Men are from Mars, Women...
Full Title:Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
Martians and Venusians come together in John Gray’s ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’, an abridged version of his immensely popular book about bridging the gap between men and women’s emotional needs and communication styles. His work on improving relationships between the sexes has received so much acclaim and media attention that this book has sold over fifty million copies - and has been written in over fifty languages.
- Full Title: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex
- Type: Paperback; Pages: 369; Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Year Published: 1992
- Author: John Gray, Ph.D.
- Categories: relationship advice, marriage, intimacy, self-help, non-fiction
The Short Version
The meat of the book centers on the principles Gray believes are the key to contentment. Using strip style examples, it illustrates the differences between men and women's emotional needs, and is filled with light-hearted, easily relatable examples that are both simple and easy to understand.
- Ch1. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - discusses how men and women can effectively interact despite having significant emotional needs.
- Ch2. Mr. Fix-it and the Home Improvement Committee - explores how the sexes differ in their problem solving abilities and how they view each other’s attempts to “help”.
- Ch3. Men Go to Their Caves and Women Talk - when faced with tough problems, Gray talks about each gender’s preferred ways to work them out.
- Ch4. How to Motivate the Opposite Sex - this is the author’s primer on relationship sacrifice and compromise.
- Ch5. Speaking Different Languages - guys speak in literal terms and women fully express their emotions. Gray speaks on closing the gap.
- Ch6. Men are Like Rubber Bands - this section discusses what happens when a man’s self-sufficiency gets threatened.
- Ch7. Women are Like Waves - Gray explains what happens in a woman’s mind when she feels like she isn’t being heard by her man.
- Ch8. Discovering Our Different Emotional Needs - it’s exactly as the title describes, and it shows how to work with the differences.
- Ch9. How to Avoid Arguments - when it comes to fighting, it’s all about body language, tone, and using the right words.
- Ch10. Scoring Points with the Opposite Sex - here the author looks at great ways to show your partner the kind of appreciation they crave.
- Ch. 11. How to Communicate Difficult Feelings - when emotions flare up, it’s easy for couples get choked up.
- Ch. 12. How to Ask for Support and Get It - explains not only how to ask for help, but the best ways to receive it.
- Ch. 13. Keeping the Magic of Love Alive - when times get tough, couples who understand this chapter’s principles are better able to weather the storm.
The culmination of “Dr.” John’s thirty years of relationship work is summed up in a popular book series that seems to just churn out an unending array of Mars and Venus self-help titles, all of which are meant to lead misguided couples to happier conclusions in love and in life.
Unfortunately, his claims of being a legitimate authority on any subject is questionable, making him come across more as a relationship guru in hustler’s clothing rather than a bona-fide expert. “The basis upon which John Gray built his professional career and counseling conglomerate is not sound and seems to be essentially faked,” states a report by cultnews.com. There have been numerous accusations that aspects of his education are questionable; his degrees purportedly from institutions that have either been shut down (his doctorate came from a California school that was called a “diploma mill” by the attorney general), or have no accreditation to issue such rankings in the first place. However, we have no way of validating or disproving these claims.
More importantly, from the point of reviewing his work, are the drawbacks in his ‘sales-pitch’ to be aware of. His formulas for maintaining harmony in a relationship are oversimplified, based heavily on stereotypes, and have very little supporting evidence to back up claims made in the book. He also focuses primarily on the differences between sexes in advising couples, and sticks to rigid gender roles when it comes to communication styles, instincts, and desires. He style has been criticized as being ‘sexist’ and patronizing; some also say his principles are trite, having more to do with earning a place in pop culture than making a difference in peoples’ lives.
Oh, don’t worry, it’s not all bad. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is light, fun and easy to read. Despite the negative critique, John Gray does make some intuitive points about a few things, such as observations about personal growth (e.g. unresolved and negative feelings can make us act in all sorts of ways that can negatively impact a partner). Issues like these should be worked on in a healing manner before we can fully express ourselves.
In light of the fact that his schooling is questionable, you might wonder what makes him such an expert. He seems like a better salesman than he is relationship aficionado, and considering the booming success of his Mars and Venus empire, all signs point to yes.
Offering practical, home-spun advice, John Gray has made speaking appearances on popular television programs like Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Today Show, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, and others; he has also been profiled in publications like Time, Forbes, USA Today, and People Magazine. John Gray lives in Northern California with his wife of 26 years. They have three grown daughters. According to his website, marsvenus.com, he is an avid follower of his own health and relationship advice.
John Gray’s practical advice, down to earth approach, and easily relatable illustrations make this book a top, pop culture pick for one man's take on the differences between the sexes. However, it’s hard to give his philosophies much credibility when you consider his questionable educational background and the lack of published research about men and women’s differences. And what of his intense promotional hype? Seminars, speaking engagements, a syndicated advice column, features in popular magazines, a show in Vegas, counseling centers, television and radio broadcasts, and a lecture circuit: phew! It’s quite a lucrative enterprise, but perhaps more hype than substance! Not a recommended read – but perhaps worth checking out.
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