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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will change your attitudes.
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...
Published on 22 Aug. 1999

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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but.
This book was written a long time ago and it shows. Whilst I thought the overall message was very good - that is, in order to love you need to develop your entire personality - the book only takes male sexuality into account. The pronoun is always he, except in one or two brief sections where Fromm talks about mothers. He is entirely dismissive of gay people, writing "the...
Published on 8 April 2011 by Brrnrrd


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 7 May 2010
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development) (Paperback)
I'll really go as far as saying that this book is a must read!
Like many people (or is it just us girls? :) ) I grew up thinking that once I met that perfect soulmate, everything else would just fall into place, naturally and even efortlessly. It's just recently that I gradually started accepting other ideas about love- that love is an ACTION that requires certain skill and not merely a "happy state" that you just "fall into". And that's when this book got to me, right on time.
Besides erotic love, this book also provides some thoughts on other forms of love: self-love, love of God, so it is useful in more ways than one. It's written in a logical and somewhat scientific, but not difficult-to-understand way, even considering that English is my 2nd language. I am always suspecious of books that just give you ideas in a poetic way, where an author just sort of excitingly says "I promise you, this works, just try it!" This book is not like that. I promise you :)
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, but., 8 April 2011
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development) (Paperback)
This book was written a long time ago and it shows. Whilst I thought the overall message was very good - that is, in order to love you need to develop your entire personality - the book only takes male sexuality into account. The pronoun is always he, except in one or two brief sections where Fromm talks about mothers. He is entirely dismissive of gay people, writing "the homosexual deviation is a failure to attain this polarised union [male/female unity] and thus the homosexual suffers from the pain of never-resolved separateness, a failure, however, which he shares with the heterosexual who cannot love." As a queer person I thought this was an extremely limited view, and if Fromm was so willing to call the love between two consenting adults a 'deviation', then it makes his entire thesis on love suspect; this is especially so if we take into account the fact that the longest chapter in the book, by far, is the section on loving God.

There is a lot to be taken from this text, but it is too brief, too theoretical and too sterile. Fromm states that anyone who came to this book looking for easy guidance about learning to love will be disappointed, but I wonder why he didn't elaborate on the two quite difficult steps the book recommends: first, to meditate and second to learn self-discipline. If you have a philosophical / religious interest in the theme of love, then I recommend this as an antiquated example of what writers on love were thinking in the mid twentieth century. If you actually have a problem, I still recommend it despite its failure to take into account different sexualities, but maybe only after you've read some other texts which *do* offer a few practical tips on getting over your insecurities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is NOT the Kama Sutra!, 19 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Paperback)
I have read and re-read this book several times over the years since it was first published. In reading the reviews posted here and in consideration of the recent popularity of books such as "The Complete Kama Sutra", I felt it important to make obvious the difference between the two lines of thought. While both have valuable places in our society, "The Art Of Loving" is a book of our emotional and intellectual needs for and abilities to Love, rather than physical techniques. At this point in human evolution, "The Art of Loving" could easily be considered a basic text book for 'humanities 101'! I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in better understanding themselves or those around them!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book!, 6 Nov. 2010
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development) (Paperback)
It can be a bit difficult book for non-psychologists, however with patience and concentration it is a valuable book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "human condition" explained in an understandable way, 17 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Paperback)
I first read this book in the late 60's or early 70's having no idea how much it would influence me over the years. I recommend it highly to those who wish to understand themselves and those with whom they love and live. This book has the power to truly change your life!
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Partly theoretical, but full of insight, 6 Aug. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development) (Paperback)
"The Art of Loving" is an essay on all sides of love. The style is that of an analysis, studying love from a theoretical angle most of the time. This makes the text a bit dry and somewhat demanding, but it is full of insight. Among the kinds of love treated are motherly, brotherly, erotically and religious love as well as negative and positive self-love (narcissism vs. "loving your neighbour AS YOURSELF"). Love is seen as the basis for human life, individually and culturally. One could say that the book enlarges on why "love makes the world go around"!
One stylistic point continued to annoy me: The author seems unable to use the word "she". It is purely stylistic - the book is equally about male and female sides of love, and the author is no chauvenist. Probably this style has to do with the fact that the book dates back to 1956. But it is annoying and in some places confusing.
The bottom line: If you want a "how-to" book this is not it. If you want new insight in love and its implications this book should be on your list.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A homophobe who should be consigned to history, 14 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development) (Paperback)
I read this many years ago on the recommendation of a 'friend'; I was suicidal before I finished. Apart from the spurious parcelling of love into discrete categories, the privileging of "normal" erotic love and the facile designation of non-standard forms of love as "neurotic", I couldn't get past the extraordinarily offensive (and untrue) statement that homosexuality is a failed attempt to capture the unity found in "normal" sexual love, and that the homosexual suffers from "a condition of never-resolved separateness, a condition however which he shares with the heterosexual who cannot love". So that's all right then! You may be sick, but see, so are these others - only they've got a chance to get better, while you haven't. Gee, thanks, Erich! I think he takes the idea of male and female principles too literally - I half-expected him to talk about keys and locks, for Heaven's sake! Admittedly, this book is written in a different time - but maybe that's the point: it should be consigned there, treated as a historical curiosity in the way that books on, say, phrenology or blood-letting might be, not touted as some deep mystical statement of a psychospiritual guru. I'm not saying there's nothing useful in it - but the useful bits are pretty commonplace stuff, while the rest is simply prejudice and misanthropy disguised as psychiatric wisdom. There are far better writers on the subject, and judging by this effort, Erich Fromm is not the best exemplar of the art of loving I've ever encountered. I'd rather have my neighbour's lovely carrot soup!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Of all the arts, the most essential one..., 10 Jan. 2014
By 
John P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development) (Paperback)
It simply warms the heart to not only see this book still in print, and selling fairly well, but to also see the number of reviews at Amazon. Erich Fromm's classic work was first published in 1956, and I first read during the spring of 1968, while I was in Army Basic Training. I desperately needed an antidote to "the spirit of the bayonet," and Fromm provided it. I still have my original "Bantam" edition, costing 60 cents, and though no longer prodded by the bayonet, felt there were other more positive motivating forces pushing a re-read.

