Creativity. We all have it, and we all want to relish in it. But how?
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s groundbreaking book Creativity: Flow And The Psychology of Discovery and Invention is considered an exemplary work in the study of creative expression.
Csikszentmihalyi interviewed almost a hundred creative people in every field and synthesized his findings in this book. He also brings thirty years of research on the subject of creativity. Professor Csikszentmihalyi explains the creative process, the creative personality, and what it means to work creatively in the first part of his book. He then summarizes his findings from his interviews of very successful creative people, followed by a thorough explanation of what he renders the domains of creativity: the word, life, future, and culture and how to enhance your own personal creative energy.
Although it has been almost twenty years since the publishing of this writing, this masterpiece stands alone as the bedrock of how people experience creativity and live in what the author calls “flow”- the experience of spending hours or days where you lose track of time, forgetting to eat or sleep, feeling like there is no other place you would rather be, being “in the zone,” feeling completely immersed in your creative endeavor, experiencing creative bliss and feeling an instinctive calling to keep working on your project.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi presents his nine component states of achieving what he calls flow, the optimal state for any creative to reach for ultimate satisfaction and expression. He also explains that in order to achieve this optimal state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the creator.
“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.”– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
I highly recommend this book to those interested in the study of creative expression or those wanting to understand or nourish their own creativity. It is a must-read for students of psychology, art, music, or any other creative discipline. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates what creative people are like, how the creative process works, and what conditions encourage or discourage the generation of original ideas.
A bit about the author, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management 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.
Dr. Csikszentmihalyi has written several other books or publications in addition to Creativity: Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention. His most recent work centers around the study of intrinsic motivation and how it contributes to the overall success of the individual.
Born in Hungary in 1934, he was affected by the Second World War in ways that deeply influenced his life and later work. During his childhood, he was put in an Italian prison. Experiencing the horrible loss of family and friends due to the war and subsequently becoming lost in “flow” playing chess when he could be the catalysts that inspired his future work in the area of individual flow and optimal human experience.