The Female Brain

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Why are women more verbal than men? Why do women remember details of fights that men can’t remember at all? Why do women tend to form deeper bonds with their female friends than men do with their male counterparts? These and other questions have stumped both sexes throughout the ages.

Now, pioneering neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine, M.D., brings together the latest findings to show how the unique structure of the female brain determines how women think, what they value, how they communicate, and who they love. While doing research as a medical student at Yale and then as a resident and faculty member at Harvard, Louann Brizendine discovered that almost all of the clinical data in existence on neurology, psychology, and neurobiology focused exclusively on males. In response to the overwhelming need for information on the female mind, Brizendine established the first clinic in the country to study and treat women’s brain function.

In The Female Brain, Dr. Brizendine distills all her findings and the latest information from the scientific community in a highly accessible book that educates women about their unique brain/body/behavior.

The result: women will come away from this book knowing that they have a lean, mean, communicating machine. Men will develop a serious case of brain envy.

Customer Reviews:

  • I learned a lot
    I was just able to understand certain things better pertaining to how us women think, I really thought it was a good buy....more info
  • A very important book for Family Therapists
    This is an excellent break-down of the neuropsychological differences of the female brain. It is so hugely important to consider the biological differences between men and women when it comes to doing therapy with couples. When discussing the differences of perspectives that women and men bring to a relationship, we need to know the machinery that each is working with. Sometimes a man and a woman just can't see eye to eye because their brains are structured so differently. Couples need to learn to cultivate an awareness of how the other operates.

    Dr. Brizendine breaks down the solid facts that therapists need to understand the gifts of the female brain and what females are best adapted to. I would recommend that any therapist working with couples would take the time to read this book and digest the information that Dr.Brizendine presents.

    Claudia F. Alabiso, M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy
    Metropolitan Marriage and Family Therapy
    Founder: Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT
    280 Madison Ave, Ste 208
    New York, NY 10016
    [...]...more info
  • So far too Good!
    The Female Brain This book definitely is not just a guide for women to understand themselves. As a male reader I have found it so useful in inderstanding not only why she (my wife) or they (the women we love/hate)act the way they do. Also I understand now why people say that "men are all the same" or "women are all the same". From the brain's structure perspective and it's interaction with hormones and other "stuff" we are all the same, men and women. This regarding only to that perspective and not the environmental, past experiences, education, social level, and that type of influences, which in fact could shape our personalities in such different ways.

    I guess that now I vave a more accurate perspective that will help me a lot in raising my girls properly.

    This book itself will not explain why everything is the way it is, since there are millions of other facts that will actually influence behaviour and reactions in diverse people and situations, but on the other hand it actually gives you many facts and references to people and studies that brings to the different "theories" and/or conclusions showed.

    It is such a great book for both men and women that I recomend it to everyone....more info
  • A wonderful book
    Understanding the differences between male and female brain is of utmost importance for improving social and emotional IQ, so this book is for every one who wants to establish rapport and healthy relationships between the two sexes so I strongly recommend this book without exception or equivocation to all women on the earth in particular and all men ingeneral...more info
  • Very disappointing in all areas
    I was so looking forward to this book. Finally there was a definitive book on the structural differences between female and male brains - quite true. I wanted a popular book which I could use when giving talks on Brain injury and treatment.

    However, Brizendine's book is not that useful, or even that accurate. For instance, on page 33 in the paperback edition, she has a diagram on the estrogen/ progesterone wave. On that same diagram, she has a vertical line signifying ovulation. I cannot conceive, that as a specialist in womens hormones, she has not read the research from Canada (Peterson et al, Fertility and Sterility, July 2003) where the researchers (by mistake) discovered that hormonal levels have little correlation to ovulatory activity, and that some women ovulate multiple times during the month.

    The book is filled with similar inaccuracies, plus most of her information is presented in anecdotal form with examples from her client base. Now if you know that she charges, in her clinic, $180 per consult, then you will gather that her clients have a certain amount of disposable income, which means they are likely to be middle-class and presumably well-educated. You cannot make scientific assertions about a whole class of humanity just by looking at members of a particular class.

    As a medical professional, when I read a book in my field, I expect to, and need to be able to discover what finding refers to what piece of research. In Brizendine's book, this is impossible. Dr. Brizendine neglected to either footnote or add any sort of tracking system.

    In my personal this book does more harm than good - what were the editors thinking of when they passed it?

    ...more info
  • A word of warning
    This book presents a chapter-by-chapter description of the phases which women go through during the course of their lives. For the most part, it's easy to read, and offers some insights. But there is an issue which should always be considered with books like this, and that is the degree to which the author's own background and culture influences and informs her work. Ideally, professional scientists should completely detach themselves from any cultural or moralistic hues, and be strictly objective. This is not the case here. I have noticed this trend particularly with American writers, who, maybe due to American idealism or political correctness, tend to go the "softly-softly" and squeamish route in describing biology, at the expense of a more frank and objective discussion which would be favored by their counterparts across the pond - the British.

    For example, in describing biological facts, she quickly adds that the goal of this knowledge is so people can strive to override them and be more in tune with cultural values (which ones, the Anglo-Saxon ones? which are so special, how?). Even David Buss, the famous American biologist, sometimes falls into this trap. But at least Buss acknowledges other cultures, with different values, besides the Anglo-Saxon one.

