Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Love” as Want to Read:
How to Love
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Love

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  225 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Dr. Gordon Livingston’s books have resonated with readers as universally and deeply as earlier books by M. Scott Peck, Rollo May, and Erich Fromm. Now, Gordon Livingston—a physician of the human heart, a philosopher of human psychology—offers an urgently needed meditation on who best (and who best not) to love—and how best to love. Dr. Livingston’s primary focus in this ne ...more
Hardcover, 205 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Da Capo Lifelong Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Love, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Love

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  225 ratings  ·  29 reviews

More filters
Sort order
May 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
I normally don't write book reviews, but I feel compelled to in this case because this is one of the worst books I have ever read, for multiple reasons:

1. It's sexist. He makes a comparison between the increasing divorce rate and the women's rights movement. First of all, statistics 101--correlation does not equal causation. Secondly, has he never read one of the seminal women's rights books of all time "The Feminine Mystique"?? Wives and mothers were angry and frustrated long before the second
Oct 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
Took me forever to muddle through this waste. Author is judgmental and oversimplifies most topics. I especially did not like the way he presented a veritable "Who to Avoid" list which included people who have been abused to those with mental illness; it was almost as if these people are unworthy, hopeless and a waste of time. It also seemed to me that the implications were there to suggest people should marry within race, only those from upper middle class homes where there was a stay at home mo ...more
Jul 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: skimmed
Mark Helprin says Gordon Livingston was brushed by fire; I'd say more like scorched and scarred. I brought this home because I can't stand not knowing HOW to do anything, most especially LOVE. Gordon suggests that we stay away from sociopaths. Check. Also depressed people.


Livingston writes for the young love-seeker, but with the gristle of an old heart. I couldn't stomach much.

GREAT title, though; and I hold on to an idea found here: that we seek in others what we want to find in ourselves.
Apr 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Reading this on and off at the moment. It's got some good advice, and some insightful social commentary, but the tone is quite cynical and jaded. Not a happy la-la book at all!

Edit: Read most of this but it was so cynical, whiney and repetitive that I couldn't finish it.
Akhil Jain
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My fav quotes:
• Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. Even our capacity for love can betray us; taken to obsessive extremes, it can beget something very like hate.
• And given our human fallibility, the most important quality may turn out to be the ability to forgive.
• We cannot teach what we do not know
• If we wish, therefore, to protect ourselves from disappointment at the hands of others, and if we think it important to recognize those who will enrich our lives, we had best learn
Lawrence Danks
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Livingston's book is a great guide to love and finding it in your life. His chapters are succinct and pithy, making it a straightforward and highly productive read. I've shown my Amazon review of his book below:

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding The Right Life Partner & Avoiding The Wrong Ones, July 6, 2009
By Lawrence J. Danks (Barrington,NJ) - See all my reviews

This review is from: "How to Love" (Hardcover)

"How To Love" could just as easily have
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Hhmm, it was ok. Kind of basic. Choose somebody who is kind, generous and generally embodies qualities that you would like to cultivate. Avoid vapid narcissistic types who lack empathy.

There were a few pearls of wisdom that I will take away, such as that we often conflate pleasure with happiness....very true, i'd not thought of it this way. But somehow I've walked away with very little new information....maybe I've missed something? There was a great list of character traits that we can all asp
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Hmm. This book is about what characteristics/character flaws you should avoid in a person, because if you don't they will break your heart.

And to attract a mate who has the qualities you want (which he also elucidates) you must tend and grow those qualities in yourself. This is the kind of book which has the advice you should be hearing from the elders in your tribe/community.

To get a good idea of this book, read the table of contents. For example, "The most dangerous thing to eat is a weddin
Joel Blackwell
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book lists and defines the kinds of people you meet in a journey through singlehood that you should avoid and then the ones to seek out. For example, there is a great section reviewing the characteristics of people from mild self absorption through narcissism into a sociopath. I've met them all and wish I'd had this guidebook earlier.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Should be everyone's handbook kept in their bag for everyday emergencies.
Apr 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Not sure if I found this more insightful or infuriating. Some good thinking points and fuel for cynicism?
Dilly Dalley
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
I bought and read this because I enjoyed "Too soon old, Too late smart". I just like the way Gordon Livingston writes about life and love. It is like having a conversation with a wise, supportive and insightful person who isn't afraid to tell the truth.

'How to Love' can be read by people starting out on their journey of finding a life partner and it would help you to frame what to look for, and who to be in order to be a loving person. If, however, you've found yourself picking a range of partn
Jazzy Mireles
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Jasmine Mireles
English 2
How to Love Book Review
By Gordon Livingston

This book is about a list of virtues a human being uses when hunting for a mate this includes, beauty, courage, flexibility, honesty, humor, intelligence, kindness, loyalty, optimism and tolerance.
Livingston, a psychiatrist gives advice on how to improve these qualities in ourselves in order to attract someone who we can happily spend our lives with. He also lists the personalities and how to recognize them that we should
Sondra Wilson
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Saw this in the new release section of the library and of course had my interest piqued by the thought of an instruction manual for love. From the head of a psychologist who's done much marriage counseling it was a good reminder of how we make that decision to 'love' someone and how we can so often screw up the concept, melt it into a power struggle or fight for control. Livingston attempts to shed light on how 'love' becomes bickering - arguments over equality and criticism of character. He rem ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I would never have picked up this beautifully bound book with self-helpless title, except I found it at the Pt. Reyes bookstore, and they know hidden gems. This book puts down in cold type serious groups of people to avoid, and then spells out what each of us are looking for in others. Sounds simple. His goal is that we pass on this body of knowledge about human relationships to our children. They shouldn't have to flounder and learn painfully. Almost elegant. Author of "Too Soon Old, Too Late S ...more
Corina Hawkins
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is some great advice in this book and worth reading to identify traits in yourself and others. I liked the section about being the person that you would love. There were sections I found sexist, he did position his arguments based on research and time with patients, but I was surprised by some of the associations of divorce rates increasing with the equality in relationships becoming more balanced.
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
This book should more accurately be titled, Whom Not To's fairly basic stuff (Avoid the Beautiful and Charming Narcissists!!! Choose a Person of Good Character Who is Committed to Personal Growth and Supports Your Personal Growth!!!), but advice that too few of us internalize early in life...I would recommend it for teenagers...I think most teenagers and early twentysomethings could benefit from this book.
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting read - giving me food for thought - on how I would be in a relationship myself. In what areas or traits of myself would cause people to be happy, or unhappy, and ultimately, potentially leaving me. It also highlights things about expectations, especially between a parent and child which was very different to my upbringing, but I could see value in his words.
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pretty good. Not necessarily judgmental but does dance on the line at times. It helps remove a lot of fantasy tied in with relationships. A lot of it stuff you already sorta know but don't listen to, atleast for me it is. It is a good read to become more grounded in searching and making relationships. Very practical and applicable.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it
A good read for reminding one how to spot red flags when we're attracted to a person, relying heavily on the DSM diagnoses. Sometimes felt like no match can be healthy, but if you stick with it there are moments of hope. Sort of like real life.
Kathy Skinner
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While Gordon Livingston doesn't share the faith that is so much a part of my life, he has amazing understanding and insight of relationships and human nature! This book is very helpful.
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really great book. Quick read. Practical, solid advice and wisdom.
Very marriage oriented. Not my thing at this time.
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Exceptional book, read it one afternoon.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting for a re-read to glean new insights.
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
it was ok..interesting but not the type of book I want to read all the time
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
like it and keep it handy
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book.
rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2014
Calum Scott
rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Depression Fallout: The Impact of Depression on Couples and What You Can Do to Preserve the Bond
  • The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
  • The Wit Of Oscar Wilde
  • 10,000 Ways to Say I Love You: The Biggest Collection of Romantic Ideas Ever Gathered in One Place
  • Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation
  • Mrs Darley's Pagan Whispers: A Celebration of Pagan Festivals, Sacred Days, Spirituality and Traditions of the Year
  • The Turning Kiss (Midnight Playground, #3)
  • In the Shadow of the Shaman: Connecting with Self, Nature, and Spirit
  • The Queen's House: A Social History of Buckingham Palace
  • The Symphony of Ages Boxed Set I (Symphony of Ages, #1-3)
  • Up the Line to Death
  • Life of the Party: The Biography of Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman
  • Reflected Glory: The Life of Pamela Churchill Harriman
  • Someone to Watch Over Me
  • Can You Get Hooked on Lip Balm?: Top Cosmetic Scientists Answer Your Questions about the Lotions, Potions and Other Beauty Products You Use Every Day
  • Empire of the Stars: Obsession, Friendship and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes
  • Dark Palace
  • My Mind Is Not Always My Friend, a Guide for How to Not Get in Your Own Way
See similar books…
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »