The Art of Loving Info

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The landmark bestseller that changed the way we think about
“Every line is packed with common sense, compassion,
and realism” (Fortune).

 The Art of
is a rich and detailed guide to love—an achievement
reached through maturity, practice, concentration, and courage. In the
decades since the book’s release, its words and lessons continue
to resonate. Erich Fromm, a celebrated psychoanalyst and social
psychologist, clearly and sincerely encourages the development of our
capacity for and understanding of love in all of its facets. He
discusses the familiar yet misunderstood romantic love, the
all-encompassing brotherly love, spiritual love, and many more.
/> A challenge to traditional Western notions of love, The Art of
is a modern classic about taking care of ourselves through
relationships with others by the New York
bestselling author of To Have or To Be? and
Escape from Freedom.
 This ebook features an
illustrated biography of Erich Fromm including rare images and
never-before-seen documents from the author’s estate.

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Reviews for The Art of Loving:


August 13, 2013

1950's To Today, Still Relevant.
Published in 1956, the entirety of this work postulates love as an art, one which requires practice and for it to be successful a certain degree of attained maturity. As an art it requires knowledge and effort. Fromm makes allusions to modern cultures starvation for love - `trashy songs', happy and unhappy cinema - and states that most people assume it is something we `fall into' as opposed to the more realistic `standing in' and that a `mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality.' (265).

This is certainly a difficult read if you're not prepared, if you're not to some degree `mature' as Fromm posits. Also of notable difficulty are Fromm's concern with machination, automation and the anologies he draws from the capitalistic market unto man. It's easy to see how the two correlate, and I do feel it's an apt description, but I could also see how people unobservant to how our society functions might miss the parallels. Fromm is also very concerned with parables of the religious sort, which may deter some people from investing in the work as a whole, however, remember this is about `love', first and foremost. Something we all need to remain cognizant of and practice daily.


In popular cultural belief being lovable means an admixture between being popular and having sex appeal. But because love requires a mastery of theory and then mastery of practice it takes much work and resultantly, many failures. The third part of love, after theory and practice, is that it must be a matter of utmost concern. It requires devotion to order its success as an art. Of our culture Fromm states `in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love' (93). The ultimate goal of love is to overcome man's separateness from the rest of the world as `the deepest need of man, then, is the need to overcome his separateness, to leave the prison of his aloneness.' (127) Fromm also speaks about relevant psychiatric issues and drug abuses that stem from too grand a sense of isolation from fellow man and the desire, more often than not, for conformity (read `Escape from Freedom'). However, aside from connections to the world through work, play, forced adherence to societal rules, or adopting the herd mentality, `the full answer lies in the achievement of interpersonal union, of fusion with another person, in love.' (232).

Object vs. function - most Western culture sees love as easy, it's the object of love which is difficult, and often transient. The true function of love is meant to be separate from the object, for a person is not a thing as we see `things' in the Western world. Because of this love is treated the same as commodities on the market - buying into the best available option, then upgrading when the time is right.

Persons who `fall in love' and mistake this feeling for love, gradually begin to tire of the person and seek another such experience which they hope will endure, of this Fromm says `this type of love is by its very nature not lasting.' (74) Love is an activity, not a passive affect and it is `primarily giving, not receiving.' (286).

Prerequisites of maintaining love are a capacity to love one's neighbor, true humility, courage, faith and discipline. To these are the important practicable concepts of care, responsibility, respect and knowledge. Love is one path which can be utilized to know thyself, to know some of the secrets of the individual and thereby the secrets of humankind.

At the end of section one Fromm takes a shot at Freud for being too shallow, and for not investigating the occurrence of sexual-polarity present in both genders.

Fromm covers:
Love between parent and child - key to this notion are the ideas that a mother's love is unconditional and cannot be earned, if it need be earned then it is already gone. A child is loved because they are, because they exist, not because of any potentiality. This is part of a child's development until about the age of 10, at which point they transition to practice loving instead of just being loved. Fromm also differentiates the different types, paternal (training in the world, love on condition, `deserved' love) and maternal (again, unwarranted, unconditional love). An interesting postulate arises, that of `milk and honey' as it relates to the promised land (yes, Fromm gets quite theological at times). `Milk' is to represent the care and affirmation (a mother's milk) and `honey' is to represent the sweetness of life, the good feelings toward the world, an unjaded perspective, a happiness wrought from being alive.

