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You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation Hardcover – May 1990

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st Edition edition (May 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688078222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688078225
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,004,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"San Francisco Chronicle" Utterly fascinating....A classic in the field. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Her international bestseller, the book that shows us at last, why we find it so difficult to talk to the opposite sex. Reissued to coincide with her new book The Argument Culture. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Many years ago I was married to a man who shouted at me, "I do not give you the right to raise your voice to me, because you are a woman and I am a man." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 April 2007
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most usuful books ever written, and far and away the most helpful I have seen on the topic of how men and woman can understand each other better.

Dr Deborah Tannen is a professor of linguistics; her first book on the subject of communications was called "That's not what I meant." That book had ten chapters about alternative aspects of differing conversationsal styles and the misunderstandings they can cause: one of those ten chapters dealt with gender differences. But as Dr Tannen explains in the preface to this book, 90% of the feedback and requests for interviews or follow-up articles concerning that first book concentrated on 10% of it - the chapter on male-female differences.

The reason is not hard to seek. Differences in geographical origin, profession, race, class or ethnic background can easily be associated with differing communication styles which can lead to misunderstandings. However, we are not forced to build our most important and intimate relationships with people from whom we have such differences, though some choose to. But none of us can avoid having relationships central to our lives with people of the opposite sex. All of us have one parent of the other gender, the 90% of us who are heterosexuals have to look for our life-partners among the other gender, anyone who has a child has a 50% chance of having to raise someone of the other gender.

So Dr Tannen set out to explore communications and misunderstandings between men and women, and this book was the result.

I had been married less than two weeks when my wife and I managed to almost exactly act out one of the first examples of a male-female misunderstanding given in this book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 July 1999
Format: Paperback
"You just don't understand" is a very well written book explaining the differences displayed by men and women in conversation. Some of it is common sense but a lot of what Tannen writes about is very eye-opening and explained a lot to me about how my comments would come across to a man and what his comments might mean. Helped me to believe that men are not simply evil, as one may suspect, they just have different styles of conversation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Clayton on 24 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
I read this book several years ago and found it well researched, written and easy to understand.

Deborah Tannen is a linguist who clearly addresses how and why women and men communicate differently. She explains that women communicate primarily to establish connections and negotiate relationships while men talk as a primary means to preserve independence and to negotiate and maintain status in a hierarchical social order. Tannen explains that although women also talk to preserve independence and achieve status, and men communicate to establish connections, it isn't the primary concern or focus of the majority of their conversations.

You Just Don't Understand helps a person to gain a better understanding of his or her own individual communication techniques. A well written, researched, insightful and informative book, You Just Don't Understand, presents the gender difference material in a clear, non-subjective and positive manner. This low-bias approach enhances the quality of the material significantly. The author addresses a number of other issues besides gender differences that govern communication techniques. For example, boys and girls grow up in different worlds and this has a significant effect on how they communicate. Consequently, other issues besides gender differences need to be explored and understood to create an effective dialog between the sexes.

Understanding of linguistic differences promotes better relationships. I recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about how men and women communicate.

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Tetere on 27 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Quick delivery; the book in good state; content a bit out-dated in the sense of gender stereotypes.
Still it is good to know the way things were back then, but the 80's logic of male-female relations and gender roles can get on nerves at times.
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By Lee Coppack on 1 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have found the insight on communication Deborah Tannen reveals in this book valuable in work and personal relationships. She makes the important point that if two people communicate in different ways, continuing with the same approach - only trying even harder - won't solve problems when they are at cross purposes.

Tannen has the foundations of research, but uses an easy anecdotal style, which is the book's strength and eventually also its weakness. For me, at least, the bits sized bits do grate eventually and the themes become repetitious, but it's easy enough to stop reading at that point!
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Format: Hardcover
After reading this book, I watched a TV drama and placed a bet with my fellow viewers that the drama was written by a male. We waited for the credits at the end AND BOOM ... I WAS RIGHT! The male writer made the mistake many people do. He didn't empathise with women while writing the dialogue so I caught him red-handed. Some readers may disagree with a portion of the given arguments, but this book is an excellent eye-opener to understand how genders differ in conversation - in a book that remained the No.1 book in New York Times Best-Seller list for several weeks. Greatly recommended.
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