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The Female Brain

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This comprehensive new look at the hormonal roller coaster that rules women's lives down to the cellular level, "a user's guide to new research about the female brain and the neurobehavioral systems that make us women," offers a trove of information, as well as some stunning insights. Though referenced like a work of research, Brizedine's writing style is fully accessible. This comprehensive new look at the hormonal roller coaster that rules women's lives down to the cellular level, "a user's guide to new research about the female brain and the neurobehavioral systems that make us women," offers a trove of information, as well as some stunning insights. Though referenced like a work of research, Brizedine's writing style is fully accessible. Brizendine provides a fascinating look at the life cycle of the female brain from birth ("baby girls will connect emotionally in ways that baby boys don't") to birthing ("Motherhood changes you because it literally alters a woman's brain-structurally, functionally, and in many ways, irreversibly") to menopause (when "the female brain is nowhere near ready to retire") and beyond. At the same time, Brizedine is not above reviewing the basics: "We may think we're a lot more sophisticated than Fred or Wilma Flintstone, but our basic mental outlook and equipment are the same." While this book will be of interest to anyone who wonders why men and women are so different, it will be particularly useful for women and parents of girls.


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This comprehensive new look at the hormonal roller coaster that rules women's lives down to the cellular level, "a user's guide to new research about the female brain and the neurobehavioral systems that make us women," offers a trove of information, as well as some stunning insights. Though referenced like a work of research, Brizedine's writing style is fully accessible. This comprehensive new look at the hormonal roller coaster that rules women's lives down to the cellular level, "a user's guide to new research about the female brain and the neurobehavioral systems that make us women," offers a trove of information, as well as some stunning insights. Though referenced like a work of research, Brizedine's writing style is fully accessible. Brizendine provides a fascinating look at the life cycle of the female brain from birth ("baby girls will connect emotionally in ways that baby boys don't") to birthing ("Motherhood changes you because it literally alters a woman's brain-structurally, functionally, and in many ways, irreversibly") to menopause (when "the female brain is nowhere near ready to retire") and beyond. At the same time, Brizedine is not above reviewing the basics: "We may think we're a lot more sophisticated than Fred or Wilma Flintstone, but our basic mental outlook and equipment are the same." While this book will be of interest to anyone who wonders why men and women are so different, it will be particularly useful for women and parents of girls.

