The Authentic Lover

Reclaiming love’s beauty and power

Non-Fiction - Relationships
204 Pages
Reviewed on 02/25/2017
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Author Biography

A longtime student of Love and of Buddhism, Chris Hakim has lived in seven countries on three continents and stopped at Mountain View, California for longer than usual. He is a self-taught electronics engineer and holds the degree of Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He is also the coauthor of Essentials of Tibetan Traditional Medicine.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Authentic Lover: Reclaiming Love's Beauty and Power is a nonfiction book on Relationships, Gender and Sexuality written by Chris Hakim. Hakim is a long-time student of Buddhism as well as a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to the author, loving and harmonious relationships face challenges in the form of "the four great enemies...violence, pettiness, vanity and our reproductive agenda." He posits the following four virtues of “gentleness, grace, charm and mystery” as those things which can be developed to overcome the enemies of love. Hakim presents studies on religious and cultural traditions to help readers explore and more fully understand each of the traditional enemies and their respective virtues, and gain insights on how our cultural and habitual responses and expectations can be recognized and modified where warranted. He does not seek to impose his views upon the reader; rather, he encourages reflection and an awareness of what he/she can accomplish, given the guidance, "the scaffolding of ideas, a road map" provided within his text. Each of the four sections of his work concludes with suggested topics for contemplation which address the issues covered and serve to summarize the pertinent concepts. Hakim also includes a List of Reprint Permissions, Endnotes, and an extensive Bibliography.

Chris Hakim's non-fiction book on Relationships, Gender and Sexuality, The Authentic Lover: Reclaiming Love's Beauty and Power, is a rigorously researched and fascinating look at love throughout the ages. He examines each of the four great enemies with the dispassionate gaze of the anthropologist to enable the reader to likewise cast aside his cultural preconceptions and view love and relationships through a different lens. I particularly enjoyed seeing Hakim's analysis of courtly love in his second section of Pettiness and Grace, and couldn't help but smile at his subsection entitled: How to kiss like in the movies. Hakim's discussion of the matriarchal society of the Tuareg was also enlightening and well-suited to the surrounding discussion. The Contemplation suggestions at the end of each chapter are brilliant! I found they helped anchor the preceding material in my mind and guided my continuing awareness and utilization of the concepts presented. This thought-provoking and beautifully presented text is a treasure-house of lore on how to best build a deep and enduring relationship with a loved one. The Authentic Lover: Reclaiming Love's Beauty and Power is most highly recommended.

Kathryn Bennett

The Authentic Lover by Chris Hakim takes us into the world of looking at relationships. It asks hard questions like why is there so much conflict around the idea of sexuality? How can relationships start out so well, full of hope, love and joy, and then fall into a routine that feels like you are just doing a chore like washing the dishes. This book will tackle all of the hardest topics of love and relationships today. You will take a guided journey through traditional thoughts on love and relationships, and come out on the other side also looking at more modern thoughts, so you get a full picture.

As someone who has gone through a bad divorce after a decade of marriage, I was excited to read this book and it did not disappoint. This is a book that really starts to hit the issues and allows you to look squarely at the different pitfalls that can happen to anyone. It does not pull any punches and gives you solid research to back up everything, but it also doesn't take stabs at those who have gone through relationships that haven't worked. The one thing I always worry about when picking up a non-fiction book which has anything to do with relationships is that it will become preachy. Or that I will walk away feeling like I was the only one at fault when something went bad. I can happily say that you will find none of that within the pages of this book. Instead, you will learn to look into yourself and see how you can improve your own self to bring more to the outside as well. To put it simplistically, this book helps you to become your best self to bring to a relationship where you can succeed together. Author Chris Hakim has done a great job in writing this book and I highly recommend it.

Rabia Tanveer

The Authentic Lover: Reclaiming Love's Beauty and Power by Chris Hakim is a wonderful book that helps you understand intimacy and how you can overcome absolutely any issue you might have. I am not a big self-help book reader, but when a book attracts my attention, I grab it. The Authentic Lover is exactly what I look for in a self-help book. It was easy to read and easy to understand, and that is enough for me to actually love it. This book is so much more than the physical aspect of intimacy and a lot more about the psychological aspects of love and emotions.

The book covers four aspects of love that work against it; the book talks about vanity, violation, pettiness and our need to reproduce. Although there is nothing wrong with reproduction, people forget that intimacy is more about two people loving each other than producing a little human being. This book will not give you boring medical jargon and put you to sleep. In fact, this book has a beautiful amalgamation of Rumi’s poetry, traditional values that we learnt from our elders, and even some words of wisdom from old world cultures.

Chris Hakim makes sure that you will remember what you read here in The Authentic Lover. It is very informative, yet at the same time, it is a very good read. It has some really good, dry humor and you will actually appreciate the way that Hakim describes things and makes sure that you remember them. This book is spot on!