The Female Brain

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Product Description

Every brain begins as a female brain. It only becomes male eight weeks after conception, when excess testosterone shrinks the communications center, reduces the hearing cortex, and makes the part of the brain that processes sex twice as large.

Louann Brizendine, M.D. is a pioneering neuropsychiatrist who 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 whom they’ll love. Brizendine reveals the neurological explanations behind why

• A woman remembers fights that a man insists never happened

• A teen girl is so obsessed with her looks and talking on the phone

• Thoughts about sex enter a woman’s brain once every couple of days but enter a man’s brain about once every minute

• A woman knows what people are feeling, while a man can’t spot an emotion unless somebody cries or threatens bodily harm

• A woman over 50 is more likely to initiate divorce than a man

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Interesting book.....
    I've only just begun to read this book but it comes highly reccommended and seems preety interesting so far....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • The Female Brain
    This was a splendid discussion of inherent differences between the female and male brains. All subject matter discussed was easy to understand, and reading the book made me realize there are inherent differences, and we need to be respectful of those differences and celebrate them as well....more info
  • Readers who are not critical thinkers will enjoy this book

    I bet you didn't know these facts:

    (1) "Men use about seven thousand words per day. Women use about twenty-thousand."
    (2) "Girls arrive already wired as girls, and boys arrive already wired as boys."
    (3) "Men are on average twenty times more aggressive than women."
    (4) "Girls are motivated--on a molecular and neurological level--to ease and prevent social conflict."
    (5) "85% of twenty- to thirty-year-old males think about sex every fifty-two seconds and women think about it once a day--up to three or four times on fertile days."
    (6) "Men pick up the subtle signs of sadness in a female face only 40 percent of the time, whereas women can pick up these signs 90 percent of the time."
    (7) "65 percent of divorces after the age of fifty are initiated by women."

    These seven facts are some of the interesting information that you'll learn in this book by Louann Brizendine M.D., a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and founder of the Women's and Teen Girls' Mood and Hormone Clinic.

    The thesis of this book is that the female brain sees the world differently and reacts differently than the male brain in every stage of life from newborn to old age. A women's behavior is radically different from that of a man due to mainly hormonal differences. This book is quite easy to read and, in fact, reads like a novel.

    However, I found the book to have minimal neuroscience (as suggested by the book's title). It was comprised mainly of anecdotes (some autobiographical) that exaggerate the differences between women and men thus reinforcing gender stereotypes. As well, I found many contradictions throughout. In places of her book, Brizendine is also surprisingly na?ve.

    When I was reading this book, what struck me was the exactness of some of the facts the author presents (such as the seven presented above). So I decided to search on the Internet for other reviews of this book from mainly scholarly sources. The avalanche of negative information I found was astounding!!

    A major problem concerned her extensive endnotes.

    From reading this mass of negative information, it seems to me that Brizendine is attempting to present an authoritative voice to impress despite what the authors say in her numerous endnotes. That is, her supporting citations don't support her claims. If you couple this with Brizendine's impressive academic credentials (highlighted especially in the book's acknowledgements section and inside back flap), then most people, unfortunately, accept everything she says at face value. (By the way, the seven "facts" above are not supported by Brizendine's citations.)

    I was intrigued by this so I checked out Brizendine's brief biography on the book's inside back flap. A piece of information that intrigued me states that "She has written in professional texts and journals." What I wanted to know was how many professional research papers she has written in. Again from searching on the Internet I found she had written exactly 7 research papers in collaboration with others and she's not the first named author in any of the seven. (To put this in context, her colleague in the Psychiatry Department at UCSF, Associate Professor Steven P. Hamilton has published 24 papers since 1994 and is first listed author on 11.)

    For a "pioneering neuropsychiatrist," (honest, this is what it says on the book's inside front flap) she has a poor research paper publication rate.

    At the beginning of her endnotes and references section, she states in a preamble the following:

    "I have gathered the work of many scientists in various disciplines in order to arrive at this understanding of the female brain."

    From my understanding of this quotation, she used only the work of only scientists to establish her claims. However, in her references are works authored by Allen Pease and Allan Garner. These people are not scientists!!

