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The best 12 books by Erich Fromm

The best 12 books by Erich Fromm

September 20, 2022

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

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


  • Related article: "The 30 best Psychology books you can not miss"

Who was Erich Fromm?

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

So, he proposes that to understand the mind it is necessary to explore the positive side of personality and their strengths, instead of focusing on pathological aspects.


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

12 of the best books by Erich Fromm

Below you can find a selection with 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 political expression constrained by fascism or social expression, tending society to make all individuals behave and be a 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 often is love. In this work, another one of the best known and representative of the author, this concept is analyzed and reflection 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 oneself. Love is considered as something that must be cultivated and that is transformed in order to understand the beloved, a work of art in which the person occupies his energies and which implies maturity and learning.

  • To know 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 capacity of the human being when it comes to seeking pleasure or causing pain , about violence and frustration, the love of life or death (referring to Freudian impulses), freedom or aspects such as the Oedipus complex and narcissism.

  • Related article: "Narcissistic personality disorder: how are narcissistic people?"
  • 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 with respect to his thought , relating 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 irrationality, finding some answers in the work of Karl Marx.

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

  • Maybe you're interested: "70 phrases by Erich Fromm to understand his thoughts"

5. The pathology of normality

In this book the author works on a fundamental aspect of his theory, the fact that the normal can become pathological and the 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 because it makes us 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

The current society has left aside the concept of God, leaving a certain void that causes the existence of confusion between what we are and what we have. The consumerism of our time is generated by the absence of a vital sense and a sense of isolation and internal emptiness. The author proposes to try to look for changes in the social structure that can guide the human being to feel liberated and full .

  • To know more about the book use this link.

7. The art of listening

In the texts of this work, Erich Fromm speaks of his way of understanding therapy as a process through which to understand the person and his unconscious. Proposes that the therapist listen to your patient with affection and sympathy , moving away from cold therapeutic relationships based on the theoretical.

  • You can find more information here.

8. Spirit and society

In this posthumous book several articles of Fromm are included in which it is evident what the author considers as a starting point of his theory, the fact that the social requirement causes states of inconsistency in people . This would be one of the factors that would separate Fromm from the psychoanalytic school.

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

  • On this page you can read more about the book.

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 who 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 escape method to focus on getting back to being.

  • To learn more, access this page.

10. About disobedience

Obedience to one's nature and political disobedience are the subject on which this work is based, which summarizes the author's thoughts on the subject. The author indicates that the human being must have met the needs of identity, relationship, transcendence and belonging, criticizing the obstacles posed by society so that we are able to fulfill them. Falling in blind obedience and totalitarianism can damage the integrity of the person and ignore the value of people and life.

  • You will find more information about the work through this link.

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 psycodynamics.

  • 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 big mistake in trying to separate the psychological from the moral in patients, ignoring that it is also part of the person and their experiences (care must be taken to help the patient form a positive ethic and character) . This ethic should not be authoritarian, like the superego and censorship, but must be humanistic and objectivist, based on self-love and self-acceptance and the deployment of potential.

  • To read more about the book, click here.


Book Discussion: The Fear of Freedom by Eric Fromm (September 2022).


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