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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 1999
In a world of fuzzy love epitomised by trashy love songs whichbrainwash young people into thinking such things as 'I can't live without you' and 'I love you more than life itself', this book offers an invaluable perspective on just what it is you might be feeling when you 'fall in love' with someone. Indeed, Fromm questions the whole concept of 'falling in love'. One will conclude that there is more 'falling' than there is 'love' in the whole process. He argues that we are better served by 'standing' in love. And how true. While practice makes perfect, and no book can compensate for that, Fromm's enlightenment is sure to raise an eyebrow of awareness among anyone who has ever loved or been loved. While we older, and perhaps wiser, folk may say 'yes, indeed' to Fromm's lucid and thought-provoking work, surely it's the teenage generation which needs this map of the one emotion which is perhaps most prominent in their minds. If you have ever experienced the pain of love, this book will change your attitudes towards the whole emotion, for ultimately you will conclude that where there is love,ie. the real honest variety, there is no pain and there can be no pain. Excellently written, like all Fromm's work, you will want to read it in one sitting.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2003
Although a short book ... 104 pages .... it has taken me a fortnight to read .... there is not a superfluous sentence in this seminal work on the nature of the "glue" which binds humans to each other ... Fromm raises questions without providing the answers ... knowing that in order to understand .. we have to find the answers within ourselves. Whilst being deeply disturbing it nevertheless enabled me to understand clearly, for the first time in my life, where I have gone wrong in the past, and, at 57 years old, has given me hope that I might just "get it right" before I am too old to enjoy life as it ought to be!
Along with another seminal work ... Conditions of Love by John Armstrong ... it ought to be compulsory reading for every young adult.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 21 September 2011
I picked this book up quite by chance. Am I glad I did! Erich Fromm analyses love in all its forms. His observations on how people's capacity to love can become dysfunctional are so interesting. His analysis of Capitalism and how it actually goes against the principles of love as man becomes so wrapped up in ego and the trap of materialism is illuminating and obvious as it becomes pointed out. He goes into religious love from the aspects of the love of mother to the love of father. Mother's love is unconditional, father's love is conditional. Again, any deviation from this norm can result in all kinds of psychoses to varying degrees. These may range from how a man relates and views women to the very essence of being able to love. It all comes down in many ways to the Eastern philosophy on life being a far better one. To live each moment fully and with focus, to let go of ego, to begin to notice and question, to appreciate nature, and ultimately to be able to give unconditionally. Only then are we really ready to receive. A wonderful book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 1998
In an age of quick fix self-help formulas on how to love, _The Art of Loving_ stands out as a masterpiece of understanding and insight on the most important topic in human existence. Seeing love as a choice and not a feeling is an essential, but almost universally missed, step in the maturation of an individual and Fromm's analysis on this topic and other aspects of loving is both succinct and profound. This short book is one of the few works that can change your life permanently for the better - the catch being, do you really want to *work* for it?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 1997
Fromm begins by making the vital distinction between love as an art, requiring KNOWLEDGE and EFFORT, and love as a passive, pleasant sensation. Finding his way, philosophically, through the theory and practice of the art of loving, Fromm works at the root level, providing non-prescriptive insight into how an individual can, with time, mature into a masterpiece of human being.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 November 2006
I nicely written book with engaging style and a good pace in its narration.

Fromm uses object relations theory and social psychology to investigate the nature of love and loving, with insights into varieties of love and loving, such as parental love, love of god, love of fellows, romantic love, self love or self regard.

I found it very interesting how he portrayed the varieties of love, society does tend to elevate some sorts above others and it can foster expectations of love that are unrealistic or downright unhealthy.

With luck, if clarity of this kind where more popular then there would be less murder-suicides by jilted lovers, obsessive behaviour and stalking or even parents failing to treat their children as paramount.

There have been criticisms of Fromm that he is too rationalist or pours cold water upon the idea of soul seering or earth shattering love affairs, classing such ideas as neurotic, I really think that that is a very superficial and unworthy reading of this book.

A great companion to Conditions of Love: The Philosophy of Intimacy, a more philosophical musing on love or Falling in Love another good psychological investigation of the topic.

Edit December 2008:
NB buy the PS edition, the PS section is almost as good as Erich Fromm: His Life and Work - A Pictorial Biography, it incorporates so much about the author, his ideas and how they developed, that for a fan (and the power of this book is such that it could make you an instant fan of Fromm) it could rival the main presentation. Its also a great place to decide what to read next.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 1999
As a young girl I read this book because I was searching for answers to life's oldest questions concerning true love. Now 35 years later, while searching for a book to give to my niece who is searching for the same answers to the same questions, I rediscover this incredible book. However, most amazing is the fact I now realize it probably shaped my ideas about life and love and without a doubt is responsible for the choices I made along life's journey in my marriage. I highly recommend this book be read by all young people in this generation and those to come. Thank you Eric Fromm....may God bles.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 December 1998
Never has a book so much reflected the ways that I feel about friendship, romance and spirituality. And taught me so much about the value of self. I have also never recommended a book more as much as this work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fromm's book on love where he binds Marx, the Bible, Islam and Bowlby along with(Stirner and Nietzsche) is his crowning glory as he immerses himself in love and he comes out the other side showing how the emotions have been warped and colonised.

The first problem he has identified is that within capitalism people have turned themselves into commodities and this also extends to love. The modern era has allowed the emotion out of the cage whereas previous eons had forced marriages that entailed love flourishing later, if at all. These were marriages based on economics not love. The modern era is awash with the epithet "love" and it has been used from slushy films to love songs to mills and boon.

Love is seen as something that you acquire rather than something you give, people make themselves marketable to acquire love and affection. Drawing on Stirner however, love is not something that is compulsion but something the individual choses not to give or not. Fromm makes the case taking Stirner's idea further that only love can halt despair and provide meaning in life. Without love and the emotional connection with others the individual would fall into a chasm of despair. Love binds people together and halts the waves of meaninglessness that threaten to engulf the individual.

Fromm then looks at the differing types of love and notes that people are bisexual, composed of male and female polarities within themselves. The true relationship is with a woman as this brings into being the cathexis to produce children. This leaves same sex relationships on a different sphere. Fromm also takes a swipe at equality as an enforced homogeneity, pushing people to be the same. This means the individuality becomes lost as people push to belong to the herd.

This is a thin book but each sentence is heavily weighed. It is not a romp through the pages. This says more in a page than most books therefore it is extremely deceptive. This should be taught for all 16-18 year olds as it would save a world of pain for the ensuing years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 July 2012
I was a little worried the content of this book would be beyond me (having no background or formal education in any of the core subjects such as philosophy, religion and psychoanalysis) but it turned out to be a riveting read. At times a little heavy and requiring a re-read of some paragraphs it nonetheless avoids any jargon and seems to do a good job of justifying all of the points made.

It is at heart more a book about what love can considered to be rather than a manual on how to love better. The latter being given only a short section at the back and concentrating on techniques not unlike meditation (mostly along the theme of living the life that is now, being open in spirit and being honest with yourself, who you should learn to love first).

The descriptions of various types of love and what can and does go wrong in childhood are fascinating. I am sure most of us see some of our own lives described. It also touches on sexual deviance as a result of lack of love or avoiding love, plus the impact of both modern society and religion on our capacity to love. I'd particularly credit the author on the chapter on religious love which covers so much ground in such a short space without becoming overly technical.

This definitely isn't a quick fix self help book on how to love better - but as a deep, meaningful and comprehensive journey into what love actually is, a superb read.
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