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  • Writer's pictureLiz W.

Review of "Attached" by Amir Levine and Rachel S.F. Heller

Intro to the Review

We have all had that experience of enthusiastically starting a new book only to realize partway through that it's not what we were expecting. The purpose of the following review is not to judge whether the book is "good" or "bad." The goal is to help you decide whether or not it is a good book for you.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Does it seem like the content covered in this book aligns with what I was expecting to find?

  • Is the main problem addressed in this book similar to my own goal of what I would like to learn from it?

  • Is the style and format written in a way that will not hinder my ability to get the most value from this book?

  • Am I the intended audience for this book?

If after reading the review you can answer yes to all these questions, this book is the right fit for you. If not, well, there are plenty more books out there just waiting for you to read them.


How the Science of Adult Attachment Can Help You Find and Keep Love

Amir Levine & Rachel S.F. Heller

304 pages - Ⓒ TarcherPerigee 2012

“Most people are only as needy as their unmet needs.”

Author Background

Dr. Amir Levine, M.D

Amir Levine is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist and neuroscientist. He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, where he is currently a Principal Investigator on a research project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Levine has a private practice where he supervises and trains therapists from all over the world in attachment-neuroscience based treatments as well as sees individuals and couples for consultation and treatment. Levine is board-certified in adult psychiatry and is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Rachel S. F. Heller, M.A.

Rachel Heller holds a master’s degree in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. She has worked in the past as a corporate consultant for several management consulting firms, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers, KPMG Consulting and Towers Perrin, where she managed high profile clients.

The website for the book and blog can be found here.

What Problem Does This Book Attempt To Address?

Many relationships endure ongoing conflict because of a mismatch or lack of understanding about the attachment needs of each partner. Learning about the attachment styles can help the reader make sense of their own needs and the needs of their partner. It also helps those who are navigating the dating world to find a suitable partner that will be able to meet their needs for intimacy and closeness, or for distance and space, in the relationship.


  • Concept explanation: Clear

  • Related stories: Many

  • Data references and studies: Many

  • Charts and graphics: Many

  • Practical application: Very strong

The amount and quality of the content feels suitable for the goal of this book. It helps the reader identify their own attachment style and their partner’s attachment style via assessments in the text. It provides advice to those who are dating and those who are in long-term relationships. It aims to teach you more about yourself, your own beliefs, patterns, behaviors, and needs,. It helps you understand why a partner with a particular attachment style behaves a certain way. It also includes advice for getting through a breakup - a very useful section to include.

There are lots of stories of people in all sorts of different relationship dilemmas. The variety of experiences helps the reader get a better grasp on how the concepts taught in the book can play out in real life scenarios. With such a wide range of real-life situations, each reader is bound to find at least one or two that they can relate to. This is one of the biggest strengths of the book.

This book feels short. One reason is because it is quite repetitive. It is not clear whether this was intentional or not. The same basic information about each attachment style is shared in almost every chapter. It is then expanded upon in context with that particular chapter, but it seems unnecessary to re-summarize the basics so many times. That being said, repetition is the key to learning, so the choice could be an intentional decision on the part of the authors.

There are many charts that help the reader visualize the main ideas from each chapter. These are an excellent resource as a summary or overview of the material. If you are a visual learner, you will appreciate this addition to the text.

The practical application is very strong. There are helpful guidelines to follow and exercises to help readers practice the skills taught in the corresponding chapter. There is also a relationship inventory and other tools to practice applying the concepts to the reader’s specific situation.

Writing Style & Presentation

• Tone: Like that of a coach or mentor

• Organization: Good

• Flow: Great

The tone of this book is akin to sitting down and having a talk with a therapist over a few cups of coffee. Not like a formal therapy session, but not wholly informal either. While there is a lot of teaching involved, it feels more like a one-on-one mentoring style of writing. The organization is great for the most part. At times a subsection title may feeling a bit misleading when the topic is only addressed only with the use of an example and not discussed directly. The flow is great and the large-scale chapter organization is excellent.

Bringing It all Together

One thing done really well: The progression of the material allows the reader to easily walk through the process step-by-step on their own as they read.

One thing that could be better: Although it is a very small portion of the population, the choice to exclude information on the anxious-avoidant (disorganized) attachment style makes the book feel incomplete.

One main thing I took away from this book was: Understanding your attachment style leads to better relationships because it improves self-awareness of unconscious beliefs, the actions prompted by those beliefs, and the needs you must have met in order to have a fulfilling relationship.

Overall Recommendation

Who I would recommend this book for: Those looking to improve a struggling relationship or those having a hard time finding the right person to be in a relationship with.

Who I wouldn’t recommend this book for: While parents can glean quite a bit from all the information about how attachment styles are formed, this book was not written as a guide for parents. It is focused on romantic relationships.


Enhance Your Reading by Using a Workbook

If you have decided this book is a good fit for you, I have created a workbook to help you get the most value from reading it. Here is a small sample of the material contained in the workbook.

Your workbook will include:

  • Pre-reading questions

  • Chapter discussion questions with space for writing answers

  • Space to write your own summary for each chapter

  • Vocabulary words with space to write definitions and add words

  • Key terms with space to write definitions and add words

  • Chapter reflection questions

  • Final reflection questions

  • A condensed list of all discussion questions and vocabulary for reference

  • Reflection pages for writing thoughts and ideas

Discussion Question Preview

Below you will find a small sample of the discussion questions provided for every chapter of this book.

Key Terms Preview

  • Activating strategy

  • Anxious Attachment

  • Anxious-avoidant trap

Vocabulary List Preview

Ardent: (adj.) Expressing or characterized by warmth of feeling; passionate.

Blithe: (adj.) Lacking or showing a lack of due concern; casual.

Corroborate: (v.) To strengthen or support with other evidence the workbook to see the full lists!

Where to Find the Workbook

All available workbooks can be found on Amazon and are free to Kindle Unlimited members.

You can find this particular workbook by clicking here.

Your Feedback is Appreciated!

Are you a student? A teacher? A manager? A parent? Why did you decide to use a workbook and did it help you get more from the book you were reading? Please share your story so I can continue to make these workbooks a valuable resource to you and others.

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