If Men Could Talk: Translating the Secret Language of Men Paperback – Feb 6 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Women drawn to this book by its promise to unlock men's secrets will find that following Gratch's premise requires more effort and sophistication than following the work of John Gray. Though this book holds insights into the male psyche and into the therapeutic process itself, readers looking for a quick fix or easy characterizations will be disappointed. Despite the clever title, Gratch serves up fairly serious theory flavored with dollops of Russian literature and only brief suggestions on dealing with men's behavior. Rather than suggest manipulative tactics, he urges women to hone their emotional understanding, in one case advising women to be like a "detective" in probing for emotions. Observing that "the cornerstone of man's gender identity is his feminine, not masculine, desires," this Westchester, N.Y., clinical psychologist surveys men's motivations using popular catchphrases: "boys don't cry" (shame); "I don't know what I feel" (emotional absence); "tired of being on top" (insecurity); "see me, touch me" (self-involvement); "I'll show you who's boss" (aggression); "I'm such a loser" (self-destruction); "I want sex now" (sexual acting out). In alternately familiar and intriguing composite patient profiles, Gratch illustrates each behavior, documenting his reactions to being challenged and engaged by--and at times almost jousting with--patients. (Feb. 20)Forecast: While Gratch aims for a dual readership, his catchy title and topic are designed to attract media attention and a stampede of women buyers. However, he may have pitched this one too high for a mass audience.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Gratch, a clinical psychologist with more than 20 years of experience (Columbia Univ. and Columbia Presbyterian Hosp.), has taken a distinctly psychoanalytical view of why men do what they do. He posits seven attributes in an attempt to explain male behavior: shame, emotional absence, self-involvement, masculine insecurity, aggression, self-destructiveness, and sexual acting-out. The author blames a lot of these issues on men tryingAbut not being fully ableAto hide the feminine part of their psyches. He also blames a lot of gender conflict on men reacting negatively to women being too "womanly": because they don't like the feminine aspects of their own psyches, they feel called upon to revile these aspects in others. This tendentious work is a marginal purchase for most libraries; buy where Sigmund Freud is still "the man" and patrons believe that a cigar is never a cigar.APamela A. Matthews, Gettysburg Coll., PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Where the book falls down is in its failure to offer suggestions for improvement for the men themselves. The healed man is never discussed, and in fact, Gratch makes the entire prospect of a self-aware man seem pretty unlikely. It seems that in the author's view, men are in the dark about themselves, and it's almost impossible for them to be otherwise.
This problem can be illustrated with the example of the heavy use in the book of the word "paradoxical." For instance, it is paradoxical that men will, in seeking "space" from one woman, make love to another. Once the author has labeled a behavior or trait a paradox, which he does a lot, no further exploration is required. "Paradox" is code for "it doesn't make sense and I'm at a loss to explain it." If so much of men's behavior is paradoxical, I'd think a discussion of that very issue would be in order.
A big drawback for me as a woman was the frequent reference to things a girlfriend or spouse could/should do in a specific situation with her man, something that would be ultimately healing for him. The problem is, these actions invariably required walking on eggshells - do this but don't do that, say this but don't say that - which was counter-intuitive to me and probably a lot of other women as well.Read more ›
Gratch breaks his analysis down to seven key attributes that you must understand in order to understand men. First are the defensive attributes of Shame and Emotional Absence. He explains how these affect a man's thoughts and actions as well as what can be done about it. Then he discusses the four things that affect a man when he finally does open up. These are Masculine Insecurity, Self-Involvement, Aggression, and Self-Destructiveness. And finally he discusses the practice of Sexual Acting-Out.
An interesting and provocative book, some readers (mostly men) will have a problem with the analysis and some will find it enlightening. Reasonably argued and filled with interesting insights, it is a reasonable analysis of how many men really operate deep inside.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a great book for both men and women. This book will make a women life a lot easier, and will provide understanding and why men act the way they do.Published 2 months ago by DL
I found this book interesting - it's well written, well thought out, and many neat anecdotes. However, the author is clearly Freudian, and can go a little overboard with the... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2002 by Sheri