You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation

Author Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown, has written a number of academic books and articles about the nature of human conversation, particularly as it relates to gender. In You Just Don’t Understand, which spent four years on the New York Times bestselling nonfiction books list and has been translated into thirty languages, she summarizes her findings for a general audience.

While I found little new in her observations regarding the differences in what conversation is about for men and women (women: more about connection and consensus, men: status, specific objectives, and independence), Tannen masterfully shows her thorough understanding of how this came to be, and the many ways it manifests itself in daily life. Mixing scientific insight with well-chosen real-life examples, like millions of others, you’ll walk away with ways to talk the way the opposite sex listens, and a real tool to smooth the many frustrations of the gender divide and for success in relationships.

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