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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this.
Hands down one of the best books on gender issues and popular assumptions about gender I have ever read. And for all that it tackles some pretty heavy theory and science, it's a remarkably light read, that will even have you laughing out loud at times, without ever becoming less than serious and passionate.
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126 of 194 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Delusions of science: a question of scientific validity
There is an implicit oxymoron in the notion of anything referred to as 'real science'. If science has taught us one thing throughout history, it ought to be that we know very little about anything: mostly, our supposed knowledge is merely a collection of ideas that explain apparent data - a set of beliefs, not ultimate truths. So when someone uses a phrase such as "the...
Published on 29 Dec 2010 by A. Drummond


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this., 19 Jun 2013
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Hands down one of the best books on gender issues and popular assumptions about gender I have ever read. And for all that it tackles some pretty heavy theory and science, it's a remarkably light read, that will even have you laughing out loud at times, without ever becoming less than serious and passionate.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent at first, 19 May 2014
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The first third of this book is incredible, it cited sources and large enough studies to convince any honest person of it's point and it's importance. It' completely changed my views on many of what I now consider to be key and generally poorly understood issues. But after that something strange happened. It started when she was comparing how important people perceive work of men and women to be, in support of her point she cited that 2 couples she was friends with both thought the man was more busy/ important at work, at this point alarm bells started going,

they continued ever louder while a paragraph was given to discrediting rat studies only for a rat study to be used in supporting one of her points not 10 pages later.

and they became deafening when an entire chapter was given to discrediting another persons work because although they could show a link from foetal testosterone levels to brain structure they couldn't then show a link to behaviour (although differences existed). which was fine but don't then in the very next chapter quote a nobel prize winner in support of your point saying that a great scientist is one who can try to predict the whole picture when only fragments of it can be seen.

In summary, the first 1/3 of the book is well worth the cost of the whole thing but it's worth keeping 'the filter' on if you are going to read the rest.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this, 17 May 2013
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A fascinating, thoroughly researched assessment of gender differences and where these come from.

This book convincingly argues the case that gender difference is more the result of gender inequality in society than a result of genes or biology. It scathingly pulls apart assertions in popular literature that gender differences are "hard wired" showing these without fail to be based on bad or inadequate science or misinterpretation of results.

Easy to read and laugh out loud funny in places this important book should be read by anyone interested in why we are the way we are and how our interactions with the environment affect others in around us, most particularly children and how we parent them.

In fact I think this is one of the best books I have read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tought provoking argument in the debate on gender differences (or lack thereof), 4 July 2012
I found this book interesting as a further reading in my series on the eternal conundrum of man/woman relationship. This book emphasizes the environmental influence on the development of man and woman, whereas other books looked at the psychological dimension (like "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus") or at the biological evolutionary aspect (like "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps") of the differences between genders.

Put it another way, what these books purport to be hardware differences, Fine argues are only software differences, the result of education, upbringing, societal influences. Without these external conditioning there is no scientifically measurable difference in the brains of man and woman.

In my view the theory developed in this book does not necessarily contradict those of the other, hardware oriented, books. I came away persuaded both are at work and relevant. I also came away persuaded that it does not make a whole lot of difference, for practical purposes: I believe in equal rights between the genders, and so obviously we must strive for equal opportunity. That will probably not result in equal attitudes, equal predispositions, or equal approaches to problem solving. Or maybe, in time, it will. We'll see. For the time being it is clear that the most important thing is to be aware of existing differences, whether hardware or software. Pretending they don't exist can only be harmful to man/woman relationships and counterproductive to our effort to overcome discrimination.
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79 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning amount of research, 29 Aug 2010
This review is from: Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences (Hardcover)
I found this book stunning. All around you see all this stuff about 'Men's brains' and 'Women's brains', and it always struck me as odd that a sex that has, for example, written so much brilliant literature should be deemed semi-autistic, etc etc. So here comes this brilliantly researched book (just take a look at the pages and pages of notes at the end - this author knows her onions backwards and forwards and sideways) - and she points out how shoddy it all is.
And she's funny!
No one will ever again have to sit through a dinner party with some parent going on about how 'I thought that too, but you only have to LOOK at my ttwo children to see there are innate differences...bleh bleh'. She unpickes it all and shows how social pressures are so important and the brain differences that are so often claimed are, essentially, neurotosh, aka neurosexism. I think I shall carry a copy round with me.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and entertaining, 4 Jan 2011
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Amazon Customer (North West England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences (Hardcover)
This book should be required reading for all women - and men, and especially all those who would wish to be enlightened parents.