    Unless and until an American scientist or researcher can produce a frank, objective work on this subject, with no cultural hues but just the facts, no matter how unpalatable, I think it's better to read science/biology books by the less-naive British authors....more info
  • Intriguing, but NOT Scientific
    This book is designed to address the biological reasons for the changing feelings and the changing perception(?) of reality that women experience through different phases of life.
    If Amazon had 1/2 ratings available, then I'd give it the half to make it 3 1/2 stars. But I rounded up because this book met my expectation that sought an entertaining read about the pysche of women throughout their entire life. However, had I been searching for a scientific read with hard-facts, then I would have been thoroughly disappointed.
    Although many reviews criticize the book for its lack of reference to scientific evidence, it appears to me that the book is geared to the masses. It just happens to be that the author is a well-educated neuropsychiatrist. (And based on the cover of the book, it looks like its being marketed as such.)
    One point of contention is the "I-am-woman-hear-me-roar" and nearing-male-bashing tone. The tone is rather annoying and unnecessary to make the point for which the book is intended....more info
  • For men and women
    This is a well researched and easily readable book. I recommend for women and the men in our lives. Good for clinician and lay person too. I am looking forward to her book about MEN.
    ...more info
  • On the way to becoming a classic
    There is a reason this book was on Washington Post's Best Non-Fiction list in 2006.

    After reading The Female Brain, I was suddenly the woman with the answer. I was recommending the book to co-workers, frustrated parents of tweens and teens, cab drivers, and all in my social circle. What Brizendine has done is to explain female behavior in such a way that anyone who is willing to spend the time can understand and appreciate the influence of biochemical changes in the body and brain.

    The book is divided into 7 chapters. With the introduction, epilogue, and Appendix added the book is under 200 pages of reading. For me, this is the perfect commuter length for city travel.

    Brizendine begins with a basic chart showing the relationship of age to hormonal and behavioral changes. I found this helpful in separating the various hormones. All those hormone names ending in gen, rone, or ocin.

    I believe this book will become a classic, I certainly hope it does.
    ...more info
  • Scientific Truth vs. Political Correctness
    Dr. Brizendine admits, "In writing this book I have struggled with two voices in my head - one is the scientific truth, the other is political correctness. I have chosen to emphasize scientific truth over political correctness even though scientific truths may not always be welcome." It is rare that anyone who is in favor of political correctness openly admits that it conflicts with scientific truth. It is also interesting that she says she has "chosen" scientific truth; this statement implies that it was a choice she had to consider.

    At no point in the book does Dr. Brizendine draw politically incorrect conclusions from the scientific data, even when they seem inevitable. She verifies at length that the moodiness and changeability men notice in women is not only real, but neurochemically based. She tap-dances around the inevitable mention of Lawrence Summers' being forced to resign from the presidency of Harvard for mentioning that men more frequently show scientific ability than women do by explaining that it isn't that women can't do math and science, it's just that those things require working alone, and women's hormones make working on their own without constant feedback and guidance from others intolerable for them. (Personally, I'm a woman and a loner, and the idea of working with other people makes me want to jump off a building.) Also, in discussing how women choose men who will be good providers as mates, she says, "Though single motherhood has become fashionable among some sets of modern women, it remains to be seen how well this model will succeed." This is disingenuous; a few minutes of research would have shown her that it has already been seen how well this model will succeed, and that is not very well at all. Children with absent fathers have a far higher incidence of delinquency, behavioral problems, mood disorders, and academic trouble.

    Another example comes in the discussion of mothers of infants. Dr. Brizendine reveals that the feelings of withdrawal new mothers feel when they are separated from their babies are hormonally based, and admits that when she herself went back to work when her son was only five months old, she "was a wreck on most days". That is, not only are working mothers of infants not being very good mothers, they're also not being very good workers. Naturally she doesn't suggest that maybe, just maybe mothers should at least wait until their children are past babyhood before skipping back to the office, not even when she goes on to detail the deleterious physical effect on the "trust and security circuits" in the brains of children whose mothers are inattentive, an effect that lasts for a lifetime, nor when she details the behavioral troubles exhibited by the children of mothers who work full-time. Instead, she tries to claim that having someone else take care of your children is okay because female monkeys sometimes leave their babies with other monkeys. What she glosses over is that these other monkeys are the babies' aunts or grandmothers - relatives with a genetic motivation to take good care of the babies. So yes, if there's a grandmother or aunt or other close relative to babysit your baby while you work, that will work well. But many of us don't live that near relatives who are willing to babysit, and dumping your toddlers off at daycare to be raised by strangers making minimum wage isn't remotely the same thing.

    However, for Dr. Brizendine, simply admitting that the differences between men and women are biologically based and not social constructs was probably going frighteningly far, and for that, she deserves credit.

    The book verifies that boys are not only larger, but also more aggressive, more disruptive, and less mentally mature than girls of the same age, but doesn't follow through to the obvious politically incorrect conclusion that maybe co-education isn't such a great idea. Hey, why not lock up a bunch of helpless little girls with unsocialized children who are larger, stronger, more aggressive, less mature and less self-controlled than they are? Even when she explains that teenage girls spend hours in the bathroom together because "It's the only private place at school we can go to *talk*!", the author does not seem to notice that she is building a case against co-education.

    One of the most intriguing passages in this book was when the author explained that the proverbial "fight or flight" response is actually the male response to danger; females, prevented by their smaller size or by the need to protect their young from fighting or flying, are more apt to respond with "tend or befriend". She cites the example of a teenage girl she knew, Elana, whose best friend started insulting another girl who Elana had once been friends with. Even though Elana didn't like this behavior, she meekly let it pass without a word of protest because she was too frightened of losing the friendship. According to Dr. Brizendine, a great deal of female behavior is motivated by this fear of loss of a relationship. This doesn't speak well for women's ability to stand up for their friends or fight for a principle in the face of opposition, but, well, that's why we have men.

    For the most part, the science in this book is pretty solid, but there are a couple of areas where Dr. Brizendine accepted common wisdom rather than examining it. For example, there is a chapter detailing the hormonal changes that allegedly explain turbulent adolescent behavior, an idea that has gained widespread acceptance in the media and in water-cooler conversations. The problem is, the entire concept of adolescence, as well as the notion that this is a time of inevitable stormy emotion and behavior, didn't exist until the 20th century and is peculiar to the industrialized West. The turbulence is caused by the artificial prolonging of childhood into the years when humans should be working and starting a family, not by hormones. Try expecting someone in his or her thirties to follow rules made for children and see if the result isn't some storminess.

    Another problem area was when Dr. Brizendine tried to prove that men are virtually incapable of noticing changes in other peoples' expression. According to her, their brains just don't register it, whereas women's do, and this is where we get the idea of women's intuition. Unfortunately for her, I just read a book (Everyday Mind Reading: Understanding What Other People Think and Feel) that thoroughly debunks the idea of women's superior intuition. In fact, men are just as adept as reading people's faces as women. Which didn't surprise me; if men were really as inept at this as Dr. Brizendine claimed, novels written by men would be devoid of mention of characters' expressions, and no male spy would last for more than a day before getting himself killed.

    There is a regrettably short appendix about sexual orientation, which verifies the common belief that Lesbians are more likely to display masculine characteristics than straight women. According to the book, prenatal exposure to testosterone is one of the causes of both homosexuality and unconventional gender behavior in women.

    The blurb claims that men who read this book will "develop a serious case of brain envy". I doubt that; I'm a woman, and this book made me devoutly wish I could get a retroactive sex change operation. ...more info
  • great book
    thank for greating the book out fast.
    it only took a few days after i order it and it is in
    good shape ....more info
  • Cavewoman Brain - Ancient Wiring of the Brain and how it still controls us in the 21st Century
    "Every brain begins as a female brain. It only becomes male eight weeks after conception, when excess testosterone shrinks the communication center, reduces the hearing cortex, and makes the part of the brain that processes sex twice as large." - This is the quote on the book flap.
    It grabbed my interest, I admit. This is a book written for a general audience in hopes of helping "women through the various shifts in their lives: shifts so big they actually create changes in a woman's perception of reality, her values, and what she pays attention to. If we can understand how our lives are shaped by our brain chemistry, then maybe we can better see the road ahead." says Brizendine. The author also remarks that she has chosen to "emphasize scientific truth over political correctness" in writing her book.

    There is frequent reference to the Stone Age Brain and how we still act out of primitive imprinting based on the Female Brain's Ancient Wiring.
    The chapters I found most helpful were:
    Teen Girl Brain, Love and Trust, The Mommy Brain and the part about sex, Ch. 4. There are three appendixes:
    1- The Female Brain and Hormone Therapy
    2- The Female Brain and Postpartum Depression (only two or three pages)
    3- The Female Brain and Sexual Orientation (only two pages)
    Only appendix #1 seemed the most thorough and interesting to me. I did find the discussion of Hormone Therapy or HRT as previously known (hormone replacement therapy) well written.

    CH. 6 - Emotion: The Feeling Brain, seemed familiar to me and has been covered in several other books and compares men and women's brains and the gender differences in this area especially re: communication misunderstandings.

    For mothers (and fathers) of teenage girls, I think it's worth the price of the book. This is a 25 page chapter which has a good amount of info on hormones and specifics about the effects of them on teen girl brains.

    The author founded the Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic in the Dept. of Psychiatry at UCSF and she draws on her clinical experiences there in compiling case studies for this book. She references prescribing Zoloft (an SSRI antidepressant) a number of times. I imagine that's part of what makes her book controversial, in addition to some people's opinion that she "male bashes". I personally didn't take offense to any of that.

    I found some of the book slightly repetitive in different chapters and got tired of reading the word "marinating" as in "...the brain has been marinated in such and such hormone...." but generally it's a readable and informative book which I gave three stars.

