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One of the world’s leading authorities on the psychology of creativity, MIHALY CSIKSZENTMIHALYI is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University and Co-Director of the Quality of Life Research Center. He is also emeritus professor of Human Development at the University of Chicago, where he chaired the department of psychology.
His life’s work has been to study what makes people truly happy. Drawing upon years of systematic research, he developed the concept of “flow” as a metaphorical description of the rare mental state associated with feelings of optimal satisfaction and fulfillment. His analysis of the internal and external conditions giving rise to “flow” show that it is almost always linked to circumstances of high challenge when personal skills are used to the utmost.
The Hungarian-born social scientist, a graduate of the classical gymnasium, “Torquato Tasso,” in Rome, completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago and earned a Ph.D. in psychology there in 1965. After teaching in the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College, where he rose from instructor to associate professor, he returned to Chicago in 1970 and was appointed a full professor in 1982, a position he held until 1999. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, the University of Illinois, the University of Milan, the University of Alberta, Escola Paulista de Medecina in São Paulo, Brazil, Duquesne University, the University of Maine, the University of Jyveskyla in Finland, and the British Psychological Society.
His research has been supported by the United States Public Health Service, the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Sloan Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.
A former resident scholar at the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, resident fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, and senior Fullbright Fellow in Brazil and New Zealand, Dr. Csikszentmihalyi holds honorary doctor of science degrees from Colorado College and from Lake Forest College and a doctor of fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Psychological Society, the National Academy of Education, and the National Academy of Leisure Studies and a foreign member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Serving on the editorial boards of numerous professional journals, he has been a consultant to business, government organizations, educational associations, and cultural institutions and given invited lectures throughout the world.
In addition to the hugely influential Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), he is the author of thirteen other books translated into 22 languages, and some 225 research articles. The latest books are Experience Sampling Method: Measuring the Quality of Everyday Life, published by Sage Publications Inc. (2007), and A Life Worth Living: Contributions to Positive Psychology, published by Oxford University Press. (2006).