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Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women Hardcover – October 17, 2006
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"For as long as I can remember, single, professional women have been told that their chances of getting married were smaller than their chances of being hit by a bus. Christine Whelan has now shattered that myth once and for all."
-- Heather Boushey, PhD, economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research
"A compelling case against the widespread belief that educated women risk lonely, impoverished lives."
-- Viviana A. Zelizer, Princeton University, author of The Purchase of Intimacy
"A new way for women to blend their accomplishments in the work world with romance, marriage, and motherhood."
-- Susan Shapiro Barash, author of Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry
About the Author
Christine B. Whelan is a New York-based author, journalist, and commentator. She holds both a master's and a doctorate from Oxford University, England. Dr.Whelan has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the New York Post, and The New York Times and has taught in the sociology and politics departments at Princeton University. She writes a biweekly relationship advice column for BustedHalo, an online young-adult magazine. Visit her on the Web at www.whysmartmenmarrysmartwomen.com.
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At the beginning of the book, the author seems to define "smart" as someone that makes a lot of money and has a lot of power. (Occasional nods to those that work for charity.) She goes onto explain that "smart" men like "smart" women according to her surveys, so smart women needn't worry. She explains that "smart" men rate qualities associated with "smart" women as important in a spouse, and validates this as understandable because it shows men want intellectual/career equals.
However, then she goes on to say that women should not rule out men that do not fit her definition of "smart" (not high power, not rich.) It seems like she's saying, don't use the standard I've used to define women as smart/worthwhile to define whether a man is smart/worthwhile. While it's understandable that MEN want a smart women because it means they will be more intellectally compatiable, challenge each other, etc., don't use that same rationale when choosing a husband. She justifies marrying "smart" when talking about the men's spouses, but then says it's a bad standard when talking about women's spouses.
I spent a lot of the book wondering if I even fit into the author's target market of "smart women," as I am not a CEO or have a six-figure salary.
Also, she fails to mention the medical complications of women that choose to have children later in life. This is a serious and real challenge of women that decide to marry later in life.
She also took a jab a feminists that I thought was completely misguided and unnecessary.
Overall I did not think this book was very useful...
A recurring thought I had while reading the book was that smart women (whether you're measuring by IQ, academic achievement, or professional success) may be accepting the myth that men are intimidated by their intelligence in order to shift the blame for failed relationships onto another person. The smart women I know who have trouble finding partners (and there are not many of them) are in this position not because men can't handle being with an equal, but because they base their interactions with men on pop psychology and he advice in self-help books. If one good thing comes out of this book, maybe women will realize that if it's not their intelligence that's the problem, it must be something else.
Additionally, the book seems at times almost disdainful of women who've chosen an alternative path--by which I mean staying home to raise a family. My understanding was that feminism had moved past that point. It is just as valid for a man to choose a spouse based on qualities such as kindness, dependability, and morality as to marry someone who is intelligent, educated, or knowledgeable about politics. In fact, I believe that a truly smart woman is one who is a package deal--who balances her drive and ambition with concern for others and the ability and desire to nurture loved ones. I would look for the same in a man.
Would I suggest this book? Probably not. It's more of a 2.5/5 but it wasn't too bad. Read if you're 40 and having a midlife crisis, but otherwise don't bother.
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