    It's not hard science and therefore will reach a wider audience, which is the author's intention, I believe. She wants the people who read her book to be able to "better plan" their future by knowing about one's innate biology. I don't think this goal will be achieved by reading the book, but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading....more info
  • female brain
    Excellent book, written based on research findings, author is witty and writes with flair and knowledge. The information clears up many questions and noticed differences between the thinking patterns and behavior between male and females. This book is very interesting, both men and women should read and will find benefit in this book. The content also supplies hours of content for converations between readers....more info
  • highly informative
    Excellent information, thoroughly researched, acessible to the layman. I learned so much about the reasons behind women's motivation and behavior. Fascinating. I especially found useful the chapter about the "mommy brain" and as a high school English teacher, the chapter on the teen brain. I recommend to all women of all ages who sometimes question their hormonal swings. Very empowering and the author supports with a lifetime of research. The only flaw, but minor, is some redundancy....more info
  • A must read for every man and woman!
    This book explains the hard and soft wiring in both women and men. It is taken from over 1200 research studies. It is fascinating and uses regular language, not heavy medical or research language. It is relatively short and an easy read. ...more info
  • On Point!
    The book is great! It is easy to read and so very insightful. There are so many things we don't know about when it comes to our own bodies. This book explains one of, if not the most important part! ...more info
  • Answers the age-old question: What do women want?
    I have recommended this book to every female in my life. It answers so many questions I have had about myself and my body. Louann Brizendine even answers questions I didn't know I had. Everything is very well explained and has anecdotal examples of how and why women are the way they are. Excellent book. If you are on the fence, buy it. You won't regret it....more info
  • disappointing
    This comes across as a not too cleverly disguised promotional piece for hormone therapy. Save your money....more info
  • Interesting book.....
    I've only just begun to read this book but it comes highly reccommended and seems preety interesting so far....more info
  • verygood
    this book is very well written. it addresses many of the major issues surrounding the interaction of the endocrinological and neurological systems. this is a fantastic weekend read. i think that men and women alike will appreciate much of the discussion and conclusions in this book, maybe more so the men. very good book, certainly not a must read for professionals, but excellent for men trying to understand women or for women exploring possible influences to their thinking and behavior. ...more info
  • A Brilliant Achievement
    "The Female Brain" is a concise and pithy, nuanced and profound exploration of why and how women think and behave by a brilliant and experienced neuropsychiatrist. In 183 pages Dr. Louann Brizendine, founder of the Women's and Teen Girls' Mood and Hormone Clinic in California, distills and refines decades of scientific and clinical research and demonstrates lucidly and powerfully that who we are at this particular moment is determined by a certain proportion of certain chemicals in our brains. All humans have estrogen and testosterone, and it is the proportion of the two that determines our gender and behavior.

    "The Female Brain" will radically change how educators, parents, and just about everyone else perceive women and the world. Consider Dr. Brizendine's discussion on how girls and boys learn differently in the classroom. Girls are wired to respond to faces and emotions while boys respond to numbers and objects. So while girls are obsessed with pleasing the teacher, boys are obsessed with sports and video games. And that explains why girls fare so better in school than the boys. However, Dr. Brizendine also points out that if schools are biased towards girls the scientific community -- with its emphasis on competition, awards, and statistics -- is greatly biased towards men (So Larry Summers is right although not in the way he imagined it). It's this kind of objective pursuit of facts, information, and the truth that make Dr. Brizendine the world's best neuropsychiatrist, and makes "The Female Brain" such a compelling and informative read.

    In her book Dr. Brizendine takes us on a succinct tour of what it means to be a woman. Young girls tend to be sympathetic and emotive, and thus a pleasure to rear and to teach. But as they become teenagers their hormones undergo a tremendous flux, and their priority changes from pleasing their parents and teachers to pleasing other girls in school. Dr. Brizendine explains that that's because the human brain was primarily designed for a hunter-gatherer society, with women as the gatherers. Men could go and hunt animals, and the stronger, more competitive, and more aggressive among them usually returned with the boar. But women, because they both had to rear a child and gather fruits and nuts, needed to co-operate with each other, and that meant avoiding conflict and communicating often. Men are excited by competition and conflict, and women are stressed by it.

    Women's primary responsibility is to give birth to and rear children. To accomplish this women will seek a wealthy husband although after marriage women will tend to cheat with men who they find physically attractive. That from an evolutionary biology perspective is what's most logical: women need to find a long-term mate who can provide comfort and security but they're also looking for the best genes for their child. Once women have children they become obsessed over their children, an obsession that is re-inforced and cemented by constant physical contact with their children. However, once the children leave home, women completely change. They become more independent and assertive, and seek out to carve their own individual space. Men who are in their mid-fifties who have grown accustomed to and dependent on a supportive wife are shocked to suddenly discover their wife distant and cold, Dr. Brizendine writes, and it's their failure to accept what's natural that explains why divorce rates among mature couples are so common and why the majority of such divorces are initiated by the wife.

    Nothing that Dr. Brizendine writes is shocking and new, and that's mainly because every aspect of women's lives have been explored endlessly. Most of this exploration tends to be self-serving, political, and emotional. But Dr. Brizendine gives us a scientific context and a frame to best understand how and why women think and behave the way they do. She argues quite conclusively and powerfully that brain chemicals heavily influence our thinking and behavior. For example, greater testosterone can account for greater sexuality activity among young girls and what we may consider to be life-threatening depression may just be a minor chemical imbalance that can be relieved with the right medication and monitoring.

    Those reading the book can find Dr. Brizendine's arguments and conclusions threatening and abject. Doesn't this mean that we have no control over our destiny? Doesn't this mean that the gender divide is just natural and immutable? Doesn't this mean that drugs can control our minds?

    "My intentions for this book were to help women through the various shifts in their lives: shifts so big they actually create changes in a woman's perception of reality, her values, and what she pays attention to," Dr. Brizendine writes in the epilogue. "If we can understand how our lives are shaped by our brain chemistry, then maybe we can better see the road ahead."

