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The Sexual Paradox: Extreme Men, Gifted Women and the Real Gender Gap Hardcover – Feb 26 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada; Canadian First edition (Feb. 26 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679314156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679314158
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #555,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 19 2008
Format: Hardcover
Instead of trotting out the time-old theories that are supposed to explain gender differences across the western world, Pinker, a Montreal psychologist, takes a different approach in her book. She explores the notion that in spite of the proven intellectual ability and superiority of women in many fields, societal norms and expectations are such that many are discouraged from competing with their male counterparts for the traditionally elite jobs. Though women might initially succeed in winning the coveted position in the company, other instincts and interests kick in. From what Pinker is able to determine, women usually shy away from contending with males because they refuse to focus solely on the job as the be all to end all. There are other things in life that need to be considered like spending quality time with family and friends, and pursuing personal dreams and ambitions. While some companies move to accommodate and protect the unique female needs and interests in the workforce, the changes are still minor in relation to the heavy demands made on a woman's time. Regrettably, the mainstream economy seems to be driven by a typical Asperger, ADHD type male, who in spite of his social and intellectual failings, is able to achieve tangible results without the same distractions. Hence, the paradox. Males succeed occupationally because they generally know what is necessary to get the job done, even to the exclusion of socializing, while females, with all their natural abilities, tend to seek values that go beyond task orientation. One weakness in Pinker's assessment of the female plight is that a lot of what she says also applies to certain males who express job dissatisfaction out of a need to pursue other interests.Read more ›
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bookman on Aug. 30 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a book that tries to explain away the scarcity of female genius. Indeed, the word "genius" does not even appear in the index. (Look it up.) Furthermore, the most common difference among men and women is not cited-- men's qualities are more widely dispersed around the mean, women's are more homogeneous. Thus the most basic stats (also absent from the book) are the distribution of various measures among men and women-- not just "empathy," which seems to get star billing, but real, measurable qualities. (Did anyone say science?)

For instance, a simple chart of the distribution of IQ among male and female populations shows that the mean (and the median too, approx) of men's and women's IQs are about the same. But men's IQ distribution has very long tails, while women's are bunched around the center. In other words, there are more men idiots than women idiots (late night comedy to the contrary), but there are also more men geniuses than women. (Mensa worldwide has almost universally a ratio of 2 men to 1 woman, no matter how much the latter try to correct it by preferential advertising.) Ditto re weight and height distributions and physical strength, etc. (in all of which the mean, however, is lower for women.)

In other words, nature experiments with the males. There are far more male geniuses than female ones (although yes, there are some of the latter), but also more male psychopaths and perverts. Live by the sword, etc.

Take a simple example: There are very, very few grandmaster (grandmistress?) women chess champions. How come there aren't more? Again, the Polgar sisters notwithstanding (and they are not really top-top level), why don't we see more of them? Why indeed should chess championships be segregated into male / female?
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Amazon.com: 1 review
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Feminist polemics Aug. 30 2010
By Bookman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a book that tries to explain away the scarcity of female genius. Indeed, the word "genius" does not even appear in the index. (Look it up.) Furthermore, the most common difference among men and women is not cited-- men's qualities are more widely dispersed around the mean, women's are more homogeneous. Thus the most basic stats (also absent from the book) are the distribution of various measures among men and women-- not just "empathy," which seems to get star billing, but real, measurable qualities. (Did anyone say science?)

For instance, a simple chart of the distribution of IQ among male and female populations shows that the mean (and the median too, approx) of men's and women's IQs are about the same. But men's IQ distribution has very long tails, while women's are bunched around the center. In other words, there are more men idiots than women idiots (late night comedy to the contrary), but there are also more men geniuses than women. (Mensa worldwide has almost universally a ratio of 2 men to 1 woman, no matter how much the latter try to correct it by preferential advertising.) Ditto re weight and height distributions and physical strength, etc. (in all of which the mean, however, is lower for women.)

In other words, nature experiments with the males. There are far more male geniuses than female ones (although yes, there are some of the latter), but also more male psychopaths and perverts. Live by the sword, etc.

Take a simple example: There are very, very few grandmaster (grandmistress?) women chess champions. How come there aren't more? Again, the Polgar sisters notwithstanding (and they are not really top-top level), why don't we see more of them? Why indeed should chess championships be segregated into male / female? This, after all, is not golf, or tennis, where physical strength matters. Isn't this then a tacit agreement that some male brains attain levels that women have less chance of attaining?

Ms. Pinker's book notwithstanding, the simple fact is that male / female differences go far beyond the "cultural" ones. And Sophie Germain notwithstanding, there are not many women mathematicians(if any) on the level of Gauss (with whom Mme Germain corresponded. Yes, presenting herself as a man.) Or Riemann. Or Einstein. Or Feineman. or Teller. Or even Paul Erdos (an idiot savant, almost, who was more a connector than a real genius).

To sum up: The book about sex differences I would really like to read is the one Susan Pinker perhaps would not dare write: Just the facts, Ma'am, just the facts.

AM

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