Enthusiasm Trilogy

Flame, Flow, Flood

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”, Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Enthusiasm Trilogy is a book about the dynamics of enthusiasm in our personal lives and in organizations. Comparisons are drawn with the dynamics of enthusiasm in other areas, such as music and sport.  The fundamentals are the same everywhere. What is the purpose of our actions and how do we affect the people around us? How do we find inspiration and when do we pass it on? With whom do we cooperate best and how do we find an audience?

The role that enthusiasm plays in the arts, in social life and within organizations is fascinating. It can almost be described as an unseen hand that steers people’s behavior in a particular direction. What makes this so special is that the hand often leads us in the right direction. The way in which our talents and passions lie. It connects us to people with similar interests. Once the dynamics of enthusiasm begin to flow wonderful things start to happen.

Flame: You can compare the Flame to the Olympic flame. The flame symbolises the fire of the athletes. The Flame we talk about in this book is in a similar vein. The first part of the trilogy is about finding and fanning the Flame on a personal and an organisational level. 

Flow: In part two, Flow, we explain the basic principles on how to achieve a state of Flow by steering towards enthusiasm and appreciation. A jam session with musicians where sparks are flying, players in a football team who intuitively know how to find each other or the business unit that runs like clockwork.

Flood: This is the moment that an artist has won over the audience, an idea that sweeps
across the world or a product that suddenly becomes a hype. How does the enthusiasm spread and how can we support this? In part three we try to explain the mysterious waves of Flood. 

“I loved reading Flame, Flow & Flood and I enthusiastically recommend the Enthusiasm Trilogy. Surf the waves of enthusiasm!”

Joe Pine, Author of The Experience Economy (with Jim Gillmore), Authenticity & other bestsellers. 


Rijn Vogelaar’s Flame is absolutely an inspirational and accessibel book about (re)discovering your Flame; the powerful mission in life. This book triggers you tot think about what makes your heart tick. It makes you wonder about the beautiful things which could happen if you make your Flame leading in your workday, your business, your organisation, in your whole life. Rijn uses many appealing examples in his book; from Rock bands to multinationals, using their Flame in creating their own succes and happiness; for themselves and all the people they lighten up with their powerful Flame energy. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be lightend up by the catchy power of the Flame.

S. Delwijnen

With his book ‘The Superpromoter’ published in 2009, Rijn Vogelaar got many managers thinking about how well they know their customers and whether they were making the most of the power of ambassadors. With ‘The Enthusiasm trilogy’ (Flame, Flow, Flood) the author places this theme in the wider perspective of organisational development.

Part 2 of the trilogy (‘Flow’) begins with a definition of enthusiasm as ‘a raised level of excitement accompanied by a positive emotion’. That immediately put me in the right mood to actively read on. The flow of enthusiasm described in this book is social by nature, incidentally. It’s about people who need each other to achieve results and the moment the spark leaps over to other people and the group.

Achieving Flow essentially involves an interaction between sufficient challenge, enjoyment and continuous feedback. From this starting point, the book takes you through all manner of themes from positive psychology. It covers aspects such as finding the balance between the pressure to perform and level of expertise, social pressure, ways to teach yourself more positivity, or the relationship between brain styles and getting into flow. Vogelaar makes the underlying relationships clearly visible (aided by several powerful graphs), for instance that both giving and receiving compliments contribute in a positive way to Flow.

Considerable attention is paid to the mechanism of feedback, with the essential dos and don’ts clearly explained. Several chapters focus specifically on feedback from customers, based on the realisation that especially customer enthusiasm is a powerful source of flow within an organisation. Who doesn’t go home with a spring in their step when they’ve received a compliment from a customer?

The author points out that many companies leave enthusiastic customers ‘standing in front of an empty stage’ and he provides a framework for organising this differently. The many tangible examples Vogelaar mentions in the book are convincing and they also stimulate you to get to work directly (in operational or strategic terms). The reader is definitely given plenty of practical tips for developing themselves, the team or the organisation as a whole. That makes Flow particularly enjoyable to read – it is written to activate.

The good thing about this book in general is that it touches on the ‘spirit of the times’. Faith in the Homo Economicus (Adam Smith) or maximisation of productivity (Frederick Taylor) as guiding principles is declining. Vogelaar presents the Homo Enthusiasticus as an opposite way of thinking. This paradigm in concerned with what you could call the inside: aspects such as intrinsic motivation, development, collaboration, the desire to do meaningful work. As a result, Flow touches directly on the experience economy we are widely observing.

Apart from that, the strength of the book, in my opinion, is its broad relevance and its applicability to all sorts of employees in organisations. Flow provides guidelines for members of teams, line managers and HR. But certainly also for higher management, when it’s about choosing enthusiasm as the driving force to make the organisation strong and innovative from the inside. In this context, there is a quote from the book that touches the essence for me: ‘companies would do well to help employees to be more optimistic’.

Stef ten Dam

In an increasingly challenging time for the global economy, companies increasingly have to think ‘outside the box’ to get themselves one step ahead of their competitors. With markets continually being squeezed, incomes depressed and workers morale at an all time low, the one thing, it would seem, that the business world is lacking at this moment in time, is enthusiasm.
Using examples from the music world ( as well as other business models) and drawing from his own considerable experience as a CEO at one of Northern Europe’s premier market research company, Rijn manages to illuminate us all, in a most idiosyncratic manner, as to why he believes so many of us are missing a trick in failing to (or forgetting to) recognise what our core driving forces actually are.
Full of anecdotes, salutary tales, and supported with in depth academic research, this is a most valuable addition for anyone interested (or involved with) the psychology of entrepreneurship. And whether you’re a new enterprise or an old sleeping giant, this book (and I’ve had the pleasure of
reading the rest of the trilogy!) will inspire you to harness the power of your own inner flame

James Whelligan

This is an excellent book about a subject you might think you understand – we all know what enthusiasm is, after all. But it’s a real eye-opener when you find the essence of your own enthusiasm – or Flame – not just in your own company but in your everyday life as well and discover the extent of its power. The book has many examples that make it clear how enthusiasm works and the benefits of tapping into something which is often ignored or taken for granted, including the enthusiasm of our customers, which is vitally important.

Anonymous reader on Amazon

This book is a good guide to give enthusiasm a prominent role in your organization. It is full of practical examples which are directly applicable in your daily business. A must read management-book!

Anonymous reader on Amazon