    In other words coming to terms with how evolution has wired women's brains is the first necessary step to closing the gender divide and granting women control over their destiny. It may take decades for "The Female Brain" to impact schooling and parenting, culture and society but the book -- because it is so honest and truthful, fair and clear -- will impact. With "The Female Brain" Dr. Louann Brizendine has made a tremendous contribution to the future of humanity. ...more info
  • The Female Brain
    The BEST of its genre. You may have to have a good high school or college
    education in order to fully understand it. I recomend it as a "must read"
    book to everybody, and that includes men....more info
  • If you ever wondered
    This book is the best. The author presents the information in such a readable and delightful way that you don't want to put it down. It is technical, serious and humorous all at the same time. I haven't been able to quit recommending this book to, well almost everyone I meet. Not only have I given it to my daughters, I recommend to all the males that ever wondered how women think....more info
  • Let the men read this one!
    This book was recommended to me by a man with two daughters. It may have saved his sanity as his daughters are in their early teens. He can understand what hormones are doing to his "little darlings" but, he can't stop it. Poor guy. I gave one to my 30 something daughter and she loves it. Very good reading but really only one doctor's report on studies she has done over 20 years. ...more info
  • Hearts and Diamonds, or Spades and Clubs
    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. Examples would be Marie Curie, and Florence Nightingale, who invented the pie chart..

    Men are continuously portrayed as socially and emotionally retarded, and overly aggressive. She uses the playground analogy, of the young girl, and her cousin Johnny who would take her toys. Johnny is represented as not only typical of all five year olds, but all men. Girl good, boy bad. Boy bad, all men bad.

    She thought something was wrong with her own baby son because he was less interested in faces than a girl his age. Doesn't she know that boys are more interested in objects, and ideas while girls are more interested in people?

    Then a three year old girl is brought to her, because she said she was a boy, and her behavior was aggressive, and yet she had girlish interests. She diagnosed her with CAH a hormone disorder, and used hormones to put it right. Hmmm.

    She states that in ancient times women banded together to protect themselves from dangerous cavemen. Was she there? Can she time travel? In fact the more likely explanation proposed by evolutionary biologists is men risked being kicked out of their small community if they were rejected by a female, and never have a chance for replication, and that explains why men feel anxious approaching women. What about women banding together to connect and socialise as she mentioned earlier.

    Most annoying is her bandying about the words perception and reality as if they have the same meaning. Here are examples: hormones change reality, teen reality, female reality, hormones created a reality, her reality was stable, a version of reality, reality in fact can be a daily uncertainty. Hormones change teen reality, and perception of themselves. She does mean perceptions of reality or events, right?

    Reality can be defined as -things as they are, not appearances.
    "All reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Einstein.
    "There is no reality only perception." Dr Phil Mc Graw.
    "Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Philip K Dick.

    She states there is no difference between clitoral and vaginal orgasms, because the nerves are all connected internally. Sounds like going to Anaheim, and giving Disneyland a miss. What about all the contradictory reports, like the Shere Hite report.

    She asks does chemistry change perceptions? Rather tellingly, she does not ask , if perceptions change chemistry, or offer any meaningful suggestions of how they can. That is the single biggest failing of this book.

    One could easily gain the impression that female consciousness and attention does not matter, or does not exist. There is no chapter on consciousness in the book. Nor is there a chapter on reasoning, or focus, or behavioral flexibility, or Triune Brain theory.

    My concern with this book is the hormones and pills change everything approach. A pill is not a skill. Skill is learning to observe emotions and perceptions as they arise, release them, change them, and so evolve.

    As Aristotle said: `Man is a rational animal.' When we grow up we learn to channel our aggression in useful ways. We build houses, roads, bridges, cars, systems.

    Let's say our ancestors killed buffalo. Caring what the buffalo thinks or feels interferes with dinner plans. Talking might distract us from our mission and alert the buffalo. Not being aggressive enough or persistent in purpose meant we would not eat.

    We protect those we love. We make scientific discoveries. What we lack in finesse, we can compensate for in willingness to learn. We are not knuckle dragging troglodytes.

    The G spot was discovered by Dr Grafenberg, a man. Women's satisfaction matters to us. We work with spades and clubs, and yet, what would they be without hearts and diamonds to complement them.

    Now, she is writing a book called The Male Brain. Grrr. Instead of burying her head in Scientific Journals, she needs to read some books to broaden her perspective.

    I recommend other authors such as David Buss, Richard Dawkins, Helen Fisher, and Secret Psychology of How We Fall In Love by Paul Dobransky MD, which is a how to book about the courtship process, and contains resources for dealing with anxiety, low self esteem and depression.

    I hope you find this review helpful, and , if you do, please click yes.
    ...more info
  • Insight into the Female Brain
    "My intentions for this book were to help women through the various shifts in their lives: shifts so big they actually create changes un a woman's perception of reality, her values, and what she pays attention to. If we can understand how our lives are shaped by our brain chemistry, then maybe we can better see the road ahead." ~ pg. 160

    I'm not sure why some reviewers felt this book was so controversial. After reading The Female Brain from cover to cover I found it to be a fairly calming read. Louann Brizendine presents a good overview of how varying levels of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and oxytocin affect the brain during various stages of life.

