Summary of Beyond Boredom and Anxiety

Experiencing Flow in Work and Play

First Edition: 1975 more...

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Beyond Boredom and Anxiety book summary
If you offer money and status, your employees will work for you. But if you offer skills, thrills and “flow,” they will work for themselves. Or so says this 25-year-old classic.


6 Overall

5 Applicability

10 Innovation

4 Style


Mihaly Csikszentmihaly presents a detailed examination of motivation based on a study of a half-dozen groups of people involved in recreational pursuits: rock climbers, composers, dancers, chess players and basketball players. He chose these groups in an effort to understand more fully what motivates people to engage in activities that are extremely challenging or offer few external rewards. Although some of his conclusions may be of interest to executives and managers seeking ways to motivate employees, most readers will find this academic study too detailed. Some of the interview comments are interesting, but much of the book describes survey results, a discussion that non-statisticians may be hard put to follow. Because of this complexity and because of the book's somewhat dense prose, getAbstract recommends this 25-year-old reissued classic primarily to scholars or to those who are intensely curious about the nuts-and-bolts of motivation. But any human resources professional or leadership specialist should have at least a passing familiarity with its concepts and contents.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the psychology of play can improve your work
  • How motivation and reward can assume several forms
  • Which five factors make you lose yourself in the moment


The Importance of Flow
Artists enter an almost trancelike state when their work goes well, presenting a paradigm for how adults react to play and to work they enjoy. Until these studies were published in 1975, psychologists largely viewed play as a way for children to learn, practice adult...
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About the Author

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  , Ph.D., is a professor and former chair of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago. He is currently the Davidson Professor of Management and the director of the Quality of Life Research Center at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of several books dealing with flow and intrinsic motivation including Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience ; Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention , and Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everything in Life .

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