How to Love Book Summary - How to Love Book explained in key points
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How to Love summary

Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindful lessons on love

4.4 (369 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh is a guide to cultivating meaningful and compassionate relationships. It encourages taking care of oneself and others, communication, and presence in order to foster healthy connections.

Table of Contents

    How to Love
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Love must be nourished with happiness and shared with others.

    Imagine adding a spoon of salt to a glass of water. It’ll be undrinkable, right? But what if you add the same amount to a river? A spoonful of salt won’t change much at all.

    Love is a bit like that.

    If our hearts are small, the tiniest faults and failings of those around us can enrage us. If we expand our hearts, however, we become capable of treating others with compassion and empathy.

    So how do you become more loving?

    Love needs sustenance. It needs happiness.

    That’s because love is a living thing and, like every other breathing being, it needs nourishment.

    Happiness is the food of love. When you’re happy, you become capable of loving both yourself and others.

    But that begs the question: What is happiness?

    Zen Buddhism can provide a few insights.

    Happiness can’t be attained by fulfilling superficial desires. It’s the fruit of mindfulness. Take walking. If you focus your attention on every single movement of your body and forget your eventual destination and the reason you’re trying to get there, you’ll begin to understand what happiness is.

    That’s because mindfulness is about experiencing and appreciating the present moment. When we’re attentive to the present, we begin to notice how much beauty there is in the world. We can truly appreciate the joys of something as simple as a blossoming flower.

    But don’t keep this to yourself! Beauty, like love and happiness, is made for sharing.

    Practicing mindfulness is a great way of learning how to share these gifts with other people.

    Imagine going for a walk with a friend who’s preoccupied and worried about something. You can bring happiness and love into their troubled reflections just by pointing out the things that warm your heart, whether it’s the sun or the play of clouds in the sky above you.

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    What is How to Love about?

    How to Love (2015) is an indispensable collection of teachings on the subject of love from the world-renowned Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. Packed full of wisdom and insight, this aphoristic handbook unlocks the mysteries of true love in its exploration of what it means to love ourselves, our partners and the world itself.

    How to Love Review

    How to Love (2014) explores the importance of love and offers practical advice on cultivating deep connections. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides insightful perspectives on love, helping readers understand the complexities of relationships.
    • Offering actionable practices, it guides readers in developing a more compassionate and understanding approach to love.
    • By discussing the different forms of love and how they manifest, the book inspires self-reflection and encourages personal growth.

    Best quote from How to Love

    Ask yourself, Who can I make smile this morning? This is the art of happiness.

    —Thich Nhat Hanh
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    Who should read How to Love?

    • Star-crossed lovers
    • Singles looking for their Mr – or Ms – Darcy
    • Anyone searching for mindful answers to the conundrums of love

    About the Author

    Thich Nhat Hanh was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. He was both a spiritual teacher of mindfulness known around the globe and a prolific author of essays, books, and poems. His previous books include the best sellers Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames and The Miracle of Mindfulness.

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    How to Love FAQs 

    What is the main message of How to Love?

    The main message of How to Love is to cultivate love and deepen our relationships through mindfulness and compassion.

    How long does it take to read How to Love?

    The reading time for How to Love varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is How to Love a good book? Is it worth reading?

    How to Love is a worthwhile book for anyone looking to find joy and fulfillment in their relationships. It provides practical advice and insights for cultivating love and connection.

    Who is the author of How to Love?

    The author of How to Love is Thich Nhat Hanh.

    What to read after How to Love?

    If you're wondering what to read next after How to Love, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh
    • The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh
    • The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
    • Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh and Lilian Cheung
    • Why We Love by Helen Fisher
    • The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills
    • A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis
    • The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh
    • The Four Noble Truths of Love by Susan Piver
    • Relationship Goals by Michael Todd