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Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women Hardcover – October 17, 2006

3.3 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743290399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743290395
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,280,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In addition to short narratives (which prove nothing), the surveys have built-in response bias -- which skews the results. Read through the questions and ask yourself "Of the thousands of people surveyed, which man is going to admit that he prefers a less-threatening woman of lower intelligence?" In a survey, who wouldn't claim that they would like to date a smart person? This book would have been much more credible if the author had used quanifiable sources of information, including IQ tests, SAT scores, etc. not only for the person that they were surveying, but to document who they were married to. And the "wishful thinking" questions don't provide any real information. After all, who isn't "open" to marrying up? I'm not basing my life strategies on some pie-in-the-sky thinking that those surveyed told a researcher. Better to look at who they HAVE dated instead. Research that asked "How would you rate the last person you had a significant relationship (one year or longer)? Answer: below average intelligence (below 100 IQ), average intelligence (100 IQ), above average (up to 130), genius (130 - 150), or super genius (150 and up). And asking someone if they think they are "high achieving" could mean anything! In the county where I live right now, not being in jail is considered super-achieving!! Did they ask about property, investment, or earnings? Did they rate professions on a scale to achieve this survey answer? Not that I could find. Every good researcher knows that past experience is the BEST indicator of performance.

I'm a college professor. Any paper we publish or give at a conference has to have quantifiable research or we're laughed out of the discipline.
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Format: Hardcover
To be fair, I am not the target audience for this book. I'm in my early twenties and have at no point in my life believed that my intelligence would be a barrier to finding a lasting relationship. While I agree that smart men marry smart women, I felt that the methods Whelan used to arrive at this conclusion were flawed. I agree with the reviewer below who suggested that there was an inherent bias in the research. Additionally, I felt as though the same points were being repeated over and over throughout the book without sufficient evidence to back them up. I kept thinking I had already read a particular section but soon realized the book was perpetually rehashing the same ideas.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The overall message seemed confusing and contradictory.

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...
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