    Also, in this preamble she calls everything she has written in her book a "theory" (a collection of general principles that is put forward as an explanation for a set of known facts and empirical findings). I found her theory to be quite rigid since she doesn't allow for or explain any exceptions (there are many) and this undermines her entire theory. Yes, men and woman's brains are different but within each gender, you'll find a wide range of behavior. To ignore this fact as Brizendine does is to present a very narrow view of human experience.

    I have to agree with an October 2006 article in the publication "Nature" that was entitled "Psychoneuroindoctrinology" (a pun on the word pyschoneuroendrocrinology) which states that this book "fails to meet even the most basic standards of accuracy and balance," "is riddled with scientific errors," and "is misleading about the processes of brain development, the neuroendocrine system, and the nature of sex differences in general."

    Finally, I should explain my rating for this book. The majority of those who are not critical thinkers will probably give this book 5 stars. The majority of those who ARE critical thinkers will probably give this book 1 star. My rating is the average of these two extremes.

    In conclusion, those readers who are not critical thinkers will probably thoroughly enjoy this book. Critical thinking readers will probably have the opposite response!!

    {first published 2006; acknowledgements; the female brain (a human brain diagram with captions); cast of neuro-hormone characters (list of hormones with descriptions that affect a woman's brain); phases of a female's life (chart); introduction; seven chapters; epilogue; main narrative 165 pages; 3 appendices; notes; references; index}

    ...more info
  • the female brain
    Simply brilliant readable discussion of the hormonal and other psychological substrates of human females. Well written to the general reader. Most folks that graduated high school will be able to follow the concepts and explanations cited. For women this is an owners' manual, for men a potential clue bag.

    Paul Finlayson...more info
  • A rare gem.
    This is a marvelous book that should be in every girl's personal library. I took a copy to our local school (K-12), and it was read and accepted with delight. In fact, it was suggested that I donate it to the town library for better exposure, but I have a copy for them, too. Read it. Amazing! ...more info
  • A MUST READ for MEN and Women
    Dr. Brizendine has done a great service to all men and women in her scientific yet very readable and enjoyable book. I have told ALL my friends to get a copy of this book. Women will read it and say Yes, yes, yes, I KNEW I was not crazy--at 15 or 55. Men will read it and say "Oh my goodness, she is not crazy after all." And we will all know how to get along much better as a result. I am a medical/mental health professional and now have a great resource to refer people to as I explain "It's not in your/her head." This is a wonderful beginning in explaining to us all the biological bases of behavior and emotion. Thank you Dr. Brizendine! ...more info
  • disappointing
    This comes across as a not too cleverly disguised promotional piece for hormone therapy. Save your money....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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
  • 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.
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  • 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
  • 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.
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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Educational, though too much over-simplification
    Having spent many years studying human psychology in both an academic setting and practical, hands-on settings, I can say that there is some value in this book. That said, I think it makes vast conclusions that are not so useful. For example, no one could seriously argue that there are a few general differences between men and women in, for example, what they find attractive in the opposite sex. (That's why you don't see men wearing lipstick in order to draw in the ladies.) However, in some many areas she seems to have a very black and white point of view. Women are like this, while men are like that, individual variabilities be damned. In fact in the real world there is no reason why women can't be math or philisophical geniuses (and indeed many are). There's no reason why men can't be nuturing, and again many are. I recommend the works of Deborah Tannen as being better scholarship and research....more info
  • Should read this a long time ago
    Best book in a long time. I give it to everybody now and they love it and agree, "Why didn't somebody give this to me when I was 20?" Can't go wrong, great buy, great read....more info
  • Challenging the Standard Sociological Model
    I was trained as a sociologists to believe that gender differences were socially constructed. Turns out the science does not support this viewpoint....and gender is an important factor in our brains evolved. Would like to read about my brain...but being having two daughters and a lovely wife it is good to get some insight inside the heads of the folks I live with. Highly recommended....more info
  • The reviewer's page does not fit with the book!!!
    When I entered the page to write my review of what I perceived as an easy and interesting science book, I was more than surprised by the author's blog section: "Thank you for reading and using my book in your life. I have heard from many of you out there who are reading "The Female Brain"-a soldier in his bunk in Iraq [...]-a truck driver in the Midwest who just had his wife leave him after twenty-eight years and wants to know how to get her back-and many others of you who are finding answers to questions about female emotions [...], choosing who to love and marry"[???...] "I have heard from many men that they wish they had had the information in this book when they were younger-one 82-year-old man wrote saying it would have "saved me from many mistakes with women in my life". I hope you will write to me too[...]"

