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Good Business

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Good Business

Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

People achieve flow by being fully engaged in meaningful work. Look past profit, and go for the flow.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Take a look at the scandal-filled headlines, or just read a Dilbert comic strip about cubicle culture, and the message is clear: the business world is cutthroat, unethical and no fun. But here comes psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi with a contrarian message. Work should be fun, and companies should care about something aside from the bottom line. Using examples such as clothing maker Patagonia and investment pioneer Sir John Templeton, Csikszentmihalyi makes a convincing case that profits must come after meaning. Patagonia, for instance, lets workers take surf breaks, and Templeton became a model of full engagement. getAbstract suggests this book to any manager seeking a better way to do things, and to any employee hankering for deeper job satisfaction.


A Kinder, Gentler Capitalism

Capitalism earned a bad rap in recent years. Corporate scandals revealed business leaders, such as those at Enron, as hypocrites and frauds. Today, many workers view their jobs as unpleasant, and some even see their duties as shameful. This follows a societal shift toward excessive consumption and greed.

After the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, many politicians and business leaders urged U.S. consumers to keep spending as a way to protect the American way of life. But how fulfilling is a way of life that elevates shopping to its highest duty? Despite pervasive gloom and doom, there is another way. Business leaders can be socially responsible visionaries. Work can be enjoyable and deeply satisfying, monetary rewards aside.

Stepping onto this brighter path requires only that executives and their employees look to new sources of motivation - passion, conscience and a sense of duty - rather than cold hard cash, as their main drivers. Business leaders must look to the long term, not just to this quarter’s results. It sounds simple enough, but it requires a new mindset. After all, many business leaders have never learned to hold anything...

About the Author

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was born in Hungary. He is a professor of psychology at the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California, where he is also the director of the non-profit Quality of Life Research Center. Csikszentmihalyi’s previous books include Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the Third Millennium.

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