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126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Conquers All... Surrender to it.. E. FROMM
"Love," says Fromm, "is the only satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence." Poets have written that, "Love conquers all," and to "surrender to it." Urging one to surrender implies resistence to Love, but why?
Fromm asks, is Love an art, or is Love a pleasant sensation or feeling which to experience is a metter of chance, i.e. something one, "falls into,"...
Published on February 12, 2002 by Richard R. Rohde, Esq.

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42 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but a period piece indeed
After reading several books by Fromm, and being his admirer (I find his insight into both the society and individual very clear and unburdened by personal agenda), I was dissapointed by The Art of Loving.
While providing some very valuable glimpses into the possibility of unselfish personal love, the author falls into the proscribed conditioning of his era (not...
Published on June 23, 2000 by N. N.


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126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Conquers All... Surrender to it.. E. FROMM, February 12, 2002
By 
"Love," says Fromm, "is the only satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence." Poets have written that, "Love conquers all," and to "surrender to it." Urging one to surrender implies resistence to Love, but why?
Fromm asks, is Love an art, or is Love a pleasant sensation or feeling which to experience is a metter of chance, i.e. something one, "falls into," if one is lucky. Fromm asserts that Love is an art, and says that to truly Love, in all its forms, one must possess: Maturity; Self-Knowledge; and Courage.
"Object," or "faculty,": Many people pursue objects or affection, or objects to love, and correspondingly treat them as possessions. Fromm asserts that Love is the faculty or ability to Love in its different forms: brotherly love; romantic love, etc. Since Love is an art to be practiced, Fromm asserts that it can only be practiced in freedom with one another. In other words, people cannot treat others as objects or possessions to be controlled for ones own egotistical or selfish purposes. Such behavior to result in certain destruction and never to attain true Love.
"Love," vs. "falling in Love/Infatuation,": People speak of falling in Love, with new people they meet. Falling in Love is not necessarly Love, but infatuation, e.g., strangers meet, they break down social walls between one another, they feel close/as one. This new experience, infatuation, Fromm describes as "one of the most exhilarating and most exciting experiences in life. However, Fromm argues astutely, that this initial infatuation feeling slowly and naturally loses its miraculous character more and more with time, as the two people get more acquainted and learn more and more about eachother - flaws, character defects, etc. Fromm says the problem all-to-often arises when people confuse infatuation feelings (exhilaration/excitement) for proof of the intensity of their Love. As the infatuation feelings naturally subside, it results in the wish for a new conquest, a new "Love," with a new stranger. Again the stranger is transformed into an "intimate" person, again the experience of falling in love is exhilarating and intense, and again it slowly becomes less and less, and ends in another wish for a new conquest - a new "Love," always with the illusion that the new "Love," will be different from the earlier ones. Fromm says this is not Love. These illusions are greatly helped by the deceptive character of sexual desires. Sexual desire aims at fusion, says Fromm. It can be stimulated by the anxiety of aloneness, by the wish to conquer, by vanity, by the wish to hurt or even to destroy, as much as it can be stimulated by Love. Because most people associate sexual desire with the idea of Love, says Fromm, they are easily misled to conclude that they Love each other only when they want each other physically. Fromm asserts this is not unlike a drug addiction, when people constantly seek out the exhilaration/excitement of infatuation. Fromm cautions that if the desire for physical union is not stimulated by Love, if romantic/erotic Love is not also coupled with other forms of Love, that it will never lead to union in more than an orgiastic, transitory sense.
An implication of this that when this happens, i.e., when one finds new infatuation, the other one on the losing end gets scarredm then after a few times of getting burnt will begin to actively destroy or sabotage Love in the nascent stage when it occurs in the future, in an effort to avoid the past painful feelings associated with Love gone wrong or to avoid feelings of vulnerability and/or to maintain control -- in essence to not surrender to Love.
Fromm describes what he calls the essential components that need to be mastered, for all forms of Love: Care (the active concern for the life and the growth of that which we love); Responsibility (to be able, willing and ready to respond to the psychic nneds of the other); Respect (concern that the other person should grow and unfold as he/she is on their own, to be aware of her unique individuality - freedom); and Knowledge(a desire to discover what makes the other "tick," an active penetration of the other person).
Fromm concludes that Love is not just a feeling, it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. To love means to surrender and commit without guarantees. Love is an act of utter faith says Fromm.
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73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it, then give a copy to the people you care about, November 10, 2004
I have reread this book more than any other that I own, partly because it's short, but mostly because Fromm is such a lucid and perceptive writer. I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough. I don't agree with all of it -- his take on homosexuality, for instance, which may or may not be attributable to the day in which it was written -- and many readers may not care for the way he frames behavioral patterns in psychoanalytic terms. That said, you can read right past those stylistic elements, because his prose is positively oozing with compassion. I don't think it's overly dramatic to say that it would take me longer to convey how excellent this little book is than it would take you to read it.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will change your attitudes., August 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Paperback)
In a world of fuzzy love epitomised by trashy love songs whichbrainwash young people into thinking such things as 'I can't livewithout 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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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading, June 26, 2006
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Fromm does a great job of reviewing the various "types" of Love and providing the characteristics of each. His review clarifies what purpose each kind of love serves in our lives.