    Am I in the wrong book page? This blog of the author does not fit with the book I have read and is completely misleading. This sounds more like a "self-help" book with some "clich®¶s" about differences between sexes. The statements above were definitely not printed on any of the book's covers (nor did I have the impression that the content of the book was aimed at helping you to find a partner). The book is definitely presented as a science book; it is named "the female brain", not "Mars and Venus demystified". Are the author's hormones to blame for this radical change?

    As I read the book, I found it interesting and entertaining. What interested me most was how the different genetic information contained in the Y and X chromosomes generates certain hormone levels during the pregnancy period and how these levels in turn inffluence a different development of male and female brains. This results in small different relative sizes of some parts of the brain which could have implications on future behavioral sex differences. The inffluence of hormones during a woman's life cycle is also very interesting. The levels of hormones and other substances in the brain vary according with the sex. This might not be 100% deterministic, but I am sure it has a great inffluence on moods and probably attitudes.

    I liked the book and I would have rated it with 4 stars until the author herself made me completely distrust everything inside it....more info
  • Male bashing disguised as pseudoscience
    To be fair, the book has some valid points. For example, it admits that differences between male and female behaviour have a biological cause besides a cultural one. It teaches some bits of information which are useful to know. For example, about the female hormonal cycle. I won't explain about the lack of scientific rigueur of this book because this has been beautifully done in the reviews by David H. Peterzell and Linda Hirshman. I wanted to add something new.

    This is one of the most sexist books I have read in a long time. The subtext of this book, the idea which is hammered once and again throughout the book can be summarized like that: "The female brain is superior in everything with respect to the male brain, except for sexual desire and aggression"

    Even more outraging is the view of the author towards men who are depicted like some kind of Neandhertals, clearly inferior creatures who are unable to understand the subtleness and goodness of women and are only able of aggression and disruptive behavior. Let's see an example from page 21 :

    "So why is a girl born with such a highly tuned machine [her brain] for reading faces [...]? This is the result of millenia of [...] evolutionary hardwiring that once has - and probably still has - real consequences for survival. If you can read faces [...], you can tell what an infant needs. You can predict what a bigger, aggressive male is going to do. And since you're smaller, you probably need to band with other females to fend off attacks from a ticked off caveman - or cavemen".

    Look how men are depicted. Bigger, aggressive people who want to attack women. Even more, to defend from such a threat, women have to band with each other. Hello? Is it anything inside the author's brain? Have you seen band of females to protect from males anywhere in the world?

    The ones who have ALWAYS protected females from danger have been MEN. When a thief enters a home, it is the male who is going to see what happens while the woman tries to stay in a safe place. When a band is trying to attack a local village, it is the local men who get their guns and go out to face the danger, while women stay in their homes. When an army is trying to invade a country, armies composed of men protect their women for being invaded and submitted. Men die for women to be safe. But the author has such a negative view of men that indulges in a fantasy of women banding themselves, which is absurd and has never happened.

    This could be only a mistake, but the book is full of derogatory language against men. "[The boys] would break anything [the girls] have created. The boys pushed the girls around, refused to take turns and would ignore the request of a girl to stop or to give the toy back" (page 11), "[Boys don't use language to get consensus the way girls do but] use language to command others, get things done, brag, threaten, ignore a partner's suggestion and override each other's attempts to speak. It was never long after Joseph's arrival on the playground that Leyla ended up in tears" (page 22). I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

    On the contrary, women are depicted as a nearly angelical creatures. "If you are a girl, you are programmed to make sure you keep social harmony" (page 21). Hello? Has somebody worked in an office full of women and see the meanness, intrigues and subtle backstabbing that they have in their social interactions? And what about a woman in a divorce court? Girls are not always mean and boy are not always good but it is certainly not the other way around either.

    After reading this book, I can't help wondering why over the last five decades women, who make up roughly 50 percent of the world's population, have claimed only 2 percent of the Nobel Prizes in the sciences, 8 percent in literature and 0 percent in economics. Why is this? If women are so superior to men, if men are only able to obsess about sex and proceed to aggression (because "they are marinated by testosterone") and are superated in any other aspect by women?

    (During that period Jews, who were an oppressed minority and who comprise less than 0.5 percent the world's population, have claimed 32 percent of the Nobel Prizes for medicine, 32 percent for physics, 39 percent for economics and 29 percent of all science awards.)

    If you are reading this, nearly everything that you see right now has been invented (and done) by a man. Your computer, your Internet, the Web, your room, the electrical power and so on. Maybe men are not that useless and dumb after all, are we?

    I am really sorry for the author's son. It won't be easy for him to grow up with a mother who has so much contempt towards boys.

    So if you are a feminist eager to feel superior to men, please buy this book and you will be reassured in your beliefs.
    ...more info
  • Sexist pseudoscience aimed at promoting the author's favourite pharmaceutical
    As a product of the female brain, I'm afraid to say that this disgraceful excuse for objective research does more damage to the reputation of female brain power than the worst mysogynist could. Just as I would reject research from an Anti-Semite that showed that Jews are genetically disadvantaged, research from a Ku Klux Klanner that showed that African-Americans are stupid, or research by a communist showing that capitalists are more greedy, so I do not consider research from a proven mysandrist who has shown that men are mentally inferior to women.

    Louann 'Zoloft' Brizendine does no favours for the many intelligent women in the world by lumping them altogether into a mysandronistic community which 'men will develop a serious case of brain envy' over. Men will only start developing 'brain envy' when these supposedly superior brains put their money where their mouth is, and demonstrate their superiority. Instead, in the realms of brain power and its corresponding creativity these Einsteins have put on a poor show. There are no long lines of women outside the US Patent office, waiting to introduce to the world their brainwaves. Instead, they show the typical failure of supposedly master multitaskers to have any UNItasking skills, which alone can give one the focused, concentrated thinking necessary for a level of mentation far above that ever dreamed of by Ms Zoloft. What she demonstrates with this drivel are the devastating results of combining an unconscious inferiority complex with ignorance and arrogance. I don't know how much commission Brizendine is getting from Zoloft for promoting and marketing their products in a work of 'objective research', but I have no doubt the association of Zoloft with the paltry abilities of Brizendine can in the long term only damage the reputation of the pharmaceutical in question.

    Don't, don't, don't waste your money on this book now - soon it will be cheaper than toilet paper, when at last it could be used to serve a useful function....more info
  • Well researched and written
    I get it now! This book enlightened me to why girls/women do what they do and feel and think the way they do. Confirms what's going through my mind. Does some gender comparison which helps me to understand my teenage son better and accept some of his behavior.
    A great gift for friends struggling with teenage daughters....more info
  • It went into the trash
    I read this as a layperson and came to the conclusion that it was a skewed collection of misinformation meant only to cushion between its pages the promotion of specific drugs. The only thought provoked by this book was, "How much did the drug companies pay her?" I keep or donate all of my books. Not this one--it went straight into the recycle bin....more info
  • Empowering
    Let me ask all the women readers a question?
    If you had access to Aladdin's lamp, what would your three wishes be. Eternal youth? Money? Power? Think again, I agree with Louann Brizedendine, Author of "The Female Brain", that all of us really want:
    More joy in our lives
    A fulfilling relationship
    And last but not the least, more personal time to grow.

    Men often wonder what women want? The key to this secret is in understanding that women have a special gift. Not only we have an exquisitely configured prefrontal gyrus and hippocampus but our neurons are constantly being suffused by the Big E and the Big O. This potent synergy endows us with the magic of being smart AND nurturing. Our grandmothers and mothers ( successful home makers) have shown us by example that the "Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." This adage is even more relevant today.

