Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

Author: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
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by jtraffic   2017-09-04
I dislike this. I almost hate it, but it at least raises interesting questions.

The reasoning is almost entirely post-hoc. He observes many successful people and their similarities and then claims "I have now told you how to succeed." p(success | trait) != p(trait | success). Hindsight bias is at play.

He makes other weird statements: "you are automatically condemned to waste the rest of your life (see Einstein above)." Mr. Hamming is a difficult guy to please.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi studied many successful individuals in a systematic way and acknowledged the inherent problems with this approach. Read his book instead of this:

Finally: "Those who have done really great things generally report, privately, that it is better than wine, the opposite sex, and song put together."

This is strongly contradicted by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's evidence. Nearly everyone he talked to (many Nobel Laureates among them) said their greatest achievement was raising a family or something in personal life. I can't claim this generalizes, but I can provide it as a stark counterexample to Hamming's claim.