The Life: We review a book on a perennial topic: Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots between Men and Women in Business, by John Gray (author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus) and Barbara Annis.
Another take on gender conundrum
Men and women apparently can't get enough analysis about the ways they are different from each other. Multiple books, lectures, and magazine articles make the same points over and over: Women are more collaborative. Men don't show emotion. Women tend to blame themselves. Men are results-orientated.
Yet we keep making the same mistakes in our relationships, both at work and in our private lives, so perhaps the world needs another book on gender roles.
In that case, a pretty good addition to the genre is Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots between Men and Women in Business, by the best-selling "relationship expert" John Gray (author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus) and consultant Barbara Annis.
The book has a breezy, readable style, with a nice mix of anecdotes, advice, lists, scientific explanations of human biology, and "he says/she says" comparisons.
It hits all the key concerns, including chapters entitled "Are Women Too Emotional?" and "Are Women Being Excluded?"
While it focuses on the work environment, it also includes advice for one's personal life.
Based on years of research and executive coaching, the authors firmly believe that "many differences are hard-wired into the brain structure of males and females," not just a product of socialisation.
Among other biological contrasts, women's brains have more "white matter" - "the nerve fibres that network or connect" the brain's processing centres.
As a result, their brains are more adept at connecting data with emotions and memories.
Gray and Annis point out that women start at a disadvantage, because the business world was created by and for men. Nevertheless, they say, men are not always at fault.
"Women can sabotage their relationship with men by taking offence at something men unknowingly or innocently do," they write.
Because this book is so repetitious, the best way to read it is to select just one or two chapters that home in on the topics of most concern. One of the more original is the chapter "Do Men Have to Walk on Eggshells with Women?" The answer: no, it's better to be true to yourself. Like most such self-help tomes, this ends with lots of optimistic advice.
Of course, if getting along were that easy, all those other books would have solved the problem by now.