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Why We Love

The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

By Helen Fisher
18-minute read
Audio available
Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher

Helen Fisher’s Why We Love (2004) is not only a report on her latest astonishing research but a sensitive description of the infinite facets of romantic love. This book is a scientifically grounded examination of love that reveals how, why and who we love.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“Curious to find out why love affects our brains the same way as cocaine? Want to understand how evolution is linked to the prevailing structure of monogamy? A perfect title for those interested in the biological side of love.”

– Justyna, Web Product Designer

  • Anyone who wants to understand romantic love
  • Anyone interested in emotions and the brain
  • Anyone who wants to maintain the feeling of romantic love in their relationship

Helen Fisher is an American biological anthropologist recognized as a leading authority on the subject of love. She has published five books describing the evolution and experience of love.

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Why We Love

The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

By Helen Fisher
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
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Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher
Synopsis

Helen Fisher’s Why We Love (2004) is not only a report on her latest astonishing research but a sensitive description of the infinite facets of romantic love. This book is a scientifically grounded examination of love that reveals how, why and who we love.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“Curious to find out why love affects our brains the same way as cocaine? Want to understand how evolution is linked to the prevailing structure of monogamy? A perfect title for those interested in the biological side of love.”

– Justyna, Web Product Designer

Key idea 1 of 11

The characteristics of romantic love are universal.

When we’re in love, we feel like we’re experiencing something unique to us. But, looking back across time and cultures, there are symptoms everyone feels when they fall in love.

One common symptom is the significance we give to those we love. We become intensely focused on our beloved, and they pervade our thoughts, dreams and actions. We believe they are unique and flawless, and idealize them to the extent that we see everything they do – even their weaknesses – through rose-colored glasses. 

For example, your beloved might have crooked teeth or a speech impediment like a lisp. And although these imperfections are generally seen as unattractive, you perceive them as part of their cuteness or specialness because they belong to the one you love. 

These feelings of love are shared by people across the world. 

The author’s studies have shown that these experiences of love are the same for everyone – independent of age, culture or sexual orientation. 

But surely there are differences in how love is experienced around the world, right?

Indeed, but where differences between societies exist, there are clear cultural explanations. In one of the author’s studies, many more Japanese than American participants agreed with the statement “When I am talking to [the person I love] I am often afraid that I will say the wrong thing.” This can be explained by the fact that, in Japanese society, meeting a member of the opposite sex is more formal and less frequent than in America. This shyness is therefore a consequence of culture, rather than the love itself being different.

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