The book is an exceptional treatise on this most elusive topic. It's a very rational breakdown of what it is to love, what it means to each of us to love, and how it serves us (and the world) to love.

This isn't a Leo Buscalia book, but rather a very good compliment to one. This book is more an analysis of fundamental principles involved in love and loving. It's an in depth discussion, not a collection of stories. But it is very unique in a field of less thought provoking (but good feelings) books.

If you are a thinker, and still want to be a feeling person, the book can help you. For the mind, this is clarity. The book will help you get your mind out of the way so you can begin feeling - because it will teach your mind what your heart is trying to say.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars influential and inspirational, February 27, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Paperback)
This book expressed may feelings about true spirituality.Being 31,it was an eye opener to realize that in 1956,the year the book was published,our cuntry had essentialy the same socio-spiritual problems as 1999.Fromm writes about love being an action instead of a theory that requires discipline,concentration,and patience,traits that are challenging to pursue in our capitalistic culture.Furthermore,the book explains that our society is trapped by a need for instant gratification which creates long term suffering.Fromm believe's that love is the only valid remedy for our socitie's inner suffering and he expains how love is an art requiring effort and care.I very much agreed with Fromm,with his belief in mysticism transcending religions and putting love into actual practice.After reading this book,it confirmed my belief that whether we are Christian,jewish,MUslim or any "ism",there is one Creator and as the bible states"faith without works is dead".This book gave me hope that if we at least try to follow through on the principles of love,the world will be a better place because as the book expressed,we are all one human race in the Creator's eyes.I recomend this book to anyone wishing to gain knowledge into being a better person and understing our journey on Earth more.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop worrying and start loving, December 10, 2008
Erich Fromm frequently uses paradox to get his points across. In The Art of Loving he begins by talking about how competition in a capitalist society tends towards uniformity and mediocrity. As Emerson says, in his essay on Self-Reliance, "Conformity is the rule. The world whips you with its displeasure for non-conformity." And, "He who would be self-reliant, must be a non-conformist." In any case, Fromm says that most people want to be Loveable. We wear dark sunglasses so no one can see our eyes, in order to appear "different". We must have the whitest teeth, the darkest tan, the best clothes, so that we become "attractive" and then we become like commodities in a market. We want to make the "best deal", that is, get the best mate, trading our qualities for those of another person, while "getting over" on the other, that is, we want better than we offer. What is called a "bargain".
Instead of becoming Loveable, Dr. Fromm suggests that we become more Loving. He defines Love as involving four things: care, knowledge, respect, and response-ability. Think about it, how much can you love someone if you don't really know them? And if you care about someone, you surely want to be able to respond to them. Love without care, or careless love is famous, as there is a song about it. In any case, over the millenia we have heard of different kinds of love and Fromm spends time going into the different kinds.
From love of your enemies, to love of yourself, to love of others, and from selfish love to self-less love, Dr. Fromm runs the gamut.
For a discussion of Diotema's Ladder of Love, see a different book, by James Diefenbeck, Wayward Reflections on the History of Philosophy, which covers Plato's Symposium on Love.
However, Plato is limited, in a way, by his place in history. Dr. Fromm also includes a discussion of Taoism in The Art of Loving.

dr
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Rebuttal to Our "He's Just Not That Into You" World, December 1, 2009
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Paperback)
This book was hugely popular when I was in high school. Many boys picked it up, thinking it was about something more graphic. Many girls read it, thinking it would validate what they were looking for in romance.

