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You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation Paperback – February 6, 2007
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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From the author of New York Times bestseller You're Wearing That? this bestselling classic work draws upon groundbreaking research by an acclaimed sociolinguist to show that women and men live in different worlds, made of different words.
Women and men live in different worlds...made of different words.
Spending nearly four years on the New York Times bestseller list, including eight months at number one, You Just Don't Understand is a true cultural and intellectual phenomenon. This is the book that brought gender differences in ways of speaking to the forefront of public awareness. With a rare combination of scientific insight and delightful, humorous writing, Tannen shows why women and men can walk away from the same conversation with completely different impressions of what was said.
Studded with lively and entertaining examples of real conversations, this book gives you the tools to understand what went wrong -- and to find a common language in which to strengthen relationships at work and at home. A classic in the field of interpersonal relations, this book will change forever the way you approach conversations.
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In short, Tanneh demonstrates that men and women essentially speak two different languages, and each poorly understands the other's language, resulting in frequent and inevitable misunderstandings. Almost every paragraph you find yourself (at least figuratively) smacking yourself on the forehead and saying, "Damn, that's true. I never realized that before."
I've read the book a half-dozen times and insisted that my wife read it (about 20 years ago). According to my wife (a VP of a Fortune-500 company) the things she has learned from the book help her to cope with her male colleagues. My wife and I have even developed private phrases to avoid many of the common male/female linguistic misunderstandings. I believe that our very good married life has substantially improved as a result of reading this book.
Even so, even understanding "women-speak", I still find it largely illogical---which only reinforces Tannen's thesis that men's and women's are simply wired differently---most easily observed in differences in the use of the allegedly common language.
I consider this to be among the top three books which "altered my life for the better". This is a book to buy in hardcover, and re-read frequently. It is impossible to absorb everything in a single reading---or even three readings. I give a copy to each of my nieces when they reach roughly 17. My nephews need the information more, but unfortunately, guys are less likely to read such a book.
Note that this was the first of Tannen's books on the subject, but at lest of the first several, in my opinion, "You Just Don't Understand" remains the best.
> Click on “Stoney” just below the product title to see my other reviews, or leave a comment to ask a question.