and volunteers around them. The reason for a 4 star, a little much of the environmental push. I agree with him, but the direct way he repeatedly addressed it was unexpected in a book like this. He spent a little much time on "the rockclimber"... it was...more
Jeremiah
A good moral basis for business...alot more links to institutional religion than I would have expected. Here is a person that believes in the power of human institutions, and I think i agree with him. This is the cornerstone of corporate social responsibility. It would have been really good if he actually proposed some new measures of business success like intangible asset valuation, that would have reinforced and addressed the pressures of the quarterly earnings call. I really enjoyed reading t...more
Mark Lacy
[2005] I read this book at a time in my career when I was desperately looking for - and then found - a necessary and important change. I'm hoping what I found was a job where I can experience the "flow" I need. The author talks about flow theory in the context of business, and he it the nail on the head. I also think that some of his ideas about what contributes to flow resonate with ideas about "servant leadership", a concept I intend to read about in another one of the books on my shelf.
Eliot
Audible didn't have Flow, about which I had heard great things, so I grabbed this instead. A useful book, but read like a redo on something Tom Peters would have written in the 80's. I liked the first part of the book which sounds like a summary of Flow, but was yawning about halfway through with insight such as it is important to communicate often and clearly with employees plus the supporting evidence through the book was often anecdotal. Still, I am eager to read Flow.
Penelope
I started a business project last year, since then I am reading books that are very different from the ones I usually read, most of them have ideas and explanations that aren't convincing enough for me to believe, this book I found is so rich in it's examples, explanations, and most importantly it has a scientific base, it is not just so random guy that decided to write, but a group of psychologist that made an investigation and are publishing what they found.
JP
Csikszentmihalyi takes his concept of "flow" a step further by talking about how it should be integrated into business to achieve better results, more satisfying careers, and a more balanced, ethical set of outcomes. "Flow" has significantly influenced my personal outlook, and this book is a worthy accompaniment.
Mikal
I listened to this on audiobook. I finished however it did not capture my attention.
The author revisited the same points in a circular fashion, ultimately the topics he covered extended well beyond the scope of his primary research.

I recommend "Shine" instead.
Mike
Okay--but rather derivative of his (generally more excellent & original) previous stuff.

This narrative tends to string together LOTS of quotations from various business leaders in order to illustrate Csikszentmihalyi's points.
Mckinley
A lot about what makes good business- satisfaction in work that also extends to personal life. Sets up to talk about "flow". Sort of basic now but pivital back in the day.
Gabriel Da silva
Good book, but the author start to repeat himself on and on every each chapter, but the concept and his ideas are very nice and I strongly recommend the book
Marieke


I am quite interested in flow, but this wasn't the book for me. I work at a for non profit. I already know big business could be better.
Everett
I'm a big fan of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's work, but as a business book this could have been much more concise.
Sarah Afflerbach
I love the idea of finding FLOW in your daily life and work.
Lori Grant
A must-read book on executive ability in managing your career.
Javed Khan
Psychology of well being & all about good business.
Scott Suthren
Good perspective on flow from a CogSci guy.
Irina Subredu
3 şi jumătate, de fapt.
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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...
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention Finding Flow: The Psychology Of Engagement With Everyday Life The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium The Meaning of Things: Domestic Symbols and the Self

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