Brotherly love - love that is given to the whole of mankind, for we are all in this struggle together.

Erotic love - that between two sexually exclusive partners, `it is also perhaps the most deceptive form of love there is.' (661) Most often after a stranger has become known and the `falling in love' phase is over, there is nothing further to learn and the relationship sputters out. For most the intimacy remains only in sexual contact. Erotic love `is exclusive only in the sense that I can fuse myself fully and intensely with one person only.' (693) It's sole premise exists in `that I love from the essence of my being - and experience the other person in the essence of his or her being.' (696) Loving a single person in this manner is a choice, a judgment and a promise, and because of the highly differentiated aspects between certain individuals and because of this Fromm states that an individual is neither wrong nor right in maintaining or dissolving a relationship that presents as unsuccessful.

Self-love - This is not to be confused with egoism or narcissism. To adequately love anybody, we must also and foremost love ourselves. It is not a crime to do so and in fact, if we don't love ourselves we are completely incapable of loving anybody else maturely - `love toward themselves will be found in all those who are capable of loving others.' (738)

Love of God - Fromm differentiates between the matriarchical and patriarchical forms of religion, with the matriarchy coming first. This again references the types of love each God would distribute toward his `children'. Fromm himself postulates that God is a non-interventionalist, and that most mature people would see it this way. He also delves into the paradoxical logic of being and not being at the same instance, an impossibility using rational, stereotypical logic. Most importantly, regarding religion and love in general - `a knowledge not in right though but in right action' is the way in which to determine all proper motive. In our Western culture, belief in God is a thought process, much less an action process.

Section III: The Disintegration of Love in the Western Society

Further elaborates upon the notion of love as a commodity which can be exchanged and traded much like current market trends. Fromm also touches upon the general disconcertion people have toward being alone, but failing to realize that from this place, only, can they truly love another person. Fromm also makes sure to point out that sex IS NOT love, nor is viewing a relationship as `team-work'. Disipline, concentration and patience and a great sense of humility are necessary here, as in love with all mankind.

Most importantly all of this practice requires faith. The ability to step outside yourself, release your story and just believe, blindly... very hard to do, must needs practice, hence love surely is - an art.


`There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.' (79)

`Love is the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love. Where this active concern is lacking, there is no love.' (338)

`One loves that for which one labors, and one labors for that which one loves.' (349)

`Mature love says: I need you because I love you.' (514).

`If I truly love on person I love all persons. I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else, "I love you". (584)

`One other frequent error must be mentioned here. The illusion, namely, that love means necessarily the absence of conflict.' (1255)

`Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together; even whether there is harmony or conflict, joy or sadness, is secondary to the fundamental fact that two people experience themselves from the essence of their existence' (1265)

February 1, 2018

Do Yourself A Favor And Read This
One of the most important books one can read, in my view. So much that I had always felt and believed about love was documented clearly and elegantly by Eric Fromm. It's amusing how one doesn't really know the ramifications, or at times even the exact substance, of their own thoughts until someone wiser than one's self puts words to these thoughts. The Art of Loving isn't a personality check list collection, relationship advice book, or a how to win friends and influence people guide ... those kinds of books will seem like trash can decorations once you've fully grasped the meaning of the material written in The Art of Loving. Said another way, this book talks about the real deal. In an age of divorce, distilled stupidity, victim mentality, and selfishness beyond comprehension this is exactly the sort of material we need to familiarize ourselves with. I can't recommend this book enough!