    Louann Brizendine provides convincing case studies and emphasizes scientific research. She points out the positive and negative aspects of the male and female brain. At first the book seems to be "sex on the brain" but then it mellows into the mothering brain and the mature female brain. I did notice that there is no discussion of women with a more dominant male energy or of males with a more dominant female energy. This would explain why you may disagree with many of the points made in regards to male and female behavior.

    "...pretending that women and men are the same, while doing a disservice to both men and women, ultimately hurts women." ~ pg. 161

    One of the things I did disagree with includes the notion of men not being able to read facial expressions as well as women. My husband constantly notices my facial expressions and even talks about it in a sensitive way. He seems to understand my moods based on my facial expressions. Your own experience may differ slightly from the assertions made in this book. As far as men not liking this book that may also vary from person to person because my husband picked up this book the minute I wasn't reading it and seemed rather curious about the contents.

    What I liked most about this book was the detailed information on how hormones affect daily decisions. This is an excellent read if you want to know how changes in hormone levels affect women at every age. At the end of the book there is also a chapter on hormone replacement therapy.

    ~The Rebecca Review
    ...more info
  • Women's brains explained, for the layman
    If you write a book about men and women and conclude that there are significant differences between the sexes, and if your book is actually readable and entertaining you are bound to get the review equivalent of hate mail. Just like Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, found in 2005. You cannot disrupt the status quo unpunished.
    Reviewers slam this book for not being "scientific" enough, or not having all the bibliography in order. You can tell that the negative reviews come from "official" academia.
    Dr. Brizendine is a clinical neuropsychiatrist, not a research one. As a clinical doctor she sees huge numbers of patients, and has the experience to examine, critique and interpret data, even if that does not translate into peer reviewed articles. I have had the same experience myself.
    This is not a scientific book; it is a book meant for the general public, and at that it excels. That is what the naysayers hate: That it reaches the public and it is understood, and liked by the public. The book is successful because it resonates, because it explains that which we have experienced, and makes it clear. That is the purpose of science and the scientist: To explain and clarify phenomena.
    I interpret this kind of work not by reviewing her references, since those are just works that influenced her, or were consulted by her for this piece. I interpret it in reference to other people's works, mentioned or not in the bibliography. Thus, I compare and contrast this with Deborah Tannen's and Helen Fisher's work. Yes both Tannen and Fisher are more scientifically rigorous, but also require more effort to read and interpret. By the way, Tannen was also severely mauled by the "official' academia when she started publishing her work. How dare she suggest women are different from men?
    If you want to know more about how women's minds work, and why she is so ticked off that you forgot her birthday, you could do much worse than read this book.
    ...more info
  • The Female Brain
    An amazing and insightful book. I purchased one for each of my daughters and my mother. I would recommend this to everyone. Very helpfult for the males in your life as well....more info
  • The Female Brain
    When I first saw THE FEMALE BRAIN an imaginary sticker read: "Pick me up and buy me." So I did. When I read it I was so impressed that I bought copies for nine of my closest women friends.

    As a neuroscientist and psychiatrist, Dr. Brizendine brings together brain research findings with experiences of women who come to her so that every woman who reads the book can be informed about who SHE is. Men too can benefit from the knowledge herein. With 59 pages of References, this book is obviously soundly based. Its major attraction, however, is the non-academic, readable text that enables any reader to absorb the message of what makes men and women different....more info
  • Great read
    This is a very interesting book, written by a psychiatrist. She provides a great account of the female brain throughout the life course from a neurochemical prospective. Recommended for women of all ages....more info
  • Just WOW
    I picked up this book after perusing the reviews and was definately not disappointed. If you are a woman, know a woman, or want to know a woman, then pick up this book and read it...cover to cover. For women, it will be a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. For those who know women, it will shed some light on our daily struggles and "mood swings". For those who want to know a woman, this book will reveal us in all our complexity, simplicity, strength, and weakness. I can't give it enough stars!!!...more info
  • I LOVED this book!
    I loved this book. It really helped me undertand a)what mt preteen is going through, b)why for one week (each month) I'm extremely communicative and for another week I can't string a sentance together. I was really surprised by the negative reviews written here. I've recommended this book to all my girlfriends. I'm thrilled with it. It is difficult to find a brain-book that the non-medical community can understand and enjoy. It's a little dramatized with the narrative, but it has a ton of relevent information. I dog-eared about 50 pages....more info
  • probably won't have many male fans
    I'm not a huge fan of this book, and probably few males are. Honestly, it seems like thinly veiled male bashing, and I've read that some of the references cited by the author are questionable. For example, the 20000 female spoken words per day versus 7000 male words per day claim. I'd like to meet the person, ANY person, who on average speaks 20000 words a day; that number seems more than a bit high unless you're an auctioneer, not to mention the supposed 3:1 ratio in words between women and men. Another problem I have with this book is that it uses vague generalities to describe supposedly prototypical women and men, without acknowledging the vast differences in personality and behavior between individuals within each gender. There is also an overemphasis on sex hormones versus neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine, where such neurotransmitter systems probably play a prominent role in encoding many of the characteristics the author ascribes to hormones. On the other hand, the author is good at conveying complex subject matter in simple language, and has a pleasing style of writing. I also think she genuinely cares about her patients, and this comes through in her writing. Overall, worth taking a look. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health....more info
  • Not what I thought
    I was very dissapointed in this book, it was not at all what I expected. It was not what I was looking for. I was really looking for answers to female problems such as perimenopause, and menopause . That is not what this book is about at all. I have many other books that hit what I want more than this one did....more info
  • Female Brain - Not working here
    Mrs. Brizendine's book is another book in an undistinguished line of books written in the same unpopular vain by unhappy women who channel their anger into the written word which invariably turns out to be an unwelcome, quickly-tiring, dissertation on the chimerical, and misfortunate topic of "women great - men bad." What is most unfortunate is that Mrs. Brizendine took a topic that has great potential, one that could have made for a very interesting study but apparently let her misandry spill-over into the her subject matter. Instead, she completely loses focus of her subject seems to be more concerned to prove that women's brains are superior to men's brians. Everyone knows that there are differences between men and women, and, unlike what Mrs. Brizendine poorly hypothesized, these differences are good. These differences make us human. Had she just stuck to the topic of the intricacies ofthe female brain book could have been a success! Instead, her book is another testament to what is going wrong in this country today to be ultimately shelved away along with other books of today that will invariably be remembered for that certain period when America took a step-back in human progress while the rest of the world laughed at how misdirected we've become as a nation.

