Love Your Enemies

How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt
Narrated by: Will Damron
Length: 6 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Politics
4.5 out of 5 stars (471 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

To get ahead today, you have to be a jerk, right?

Divisive politicians. Screaming heads on television. Angry campus activists. Twitter trolls. Today in America, there is an “outrage industrial complex” that prospers by setting American against American. 

Meanwhile, one in six Americans have stopped talking to close friends and family members over politics. Millions are organizing their social lives and curating their news and information to avoid hearing viewpoints differing from their own. Ideological polarization is at higher levels than at any time since the Civil War. 

America has developed a “culture of contempt” - a habit of seeing people who disagree with us not as merely incorrect or misguided, but as worthless. Maybe you dislike it - more than nine out of 10 Americans say they are tired of how divided we have become as a country. But hey, either you play along, or you’ll be left behind, right?

Wrong. 

In Love Your Enemies, New York Times best-selling author and social scientist Arthur C. Brooks shows that treating others with contempt and out-outraging the other side is not a formula for lasting success. Blending cutting-edge behavioral research, ancient wisdom, and a decade of experience leading one of America’s top policy think tanks, Love Your Enemies offers a new way to lead based not on attacking others but on bridging national divides and mending personal relationships.

Brooks’ prescriptions are unconventional. To bring America together, he argues, we shouldn’t try to agree more. There is no need for mushy moderation, because disagreement is the secret to excellence. Civility and tolerance shouldn’t be our goals, because they are hopelessly low standards. And our feelings toward our foes are irrelevant; what matters is how we choose to act.

Love Your Enemies is not just a guide to being a better person. It offers a clear strategy for victory for a new generation of leaders. It is a rallying cry for people hoping for a new era of American progress. Most of all, it is a road map to arrive at the happiness that comes when we choose to love one another, despite our differences.

©2019 Arthur C. Brooks (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

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Something for everyone

Excellent content! Wish everyone would read it, it would really change how we interact with each other.
The narrator did a good job but I would liked to have heard Mr. Brooks' voice.

5 people found this helpful

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must read for everyone

this is a must read for everyone, no matter where you're political views fall, this is a life lesson

4 people found this helpful

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Just what I needed

I do not like to see others with contempt. It does not make me feel right. I have strong feelings about some issues and have tried to work for change in some areas. (Our broken immigration system) I had bought into the culture of contempt partly against my will. This book has opened my eyes to some of the things I was doing and taught me some better ways. I just finished the book and plan on going through it again to better internalize some of its lessons.

3 people found this helpful

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Superficial strategy that doesn't go deep.

It struck me that this book isn't actually about building a relationship with others, it is about power- your power over your feelings. Its premise is in willpower, as in, 'will yourself to love others'. While I do not disagree that this is possible, it leaves out the experience of the other person and forces the unmet needs in yourself to be suppressed. Therefore, as I understand it, Brook's ideas are actually a recipe for the culture of contempt he is trying to prevent. He is writing from the perspective of 'power-over (yourself)' and this is not a fundamental shift from 'power-over (your enemies)'. In other words, it seems to me that he needs to embrace a strategy of 'power-with (yourself and others)' or he will end up replicating the same problems he is trying to address. This takes a lot of vulnerability and questioning (bringing up cognitive dissonance) to do but creates the greatest opportunity for a culture of trust to emerge. It is hard to go this path without support, and harder still when books like this and the mainstream culture are proclaiming the opposite strategy (power-over).

What is needed is compassion and understanding, both for self and others, because that transforms hate naturally, and deep down, I would recommend "Braiding Sweetgrass" or anything about nonviolent communications by Marshall Rosenberg instead of this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book excepting the narration

Love your enemies is a badly needed book given how divided and partisan our society has become. Arthur C. Brooks shares really useful lessons and steps to practice loving ones enemies. I definitely hope to put those principles to practice. I didn’t care much for Will’s monotonous tone though. Wish Arthur had actually narrated his own writing with the passion it deserved. That’s why I gave it one star less.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book! I finished it the day I got it.

This book could be a real blueprint for changing the culture in a positive way.

2 people found this helpful

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Gospel principles applied to public life.

Religion is mentioned only in passing in this book, but the thought that repeatedly occurred to me while reading is that this man knows how to apply the true underlying principles of the Christian gospel to life as we experience it in the public forum. What a country we would have if we learned to agree and disagree with love and respect rather than contempt. This is a great book filled with great ideas.

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Worth Your Time

Exceptional discourse on the ways political polarization has affected this country and actions we can take in our day to day lives to reverse that trend.

1 person found this helpful

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should be required reading

what an amazing important book for these times. I would recommend it to anyone at all involved in politics.

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Political Therapy When We Need It The Most

Arthur Brooks offers an alternative to the masochistic plague of political vitriol we can’t seem to quit today.

1 person found this helpful