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Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps: How We're Different and What to Do About It Paperback – June 19, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Ever wonder why women can brush their teeth while walking and talking on various subjects while men generally find this very difficult to do? Why 99 percent of all patents are registered by men? Why stressed women talk? Why so many husbands hate shopping? According to Barbara and Allan Pease, science now confirms that "the way our brains are wired and the hormones pulsing through our bodies are the two factors that largely dictate, long before we are born, how we will think and behave. Our instincts are simply our genes determining how our bodies will behave in given sets of circumstances." That's right: socialization, politics, or upbringing aside, men and women have profound brain differences and are intrinsically inclined to act in distinct--and consequently frustrating--ways.

The premises behind Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps is that all too often, these differences get in the way of fulfilling relationships and that understanding our basic urges can lead to greater self-awareness and improved relations between the sexes. The Peases spent three years researching their book--traveling the globe, talking to experts, and studying the cutting-edge research of ethnologists, psychologists, biologists, and neuroscientists--yet their work does not read a bit like "hard science." In fact, the authors go to considerable lengths to point out that their book is intended to be funny, interesting, and easy to read; in short, this is a book whose primary purpose is to talk about "average men and women, that is, how most men and women behave most of the time, in most situations, and for most of the past."

Why Men Don't Listen, therefore, deals largely in generalizations, and this is bound to alienate some readers. "We don't beat around the bush with suppositions or politically correct clichés," the Peases claim. Those up for an irreverent and unapologetic take on why men and women just can't help themselves sometimes may just decide to read on. --Svenja Soldovieri --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"To get a man to listen, give him advance notice and provide an agenda," write the husband and wife Peases in this pithy, attention-grabbing guidebook to the differences between men and women. Originally self-published in Australia to wide acclaim, the book weaves together facts from the latest brain research, theories from evolutionary biology and a treasure trove of anecdotal events and conversations collected by the authors during a three-year research trip around the world. Sociobiology has rarely been so entertaining. The Peases say that a woman's brain is wired to be able to speak and listen simultaneously, for example, and they are geared to talk through problems. Men, by contrast, need to clam up. "He uses his right brain to try to solve his problems or find solutions, and he stops using his left brain to listen or speak." These brain differences took shape in cave days, according to the authors. Men were hunters and defenders who evolved tunnel vision (as compared to women's vision), while, as nurturers, women not only had broad peripheral vision but sensitive relationship skills. Channel surfing and newspaper skimming are modern ways for a man to cut off from others to privately mull problems, advise the authors. "Remember, his forefathers spent more than a million years sitting expressionless on a rock surveying the horizon, so this comes naturally to him.... " Feisty and crystal clear, this controversial work will appeal to readers of both sexes. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (June 19, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767907639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767907637
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 69 people found the following review helpful By M. S Worthington on July 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've just read through all the reviews and I've noticed one thing. The people who don't like the book clearly haven't read it properly or got what the author is saying.

There was only one bad review I agreed with at all, and that was the gentleman who pointed out that, even though the book is written by a couple, the emphasis does seem a little more female oriented at times.

However, the majority of the bad reviews are entitled "I'm a woman and I can read maps" or such like. Please don't let this put you off buying the book. The authors state quite clearly in the opening chapters of the book that the information represents an overall picture and that the science is based on what is the case MOST of the time, not ALL of the time. They do tell you quite regularly that there are exceptions.

There is also a test early on in the book to show the probable levels of male hormone you received in the womb. I have done this test with a fair number of people now and it is amazingly accurate. I'm guessing that many of the negative reviews come from people who didn't bother to do this test, which would then make much of the book seem like nonsense.

As I have already said, and think needs saying again, this book is what is generally the case, not what is always the case. Taken in that light, and also taking into account that the authors also say at the start of the book that many will dismiss it on a number of reasons which they list (and every negative reviewer bar the one I agreed with comes somewhere on the list), it really doesn't pay to listen to the negative comments.

This book is not trying to enforce negative stereotypes. Far from it. This book suggests many ways in which certain character traits can be much better understood.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David Rasquinha on March 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
As with any book that tries to explain the differences between men and women, this book is replete with generalizations. Once you accept that the statements made refer to probabilities that apply to the majority of subjects, but certainly not all persons, the various points start to add up. In the old genetics vs. environment debate, the Peases suggest that the hormones which govern our gender also define the pathways in which we perceive reality, pursue relationships and solve problems. Somewhat similar to the earlier 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", this is a useful look at human behavior that might just reduce the number of male-female battles! For all the authors' claimed research however, this is just a light hearted book that can be enjoyed with profit. Do not expect any scientific breakthroughs, but you can certainly get a better understanding of both your own behavior and the mysterious behavior of the opposite sex, (whichever that may be)! Just read it with an open mind and have fun - don't take it too seriously!
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful By John Peter O'connor on June 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The authors start from two straightforward premises:
Men and women are very different in the way that they act, react, think and feel.
These differences are the inevitable consequence of our biology.
The first of these is a lot less controversial than the second and, perhaps the book would have ruffled fewer feathers if the authors had stuck to the first premise. However, the caveman-cavewoman analogies do help them to illustrate their points.
The book is well put together in a pretty light-hearted style. While not being unputdownable, it is an easy read. One quibble though has to be that, after a while, many of the jokes seem to be a little tedious.
As well as illustrating the differences between men and women, the book gives examples of how these lead to conflict and misunderstandings. Their advice is pretty much to learn about the differences and grin and bear it.
Of course, the book goes over much the same ground as the Mars-Venus stuff but, it does so at a somewhat simpler and, some would say, superficial level. If you get to the end of Mars-Venus and absorb what it says then this book is not for you. On the other hand, If you found M-V to be too heavy and a bit pretentious then the lighthearted and more direct style of this book could be just what you need.
At the end of the book, there is a substantial list of references and further reading. This varies from other popular psychology books to research papers which provide the scientific backing for the authors ideas. Unfortunately, they just list these with no comment and no attempt to categorise the items. This means that the list is of little use to a reader interested in exploring further topics or referring to some of the research on which the authors ideas depend.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Daniel E. Monahan on March 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this book with the intent of improvimg my relationship with my fiancee, only to be really disappointed. This book, although says its written for both men and women, is very clearly written to make women feel better about themselves. Some of the comments that I thought the other reviewers wrote are fairly accurate, such as the fact that women can indeed read maps, and the comment about reading this book and then justifying sleeping with other women was hilarious.

This book wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so repetitive and actually let the readers draw their own conclusions. For example, it says that in 1998, 99.1% of all secretaries were female. That's because women are better at communicating and doing many tasks simultaneously, they write. Is this really true, or is it maybe because secretaries generally get paid very little and men are expected to support a family and put women through college?

Another example that I really find unentertaining is how men are continuously referred to as "lunch-chasers". Is this really necessary? A joke is a joke, but this gets old really fast. It would be more entertaining if jokes were about both men and women, but they really are mostly about men. This book assumes that reader knows really nothing about men and women (which is a bit insulting premise). Additionally, the way men are portrayed is a bit harsh (not all of us yell and scream and "bark" at our girlfriends), and the advice is all what men should do to improve their relationship with women; almost nothing about what women can do to improve their relationship with men.

My recommendation? Read Stephen Pinker's "How The Mind Works". Its much more interesting, explains a lot more in finer detail and provides a more logical history about the differentces between men and women. His book doesn't claim anything the this book does and lets the reader think a bit more for themselves, and all of the studies are cited in the back.
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