December 18, 2018

A few insights, mixed with disgusting prejudices
This book contains some interesting insights, but unfortunately mixed with some vile personal prejudices of the author, especially his irrational belief that people who are not heterosexual cannot experience "real" love. It's all the worse because book tastemakers, and now a new publisher, portray Fromm as some wise Guru. He was part of psychological community that declared homosexuality to be mental illness, and he makes it quite clear in the book that he was very sure of himself on this point.
So while I say the book seems to have some interesting insights, Fromm's obvious prejudice gives readers good reason to be skeptical of an author claiming to have radical insights into love, who is so utterly devoid of understanding for anyone who doesn't share his sexual preferences.

July 20, 2017

A beautiful book.....
I read this when I was 14, and now I'm 71. I was lucky enough to meet Erich Fromm when I was 19. I wasn't expecting to meet him, but he was being interviewed on a talk show where my friends were playing the musical entertainment. He was an adorable elderly German gentleman, I was thrilled to be a le to tell him how much this book meant to me when I read it.

And now, I'm going to be able to read it again!! From this end of the life span! I highly recommend this book and Fromm's other books as well....but this one for sure.....

September 14, 2013

Love - as what you do, not what you feel.
Fromm is incredibly appealing to read because he is genuinely compassionate and loves people – all people. In fact, that’s one of his points from The Art of Loving: you can’t love one person if you don’t love all people – because what you love is the humanity itself, as manifested in a specific psyche. Sounds like hippie talk, but it’s anything but: Fromm minces no words and gives no feel-good sermons. In The Art of Loving he cuts straight to the point of what love is: it’s not something you feel – it’s something you do. Maybe a little anticlimactic for “solving” love’s grand mystery, but Fromm pretends no such thing. The “doing” that love is – is the mystery. What Fromm explains in a perfectly accessible way is that what you should focus on is how you impact people’s lives, how you enrich them with your love – not how they make you feel. But that impact of love – preserves all the grandeur and all the mystery.
I have known a few people who don’t normally read serious psychology whose lives were transformed by Fromm’s forthright manner of letting you understand things in a new way. I myself found a few of the maxims from The Art of Loving – the most concise summary of so many things in life: ones to keep in my own memory and to remind others of when they need to hear the right words to carry on.

October 24, 2016

Dated and out of touch with today's thought
The book is a hard slog, even though it is short. Fromm's mother and father were descended from a long line of rabbis and Talmudic scholars but he renounced religion at age 26--or so the accompanying biographical material in this edition states. He got a PhD in Sociology. He wrote a lot of books and had an intellectual following. In some ways this book is full of standard issue 1950's left leaning political thought; capitalism is bad; it makes men into automatons incapable of loving and is a system which can't survive. That's the "organization man" critique. He's worried about nuclear energy and it is no surprise that he was an anti nuke, anti Viet Nam war sort.

It's a short book--but it's remarkable how much time is wasted in it. There's a lot of criticism of Freud--how Freud got it wrong, and how sociologists such as Fromm got it right. There's a lot of stuff that would be appropriate for slanging in a college faculty lounge (where the arguments are so vicious because there is so little of real importance at stake). Fromm didn't much like the society he saw in the 1950s, and didn't like the people in it either

As for what Fromm has to say about the art of loving--be disciplined, listen to and understand others, be engaged with the world, be a productive and caring person---that's all very good advice. It is worthwhile to that extent. And it could have been said in a few short lines. His rabbi uncle could have given him the same message, "Be a mensch".

The book may have been trendy in the 1950s--but with his patriarchal misogynist view of women and "wrong think" on LGBT questions, were the book to be written today, Fromm would be the target of many hostile reviews

August 11, 2013

The Art of Loving
Everyone who writes about philosophy, psychology, or rational faith is a prisioner of their time and culture. The fact that this reads so differently today than it did in the 1960s can in fact support Fromm's thesis. One has to overlook some of his assumptions about women, and his small and misguided statement about homosexuality...but these two assumptions in themselves prove that mankind is able to overcome once held beliefs and come to a better concept of justice and mercy and the capacity to engage in "brotherly love".
Rational faith and mature love of God does allow us to see the dignity and potential in our fellow humans. Having this faith and belief does not imply that we will not be disappointed in the flaws of others; nor that man always rises to his better nature.
The fact that one does not have to be male of female to express Motherly or Fatherly love, does not change the fact that these modes of Loving are not defined correctly.
His thesis still stands. It is worth a thoughtful read, or revisiting, especially at this time in our culture, when self-defined Christians find the words of Christ to be the antithesis of their beliefs. This book can help us to establish better internal truths to ensure more productive and balanced lives.

