Flow The Psychology of the Optimal Experience book cover. Photo/scan by Matthew McGuire.

Find Flow in Everyday Activities

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a writer, a professor and a Hungarian-American that crafted the book known as Flow

His background stems from a deep understanding of human psychology. The book Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience was originally published in 1990 by Harper and Row.


This book is an essential look at personal development, as well as serves as a guide to understanding how to increase complexity when problem solving. 

Flow provides 240 pages of informative and usually content. I read each page of the book. Instead of rushing through, I often found myself reading sections of the book, re-reading them, and going into deep thought about some of the subject matter. 

The content in the book provided me with a new viewpoint on how to manage my own skills. Additionally, it helped me better understand how to manage other individuals when building skill sets. 

In Chapter 4: The Conditions of Flow has a diagram with two axes including challenges and skills. This diagram is an excellent representation of how and when to find flow within an activity. The image displays a trend along the graph that translates acquiring new skills and being meet with a challenge. At certain points we may find ourselves being underwhelmed and overwhelmed while performing a task. After reading the book I often work to find a healthy ways to learn new skills, as well as identifying challenges to work on. 

In Chapter 6: The Flow of Thought the author references The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn on the rules of nature being constrained by the current paradigm of technology or thought. 

In connection to my personal read through of this book, I did not find the desire and energy to read Flow until I made a mental breakthrough to a new way of focusing my mental energy in combination with proper time management. 

This book does require additional comprehension effort if you want to get the most out of it. In some ways reading this book is like going to therapy. Along with my own personal development this book enforced a lot of positive principles to getting in sync with your surroundings. 

I’ve read other self-help books but I find Flow to be one of the best pieces of literature in the genre. 

Watch a summary of the author’s view on Flow with TED on YouTube:


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Matthew McGuire is the founder and editor of Crescent Vale News. In 2014, he acquired a master's degree in Professional Media and Media Management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.