Actually the book is neither about sex nor the paperback pirate-ravishing-damsel-on-cliff version of romance. It's about true love - what it is NOT, what it IS - and how to build it in your own life.

Notice I didn't say it was about how to FIND love. Such a quest implies that love is an object or resides in an object - out there somewhere. And that's exactly the sort of sentiment that this book was written to correct. That's exactly what makes this book such an urgent antidote to our current conception of love and to the current tenor of our times.

Our 21st century society is characterized by breezy dismissals such as "I'm just not attracted to you," and "I'm just not that into you." Such attitudes reduce individuals to something less than full human beings. They reduce all players to mere chess pieces being maneuvered by some unseen power, against their will, on a chessboard. And even at that, the chessboard is just one of those miniature, magnetized toys you carry on long trips. Oops, the square lost its magnetism - I'm falling off! Good-bye!

Fromm's main purpose in writing this book was to re-awaken us to become fully active participants in creating the unity of love between two people. As he eloquently points out - love is not an involuntary magnetic attraction or any kind of irresistible impulse. It's a decision, a commitment, and ultimately an art. It calls for a genuinely active spirit and not just a churning busy-ness.

In the first chapters, Fromm distinguishes between true brotherly love, motherly love, fatherly love, love of God, and erotic love. There are a few archaisms along the way that show this book was first published in the 1950's. For example, Fromm implies a belief that homosexuality is a failure to achieve "polarized union," perhaps due to parental or societal imbalances.

Overall though, this man knows love. He ends the books with a brief chapter on how to practice the overarching love that encompasses all the rightful kinds he distinguished. The discipline starts with the practice of little gestures that might at first seem unrelated to the ultimate goal. The art of love turns out to be very like the practice of Zen or the practice of any Eastern religious art. Erich Fromm becomes a sort of Mr. Miagi by our side - "Wax on, wax off." Through this book, he can help launch all of us karate kids into a truer, more fulfilling concept of love.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very profound literature on LOVE, October 27, 2000
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Paperback)
I have finished reading "Art of Loving" by Eric Fromm just yesterday. It is a good book but more based on psychoanalytical studies. It does gives a very good information on the art of loving but less life based examples and more researched material. The description of the kind of love father, mother, son, daughter, and others have is amazing Or rather I would say much well researched. The book does not at any word inspires you to love but just tells you what love is. It does not ask you to start loving but rather gives you the meaning of what love stands for. It is a very good and well written book. In fact to be more precise a well researched book. It is definitely not meant for any of those people who think that reading it will be fun, because it has such profound studies incorporated in it that the book requires definitely a very high sense of understanding and concentration. It is one of those kinds of books which have only hundred pages, but each page is so strong that sometimes it takes two days to understand what the author wants to tell through that page's writting. I would definitely recommend you to read this book as it not only gives the view points of the author but also of the others whome the author has met and read. It is a researched material where the author not only discusses his view points but also every now and then tell and discusses each topic with others opinions and then later comes to the cumulative conclusion. Most of the teachings and the thoughts are though very personal but then that applies to most of the authors writtings and thats okay.
I hope you all will enjoy reading this book as I did.
Happy reading!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For serious reader, May 1, 2005
By 
J. Marui (Belgrade, SCG) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Fromm is one of the classics - along with Freud, Jung, Adler. He studied psychology, philosophy and sociology, received his PhD at the age of 22, became interested in Zen Buddhism at the age of 26. One of the true geniuses.

This book was written in 1956. Here Fromm discusses love from philosophical, psychological and sociological point of view. What love is and isn't? In what ways do we misconceive love? Is love indeed an art? Why do we need it? What is the difference between love of a mother and a father (as archetypes)? He discusses different kinds of love: brotherly love (love to any other human being - just because he is a human being), erotic love, self-love, love to God. The last half of the book is dedicated to how love disintegrates in modern western society and how we can practice love.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thirty-five years later I find this book shaped my life., September 4, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Art of Loving (Paperback)
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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The Art of Loving
The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm (Paperback - November 21, 2006)
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