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Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget Hardcover – August 11, 2005

3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

A four-year-old could tell you that men and women are not the same, but even adults struggle to explain why. That is where Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget steps in. Citing a plethora of recent research, Marianne J. Legato sets out to describe why men and women vary so widely in their reactions and thoughts. In so doing, she hopes that readers will grasp the science of our biochemically controlled brains and, in light of it, seek to limit discord between men and women in the home and workplace. A tool kit to fix the male-female communication conundrum is an admirable goal, but one that Legato does not quite achieve. Although the science behind our divergent brains provides mini-epiphanies, the focus of the book gets lost in its mix of memoir, guidance and concrete science. The information to help the sexes get along better shows up occasionally, as in a brief reference to a mother who employs what she now knows about the male brain to fi ght less with her teenage son. Still, there are a lot of diversions along the way. One distraction is the decidedly female vantage point taken. Legato, a champion of rectifying medicine’s lapse in female-focused research, is a doctor who founded Columbia University’s Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine, where the word "gender" might as well be "female." For a book trying to bridge knowledge gaps, Legato represents the male world in strikingly few instances. The skewed view may arise from trying to force the theme of "the sexes are from different planets." Legato might have better served the reader by explaining how sex-based brain revelations can affect our lives—how doctors could provide better health care when it is geared toward each sex, how teacher could optimize student learning by tailoring their approaches, and, yes, why women in the bedroom need not be offended if their male partners do not necessarily want to cuddle. Despite missing the opportunity to explore the future relevance of gender brain science, the book does offer a fair amount of enlightening information. Although Legato does not provide that much guidance for how to use our new awareness, a thinking person can start to figure it out. And whether you are male or female, isn’t that what our brains are for?

Sarah Todd Davidson


“Reading this book is a total ‘aha' experience from start to finish. As a therapist and scientist, I cannot begin to describe how helpful it will be to anyone who has ever been perplexed, angered, confused, or frustrated by anyone of the opposite sex.” ―Alice Domar, MD, author of Self-Nurture and Healing Mind, Healthy Woman

“Readers cannot help but share [Legato's] fascination with a subject that has such a direct impact on all our relationships.” ―Cleveland Plain Dealer

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; First Edition edition (August 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579548970
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579548971
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,012,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. L Lamendola VINE VOICE on September 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Diversity is great, but tolerance and understanding are rare. Men often expect women to think and behave as men, and vice-versa. When this doesn't happen, we can be impatient to the point of rudeness. Women frequently assume an insult or indifference that isn't there. Men are frequently miffed when women dredge up an issue we thought was already resolved. The misperceptions can easily poison a relationship, and often do.

But men and women are attracted to each other precisely because we are different. We complement each other. Perhaps if we understand in what ways we are constitutionally different, we'll not only tolerate the differences but learn to enjoy them. This book provides the means to take a giant step in that direction.

While the "why" of these differences is a matter of philosophy, religion, and speculation, the "what" of them is becoming increasingly clear. Dr. Legato reveals the "what" in a nonjudgmental manner. As a physician, she's trained to analyze information and provide healing advice--that's her perspective. This book reflects that, thus making it a useful tool to anyone seeking to have healthy relationships.

We all are familiar with the sex-specific traits that irritate and exasperate. Most of us aren't familiar with the studies that show men and women process information with different parts of their brains. We aren't familiar with the myriad other differences, and these go all the way down to the cellular level.

This book begins with a scenario that sounds all too familiar. It's a quarrel, and you can empathize with both sides as it unrolls. Dr. Legato then takes us behind that quarrel, showing that neither side intended anything negative. But the perceptions of negative intention ran high.
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Format: Hardcover
I never gave much thought to the "real" differences between males and females, other than the obvious physical differences we all learn about in our earliest years, but, somehow, I knew there were more profound differences than I had recognized and, for the most part, had ignored them. Like all males, I have interacted with the opposite sex all my life and merely chalked up the personality-bound dissimilarities between us as the result of socio-cultural influences and the ways in which we were individually treated. Physiological research into the variances between the sexes, other than the visible ones, was not a subject much emphasized nor much discussed. How times have changed! Brain studies, with investigations into the chemistry of hormones, proteins, and the like, plus the explosion of knowledge about genes and their influence on human physiology and behavior, have provided us with new and fascinating insights into the fundamental asymmetries which exist between men and women, regardless of the environment in which they were raised.

In her new book, "Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget," Dr. Marianne Legato has summarized much of the recent research and used the results to offer a very practical guide for ordinary men and women to use in evaluating gender relationships and for understanding the psychological and social differences between the sexes, based on the biology involved, with the hope that such awareness will help avoid many of the difficulties that occur within marriages, friendships, and other types of associations. And she does all this while entertaining the reader with interesting anecdotes and sidebars, using an easy writing style which is pleasing to both the mind and the eye.
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Format: Paperback
There will always be market for books that tell the reader: "you're better than the people in your life that irritate you." It's a mean-spirited branch of the self-esteem industry. Sometimes these books even claim to be based on "new advances in science."

This erudite work of neurology begins with a scenario about Liz and Tim, whom we come to know well as the book flits on. You may recognize them from TV sitcoms. Tim is forgetful and doesn't properly clean his child after fetching her from the playground. Liz reproaches him, causing him to stammer in bewilderment. Why does Liz get frustrated? Why, it's because she hasn't read this groundbreaking work; she doesn't understand that it's not Tim's fault. He's just neurologically impaired.

Dr. Legato explains: "Liz has more gray matter in the frontal cortex of her brain, the area just behind the eyes, than Tim does. This is the executive center of the brain... Liz also has more connections between the two sides of the brain.." (xvi). She is referring to the nerve cells of the brain (gray cells), which are believed to play a primary role in information processing. She also alludes to white cells, which are thought to carry messages between different parts of the brain. There are numerous problems with Legato's flat statement here. Firstly and most importantly, physiology cannot be equated with function. Nobody knows the relationship between brain size and composition (physiology) and cognitive ability (functioning). No neurologist of standing would blithely draw conclusions from an assertion like "women have more gray matter." (The assertion is incorrect, but more about that later.
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