Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention” as Want to Read:
Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  5,357 ratings  ·  324 reviews
Using the theories put forth in his bestselling book Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains the creative process, providing readers with lessons on how to tap into their own creativity through the examples of nearly 100 people whose achievements have changed our world.
Paperback, 372 pages
Published May 9th 1997 by Harper Perennial (first published 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Creativity, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mike Morris Yes. I got an english hardcover from my local library.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,357 ratings  ·  324 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Troy Blackford
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
John Orman
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Aug 21, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Dec 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
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
Monzer ۞ مُنذِر
3.5 ⭐
Review soon..
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
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
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." ...more
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
Rana Habib
Oct 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 10/10. Top 5 for 2022, top 10 for best books read ever

Incredible, incredible, INCREDIBLE. I devoured and loved every second of this book.

I loved how honest Mihaly was from the start about the sample group for his study. I loved how it challenged my own perception and beliefs about creativity. I love how fluid and poetic Miahly's writing style is. I loved the incorporation of Flow (I loved that book too). There's honestly not a single thing about this book that I didn't enjoy. He not onl
Lina Slavova
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“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
Matt Mackey
Sep 16, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Kate Arms
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Nikhil Iyengar
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
Oct 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I'll unabashedly admit to mega-skimming this one. I didn't expect a patchwork biography of people I didn't really recognize. The chapter, around pg 111, where he details the circumstances necessary for flow was interesting(I thought about my friends and family who struggle with ADHD... it's SO hard for them to find that. All too often they find that in addictive-type pursuits. But they're not necessarily addicted, just looking for flow.)

The end, where he talks about creating a life where you can
ياسمين خليفة
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Kristin Boldon
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mfa, own, 2020, new
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.
Katrina Sark
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 03, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
[deep breath] So, first off, I have to keep in mind this was written in 1997 (I'll keep reminding myself throughout this review). Its treatment of sex and race, while not ignoring it completely, failed to explore in any meaningful way how either impacts what Mihaly considers "Capital C Creativity".

Which, brings me to my first issue with the book: Mihaly (going against what he considered to be the "Zeitgeist") decided to only pursue research on creative folks who had made a dent in history - that
Sofija Kryž
Don’t get misguided by 3 stars. This is actually a description of an interesting study based on the interviews with Nobel prize winners and other accomplished scientists or members of academia, lawyers, poets, painters or other artists.

Why the 3 stars? I suppose I was naïvely expecting a magic bullet with a summary on how to alchemically transform from a very average human being into a genius.

Such does not really exist.

Which is fine. But I heard a lot of things noted down in this book said befor
Sep 14, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am very glad I've read it, as it fundamentally altered my person-based creativity view into a more systemic version where interactions are placed central. I've read other literature related to that idea but until now somehow could not connect them.
Still, it's not worth four stars: after page 200, you can safely stop reading. Instead, I had to power my way through 272 more pages of repetition, diverging chatter and irrelevant interview details to reach the end (I read the Dutch translation, wh
Becky L Long
Mar 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook read by Sean Pratt. Omg this is probably the most profound book I've read in the past decade? Ever? I can't believe it took me this long to find this guy. Is this book for everyone? Probably not. Will everyone get something of benefit by reading it? Probably not. I have been struggling for some time to develop my own theories covering several of the topics included here, so I was primed to really hear what the author was saying. If you even remotely think the book sounds interesting, y ...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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind
  • The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease
  • Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow: A Landmark Study of Great Leaders, Teams, and the Reasons Why We Follow
  • The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us about Innovation
  • Discipline Is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control
  • The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want
  • On Intelligence
  • Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works
  • The Math of Life and Death: 7 Mathematical Principles That Shape Our Lives
  • Plays Well with Others: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know about Relationships Is (Mostly) Wrong
  • The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Startups That Win
  • The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success
  • Rewired: Protecting Your Brain in the Digital Age
  • Flow
  • The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
  • The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer
  • Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us
  • Life Lessons from a Brain Surgeon
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

Related Articles

  Luvvie Ajayi Jones—author, cultural critic, digital entrepreneur—might be best described as a professional truthteller. Her crazily popular...
54 likes · 0 comments
“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.” 14 likes
“The second reason creativity is so fascinating is that when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.” 9 likes
More quotes…