Fromm provides a fitting epigraph for his book, from Paracelsus, which said in part: "...the more knowledge is inherent in a thing, the greater the love..." Yes, love is very much of the mind, and how well a couple can synchronize their wavelengths, and respect the differences when they cannot. The author stresses that love is an art, like carpentry, that must be learned, and practiced! And all too often it is not, with the result, as the author says: "There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love." The common elements to all forms of love: care, responsibility, respect, knowledge.

Way back there in the `60's I had also read his excellent work Escape from Freedom, which, as the title implies, and Fromm carefully demonstrated: the vast majority of people do not want to be free... having to make decisions in one's life is frightening. So... all too many seek "salvation" from true freedom by conforming to some existing standard or organization, or by following a "guru." A good early portion of this book also covers the same thesis. Later, it devotes an entire page to a quote from the great Muslim poet, Rumi, on how heaven is represented by the male principle, and the earth, by the female. I found it interesting that he debunked Freud, and the patriarchal society of Vienna of 1900, but in espousing some of his own archetypes, and he is careful to declare them such, he comes close to defining male / female relations by the Leave It to Beaver: Season 5 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] or Father Knows Best: Season One (Region 1) (NTSC) [DVD] [US Import] role models of the `50's. Thus, I found him also very much a creature of his own time. In fact, single parents, and homosexual unions did not merit consideration.

He categorizes and then elaborates on five different forms of love: brotherly, motherly, erotic, self-love and love of god. In fact, 17 pages of this 110 page book discuss the love of god, and that includes philosophical concepts from eastern religions. You do need knowledge, the theory, but you also need the PRACTICE, and he devotes the last 20 pages to that, and its elements include discipline, concentration, and patience. Ahhhh... sometimes it seems that patience can be taken to an extreme, and what is truly needed is the fulfillment. Only time will tell, as the cliché has it. I enjoyed re-reading the sections I had marked from a long time ago, and have now added quite a few more. The book has aged well, but not perfectly, perhaps like the reader. It still merits 5-stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE quintesential book towards self-understanding., 4 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Paperback)
So far (as of 8-4-99), EVERY customer review of this book has been 5 stars. That says everything about the quality of this item as it goes indepth to define love as a social and personal experience and responsibility, and not just a chemical reaction. There hasn't been a person I've given this book to yet who hasn't thanked me afterwards for the insights that it has provided. If you own one book on personal psychology, this is it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Useful Insight to What Love is...., 7 July 2012
By 
Kenneth (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development) (Paperback)
A truly inspiring and thought-provoking book I thoroughly enjoyed. Over the years, many have wondered what the thing called love is. This books presents the reader with a 'back to basics' approach. It captures the theory of love, and the reasons why we want to love/be loved in a profound way. The understanding of the building blocks of the subject of love should equip the reader to fully understand the correct way to love.
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The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development)
The Art of Loving (Classics of Personal Development) by Erich Fromm (Paperback - 9 April 2010)
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