30 review for The Female Brain

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    This book pissed me off more than anything I've read in a long time. In fact, I think the last thing I hated this much was Sharp Teeth. And this piece of drivel was way worse. This crazy bitch makes Dr. Laura look like a raging feminist. I understand that this woman is a doctor and I get that she thinks she was doing the world a favor by explaining why women are the way they are. HOWEVER, she takes a very stereotypical view of women and does not make any allowances for women whose behavior is di This book pissed me off more than anything I've read in a long time. In fact, I think the last thing I hated this much was Sharp Teeth. And this piece of drivel was way worse. This crazy bitch makes Dr. Laura look like a raging feminist. I understand that this woman is a doctor and I get that she thinks she was doing the world a favor by explaining why women are the way they are. HOWEVER, she takes a very stereotypical view of women and does not make any allowances for women whose behavior is different. She provides a "scientific" excuse for women to be bad at math and science and says that women tend to leave math/science careers for jobs where they can be with people because that is what women value. Um, right. Her evidence for this? She has a friend (yes, one, one friend) who did this. This book was so bad and so stereotypical that I had to put it down numerous times. In fact I couldn't even finish it because I was having fantasies of setting it on fire. On top of her science being suspect and her tone being patronizing 1950s bullshit her style rather sucked too. I love books that take science and make it readable, but this was not one of them. She had a very chatty, we're all girlfriends here so I don't have to explain things kind of attitude with the reader. She was neither witty nor enaging and her commentary was dull. All in all what this book did for me was to understand why people burn and ban books. Not that she doesn't have a right to spew her drivel on the world, but damn, do I wish that no one would ever read it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Chauvinists around the world will thank Dr. Brizendine for her pop-science oversimplification excuse of a book that will add a modicum of misplaced credibility to the belief that women are powerless over their emotions an hormones. "Don't tell me it's not your period, honey! Dr. Brizendine proved that you are powerless over the hormones in your brain! It's ok!" *pat,pat* "Why don't you take a Xanax and zone out in front of an episode of Grey's?" This book irritated me beyond belief. I think any pe Chauvinists around the world will thank Dr. Brizendine for her pop-science oversimplification excuse of a book that will add a modicum of misplaced credibility to the belief that women are powerless over their emotions an hormones. "Don't tell me it's not your period, honey! Dr. Brizendine proved that you are powerless over the hormones in your brain! It's ok!" *pat,pat* "Why don't you take a Xanax and zone out in front of an episode of Grey's?" This book irritated me beyond belief. I think any person with a decent education understands that brain chemistry is a huge factor in human behavior. However, Dr. Brizendine uses it as an excuse and cop-out for everything. Her attitude for handling life in the face of what she seems to think are insurmountable hormones, is to medicate it all away. Is your teenage daughter pouty and rebellious? Give her drugs! Don't bother to worry about the effects these drugs might have on her developing brain. After all, you just want her to stop being a problem so you can get back to your life, right? What? In generations past, the young girl would have been taught to deal with her raging emotions and she would have been expected to live by family guidelines whether she liked it or not? Pssshaw. That would be too much work! Instead, teach her that she is powerless over her fleeting whims and how she can use that as an awesome justification for doing whatever the heck she wants whenever she wants. Yes. Drug her. DRUG HER. The book goes on to justify: ~Women putting up with shitty treatment from men. ~Ignoring their husband's needs after children arrive ~Being unreasonably emotional in any situation ~Ending their marriages after their children leave I think Dr. Brizendine's message could be summed up by saying, "Women aren't responsible for their actions. And thus, you can discount them whenever you want."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    I stopped reading this book on page 68. It's amazing I made it that far. Part of me thinks I should finish the book because I should know what is inside. People not only like to come to me for gender advice, but also test my boundaries on "gender roles." A friend loaned me this book, I believe as a way to see what my expert opinion of it would be. I have no idea how she feels about it. It frightens me to think this was a NY Times Best Seller. Oh, the masses who read this and loved it! You know what I stopped reading this book on page 68. It's amazing I made it that far. Part of me thinks I should finish the book because I should know what is inside. People not only like to come to me for gender advice, but also test my boundaries on "gender roles." A friend loaned me this book, I believe as a way to see what my expert opinion of it would be. I have no idea how she feels about it. It frightens me to think this was a NY Times Best Seller. Oh, the masses who read this and loved it! You know what made me finally put this book down? *It wasn't her pointing out that female and male brains work in different ways. *It wasn't her stating on page 8 that a female engineer quit her work to be in a more people-oriented career, thus giving more credibility to the idea that engineers don't work with people or for people. *It wasn't even when she dug up the old "I gave my daughter a truck and she treated it like a baby" cliché. *It was almost when she says men look for visual clues (plump lips, smooth skin) to ensure fertility when looking for women to date. It was her slut shaming. In the chapter about how the female brain works in the areas of love and trust, she states: (Warning, put that cup down and swallow that bite) "Social reputation is often a factor in male assessment, since the most reproductively successful males also need to pick women who will mate only with them. Men want to ensure their paternity but also to be able to count on a woman's mothers skills to make sure that their offspring thrive. If Melissa had immediately gone to bed with Rob or showed off to him about all the guys she has had, his Stone Age brain might have judged that she would be unfaithful or had a bad reputation." Go ahead, read that passage again. Yes, you read it correctly. Cave men don't want slutty women to hook up with. There's a lot of research in here and a lot of medical terms that aren't clearly explained. But from all the things on gender that I have learned from reading outside and inside the classroom and the science background I have, I have to say that this person takes facts and uses a huge rubber band to tie it to normative behavior. Instead of this book, pick up Pink Brain, Blue Brain. Sure it's 2-3 times longer, but it doesn't traffic in stereotypes and certainly believes that we have evolved from the Stone Age. A reader suggested Cordelia Fine's "Delusion of Gender" as another alternative to "The Female Brain." http://www.cordeliafine.com/delusions... Have other suggestions? Keep them coming!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    In The Female Brain, neuropsychiatrist Dr. Louann Brizendine uses clinical research and the experience of counseling patients to examine how the many various hormones flowing through a woman's body may affect their actions and behavior. It covers the emotional development and brain processes of women through the various stages of their lives, beginning at the beginning with childhood, moving through the tumultuous teens and the horror that is puberty and progress through womanhood into old age. In The Female Brain, neuropsychiatrist Dr. Louann Brizendine uses clinical research and the experience of counseling patients to examine how the many various hormones flowing through a woman's body may affect their actions and behavior. It covers the emotional development and brain processes of women through the various stages of their lives, beginning at the beginning with childhood, moving through the tumultuous teens and the horror that is puberty and progress through womanhood into old age. The use of science to dissect human behavior is tricky since our moods, reactions, etc are slippery little fish. Brizendine's use of animal research raises validity questions (I.E. rats are not humans, so how can it apply?), however she is the first to admit that none of this is 100% pure, unadulterated fact. Just the same, there are some insights within The Female Brain that appear to be highly probable cause-effect truths, and even if they're not, this whole subject is still very fascinating! Hard science it is not. Not all the way through. This is a book for the layman. It's simplified and generalized. Sweeping statements are made about entire genders. Which is not to say the doctor believes "all" women do this or that. She just doesn't keep reminding the reader of the exceptions. Regardless, I found the entire book entertaining and, admittedly, quite a bit of it to be enlightening, as I imagine it might be to most men. Even some women would do well to give this a read, because how often do you hear yourself say something like, "Sometimes I just don't understand my mother/daughter!"?

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Rim

    The takeaway from this book is that the average woman is a hyper-sensitive control freak ruled by hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, testosterone in the same way that some people feel they're controlled by the movement of the stars. These hormones in turn are determined by a combination of genetics and rearing but developed over time as a reaction to evolutionary necessities. All of which enforce behavior which you know of as a set of common stereotypes. There's not much scientif The takeaway from this book is that the average woman is a hyper-sensitive control freak ruled by hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, testosterone in the same way that some people feel they're controlled by the movement of the stars. These hormones in turn are determined by a combination of genetics and rearing but developed over time as a reaction to evolutionary necessities. All of which enforce behavior which you know of as a set of common stereotypes. There's not much scientific data to back up these claims but that doesn't stop Luann Brizendine, MD. This writing itself is awful -- an overly breezy example of the worst of pop science. It reads like a long magazine article written in a chatty style which among other things is directed towards an exclusively female audience. Worse, the science is poor, relying mostly on case study from private practice and completely irrelevant animal studies giving 0 background on studies. Just reporting findings is fine in these kind of books, but they should at least make a coherent argument. Example: Brizendine describes a rat experiment wherein researchers rubbed a local anesthetic on a mother rat's mammaries. Brizendine claims that the lack of sensation resulted in lack of bonding between pup and mother, and these poor rat pups as a consequence suffered from a host of problems later in the experiment. Therefore, a woman should breast-feed. Wow -- I think I need a little more information before I can accept that line of reasoning. On the other hand, I do think that brain chemistry is extremely important in determining our moods and behavior. I can buy the basic premise. The problem is that I'm not interested in why so many women exhibit stereotypical behavior. I'm more interested in the how. How does estrogen protect brain cells? How does oxytocin create feelings of relaxation? What is an emotion, and how do you know you're having one anyways? Is sadness for a woman the same thing as sadness for me? Really, I'm not interested in why women like rich, good looking, attentive guys (compared to what? poor, ugly, insensitve guys?). I'm more interested in how they know and how they evaluate what they see and feel and how that differs from the way I see myself. None of these questions even get asked. It's a crying shame.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Audrey Babkirk Wellons

    Please do not believe what is said in this book before you check the references. Many of the assertions are false or a misinterpretation of facts. Here a linguistics professor from the University of Pennsylvania fact-checks a short passage from "The Female Brain" and finds no evidence to support the book's claims about women talking more than men: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langua... Delusions of Gender (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...) also dismantles many of the harmful claims in Please do not believe what is said in this book before you check the references. Many of the assertions are false or a misinterpretation of facts. Here a linguistics professor from the University of Pennsylvania fact-checks a short passage from "The Female Brain" and finds no evidence to support the book's claims about women talking more than men: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langua... Delusions of Gender (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...) also dismantles many of the harmful claims in "The Female Brain." I read this book years ago and believed it. I am sorry if my initial positive review caused anyone to likewise read it and believe the same distorted views about women. Many reviewers also took it at face value (see http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/langua...). This is how bad science gets spread ...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    The train wreck started with the initial characterization of the hormones. Establishing the hormones with a particular gender and giving them “jobs” that fit with gender roles does not bode well for the hope to see an objective look at the female brain without sexist stereotypes or gender roles muddling the examination of evidence. Then it got into the book. At the beginning, it casually implied that PMS is scientifically valid. I was disappointed in that since there are quite a few medical profe The train wreck started with the initial characterization of the hormones. Establishing the hormones with a particular gender and giving them “jobs” that fit with gender roles does not bode well for the hope to see an objective look at the female brain without sexist stereotypes or gender roles muddling the examination of evidence. Then it got into the book. At the beginning, it casually implied that PMS is scientifically valid. I was disappointed in that since there are quite a few medical professionals that have come out to say that the hormonal effects on a woman’s emotional state before menstruation is pretty much a social construct. It would have been nice to see some facts and studies laid out about the opposing theories that exist, but no it picked a side, and presented it as if there was no debate. Even the prevalence of the common side effects among women around menstruation would have been nice, but this book is woefully barren of many figures for a science book. And sadly at times it is even without facts. Many times the author states a common pop culture bit of pseudo-science psychology that many have heard, but there is no real scientific evidence for it being true. The first “fact” that had a lot of “truthiness” to it was the fact about how many words men and women say in a day on average. “Men use about seven thousand words per day. Women use about twenty-thousand.” This is scientifically false. Men and women actually say the same amount of words per day, around seven thousand. The second “fact” I had some real beef with was the statement that males are more likely to be on the autistic spectrum, and girls aren’t. That is a twisting of data and leaving out social behaviors and expectations out of identifying children on the autistic spectrum. The truth is boys are diagnosed more often than girls, however this does not mean that girls aren’t autistic. Typically the expression of autism is different between boys and girls, due to how the different genders are conditioned to socially interact, a boy with autism is more likely to have a angry outburst while the girl is more likely to be reserved and quiet. In the end the angry outburst gets more attention and therefore a diagnose occurs, while a quiet child is hardly seen as problematic, and therefore no source of that favorable behavior is sought. “Men are on average twenty times more aggressive than women.” While this is the social construct that is in place in many societies, there is plenty of data that put in a power position, women are just as likely to be as aggressive as men can be. As more women are rising up in the ranks of businesses, guess what, rates of women sexually harassing male employees are going up as well. Also there is a lot of speculation about that the cases of husbands who get physically abused by the wives are drastically under reported, mainly due to the social stigma that men are the aggressors and women are the victims. “Girls are motivated—on a molecular and neurological level—to ease and prevent social conflict.” How would that explain mean girls? Oh and here is a big one: “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.” Not only is this statistically impossible, but it is incredibly sexist too. It reinforces the concept that females aren’t naturally sexual, and that men are naturally hyper-sexual. And it makes a woman who enjoys sex look abnormal. It is covert slut-shaming. And her justification about why less women enter into science and math professions totally ignores the documented fact of stereotype threat that goes into effect when women go against expected female behavior. If you give a test to boys and girls, both will perform similarly, however if before the test if the teacher says “oh the boys always do well on this test,” there is a drastic bump in the boys’ score and a drop in the girls’ score. The same thing happens when women enter into male dominated fields, and the result less women enter into those fields, and less women remain in those fields. The thing is that most of these scientifically baseless “facts” are social fallacies that people started saying to justify sexist concepts about the genders. The fact that the author uses them, to support her theory, in my opinion, makes her the book lose all credibility. And as I said, since many of these statements she uses have no scientific merit, what about the references in the back? In most science books I read there are either footnotes or superscripts that connect a statement stated in the book to the corresponding source in the bibliography. In this book, while there is a bibliography, there is no connection from any statement made to the sources in the back. Which makes sense, since the original scientific papers and such, in no way supports what the author theorizes and definitely not the fallacies she uses. A big problem is that most of the book is anecdotal. She ends up presenting a very narrow view of experience to justify her theory. She explains the neurological structures of the brain, and then she goes into an anecdote as if it confirms what she thought about the expression of the brain structure. She doesn’t take into account social conditioning and pressure. It pains me to no end that this book not only masquerades as scientifically valid but people are just lapping up this neurosexism and recommending that everyone else drink the kool-aid, ultimately perpetuating sexist stereotypes and reaffirming gender roles that have been constructed. This book tells girls "Of course you are the emotional irrational mess society says that you are! I can prove it with 'science'! Don't bother your pretty little emotional wreck of a head with math and science you are just not wired to understand it anyway." For anyone who says that they loved this book, I would highly recommend the book Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. Please for the love of sanity read this book and really try to understand the science behind claims and studies and don't just buy into it because it feels true without any real meat of evidence to add to the claims.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Okay, this is serious. We ALL need to read this, and we need to get our significant others to read it, too. This author is a neuropsychiatrist and she analyzes how we (women) work (in easy to understand language) and why we do the things we do with regard to our moods, our biology and our evolutionary inclinations. It is infinitely interesting and lends an amazing insight into how we as women function on a daily basis. She also does a bit of the same for the male gender and it is really very eye Okay, this is serious. We ALL need to read this, and we need to get our significant others to read it, too. This author is a neuropsychiatrist and she analyzes how we (women) work (in easy to understand language) and why we do the things we do with regard to our moods, our biology and our evolutionary inclinations. It is infinitely interesting and lends an amazing insight into how we as women function on a daily basis. She also does a bit of the same for the male gender and it is really very eye-opening. I learned more about myself from this book than I did from an entire semester of Gynecology! And now I will stop jabbering and let you get to reading the book...really, I command you to read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "This crazy bitch makes Dr. Laura look like a raging feminist" Another Goodreads reviewer" My problems with this book were plentiful. It was, in general, pretty poorly written, but often scientists don't make the all time best writers. I find I can often forgive this shortcoming if their science is sound (and interesting), but sadly Louanne Brizendine seems to rely on her own personal experience from cases she has observed firsthand and vague, undocumented, anecdotal "evidence" almost exclusively. "This crazy bitch makes Dr. Laura look like a raging feminist" Another Goodreads reviewer" My problems with this book were plentiful. It was, in general, pretty poorly written, but often scientists don't make the all time best writers. I find I can often forgive this shortcoming if their science is sound (and interesting), but sadly Louanne Brizendine seems to rely on her own personal experience from cases she has observed firsthand and vague, undocumented, anecdotal "evidence" almost exclusively. Rather than giving us the real cognitive science studies, she turns again and again to a few of her patients (which represents a statistically insignificant population) to extract subjective observations which go from becoming theories, to broad sweeping generalizations, to "facts" as you advance through the chapters. She uses repetitive, inaccurate, and irritatingly childish analogies that are poorly chosen- to illustrate unsound hypotheses. As I first started into this book I was very put off by what I felt were extremely sexist overtones- not against women, but against men. Again and again she uses descriptions of testosterone "destroying" part of the male brain and the "default female" fetus growing unabated, etc etc etc. She seems to do this several times, but I finally began to understand *why* she was glorifying the emotional adaptability, facial processing, and conflict resolution skills of women. It was because it *was* sexist, not just against men, but against women as well. Louanne Brizendine successfully made me end up feeling as though I had no real purpose beyond being a passive, estrogen filled receptacle, fated to mate, care for young, keep the cave clean, calm aggressive males, and give up the pursuits that actually interest me in favor of the biological inevitability of being a mommy. Perhaps I will breed and perhaps I will not, but a part of me wants to refuse to make babies solely to thwart this obnoxious assumption. The author barely touches at all on women who can not or do not have children, and only mentions them to note that their brains are not as efficient. Wow. She also maintains that women are not worse at math or science, they just prefer to be in more social environments- and though I'm taking it out of context a little, that nearly made me holler with incredulity and rage. Stereotype much Mrs. B? She also devotes a whole PAGE AND A HALF to sexual orientation (are you kidding me???), but for some reason felt the need to devote an ENTIRE chapter to the benefits of hormone replacement therapy after menopause, and goes on for so long about them I began to wonder if the drug companies that produce these medicines were paying her salary while she wrote this book. There are good, interesting, legitimate, useful facts in this book- and I did find some wonderfully informative tidbits. Things about why I have trouble relating my emotional states to the opposite sex, and what chemicals cause what behaviors. It helped me understand why I feel compelled to do certain things and why I so often have trouble understanding my partners seeming obliviousness to my emotional states. I had *fun* for the most part reading this book, and though I had to take almost everything with a grain of salt, I did feel as though I absorbed a great number of very helpful biological, neurological, neurochemical, and evolutionary facts that I would have been even happier to learn from a book that didn't make me feel like a sperm depository.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lori Carpenter

    Wow! Where to begin! Julie recommended this book to me. I'd suggest all women read it; especially those going through changes in life and these can be the obvious, like menopause, to your girls going through puberty. It will definitely keep me more patient and "grounded" as Ellie goes through puberty to remember not to take things personally and to remember what she is going through. I did find it interesting/comical that she listed each stage of life separately. Which is obvious, but I kept thi Wow! Where to begin! Julie recommended this book to me. I'd suggest all women read it; especially those going through changes in life and these can be the obvious, like menopause, to your girls going through puberty. It will definitely keep me more patient and "grounded" as Ellie goes through puberty to remember not to take things personally and to remember what she is going through. I did find it interesting/comical that she listed each stage of life separately. Which is obvious, but I kept thinking about the peri-menopausal and menopausal women with a teenage daughter and thought she could have explored this dynamic more. It was fascinating to learn about the different areas of the brain that develop more fully in a female vs. male brain and how they are influenced by those damn hormones even before we are born. It's worth the read, explains past behaviors and gives you a head's up for the future. Just remember, we are all Stone Age beings at heart!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kate Higgins

    This book is amazing. I normally do not read books like this, but it is so worth it. Dr Brizendine describes the various stages of the female brain, from fetus through menopause and all the changes in between. I now find myself looking at Louisa and thinking how her brain is begging for reassurance that she's doing 'it' right. Then looking at myself, current owner of the 'mommy brain'. Amazing. I really appreciated how the author presented the material to explain actions of individuals while aff This book is amazing. I normally do not read books like this, but it is so worth it. Dr Brizendine describes the various stages of the female brain, from fetus through menopause and all the changes in between. I now find myself looking at Louisa and thinking how her brain is begging for reassurance that she's doing 'it' right. Then looking at myself, current owner of the 'mommy brain'. Amazing. I really appreciated how the author presented the material to explain actions of individuals while affirming that women are agents of their own actions, regardless of what's going on in the old brain. Beware: I found myself constantly turning to whoever was next to me at the time wanting to share interesting tidbits (did you know that women cry on average four times more than men do?!). I hear that may be annoying...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    You know an author is out to prove something when she states that she attended Harvard, Yale, and Berkeley within the first page of her book. Furthermore, you know she wants to be taken seriously when she keeps repeating this claim to fame every few pages and also reminds you of all the thousands of cases she has seen while working at her clinic. What you don't know, however, is why someone who claims to be so experienced relies solely on anonymous studies and personal anecdotes about herself, u You know an author is out to prove something when she states that she attended Harvard, Yale, and Berkeley within the first page of her book. Furthermore, you know she wants to be taken seriously when she keeps repeating this claim to fame every few pages and also reminds you of all the thousands of cases she has seen while working at her clinic. What you don't know, however, is why someone who claims to be so experienced relies solely on anonymous studies and personal anecdotes about herself, unidentified friends, and nameless patients (besides one biochemistry professor who was a pole dancer in college) as the basis for generalizations for the behavior of ALL women and men. Brizendine spends the majority of her book discussing such stories. When she tries to support her claims with scientific data, she is very specific; for instance, a Swiss experiment proved that oxytocin acts as a pleasure stimulant for the brain. Who conducted this experiment? When was it conducted? How many subjects were tested? Such information is conveniently left unmentioned throughout the book in order not to trouble readers' minds with cumbersome facts. Well, if that's the case, then an experiment conducted in NY proved that the brain is actually located in a person's neck and not the head. Brizendine did provide over 70 pages of notes and references, but readers are sure to be able to take the time to match anecdote with reference number when the references are alphabetized without any mention to the chapter they support. Many of the "facts" this books provides are also very questionable. Men think about sex once a minute while women think about it a maximum of three times per day? Do these chaste women turn on the television, ever? And I'm sure every teenage boy thinks about sex two hundred forty times during the four hours that he spends taking the SAT. (And yet, some boys STILL get perfect scores. They must be great prodigies indeed.) As another example, Brizendine states that women speak an average amount of 20000 words per day while men only speak 7000, a fact that Brizendine obtained from a self-help book written in 1997 called ``Talk Language: How to Use Conversation for Profit and Pleasure." I’m sure years of meticulous research were made to prove THAT hypothesis. Overall, on an academic scale of 1-10, I would give this book a 3. The basic premises of the book is that women and girls seek acceptance and are remarkably intuitive due to possessing low testosterone levels, while men are domineering, aloof, and incapable of reading other people’s body language when it does not indicate a direct threat to them. On an entertainment scale, however, I would give it an 8. I had such a great time watching Brizendine try to get me to take her seriously and every few pages evoked quite a few laughs. Some great quotes presented in this literary masterpiece: “Girls who expect their boyfriends to chat with them the way their girlfriends do are in for a big surprise. Phone conversations can have painful lulls. The best she can often hope for is that he is an attentive listener. She may not realize he's just bored and wants to get back to his video game." “Testosterone has been shown to decrease talking as interest in socializing---except when it involves sports or sexual pursuit." "Their [adolescent boys':] reluctance to talk to their parents comes out of magical thinking that grown-ups will read between their spoken lines and the look in their eyes and know that the subject of sex has taken them over, mind, body, and soul.” “Activities such as caressing, kissing, hugging, gazing, and orgasm can replenish the chemical bond of love in the brain."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rosytown

    There are two things that you MUST know before reading this book. 1 - The author received the 2006 Becky Award, which is given to 'people or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to linguistic misinformation'. 2 - There are a myriad of doctors and experts (male and female) who dispute the science in this book. One such 'fact', regarding the usage of words per day has been removed in current printings due to it's inaccuracy. On the positive side of things, I found small pockets of th There are two things that you MUST know before reading this book. 1 - The author received the 2006 Becky Award, which is given to 'people or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to linguistic misinformation'. 2 - There are a myriad of doctors and experts (male and female) who dispute the science in this book. One such 'fact', regarding the usage of words per day has been removed in current printings due to it's inaccuracy. On the positive side of things, I found small pockets of the book mildly interesting. It flows well, employing a chronological format and it is well written (despite some typos). However, I can completely understand why many woman are outraged by such a book. It doesn't do much justice for the plight of women in this day and age. I'd like to believe that the strong, smart and capable women in my life are more than just constructs of their current hormonal flux. They would all be horrified to hear me speaking of them in such a way. As a man, I found the book irritating. The author paints a completely over simplified and often inaccurate version of modern men. I truly hope that readers are smart enough to disregard these obvious misrepresentations. On the back of the book - 'a man can't spot an emotion unless somebody cries or threatens bodily harm'. Enough said.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Khalid

    The Female Brain is a science book that discusses the physical and psychological aspects of the female brain. It will teach you how the female brain works, and why does it work the way it does. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot by reading it. It contains enough science that you feel convinced yet not bored, and enough stories that entertain you along the way. To be honest, I didn't like it at first when she started talking about females as super human beings, and how we The Female Brain is a science book that discusses the physical and psychological aspects of the female brain. It will teach you how the female brain works, and why does it work the way it does. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot by reading it. It contains enough science that you feel convinced yet not bored, and enough stories that entertain you along the way. To be honest, I didn't like it at first when she started talking about females as super human beings, and how we men are just simply limited (Hey, I have to be a little defensive!). However, as the book went along, it started having a more moderate and reasonable tone. I do recommend this book for women first and foremost, so that they know what they're and what they will be going through, and how to make use of it all. I recommend it to men if they really care about understanding their partners. Believe me, this scientific material is much more valuable to understanding how the other gender functions than a book like "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus". At least, there are no caves in this book!

  15. 5 out of 5

    ☆☽Erica☾☆

    ZERO STARS. NEGATIVE STARS. THIS BOOK OWES ME STARS BACK BECAUSE I HATE IT SO MUCH. NOT FEMINISM. NOT SCIENCE. NOT TRUE. MY FELLOW WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF ALL GENDERS AND ALL SEXUALITIES, THIS IS NOT ACCURATE. This is an absolute true story: I got this book as a gift while I was living in my dad's apartment. I tried reading this and just absolutely couldn't because it was so fucking dumb. So i put it back on my bookshelf and resumed my life. YET i was unable to even look at this piece of shit on my sh ZERO STARS. NEGATIVE STARS. THIS BOOK OWES ME STARS BACK BECAUSE I HATE IT SO MUCH. NOT FEMINISM. NOT SCIENCE. NOT TRUE. MY FELLOW WOMEN AND PEOPLE OF ALL GENDERS AND ALL SEXUALITIES, THIS IS NOT ACCURATE. This is an absolute true story: I got this book as a gift while I was living in my dad's apartment. I tried reading this and just absolutely couldn't because it was so fucking dumb. So i put it back on my bookshelf and resumed my life. YET i was unable to even look at this piece of shit on my shelf with ACTUAL books so I considered donating it to the library. But even that seemed wrong. So, after fairly little but thorough deliberation I genuinely took this book to the trash shoot and threw it in the dumpster. Also I still see this book featured in barnes and noble

  16. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    My mom recommended it, I think, because she was overjoyed to discover a scientific rationale for her new-found post-menopausal selfishness (which I think is a good thing for her...to be selfish after decades of tending to others). I felt a bit "meh" about the book...while the science and anthropological studies were mildly interesting, if a little cursory, the anecdotal "tales from the couch" were really annoying, in the way that, say, "The Tyra Banks Show" and women's magazines are annoying. My mom recommended it, I think, because she was overjoyed to discover a scientific rationale for her new-found post-menopausal selfishness (which I think is a good thing for her...to be selfish after decades of tending to others). I felt a bit "meh" about the book...while the science and anthropological studies were mildly interesting, if a little cursory, the anecdotal "tales from the couch" were really annoying, in the way that, say, "The Tyra Banks Show" and women's magazines are annoying.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    On what I found out about the female brain: Dammit! They're smarter than us. I wish I had this book a couple years ago. But seriously, intelligence is relevant and this book is not about that. Instead, it's about the different ways in which both brains operate. In no way is this book fluff, which is what someone coming across the title, and in light of its mainstream success, might think. What this book is, is an attempt to understand the circuitry of the female brain; which, hasn't been thourou On what I found out about the female brain: Dammit! They're smarter than us. I wish I had this book a couple years ago. But seriously, intelligence is relevant and this book is not about that. Instead, it's about the different ways in which both brains operate. In no way is this book fluff, which is what someone coming across the title, and in light of its mainstream success, might think. What this book is, is an attempt to understand the circuitry of the female brain; which, hasn't been thouroughly investigated until thirty years prior to now. Scientist simply couldn't, and didn't have the equipment, to understand the female brain in relation to the male brain. The book deals more in research and neorology than anything else--the references in the back take up a big portion of the book. It's clear in what was said in the introduction, that Louann Brizendine probably got a healthy advance for this book and that a lot of people were involved to make it happen. What we're left with is a book that's groundbreaking, informative, interesting, important, helpful, humorous, tells a story, and is just fun. I usually read a lot, and so saying I couldn't put this book down would be an understatement, but, I didn't try to read another book while reading this one. I usually read two books if their subject matter allows me to not keep with it the whole time. It's also amazing that the book has been edited down to only 189 pages. In the short time it took me to read it, I observed females and the way they interact in comparison to males. Sure enough, I could identify with a lot of things that were being discussed in the text. As Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of "The Wisdom of Menopause" suggests, "Sassy, witty, reassuring, and great fun. All women--and the men who love them--should read this book."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kimberley

    Innately sexist and ignores social construction of gender. Emphasizes on biological determinism which is a major contributing factor into women's oppression. This book needs to go back to 1955! Innately sexist and ignores social construction of gender. Emphasizes on biological determinism which is a major contributing factor into women's oppression. This book needs to go back to 1955!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sheziss

    Thanks to this book, my mother and I hug more often in order to secrete oxytocin so she doesn't abandon me. It works. Thanks to this book, my mother and I hug more often in order to secrete oxytocin so she doesn't abandon me. It works.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hooman Mazin

    A must read book for all the men in all ages. The author explains the impact of chemical hormones in growth, change and development of women’s brain from childhood to motherhood and beyond. The book presents insightful neurobiological findings and concepts that are broken down into simple pieces suitable for general audience. I can imagine that some women may find the book obvious and not accurate. Yet, it presents a concise and simple view of female brain that men will probably find it worth re A must read book for all the men in all ages. The author explains the impact of chemical hormones in growth, change and development of women’s brain from childhood to motherhood and beyond. The book presents insightful neurobiological findings and concepts that are broken down into simple pieces suitable for general audience. I can imagine that some women may find the book obvious and not accurate. Yet, it presents a concise and simple view of female brain that men will probably find it worth reading.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    This book needs no parody. Brain science in the service of silliness and stereotype truths about women... "With this accessible, fun guide, women will discover that they have a lean, mean communicating machine at their disposal -- and men will find that they finally have a key to understanding their relations with women" etc etc. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus plus amygdala drawings and synapses. Which wouldn't be a problem except so many damned people bought it! This book needs no parody. Brain science in the service of silliness and stereotype truths about women... "With this accessible, fun guide, women will discover that they have a lean, mean communicating machine at their disposal -- and men will find that they finally have a key to understanding their relations with women" etc etc. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus plus amygdala drawings and synapses. Which wouldn't be a problem except so many damned people bought it!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I mostly really liked this book. It is a somewhat scientific book that describes the effect of hormones on the female brain from birth through death, specifically examining puberty, child-bearing and rearing, menopause, etc. I was left feeling like the worst parts of myself are all controlled by my hormones. And that the best parts of myself, are also a product of my hormones. It made me wonder what my personality would be left with once I didn't have any hormones? It was really educational and i I mostly really liked this book. It is a somewhat scientific book that describes the effect of hormones on the female brain from birth through death, specifically examining puberty, child-bearing and rearing, menopause, etc. I was left feeling like the worst parts of myself are all controlled by my hormones. And that the best parts of myself, are also a product of my hormones. It made me wonder what my personality would be left with once I didn't have any hormones? It was really educational and insightful. I particularly read the part on puberty and perio-menopause with great interest, since that's where the females in our household are right now. She describes men as mountains hormonally--veritably unchanging, and women as the storms that rage around those mountains, constantly changing. Every single day, women have a different hormonal/chemical mix in their brain than they did the day before. It's never the same. I'm finding myself recommending this book to everyone--female and male. A few things I didn't like about it: 1) Brizendine's early implications that females are superior to males because we have hormones which make us more responsive to other humans, better listeners, more nurturing annoyed me. I felt like she included that and the little by-line on the back of the book ("Men, get ready to have brain envy") to passify the feminists. The examples she gave of little toddler and preschooler boys and girls to prove her points of superiority were completely annoying to me. I could find just as many examples from my preschoolers of cases where the boys displayed better behavior and the girls were manipulative and exlclusive. Seemed very one-sided. 2) Brizendine tries writing in the Malcolm Gladwell style. No one can do it like Malcolm though, so the lack is obvious. 3) Brizendine is a psychologist, not a researcher. This becomes more evident as she presents the research to prove her point. For instance she presents a piece of evidence about the monogomous DNA strand which may pre-determine whether you're more likely to stay with one mate, or try for many. But the original research doesn't really say that. She just takes a small portion of it to prove her point. Being married to a researcher makes me more aware of these "research omissions."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    This book was a delight to read. Having long decried supposed gender differences and endorsed a faith in the universality of reason, much of what Dr. Brizendine claims to be gender-characteristic of brains was definitely not what I wanted to read. However, her mix of challenging claims and anecdotal exemplifications of them worked very well towards making what could have been a very dull exercise into something fun and memorable. Upon finishing the book I handed it off to the sixteen-year-old dau This book was a delight to read. Having long decried supposed gender differences and endorsed a faith in the universality of reason, much of what Dr. Brizendine claims to be gender-characteristic of brains was definitely not what I wanted to read. However, her mix of challenging claims and anecdotal exemplifications of them worked very well towards making what could have been a very dull exercise into something fun and memorable. Upon finishing the book I handed it off to the sixteen-year-old daughter of a friend. I look forward to finding a copy of Brizendine's subsequent book on the male brain.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Raphael Lysander

    The good thing about this book is showing that sex differences are not inequality, but just the reality and nature. Nevertheless, the book isn't actually about the female brain but about the female hormones ! And since that wouldn't have been interesting and grist-to-the-mill, the author chose the previous one, without much care about truthfulness. The book makes hormones the propeller of women's lives, and though the author refers quickly and shyly that hormones don't make one person bad or goo The good thing about this book is showing that sex differences are not inequality, but just the reality and nature. Nevertheless, the book isn't actually about the female brain but about the female hormones ! And since that wouldn't have been interesting and grist-to-the-mill, the author chose the previous one, without much care about truthfulness. The book makes hormones the propeller of women's lives, and though the author refers quickly and shyly that hormones don't make one person bad or good, she still completed this book as if they do! For example, she foucs on the 10% of teenage girls who have overreactions for teenage changes as if they were the rule. She also finds love a reaction for dopamine , depression a cause for lack of estrogen, and she gives hormones as a treatment for marriage problems ! Hormones, surly affect women however that doesn't mean hormones define women's lives.Those women who can overcome depression from work, for instance, could as well deal with their biological changes very efficiently, and maybe the author should have focused on that a little bit. If changes in mood due to temporary hormones changes could be understood, this book becomes irritating when talking about love. And the scientific method here becomes a joke. As she support her work by MIR scans of women in love, referring how that hormone went up and how that part of the brain sparkled. The obvious question here is how the author defines love so she recognised when she saw it on the MIR. What if those women who've done the scans broke up with theirs other ones immediately after the test ?! How the author was sure that what she saw was love not lust, or maybe over happiness because the woman succeeded in deceiving a rich man ?! All is possible in lack of clear definition of love. And she seems very found of the animals experiments and finds no problem applying them on humans as if they are only driven by their biological needs and have no brain. This leads in her book that people fall in love when they find the best helthy and shapely other one, and become monogamous or polygamous according to theirs genes tall !! As an example for the author's theory failure, and not so far, we read in this book about her friend Sylvia who came to her because of marriage problems, and she gave her a hormone treatment. this worked for a month but at the end of the chapter the author tells us that Sylvia got divorced anyway. So again, hormone might cause temporary problems and that should not prevent us from seeing the real, deep problems. Very many things to say indeed, but this book came completely disappointing to me, I expected to read about how women see the world, how they react with it, what they seek in love and relationships, and how they think in general. So, I want to refer here to something Pere Daco said in his amazing book The Female; "Men try to change the world then they reflect that to their insides. Women starts from inside themselves to change the outside". This short sentence explained to me many literature and art works by women and it's more important to me than entire Brizendine book wich was by the way pretty tiny compared to the female brain (without the blank pages, references, notes..etc. It was only 180 pages !).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Asha

    Well. I did not finish this. I was looking for something based on science that could provide me with research studies and statistics, maybe some diagrams and charts. I wanted something that had actual content. What I got was a lot of opinion and stereotypes. I am very interested in learning about the differences in the female and male brain (like how the hippocampus is larger in the female brain and the amygdala is larger in the male brain) and how this affects us. But I also want the source mat Well. I did not finish this. I was looking for something based on science that could provide me with research studies and statistics, maybe some diagrams and charts. I wanted something that had actual content. What I got was a lot of opinion and stereotypes. I am very interested in learning about the differences in the female and male brain (like how the hippocampus is larger in the female brain and the amygdala is larger in the male brain) and how this affects us. But I also want the source material to be credible and, what's more, actually credited within the book. Brizendine would state things about the brain but there was no citation. She used examples of women and girls she knew. It all seemed a little too casual, almost made up. (Not that I want to be smacked in the face with a bunch of medical jargon.) There was only about one study mentioned in the one and a half chapters I read and, of course, the study wasn't cited (come on, footnotes aren't that hard). Her stereotypes of women are very...(I hate using this phrase) close-minded. There also didn't seem to be any sort of study that involved girls/women who weren't white. Then again, I didn't finish the book, so there might have been. But honestly, I doubt it. Time to look for a different book instead. One that actually has some semblance of fact to it. Also, she straight up name dropped all her universities of study and residency on the first page. Calm down, miss. We know you've got your doctorate.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rajesh

    First off, I'm not in the target audience intended by the author, as I understand this book is written for women. However, my approach to this book was to understand any scientific advances in the field of biology that finds interesting difference between the sexes. In this regard, I think the book fails. Firstly, it constantly talks about proximate rather than distal causes as in "estrogen triggers this circuit during this time that causes this". This perhaps is interesting to a clinician, but First off, I'm not in the target audience intended by the author, as I understand this book is written for women. However, my approach to this book was to understand any scientific advances in the field of biology that finds interesting difference between the sexes. In this regard, I think the book fails. Firstly, it constantly talks about proximate rather than distal causes as in "estrogen triggers this circuit during this time that causes this". This perhaps is interesting to a clinician, but to the average reader why such a behavior came about (as with evolutionary pressures) is perhaps more interesting. Secondly, I found that the references were scant and when studies were mentioned they seemed to be generalizations of rodent studies. Thirdly, I found a lot of passages to be a little preachy. There were also generalizations made from the the author's own experience with her patients. I would think that has little value insofar as anecdotal evidence versus statistical evidence is considered in science. I would still rate the book at 2 stars for the saving grace of the book, in my opinion - a few thought provoking ideas peppered throughout the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melumebelle

    This book seems to be fairly polarizing. I was browsing through the reviews, and people either seemed to love it, or to hate it. I'm really not in either camp. I think I do agree that at times the author over-simplifies or makes generalizing statements. I also agree that she is at times patronizing. I think one thing I see a lot in reviews is people being offended by her stating something that doesn't portray women in the best light. I saw one review which cited the author as slut-shaming, based This book seems to be fairly polarizing. I was browsing through the reviews, and people either seemed to love it, or to hate it. I'm really not in either camp. I think I do agree that at times the author over-simplifies or makes generalizing statements. I also agree that she is at times patronizing. I think one thing I see a lot in reviews is people being offended by her stating something that doesn't portray women in the best light. I saw one review which cited the author as slut-shaming, based on a passage where she described the "neanderthal" brain of a man and how sleeping with a man quickly might in the long run make him less attracted to you. Is this 100% false? Probably not. Nature is not always flattering. I think the takeaway is that, at times, due to our conditioning, humans are wont to behave in a way which is not idealistic or flattering. It is then our job, as thinking, mindful beings, to realize this, to rationalize our thoughts, and to confront these things and not give in to them. It certainly wasn't the best book I've ever read, but I don't think it deserves the immense praise or outrage that I seem to see in all the reviews I've read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    AnnARegina Enyedi

    READ THE MALE BRAIN FIRST, THEN THE FEMALE BRAIN! After reading the first volume of Louann Brizendine as well, now I finally understand why many other readers have complained about her being too "feminist" or rude. Well, let's empathize with her, it's her first volume. :-) I strongly suggest you to do as I did: read first The Male Brain, the later and more clear, transparent and evolved book to get used to her great style. Then of course you should read The Female Brain, which is... well... a bit READ THE MALE BRAIN FIRST, THEN THE FEMALE BRAIN! After reading the first volume of Louann Brizendine as well, now I finally understand why many other readers have complained about her being too "feminist" or rude. Well, let's empathize with her, it's her first volume. :-) I strongly suggest you to do as I did: read first The Male Brain, the later and more clear, transparent and evolved book to get used to her great style. Then of course you should read The Female Brain, which is... well... a bit raw. She teaches extremely handful and remarkable thoughts about how women work, e.g. the flood of feelings and their reasons. Very good and useful book too!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This was recommended to me by a (female) MD. Only afterward I saw all the one star reviews here. It's hilarious how offended people are by the idea that biology might make women's thinking different than that of men. Never mind that women's and men's different but complementary thought patterns and instincts are what allowed the human race to survive and evolve for, oh . . . *** 6 millions years *** The female traits that evolved over the course of millions of years have now been deemed embarassi This was recommended to me by a (female) MD. Only afterward I saw all the one star reviews here. It's hilarious how offended people are by the idea that biology might make women's thinking different than that of men. Never mind that women's and men's different but complementary thought patterns and instincts are what allowed the human race to survive and evolve for, oh . . . *** 6 millions years *** The female traits that evolved over the course of millions of years have now been deemed embarassing by certain Western elites for a paltry 80 or so years. So we must by all means deny what is essentially the evolutionary history of our species. Eye roll.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book was pretty interesting though too chatty in style for me - a common fault of 'mass market' science books. It talks about the hormone and other neurochemical differences between women and men, nothing in it was too earth shattering and I did still have a nagging voice in the back of my head complaining that this was essentialist/reductive/oversimplified...but the actual mechanics of neural processes being different were interesting, and the chapter discussing the "mommy brain" was both This book was pretty interesting though too chatty in style for me - a common fault of 'mass market' science books. It talks about the hormone and other neurochemical differences between women and men, nothing in it was too earth shattering and I did still have a nagging voice in the back of my head complaining that this was essentialist/reductive/oversimplified...but the actual mechanics of neural processes being different were interesting, and the chapter discussing the "mommy brain" was both interesting and sort of upbeat.

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