    You might have heard the Dalai Lama's recent address that: HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE WOMEN WORLD LEADERS. (Are the men listening? Ready or not, here we come!)
    In the 21st Century, for the first time, women are enjoying the luxury of pursuing intellectual and scientific pursuits. Today we have a better control of our hippocampus-triggered emotions, fertility and economic independence. Now is the time to logically eye-ball our responsibilities and appropriately utilize our social support system and technology to juggle the role of a model "care-giver" with any challenging profession. Remember, we lead with style and panache.

    ...more info
  • Part Revealing, Part Depressing
    Read as a man, the book basically tells you that, no matter what you believe or what women say about the qualities they are looking in a man, they are hard wired to choose the one with cash, a house in the Hamptons, and clothes from Bergdorf & Goodman. I knew that already. So: squander your money (if you have any) or stay single. Good luck....more info
  • File in Fiction, not Science.
    The problem with this book is that Brizendine actively misrepresents research and uses numbers that are basically made-up. Her "science" doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

    For instance, on differences between male and female speech patterns she claims that women speak three times more words than men in a day, and speak almost twice as fast. In fact, no reliable studies had been done when the book came out. Prompted by the book, somebody actually bothered to measure, and it turned out that men and women speak about the same number of words, and men speak (very slightly) faster. You can get details about the studies from the excellent blog LanguageLog, which reports on real linguistic science. Google for the post titled "Gabby guys: the effect size".

    In sum: This book should be filed in the Fiction section, not the Science section....more info
  • Speed Reading
    I loved this book - finished it in an hour. At first I was put off by her approach, but then realized there was a meth od in the madness. Dr. Benzedrine is a rush! ...more info
  • Should be required reading for every married couple!
    This book was very readable and highly informative. I have recommended it to many of my friends and colleagues. It should be required reading for every couple! I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the author's scientific approach, knowledge of hormonal influences on the brain, and life cycle approach. I felt acknowledged and so much more "normal" after reading this book. My mother (an active 78) read it and plans to share it with her other 2 daughters, 3 other grandaughters and newest grandaughter-in-law. My husband is reading it now, and my daughter is next on the list. Don't miss it! ...more info
  • If you REALLY want to understand women
    This is the highlight of my reading year. The most insightful exploration of the female mind, I have ever enjoyed. A MUST read for young girls, young lovers, new and old Moms and if they dare, men who want to understand....more info
  • Don't listen to the naysayers
    Don't listen to the naysayers.

    Brizendine has had the guts to broach a touchy subject in a touchy era. For nearly half a century now the feel good political correctness movement--spearheaded by the feminist movement starting in the 60s--has tried to persuade us to ignore what is obvious to anyone with eyes open, that men and women are different. And they do this under the auspice of all of us just getting along. (Alas, the feminist call for us to just get along, if anything, supports Brizendine's claim that women will say and do just about anything to preserve societal harmony.)

    To support this let's-all-get-along movement the idea that men and women are essentially identical at birth and are only "socialized" into gender indentity and gender roles has been carved into the cultural Zeitgeist as if gospel. But now that research is starting to uncover the fact that this nurture rationale for gender differences has been overstated for the past fifty years, the old guard is up in arms. For sure, they are simply in denial that their precious theories are turning out to be hogwash. (I recommend reading "How Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl," which recounts how the original case study meant to support the socialization of gender identity/role turned out to be a load of hooey.)

    Brizendine's critics, such as Peterzell, are actually living in some fantasy world, where sexual differences are somehow washed out in statistical apologetics. For example, you may hear that the variation within groups is greater than the variation between groups--meaning that men and women will overlap, statistically, in traits we would associate with "feminine" and "masculine." What you won't hear is why such traits are considered "feminine" or "masculine" to begin with if they do not have some kind of intrinsic connection to womanhood and manhood, respectively. In other words, they tell us that gender differences are not great enough to warrant distinction while at the same time using the very distinctions that are near universal in every human culture on earth to distract us from these distinctions. (Women are tough enough to serve in the military...but, aha, why can't men be more peaceloving like women?)

    The academics need to make up their minds. Either men and women are different or they are not. To try to rationalize away a difference is not science. It is politics. Brizendine's book is a bold step in saying enough is enough. Pretending that there is no difference, or that the difference is insignificant is not doing a service to society. It is only making us more confused....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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