Book Notes: Love & Connection

Love & Connection is a fantastically concise category. There is not one book that really dominates the section, even though there was potential for that, which makes it a nice sampling.

However, I did use subcategories in this section. The first is a ‘General’ section. The general section is followed by a ‘Suffering’ subcategory. Finally, the last subcategory is ‘Romantic’.

Again, books and authors are listed as they appear;

  • Noah Levine, Heart of the Revolution
  • Alain de Botton, How Proust Can Change Your Life
  • Sebastian Junger, Tribe
  • Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis
  • Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens
  • Frank Lutz, Words That Work
  • Robert Greene, 48 Laws of POwer
  • Timothy Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves 
  • MItch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie
  • Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
  • Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
  • Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)
  • Meg Jay, The Defining Decade
  • Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha, Sex at Dawn
  • Esther Perel, Mating In Captivity 
  • Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning

This section will dance between connection and love pretty frequently, I wouldn’t approach it thinking it’s going to be all about romantic relationships. I hope you find something you enjoy!

Other posts in Book Notes Series


Heart of the Revolution

Noah Levine

“Hate cannot drive out hate

but by love alone it is conquered.

This is the ancient truth.”

This book opens with a story of the Buddhist monk that began chanting this in front of people during (if I remember correctly) a time when many people were being displaced and killed.

How Proust Can Change Your Life

Alain de Botton

“The best way for you to validate our friendship is to accept this gift.”

This phrase, as de Bottom describes it, was something Marcel Proust would say before he bought someone lunch.

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

Sebatian Junger

“Today’s veterans often come home to find that, although they’re willing to die for their country, they’re not sure how to live for it.”

“What people miss presumably isn’t danger or loss but the unity that these things often offer.”

The Happiness Hypothesis

Jonathan Haidt

People with more and stronger social networks or relationships are happier.

This relates back to the previous post on Understanding & Growth when I reference Haidt’s formula on happiness.


Yuval Noah Harari

“It takes a tribe to raise a human.”

Have you ever seen someone else’s kid doing something you thought was wrong? Did you want to tell them to stop? Did you actually tell them to stop? What do you think would have happened if you did say something? Would you have said something if you knew them better?


This picture was taken out of Sapiens, and it shows (obviously) how our culture and world has seemingly changed. What have we traded, or forgone for our current life? Can it be balanced?

Words That Work

Frank Lutz

“As Warren Beaty,…, once told me, people will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

I remember very little from this book besides this quote. It reminds me of something else I was told once, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Try to remember the last nice complement someone gave you. Do you remember what they said? Is it easier to remember how you felt about it?

48 Laws of Power

Robert Greene

“Why maddam,” Lincoln replied, “do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

Lincoln is, of course, Abraham Lincoln and this is quite a famous story. If there was ever an example of wisdom, I believe this is it.

Strangers to Ourselves

Timothy Wilson

[talking about how well other people were able to predict the cause of a persons bad/good emotions] and the second best predictor of the feelings of a day is whether a person did or did not have contacts with friends or relatives.


Tuesdays With Morrie

MItch Albrom

“At the end, one of the biggest troubles within yourself could be lack of forgiveness. Always forgive, even yourself.”

This emotion of this quote rests on the quiet weight of realizing the most important person to forgive is yourself. It also might be the hardest person to forgive.

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”

Heart of the Revolution

Noah Levine

Respond to pain with compassion, clinging to pleasure will only cause suffering, aversion will cause more suffering. Pain is a part of life, suffering is controllable.

“No one is exempt from full responsibility for all his or her intentional actions or inactions…ignorance is not an excuse… In our hearts we know that hurting any living being is wrong, no matter what our religion says.

Search for the aversion in life. Use awareness to see your weakness.

How Proust Can Change Your Life

Alain de Botton

“Griefs, at the moment when they change into ideas, lose some of their power to injure our heart.”

Beautifully put.



The Prophet

Kahlil Gibran

“You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. ”

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)

Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson

Relationship free fall: contempt criticism laced with name calling or mocking is one of the strongest indicators that a relationship is in free fall.

Successful couples have a ratio of five times as many positive interactions (such as expressions of love, affection, and humor) to negative ones (such as expressions of annoyance and complaints).”

The Defining Decade

Meg Jay

Steady Relationships: studies in US and Europe show that being in a steady relationship helps 20somethings feel more secure and responsible whether they last or not. They reduce social anxiety and depression. They help with managing emotions and building interpersonal skills and can help on days when being in our twenties gets us down.

Interesting point of view to consider. Which path would truly be the way to “live it up?”

The Happiness Hypothesis

Jonathan Haidt

Love is intense for a short while, then subsides but then grows with togetherness though time, eclipsing that initial surge.

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means For Modern Relationships

Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

Sex for pleasure is very much a uniquely human thing. Sex strictly for reproductive purposes is more animalistic. Example used is a horny monkey is acting more human than a man or woman only having sex once or twice a year.

People pair off for days, hours, or years. Some anthropologists may say this means that marriage is universal, or use the word pair bond to describe it. English language cannot fully describe the human experience.

I truly believe that the overwhelming minority is people who only have one sexual partner in their life. How natural is a divorce after four years? Ten years? What seems more true or logical when you observe the world? Where do the statistics stand with relationships and marriages?

Mating In Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

Ester Perel

“Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling.”

“Erotic intelligence is about creating distance, then bringing that space to life.”

There is more than one way to open up. Some men don’t like the prison of words but say more through sex or actions. Communication is more than just talking.

The main focus here in the beginning seems to be separateness. Closeness and security are the goals of a marriage, love, intimacy but desire and eroticism are kindled by mystery and uncertainty.

“Where there is nothing left to hide, there is nothing left to seek.”

“Just think about the last thing you had to have until you owned it. Now that it’s yours, you may enjoy it, you may love it, but do you still want it? Do you even remember how much you wanted it in the first place?”

This is hands down the most important note section of this category. If you are in a relationship, serious contemplation of what is put forth here can be very useful. One of the biggest failures that I have experienced in relationships comes from the first section of note quotation. How much pressure are putting on your significant other to be everything you need? More importantly, how much better could your relationship be if your life helped provide some of these important aspects too?

48 Laws of Power

Robert Greene

Love never dies of starvation but often of indigestion

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahnman

They cite John Gottman the well known expert in marital relations who observed that the long term success of a relationship depends far more on avoiding the negative then on seeking the positive.

Man’s Search For Meaning

Viktor Frankl

“[…] the truth, that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry, human thought and belief have to impart. The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understand that a man who has nothing else in this world still may know bliss, for only a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved […] When his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way, an honorable way, in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his believed, achieve fulfillment.”


I really enjoyed this section, and am looking forward to the next… Understanding and Growth (Part 2)


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