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The Female Brain Paperback – 2 Jan 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (2 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055381849X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553818499
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Finally, a satisfying answer to Freud's question: what does a woman want? Louann Brizendine has done a great favour for every man who wants to understand the puzzling women in his life. A breezy and enlightening guide to women - and a must-read for men" (Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence)

"Sassy, witty, reassuring and great fun. All women and the men who love them, should read this book" (Christiane Northrup, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom)

"Timely, insightful, readable and an altogether magnificent book" (Sarah Hardy, author of Mother Nature)

"An eye-opening account of the biological foundations of human behaviour. Destined to become a classic..." (Marilyn Yalom, author of A History of the Wife)

"Ranging from sex to breast-feeding, fights to teenage girls, Brizendine communicates in a fresh, engaging style, explaining the structure of the brain, which determines women's thoughts, values and communication skills. A fantastic guide from a heavyweight academic." (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

The Female Brain is a thought-provoking, accessible and fun guide that will help women to better understand themselves and the men in their lives.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is well written, not-so well edited, she includes a very substantial bibliography (which takes up about 1/3 of the book) and it's perfectly accessible to the lay person, as most of the science has been removed. If you want the actual facts I recommend looking straight at the bibliography and then reading the papers she cites - make your minds up from there. Most studies are pretty inconclusive at best.

Now then, from the beginning of this book:

The first few pages take you through the layout of the female brain, the diagram is clear, well labelled and well explained. The hormones that effect us are also explained in a very understandable way. This does make a substantial difference when reading the book.

For the most part the book is exactly what it is advertised to be. It explains the stages of a woman's life, why she acts how she does, what's going on in her head, which parts of the brain deal with what and how to understand yourself. I agree with the comment on the front of this book: it IS reassuring, but only if you are a heterosexual, middle class girl who has only every been interested in dollies and is some kind of empath. For those women who were tomboys, lesbians, more interested in our careers than giving birth ... well, it's less than reassuring. But remember, the female brain is superior because we're all apparently mind readers! The idea that women are better at reading subtle signals is far more likely to be because we're trained to do this from a young age, always on the watch for someone who might hurt us in some way, or simply because girls are expected to be more in-tune with people's emotions, but the author never addresses this idea - it's almost as if she'd not thought of it.
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful By L. Power TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
In this world there are facts, and there are opinions.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts." Patrick Moynihan.

This book is not about the female brain, but about hormones, and the fluctuations experienced throughout life, through birth, teen years, sex, love, mommy and menopause. I felt compassion and new understanding of what women have to go through. A woman or a man reading this book might gain value and insight from that information. That aspect is quite good.

With the 90 pages of references that this book contains to scientific reports, one might expect that this book would reflect an unbiased scientific proof of those reports. However, the author cherry picks her facts, and colors them pink with her own personal biases and prejudices:

The female brain is superior to men because women are better at communicating and connecting, and men may experience brain envy. Is she a mind reader? In fact, if women are four times as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety as men, as she says, why would anyone make that trade?

There is only one brain diagram listing seven items in darker shade leaving most of the brain depicted blank, and its function unexplained. What goes on in this area? Another brain book I am reading has 11 good diagrams with plenty of detail.

She explains why women do not tend to excel at science and math; hormone difference in teen years, plus she spoke to some women friends, one in particular, who was a scientist. She wanted a more social career. This is an example of her sweeping generalizing, and superficial exploration of a provocative topic. One woman equals all women. No mention of famous female scientists.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paolo Spalla on 31 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book should be read by every man before approaching every woman. They will be less astonished and even less scared and, above all, they will be more respectuful and supporting. A great revailing lecture.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lynda J. Christian on 25 May 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a serious scientific work but presented in such a way as to make it easy reading - thus proving that a serious subject need not be dry and dusty. The authoress simply explains the physical and functional differences between the brains of men and women and illustrates it with experiences of her own and that of her friends and colleagues. The science is used to support and explain these observations. A really fun book and one which may encourage more women to continue in the sciences.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 29 Dec. 2006
Format: Hardcover
A few years ago, New York Times science writer Natalie Angier produced "Woman: An Intimate Geography". The book was intended to explain many facets of a woman's body, and was a good comprehensive account, sorely needed. However, except for some discussion of hormonal influences, the book tended to skim over the brain's role. Louann Brizendine takes up that slack with enthusiasm and deep experience. As founder of a clinic dealing with women's health and behaviour issues, she's adept at explaining complex issues clearly. She relates her own studies and that of many researchers [seventy pages of "References" impart that!], nearly all of it of recent vintage. As such, this is the most up-to-date and comprehensive study of how the female brain develops that is available today.

The author reminds us that all human brains start out female. Until the Y chromosome's genes begin transforming the embryo by a cascade of hormonal signals, all the brain cells are XX, the default. Then males and females are sent down the separate tracks of sex development. As much distinction as we see between males and females, the hidden differences in the brain are easily as significant, if not more so. Brizendine explains the triggers launching the conditions found in the female brain, showing how different ratios of neurotransmitters between males and females assist in guiding them along their separate paths.

From the growing embryo, the author moves on to the child's years and through adolescence, adulthood and the grandmother years. At the outset, it's clear that a woman's biological signals are strong and persistent, even if sometimes inconsistent.
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