The author reviews and explains neuroscience studies, real and spurious, in the area of gender that are genuinely surprising to read about. Assumptions I've made over the years are taken apart and revealed as 'tricks of the mind'. Studies are analyzed and shown to be 'bad science'. It is genuinely eye-opening, even for those of us who have always thought themselves fairly 'gender aware'. Thankfully the hardiest detractor of Cordelia Fine's work (and I'll just bet there are many - this area is always one in which you light the blue touchpaper and retire!)would have trouble finding her rabid or partisan. The wry - and overt - humour in the text is wonderful.

I heartily recommend this book - for it's balanced, scientific approach, its good humour and it's well-written prose.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and reasuring., 18 Aug 2013
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Since working recently for a company that sells books for children all neatly published in lists either for 'girls' (princess, fairies, shopping and pink), or 'boys' (space, transport, animals and science), and having my concerns dismissed because "that's just the way boys and girls are", gender roles and gender stereotypes have been on my mind a lot.

There has been much in the media recently about the male and female brain and resulting assumptions about gender that people seem to take as gospel truth, but have made me uncomfortable and a little sad.

I was worried that my ideas about gender, and my aversion to gender role stereotypes, were wrong and that all this new 'science' was proof of inherent unavoidable differences; but this book has very convincingly shown me that I was right to be skeptical. It's opened my eyes to the importance of skepticism toward anything based on incomplete and not yet fully understood science. It really showed me just how separated by society men and women are, and now that my eyes are opened I've noticed so much more in the media and general life that reinforces traditional presumptions about gender.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GROUNDBREAKING; readable and informative, a book which succcessfully challenges prevailing ideas, 11 Aug 2013
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This is a book that really challenges the current dominant ideology that there are neurological differences between men and women which mean that women are better at all the things men want them to be better at... like staying at home and looking after the house, like being passive and doing what they are told. This is a groundbreaking feminist book which is readable and really challenges the old sexist orthodoxies.

Essential reading against essentialism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it but be prepared to get angry, 25 July 2013
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Someone on Facebook recommended this to me, as part of a conversation we were having about gender perceptions. I thought I was pretty savvy about these issues but this just blew me away. It's the sort of book you want to keep quoting at people, you'll want to buy it for people, and force them to read it. It opened my eyes to how much I have been conditioned by society to be a certain way, and how much I have been part of the conditioning. Once your eyes are opened, you see examples of it everywhere - the author makes a good case, and then you see the evidence yourself. Terrifying. But a very necessary book. Give it to your children to read.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrifying book. All boys and girls (left-handers and right-handers) should read this, 6 Jan 2011
By 
Albertine Davies (Swindon, Wiltshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences (Hardcover)
Oh my LORD! You will never feel the same way about using a simple pronoun again.

This book highlights all sorts of ways in which male and female stereotypes affect the way people think about themselves and others. In TERRIFYING ways. We are given a layperson's synopsis of a number of experiments and their alarming results. Cordelia Fine recounts how simply reminding yourself what gender you are (by ticking a box on a form, unbelievably) has been shown to affect how you go on to perform in a maths test: girls score lower than control groups when reminded that they are female, since the all-pervasive stereotype is that boys are better at maths. This is just one horrifying example of the way stereotypes can affect all of us for the worse.

We are shown the many ways that we all treat boys and girls differently, even subconsciously. Fine doesn't prove that there are no differences between male and female brains but she provides a fantastically sarcastic commentary on the literature which aims to prove the opposite. She articulates her concern that some teachers and parents are deliberately treating boys and girls differently, because of bad-science claims in pop-culture books that suggest that the sexes must be treated differently to achieve equality. She urges caution in making assumptions about different abilities or preferences in boys and girls, demonstrating there is not enough evidence to warrant it.

The first part of the book shows us the damage that can be done by our different treatment of girls and boys, and the last part proves to readers that they too do this themselves, even though they don't mean to. Fine has added a valuable contribution to this debate. You may agree with her, or you may disagree, but I guarantee you will be shocked at some of the issues she highlights. She speaks with a passionate voice in an extremely funny and enjoyable book, and has galvanised me, for one: this book has changed the way I speak and act towards children and adults of both sexes.
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Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences
Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences by Cordelia Fine (Hardcover - 2 Sep 2010)
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