April 27, 2017

Still relevant
Fromm's theory of love is thought-provoking and disheartening. I don't know that I agree 100 percent with his theory, but it certainly inspires me to move forward with some change in my own life. I find it incredible how relevant his analysis of society continues to be. He must be rolling in his grave over how disconnected western society has become to meaningful, focused, face-to-face interaction.

September 26, 2016

... a novel it is a classic book on what love is and what it is to be loving
This isn't a novel it is a classic book on what love is and what it is to be loving. This is one of the best self'-help books I have ever read.

June 13, 2016

Fromm never heard of the feminist revolution
Sure, Fromm is wise and insightful. However, he is also sexist, if not misogynist. I couldn't stomach his attitude to women, and when I came across it, I just threw the book across the room.

January 11, 2014

Love, the Essential Art
Although more that 50 years old, Fromm's analysis and insights about the nature of loving relationships are even more relevant today. Especially significant is his commentary on how our societal values have short-circuited the underpinnings necessary for a true loving relationship.

"Modern man has transformed himself into a commodity; he experiences his life energy as an investment with which he should make the highest profit, considering his position and the situation on the personality market. He is alienated from himself, from his fellow men and from nature. His main aim is profitable exchange of his skills, knowledge, and of himself, his “personality package” with others who are equally intent on a fair and profitable exchange. Life has no goal except the one to move, no principle except the one of fair exchange, no satisfaction except the one to consume."

As he goes on to point out, this leads to an empty relationship that is devoid of intimacy and sharing. How sad.

February 25, 2017

Excellent book
Very concise and precise book on a subject that is tough to be able to explain. An easy read that you go back a couple of pages all the time to round ideas because they are very profound.

March 6, 2017

Horrible book. I threw it out. I destroyed it before I threw it out, so that no one else might see it and read it. I couldn't even stomach thirty pages. It was so misogynistic. It dismissed the LGBT community. I understand that it is over fifty years old, but it was horrible. It reminds me off all this schlock that purports, you can find love if you are this type of person and do these sorts of things and act this sort of way. Ridiculous! Most psychology and new age mumbo jumbo is just as classist, myopic and as condescending as a fourteenth century pope and Erich Fromm proves it.
I am just glad I bought it used and it was cheap.

October 1, 2015

No longer relevant.
Terribly dated.

August 31, 2015

This book mostly contains the authors opinions with very weak ...
This book mostly contains the authors opinions with very weak scientific evidence to back it up . It also contains offensive views on homosexuality.

February 7, 2017

This book probably had a lot of great stuff in it but I found it impossibly heavy ...
This book probably had a lot of great stuff in it but I found it impossibly heavy and could not get through the first chapter....

December 11, 2017

Two Stars
Rambling and many assertions with little evidence. Just the authors opinion and philosophy.

September 1, 2013

One-sided look at very complicated subject matter.
Too opinionated and one-sided. Sort of preachy in its approach to a very emotional subject matter. It is not at all what I expected when I purchased the book.

August 21, 2019

Not helpful
If you're not an analyst, this book is more psycho babble than life applicable. This was a total waste of my valuable time.

September 5, 2015

not what I expected

July 23, 2015

One Star
A crock.

March 23, 2015

One Star
Deal not as spected

October 23, 2019

Only a few answers here...
A short read with moments of genuine insight. However, the authors political views seem to be his reference point for every conclusion. The book in one sentence - Real love between a man and a woman is impossible in a capitalistic society.

March 15, 2016

Two Stars
Excellent reading if you are a psych. major.

August 31, 2014

Was hoping for more...
While I got a few great one-liners and quotes out of it, honestly overall I felt the book was lacking.

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