    To take one area in which she goes to length -- to say ad nauseam is an understatement -- to prove that women are the superior sex is in the area of aggressiveness. Spending much wasted words on why women are not as aggressive as men not only made for a rapid, page-skimming book fart for this reader but it took her so far off her original topic that many might want to put themselves out of their misery early in the book and try to sell their copy at a second-hand book store and redeem as much money as possible. Using an example from her book, she states that the female brain is much less likely to resort to violence than a man's brain adding that a man can go from calm to fist fight in 30 second. Didn't need the book to know that one. Perhaps what she could have done is explain that for millions of years of our history, it was the male role to protect the female, the family, the clan from wild animals and from intruders. Without the weapons of today this took a lot of courage, even a bit of recklessness knowing that he could easily be mauled. But men are stronger, as they are today, and stood up for their women, daughters, sons at the peril of their own lives. The mechanisms in men that allowed them to be so heroic are still in men today. Our ancestral genes don't die very easy - a fact that she recognizes over and over for women but somehow forgets that men's brains are also a product of evolution. Of course this aggressive tendency is not as necessary today, perhaps even detrimental to some who cannot harness its compulsion, but had she not carelessly overlooked how this has severed humankind for so many millions of years she might have been able to reconcile why the sexes are different (indeed complimentary) instead of trying to make one appear better at the expense of the other.

    Another area Mrs. Brizendine saw fit to draw comparisons between the male and female brain, instead of just focusing on an examination of the female brain, was in the area of communications. Repeatedly, she tells the reader that females are better wired for communication. I am not sure that you need a medical degree from Yale to notice this; nevertheless, what she fails to address is that while women can be more talkative, that is not always a positive trait. Indeed, the gift of gab can be a blessing. As humans we need to communicate. But talking for the sake of talking has never served any good or valuable purpose. Instead, what we say, and how we say it is so much more important than how much we say. This is the major reason why men make better authors than women and why our libraries and book stores are filled with books from men and not women. The ability to harness verbal output is also one of the reasons why men do better in the business world as they can communicate much more effectively both diplomatically and charismatically with less wasted words.

    It would be very refreshing to read a book written by a woman that highlights the positives of both sexes and not harp - and constantly harp as Mrs. Brizendine does - on the negative when it comes to differences in gender. But until the female "intellectual elite" in this country are composed on women who are not so unhappy with themselves, and less angry with the world in which we live, readers will have to wait for a better written book from a female perspective on such subjects as the one Mrs. Brizendine failed to adequately tackle.

    ...more info
  • The Mysterious and Precious Female Brain
    Louann Brizendine, M.D., the author of "The Female Brain", is more than qualified to discuss the powerful influence that the female brain has upon the beahvior and personalities of girls, teenagers, mothers and adult women. For Dr. Brizendine is a neuropsychiatrist from Berkeley who presently works at the Univ. of California in San Francisco.

    I really like how Dr. Brizendine discusses the various features of a woman's brain and invites us to pretend we are scientists when she writes, "If we took an MRI scan of Marcie's brain..." (p. 79) and "If we took an MRI scanner into Sylvia's brain..." (p. 136). I trust that the author understands the mysterious "parst of the female brain" (p. 34), such as the anterior cingulate cortext - "it's the worry-wort center," and the pre-frontal cortext - "the queen that rules emotions and keeps them from going wild" (p. xiii).

    "The Female Brain" opens with four pages of names that are people who the author wishes to acknowledge and thank, closes with eighteen pages of footnotes and contians a fifty-eight page bibliography with numerous books and articles in the contemporary neurosciences. The book's seven very readable chapters convey Dr. Brizendine's hope that "men begin adapting to our world" (p. 16). And the book's appendices on homormal therapy, post-partum depression and sexual orientation provide sound advice for those of us who regularly try to help people.

    As a guy I clearly learned from Dr. Brizendine the need to appreciate the many areas that women are totally superior to men, such as when "reading faces, hearing emotional tones in voices, and responding to unspoken cues in others" (p. 21). I especially agree with the author when she writes, "Typical men speak fewer words and have less verbal dluency than women, so they may be handicapped in angry exchanges with women" (p. 131). Gosh, no wonder I regularly feel defeated when arguing with a lady. This totally makes sense to me.

