Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

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9780060928209: Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

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 politicians and business leaders, poets and artists, as well as his 30 years of research on the subject, Csikszentmihalyi uses his famous theory to explore the creative process. He discusses such ideas as why creative individuals are often seen as selfish and arrogant, and why the tortured genius is largely a myth. Most important, he clearly explains why creativity needs to be cultivated and is necessary for the future of our country, if not the world.

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From the Publisher:

This book is about what makes life worth living. The creative excitement of the artist at her easel or the scientist in the lab. It comes as close to the ideal fulfillment as we all hope to accomplish, and so rarely do. Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi interviewed more than ninety of possibly the most interesting people in the world -- people like actor Ed Asner, authors Robertson Davies and Nadine Gordimer, scientists Jonas Salk and Linus Pauling, and Senator Eugene McCarthy -- who have changed the way people in their fields think and work to find out how creativity has been a force in their lives.

In his bestselling book Flow, Professor Csikszentmihalyi explored states of "optimal experience" -- those times when people report feelings of concentration and deep enjoyment -- and showed that what makes experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called "flow." Here Professor Csikszentmihalyi builds on his flow theory, profiling individuals who have found ways to make flow a permanent feature of their lives and at the same time have contributed to society and culture.

Professor Csikszentmihalyi explores why creative people are often seen as selfish and arrogant (even though they are not) and reveals that the idea of the tortured genius is largely a myth. He argues that creativity needs to be cultivated not only in traditionally creative fields like sciences and arts, but also in business, government and education.

This book is not so much about the everyday "creativity" that we all experience but the kind of creativity of artists, scientists and others that can transform our culture and the way we look at the world. By studying the creative lives of exceptional people, Professor Csikszentmihalyi shows us how we can all enhance our everyday lives. His goal is to help us better understand a way of being that is more satisfying and more fulfilling.

About the Author:

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a professor at Claremont Graduate University and former chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. His previous books include The Evolving Self and the national bestseller Flow.

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