3 min read

“Flow” is a book by Mihlay Csikzentmilhalyi about the idea of flow, or the feeling of [[Optimal Experience]]?? . It examines how a feeling of happiness can be achieved through a feeling of control over one’s life.

Times when we feel masters of our own fate instead of the bi-products of the external forces around us.

A sense that one’s skills are adequate to cope with the challenges at hand, in a goal-directed, rule-bound action system that provides clear clues as to how well one is performing. Concentration is so intense that there is no attention left over to think about anything irrelevant, or to worry about problems. Self-consciousness disappears, and the sense of time becomes distorted. An activity that produces such experience is so gratifying that people are willing to do it for its own sake, with little concern for what they will get out of it, even when it is difficult, or dangerous.

Flow Diagram

  • Provides a sense of discovery
  • A creative feeling of transporting the person into a new reality
  • Pushes to higher levels of performance

I’ve put extra effort into taking notes on this topic because as the author puts it:

It is a little like trying to lose weight: everyone knows what it takes, everyone wants to do it, yet it is next to impossible for so many. The stakes here are higher, however. It is not just a matter of losing a few extra pounds. It is a matter of losing the chance to have a life worth living.


  • Chapter 1: [[Flow - Happiness Revisited]]?? This chapter introduces the whole book and provides a brief summary of every chapter. It then goes onto describe some of the current obstacles there are towards happiness, both those that are implicit in the human condition and those that have come about in the 21st century.

  • Chapter 2: How Conciousness Works This chapter sets up a model for how conciousness works, including the idea that since everything we experience takes place in conciousness, achieving control over it is a key step to achieving happiness because it’s our subjective view of those experiences which determine if they are enjoyable or not.

  • Chapter 3: Pleasure and Enjoyment This chapter is about why we do some things, like endlessly scroll Reddit or stuff your face with ice cream when it’s not fufilling.

  • Chapter 4: [[Flow - The Conditions of Flow]]?? This chapter outlines the conditions for flow, or the conditions for optimal experience. It explains why some activities, such as rock climbing or chess are so enjoyable whereas others are not. It also provides a way of comparing cultures through the lens of how much optimal experience they enable.

  • Chapter 5: Senses and Flow

  • Chapter 6: The Mind and Flow

  • Chapter 7: Work and Flow

  • Chapter 8: People and Flow

  • Chapter 9: Enjoyment Despite Adversity

  • Chapter 10: The Meaning of Life

date: 2020-08-11 14:01
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title: Flow
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