The Art of Loving

Erich Fromm

The Art of Loving



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In his great twentieth century non-fiction classic, Erich Fromm suggests there is one overriding solution to our primordial need to overcome solitude and a sense of separation. The solution is love, which can take many forms: maternal love, erotic love, fraternal love, the love of God, and the love of the self. There are also many forms of pseudo love which, unfortunately, are ever-present in modern Western society, which is devoted to capitalism. The Art of Loving is a book about love which provides a great deal of food for thought: written in simple yet engaging language, this book teaches us that love means giving more than you receive, committing wholeheartedly, and cultivating love as though it were an artform, each and every day.

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Analysis and key concepts


Love is an art we should learn to help us overcome our mistaken beliefs about love itself


Love is the solution to all the problems of human existence


The key pillars of love: give more than you take, cultivate thoughtfulness, responsibility, respect and knowledge


A child, the object of everyone’s love: we can all become objects of love


Loving yourself and loving God: two more important objects of love


Western society lacks the necessary conditions for the development of love


Love in practice: the development of discipline, concentration and patience


To love is to overcome your own self-absorption and to act with faith, courage and humility




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand that love is not casual, but it is an act that requires commitment.
  • Think about the disintegration of love in modern society.
  • Practise the art of loving every day.

Born in Frankfurt in 1900, and laid to rest in Locarno in 1980, Erich Fromm was a psychologist, psychoanalyst and philosopher. After successfully completing a degree in sociology at the University of Heidelberg, he studied psychology at the University of Munich, and at the Institute of Psychoanalysis in Berlin. In 1926, he began to practise as a psychologist, and four years later, was accepted as a member of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research. Coming from a Jewish family, he was forced to move in 1934 to the United States, where he taught at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and Yale. Later he moved to Mexico. Among his most well-known books are The Art of Loving, Escape from Freedom, Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, Disobedience and Love for Life.

Publishing house:

Harper Perennial