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Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love Paperback – Bargain Price, January 5, 2010

158 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, January 5, 2010
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Editorial Reviews


"Fascinating…. You may already have your dream lover, but you’ll want to read this for the many insights on the science of love."—The Boston Globe


"Why Him? Why Her? examines how brain chemistry determines temperament and temperament dictates whom we love…. [Fisher offers] a giddy, romantic notion, well worth considering."—Los Angeles Times


"In times of upheaval, nothing offers safe harbor like science. That’s where Helen Fisher comes in…. Her research led her inside the biological mechanisms of mate choice."—TIME magazine

About the Author

Helen Fisher, PhD, is a research professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, and the bestselling author of four previous books, two of which—The First Sex and Anatomy of Love—were New York Times Notable Books. She is Scientific Adviser to (a division of and lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1 Reprint edition (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805091521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805091526
  • ASIN: B0054U5B1O
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,234,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Helen Fisher, Ph.D., is one of this country's most prominent anthropologists. Prior to becoming a research professor at Rutgers University, she was a research associate at Manhattan's American Museum of Natural History. Fisher has conducted extensive research on the evolution, expression, and science of love, and her two most recent books, The First Sex and The Anatomy of Love, were New York Times Notable Books. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 110 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on February 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Is it legitimate to put forth yet another work on personality types? After all, there are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Keirsey Temperaments takes on personality. However, perhaps those formulations did not sink in given the ongoing precarious state of relationships. In this book, the author has constructed a credible model of personality, even if similar to others, which is related to brain chemistry, though that may be the most controversial aspect of her model. Much of the author's supporting data for her model comes from her work with dating services based on responses from thousands.

She defines four basic personality temperaments or traits that exist in all individuals with one being dominate and another secondary. Characteristic of Explorers is tendencies for novelty, enthusiasm, risk-taking, spontaneity, irreverence, adventure, etc. Dopamine is associated with Explorers. Builders are conventional, calm, moral, rule-based, respectful of authority, somewhat cautious, loyal, etc. Serotonin is the chemical that is most closely associated with Builders. Directors are analytical, logical, self-controlled, independent, somewhat competitive, decisive, etc. Testosterone dominates in Directors. Negotiators are very social, intuitive, sympathetic, idealistic, tolerant, agreeable, etc. The author claims that it is estrogen that enables both men and women to have enhanced holistic thinking capability. There seems to be no assertions that one personality is better than another or that such personalities are associated with levels of intelligence.

The author strongly suggests that, if accurately assessed, that these four traits go a long ways toward predicting both attraction and aversion.
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82 of 89 people found the following review helpful By claude whitacre on February 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I decided to buy the book after seeing Helen Fisher on the Colbert Report. She handled herself well, and gave several intelligent teases to create desire for the book.I'm married, very happily, and thought the book would have some transferable ideas to marketing (my vocation).

Other reviews cover the material in the book.

Let me say first that the backbone of her research has been done before. There are 4 personality types. They have been called many things by different authors. The reason I don't mind that is that the author acknowledges the fact, and provides the source material. She then ties the personality types with brain chemistry, and does it convincingly. I haven't seen that before.

Sure, she mentions her work with two online dating services. But it's part of the story, and to omit that would cheat the reader. Any author worth their salt would mention the work they have done in the past. In fact, her work for these companies is the basis of much of her research.

She includes quotations from philosophers, businesspeople, even Einstein.
These quotations add to the reading by showing what type(personality type, that is) of person thinks in what way.

She includes personal stories that, if they were missing, would make this a harder read.

Some of what she says has been covered before...but there isn't a book written that covers JUST new material. The way I see it, for $20 you got a few hours of intelligent introspection into what makes you the way you others perceive you...and what others will be attracted (and repelled) in you. Certainly worth the price.

By the way, I'm 100% Director, married to a near 100% Negotiator. According to the book, we're a perfect match. And we are.

added 3/04/09 I noticed that most of the bad reviews are for the CD. I read the book. It must be a different experience.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By KadyOne on October 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a seasoned online relationship seeker (with mixed results), I decided to take another approach. I believe there is definitely some science as well as art, luck, and good timing, to finding compatibility. Since I always want to know "why," I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend to anyone who's serious about developing a relationship that stands a chance of lasting more than a few weeks or months. You may not find what you are looking for, but at least you'll have a much better idea of what you "should" be looking for in the first place!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Markus Youssef on December 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
What would happen if, when stressed, rather than adopt the defense mechanism of projecting blame and motives onto others we don't know well, we could see the cards they've been dealt or the four clearly described personality types in this book? Regardless of location, we could spot: EXPLORERS (due to dopamine), BUILDERS (serotonin), DIRECTORS (testosterone) and NEGOTIATORS (estrogen). The author points out that the theory of four types, in one form or another, has been around for quite some time:

sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, melancholic (Galen)
hedone, propraietare, dialogike, ethikos (Aristotle)
artistic, sensible, reasoning, intuitive (Plato)
blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile (Hippocrates)
manic, depressive, aggressive, oversensitive (Kretschmer)

Her chapter titles for these types are: Drink Life to the Lees, A Pillar of Society, Always the Stars, The Philosopher King. She is very positive and educational in describing these types and I don't think many people will be turned off by her treatment of them. She includes many nice one liners and quotes as well as a mini autobiography of a famous person for each type.

The second half of the book addresses the question posed as the title of the book. She reports that all types can be very happy with any type and that there are dozens of factors from the "nurture" side that are involved in mate selection but from the "nature" side there appears to be a tendency for Explorers to want to be with other Explorers ("play mates"), for Builders to want to be with other Builders ("help mates"), both reflecting like attracts like and birds of a feather, for Directors to want to be with Negotiators and vice versa reflecting how opposites attract.
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