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Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,858 ratings  ·  267 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

Kindle Edition, 466 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1996)
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Mike Morris Yes. I got an english hardcover from my local library.

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Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
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
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Troy Blackford
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd give this book six stars, if I could. This is a sprawling and masterful objective analysis of input from dozens of luminaries in various fields and domains, and Csikszentmihalyi assesses the commonalities, differences, and important disparities between them. No matter what kind of a life you are trying to lead, you can gain a lot of useful insight from the material covered here. What makes this such an important book is the way that Csikszentmihalyi tries to be objective and scientific about ...more
John Orman
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Playfulness & Discipline
Fantasy & Reality
Extrovert & Introvert
Humble & Proud
Escape Rigid Gender Role Stereotyping
Traditional & Rebellious
Suffering and Enjoyment

For those who have seen
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience is great book full of fascinating information. This one didn't seem to be of the same caliber. I made through about the first 100 pages. ...more
Dec 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 commercial.
Brian Clegg
With a name that will always be associated with the concept of 'flow', Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi was a likely choice for a book giving a scientific view of creativity. The way this has been achieved is primarily to identify a large number of people that Csiksgentmihalyi considered highly creative and to ask them if they will be interviewed. There are a number of problems with this approach - would Einstein have said yes, for instance? But there is no doubt that the popular psychologist is able to ...more
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book describes the character traits of 'creative' people, and tries to extrapolate common character traits and habits of creative individuals. Some of the 'creative' individuals interviewed are leading pioneers in their field, these include several Nobel laureate scientists.
The author discusses creativity in the context of 'flow', the state where we become one with the process of creation.
The book is structured so that there are actual interview snippets of creative individuals interspersed
Jun 03, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
rambles. 15 hours of rambles.

a couple good quotes. some interesting history snippets.

still not sure what was meant by creativity as it was spelled out differently like 14 times.

I feel like this book was "the random stuff I learned writing about flow that I wanted to put in a book so I made another book loosely about 'creativity'"
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"But by this time a person aspiring to wisdom knows that the bottom line of a well-lived life is not so much success but the certainty we reach, in most private fibers of our being, that our existence is linked in a meaningful way with the rest of the universe."
Lina Slavova
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences - the more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be.”

The book is a thorough study of creative individuals. The author, renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, set out to interview scientists, inventors and artists who have made a major contribution to humanity by either changing a domain or creating a new one. He wanted to understand creativity on the larger scale and he succeeded in gathering some extremely interes
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
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
"This book which attempts to bring together 30 years of research on how creative people live and work is an effort to make more understandable the mysterious process by which men and women come up with new ideas and new things."

What makes people creative? that's his question that he wants to answer. And at the same time he wants creativity that makes the change. He is looking at it from the psychology side. The scientific approach he took made it strong for me.

He mentioned all the things that h
ياسمين خليفة
Great book about discovery and invention and creativity , it is too big and it went too long and was repetitive in some parts but generally I gained a lot of information from it about the life of creative people and how to more creative in my life.
Katrina Sark
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
1 – Setting the Stage

p.1 – Creativity us a central source of meaning in our lives.

p.2 – When we are involved in creativity, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of our life. The excitement of the artist at the easel or the scientist in the lab comes close to the ideal fulfillment we all hope to get from life, and so rarely do. Perhaps only sex, sports, music, and religious ecstasy – even when these experiences remain fleeting and leave no trace – provide as profound a sens
Teo 2050


Csikszentmihalyi M (1996) (15:33) Creativity - Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention


01. Setting the Stage
• evolution in biology and in culture
• attention and creativity
• what’s the good of studying creativity?
• how the study was conducted
• too good to be true?

Part I: The Creative Process

02. Where Is Creativity?
• the systems model
• creativity in the renaissance
• domains of knowledge and action
• fields of accomplishment
• the contributions of
Nikhil Iyengar
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
There are a number of reasons why I found that this book didn't measure up to what I expected and learn, but one of them is that it really reads like a textbook. Having studied a number of psychology books, the resemblance was uncanny. And that's not the kind of read I go for. Another reason would be that while Flow provided almost something of a guide to master the experience, this really left me hanging. It's not straightforward or concise when it comes to information, which is usually subject ...more
Mena Asaad
Hmm I don’t want to rate this book because after 5 years of not reading any Human Development books -which I’m against- I might find this book interesting at the beginning then ending up judging it as trivial few years later. Anyhow found some cool facts and motivating stories between the lines but the whole idea could have been plotted through half of the book. Wouldn’t deny that some chapters gave me a creativity boost and I may end up doing something after all.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
So, I’ve been very fond of Csikzentmihalyi’s work since Flow, and I think this book is the perfect sequel to an esoteric field of psychology. It provides much insight into the working minds of prolific persons within a particular field and/or domain, and breaks down the working order of insights that these people have and also provides a coherent order of hierarchy in how to be and become a creative individual. The last couple of chapters had me tugging for more. Great book.
Teri Temme
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing

My favorite concept from the book:

"One cannot be creative without learning what others know, but then one cannot be creative without becoming dissatisfied with that knowledge and rejecting it (or some of it) for a better way."
Kenya Wright
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I went back and forth on loving and disliking. I definitely see the universe in a different way. It wasn't formed to personally cater to humans. But I do believe that we're one with it. Anyway. . .I still enjoyed the book.
Mario Russo
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Great book. Must read if interested in creativity and great companion to his FLOW book.
Kristin Boldon
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, new, own, mfa
Useful, but dryly written and not well organized. Interesting for its deep dive into the process of creativity, and chapter 14 is full of good advice and specific details.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm most likely not creative enough to come up with a divergent perspective on the presented exploration of what constitutes creativity, but the point is to not give up in the face of difficulty. A motivation to read this book for students, soon-to-be parents, or just anyone with a minimal passion for self-improvement is to better understand the contributing factors to creativity and flow.
Matt Mackey
Sep 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kate Arms
This is one of the classic books on creativity and it is worth reading, but is has some fundamental flaws. The bulk of the book is based on research into people whose creative contributions to their fields created paradigm shifts. In fact, Creativity with a capital c is defined for the purposes of the book as creating paradigm shifts. The stories of individual people and the analysis of what contributed to their success are fascinating if erudite.

The final chapter makes a claim that creativity
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
In this brilliant book summarizing over 30 years of research into the psychology, habits, and reflections of distinguished and creative people from multiple domains, Professor Csikszentmihalyi distills the critical insights for a general reader. There are many pearls of wisdom. “To achieve creativity in an existing domain, there must be surplus attention available.” (8) “Centers of creativity tend to be at the intersection of different cultures, where beliefs, lifestyles, and knowledge mingle an ...more
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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

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