This is one of those books that I have heard summarized so frequently that I was unsure whether I needed to read it. To my pleasant surprise, it is much deeper than it’s one-sentence summaries suggest. This is a book that would benefit from occasional re-reading.

There are two main schema offered in the book. The first is four types of games: competitive games (think chess), games of chance (craps, roulette), games that induce vertigo (skydiving, roller coasters), and mimicry (theater or dance). These categories describe a wide range of human experience that can induce feelings of captivation or entertainment.

What types of situations induce a state of flow? Challenges for which you are highly skilled. If the level of challenge or the level of skill are low (or mis-matched), your experience will be one of the other three in the table below.

Challenge
High Low
Skill Level High Flow Boredom
Low Anxiety Frustration