This book speaks about the way to love in the sense of the path that one must travel to arrive at, or reside in, a state of love. The book is not a discussion of the method or manner of love that you would express to another person; it’s not a relationship guide.
Essentially de Mello advocates for a Buddhist-style renunciation of desire and fear, and a complete acceptance of reality. Only by seeing clearly and remaining unencumbered by our preferences or dislikes can we truly accept and love the world, the things in it, and our own existence.
The book is quite unexpected. Each chapter opens with a quote from the bible, but explicit references within the text to Christian doctrine are completely absent. God is only mentioned a few times, and is not personified or otherwise equated to what could be considered a traditional Catholic rendering of God. Given the fact that de Mello was a priest, this is strange an interesting. His Wikipedia page recounts some details about his life and spiritual evolution.
The book was clearly influenced by Buddhist ideas. This book lays out many Buddhist concepts, such as non-attachment, present-moment focus, awareness/enlightenment in much more understandable ways than any other books or talks on Buddhism I’ve experienced. Essentially he’s translated those concepts into language that is easier for me to understand, though my prior experience probably helped me to grasp his arguments more easily.
Ideas per Page:1 5/10, medium, but I’m familiar with many of the concepts from other books
Related Books: Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Damien Keown; Mindfullness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana; Waking Up by Sam Harris; Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Recommend to Others: Highly
Reread Personally: Yes
Quotes: I didn’t take any quotes because I fully intend to read it again and didn’t want to be distracted with that task. The book is so quotable that I would have been quoting every page, and it’s better to just read the whole thing.
1 A measure of the number of new or distinct ideas introduced per page. 10/10 would be conceptually dense, like a textbook. 1/10 would be almost completely fluff.