Athletic Bookworm’s November Pick: “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
After YEARS of reading about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work on FLOW STATE in countless books and podcasts, I decided this was the month I wanted to go straight to the source and actually read his original work, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.” Flow state, for those of you who haven’t heard about it, is at its core the feeling we get when we’re fully immersed in something, just chugging along and in ‘the zone.’ It’s the feeling you get when you’re absolutely crushing a downhill trail on the bike, or the feeling you get when you’re sitting at your desk working on your next book/article and the next time you look up, you realize you’ve missed lunch because you were so engrossed in what you were doing (in a good way!).
It feels like everyone references this book and what FLOW means, but I had started to wonder—do we actually know WTF he’s talking about, OR is a podcast host regurgitating what he read that someone else copied from another article that referenced a book that referenced the original, like a bad game of telephone where information starts as one thing and ends up totally different. I suspect that the answer lies somewhere in the middle—the information on flow state that we get in more pop-culture-y books versus academic reads like this one is generally correct, but isn’t it kind of cool to know exactly what people talk about when they talk about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work on flow?
So far, it’s been really interesting to dive into the book and get the info straight from Csikszentmihalyi… and honestly, it’s not nearly as academic or dense as I had expected. It’s 100% readable and actually interesting, not super dry.
Side note—My main goal for this month: Learn to pronounce Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: