The 12 Best Books By Erich Fromm

A literary selection of interesting essays written by the father of humanistic psychoanalysis.

There is a wide variety of psychoanalytic theories. From Freudian psychoanalysis to divergent currents such as Adler’s individual psychology or Carl Jung’s deep, numerous authors have studied the human psyche from the postulates that originate the psychodynamic approach.

One of the thinkers and writers who differs the most in this regard is Erich Fromm, author of a current that mixed psychoanalytic theories with humanist philosophy. He was responsible for offering a vision of the psychodynamic current more focused on the social and on the need to motivate reflection from inspiring ideas. In this article we are going to review the main books of Erich Fromm.

Who was Erich Fromm?

Fromm is considered the father of humanistic psychoanalysis. He believed that, while the patient’s pain and suffering are elements of great importance, the focus should be on the pursuit of happiness and well-being. In other words, he considered that to overcome discomfort and pain it is necessary for the subject to accept himself and develop affection, giving meaning to his life and the pain suffered.

Thus, he proposes that to understand the mind, it is necessary to explore the positive side of the personality and its strengths, instead of concentrating on pathological aspects.

  • You can read more about this author in the following article: “ Erich Fromm: biography of the father of humanist psychoanalysis ”.

12 of Erich Fromm’s best books

Below you can find a selection of the best books by Erich Fromm, considered among the most relevant of his work.

1. The fear of freedom

Considered one of the main and most important works of Fromm, in this essay the author works on the concept of freedom and its meaning for the modern human being.

Here, this thinker analyzes the concept in society and the fall of the human being in aspects that put it in crisis. The book also explains some of the aspects of freedom that are currently compromised, such as its political expression restricted by fascism or social expression, society tending to make all individuals behave and be in a certain way. homogeneous.

  • If you are interested in this book, you can learn more about it  by clicking here.

2. The art of loving

One of the concepts that Fromm works on often is love. In this work, another of the best known and most representative of the author, this concept is analyzed and reflected on what it means to love.

The author delves into the various forms of expression of love, both towards the couple and towards family, friends or even towards himself. Love is seen as something that must be cultivated and transformed in order to understand the loved one, a work of art in which the person uses his or her energies and that implies maturity and learning.

  • To learn more about this work, access  this page.

3. The heart of man

The third of Fromm’s top works is The Heart of Man. Here, the author analyzes and reflects on aspects such as the ability of the human being to seek pleasure or cause pain, on violence and frustration, the love of life or death (referring to Freudian drives), the freedom or aspects such as the Oedipus complex and narcissism.

  • Related article: “ Narcissistic Personality Disorder: What are narcissistic people like? “
  • If you are interested in the book,  click here.

4. Beyond the chains of illusion

This book was defined by Fromm himself as an intellectual autobiography regarding his thought, recounting some vital experiences (such as the suicide of a young woman and the experience of the First World War) that marked him and made him look for an explanation about the irrationality, finding some answers in the work of Karl Marx.

Furthermore, in this book Fromm confronts the ideas of Freud and Marx, which were the origin of his thought, working on concepts such as individual and social responsibility.

5. The pathology of normality

In this book the author works on a fundamental aspect of his theory, the fact that what is normal can become pathological and what is pathological can be normal. For the author, the pathology usually develops due to the attempt to adapt to what is demanded by an increasingly demanding society, deteriorating the mental state of people due to the fact that we are increasingly unable to link ourselves to reality.

  • Do you want to know more about the book? Click here.

6. And you will be like gods

Today’s society has put aside the concept of God, leaving a certain void that causes confusion between what we are and what we possess. The consumerism typical of our time is generated by the absence of a vital sense and a feeling of isolation and internal emptiness. The author proposes trying to find changes in the social structure that can guide the human being to feel liberated and full.

7. The art of listening

In the texts of this work, Erich Fromm talks about his way of understanding therapy as a process through which to understand the person and their unconscious. It proposes that the therapist listen to his patient with affection and sympathy, moving away from cold and theoretical-based therapeutic relationships.

  • You can find more information  here.

8. Spirit and society

This posthumous book includes various articles by Fromm in which it is evident what the author considers as the starting point of his theory, the fact that social demands cause states of inconsistency in people. This would be one of the factors that would separate Fromm from the psychoanalytic school.

It also talks about aspects such as the understanding of the social unconscious, the therapeutic relationship, the bureaucracy or the paradoxes that society makes us face.

9. From having to being

Fromm proposes in this book that today’s society is immersed in a situation in which being is confused with having, so that whoever has more is who is better. Therefore, people must analyze their own life and way of thinking, proposing that we live with love and reason as the main pillars. Pain and suffering are necessary to become wise, so we must forget about the method of flight and focus on becoming again.

10. On disobedience

Obedience to one’s own nature and political disobedience are the theme on which this work is based, which summarizes the author’s thinking in this regard. The author indicates that the realized human being must have the needs of identity, relationship, transcendence and belonging, criticizing the obstacles that society puts so that we are able to fulfill them. Falling into blind obedience and totalitarianism can damage the integrity of the person and ignore the value of people and life.

11. The forgotten language

This book deals with one of the aspects that have been strongly analyzed by psychoanalysis: dreams. In this book Fromm intends to participate in the analysis of the symbolic elements of dreams, helping us to understand what they mean and how they can help us understand the unconscious according to the paradigm of psychocodynamics.

  • If you want to get this book, you can start the process  here.

12. Ethics and psychoanalysis

In this work Fromm raises the need to apply an ethics in the world of psychology, considering that psychoanalysis has made a great mistake when trying to separate the psychological from the moral in patients, ignoring that this is also part of the person and their experiences (try to help the patient to form positive ethics and character). Said ethics should not be authoritarian, like that of the superego and censorship, but must be humanistic and objectivist, based on self-love and self-acceptance and the unfolding of potentialities.

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