    A person who purchases "The Female Brain" can expect to gain a confidence with neuroscience and will succeed in developing an understanding and an appreciation of women....more info
  • She is claiming urban myths as fact. Very unprofessional and misleading.
    What she got wrong is a lot. Here is just a glimpse:

    I recommend the entire article, as well as doing more research. Here is a snippet:
    ``Most studies reported either that men talked more than women, either overall or in some circumstances, or that there was no difference between the genders in amount of talk." The research since that review, including counts from my own research, follows the same pattern.

    I haven't been able to find any scientific studies that reliably count the entire daily word usage of a reasonable sample of men and women. But based on the research I've read and conducted, I'm willing to make a bet about what such a study would show. Whatever the average female vs. male difference turns out to be, it will be small compared to the variation among women and among men; and there will also be big differences, for any given individual, from one social setting to another.

    Unfortunately, this is just one of several cases in recent books on sex and neuroscience where striking numbers turn out to be without apparent empirical support. On page 36 of ``The Female Brain," Brizendine writes that ``Girls speak faster on average-250 words per minute versus 125 for typical males." In support of this assertion, her endnotes cite Bruce P. Ryan, ``Speaking rate, conversational speech acts, interruption, and linguistic complexity of 20 pre-school stuttering and non-stuttering children and their mothers," Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 14(1), pp. 25-51 (2000). Alas, in Ryan's paper, you won't find the 250 vs. 125 numbers, and in fact, he gives no data at all that breaks down speaking rates by sex.

    The truth is out there, however, in many studies over the years that do give figures for speaking rates of females and males of various ages. The most recent data comes from a paper presented at a conference this month, in which Jiahong Yuan, Chris Cieri, and I looked at various measures of speaking rate in thousands of English and Chinese telephone conversations. We found that in both languages, the males spoke about 2 percent faster, on average, than the females. This effect was small compared to the variation among female or male speakers, and it was also small relative to the effect of situational factors. For example, people talking with family or friends spoke about 10 percent faster than people talking with strangers.

    These numbers might be unrepresentative or otherwise mistaken, but we've documented the procedures we used and the data we analyzed. And we used conversations that have been published as digital audio, along with time-aligned transcripts and demographic data for the speakers, so others can check our work if they want to.

    This ability to check or replicate research is central to scientific progress. It doesn't stop people from disagreeing about facts and theories, but it helps organize the arguments and keep them on track.

    The authors of self-help works, as a group, don't seem to have any particular standards of accuracy. Journalists, meanwhile, generally take them at their word in reviews and interviews, and publishers are happy as long as the books sell well.

    It's a shame to see this approach to the facts spreading into the growing genre of books about the neuroscience of sex differences, where the facts can have real consequences....more info
  • A wonderful book
    Understanding the differences between male and female brain is of utmost importance for improving social and emotional IQ, so this book is for every one who wants to establish rapport and healthy relationships between the two sexes so I strongly recommend this book without exception or equivocation to all women on the earth in particular and all men ingeneral...more info
  • Aside from the penchant for Male Bashing...
    As a practicing clinical psychologist there is only one major objection I have to this book; the male bashing. "The Female Brain" (Paperback)by Dr. Louann Brizendine is otherwise a useful for tool for the lay person. It is very readable and highlights some of the issues and concerns many of us should be considering in our relationships.
    It essentially comes down to this. Brizendine says there are real differences between the sexes and these differences are in some ways connected to the endocrine system (hormones) that operate differently through the lifespan in men and women. By becoming more aware of these differences one is armed to think differently and approach problem solving differently because of a hightened respect for the sexually based differences. While I have no problem with her as a female advocate she fails herself and the reader by allowing male bashing to sneak into what could otherwise be, academic objections withstanding, a useful icebraker for real discussion and understanding. Perhaps an edited version with more discipline is in order but I would still recommend exposure to her work as an awareness enhancement tool. ...more info
  • The Female Brain
    This is a life changing book - one of the best I've ever read. The author does an excellent job of bringing the science general and readability together. At times I felt she stretched the science a bit, but still the work is highly credible. I have recommended this book to many people and bought two more copies for my adult neices....more info
  • A must read
    This book gives biochemical and anthropologic reasons for the emotional and psychological differences that women have compared to men, from birth through old age. It's intriguing to read as a woman and I think it would give men a heck of a lot more insight into 'how we work.' It's a must read for women and men alike in all stages of life and/or a relationship....more info
  • News to me!
    What an interesting book. I recommend males and females to read The Female Brain. It is witty, informative and in a language anybody can understand. ...more info
  • A Must read for every Man
    I've lived through, or should I say stumbled though, all these stages with my wife and daughter. I recommend it for every man and think it would help greatly to understand the changes women go through....more info
  • For All Women
    This book helps to explain the emotional roller coaster that some girls and women find themselves on. Dr. Louann Brizendine describes the entire lifespan of the female brain with all of the up-to-date facts. (It helps to know why I'm feeling like I do.) This book was recommended to me by a male friend, I hope just as many men read this book as women. ...more info
  • Substantial
    Excellent source material for anyone interested in serious research. Not "dumbed" down for the public too much. Excellent references. The author knows the material inside out. Seems to contain the LATEST on anatomical brain gender differences using MRIs, etc., as well as research on chemical brain significance (i.e., hormones). Much better than the usual "pop" book available to the public....more info