The book was written by a sociolinguist who studies the differences in the way people talk and how that impacts their relationships and work. She found that the differences between men and women are as vast as the differences between cultures across the world.
Her book featured analyses of transcripts of children speaking to each other, and I enjoyed this type of primary source evidence.
The main themes and my takeaways from the book are the following:
- Men don't ask for directions :-)
- Women try to be equal to each other; men try to one-up each other
- Women judge how something impacts relationship symmetry; men judge how something impacts relationship asymmetry and hierarchy
- Women favor rapport talk, which is about sharing personal information to create connection; Men favor report talk, which is about sharing impersonal information to create connection
- By understanding certain differences in how we speak, we can learn to better understand the other person's gender-lect
I found the book to be a bit long and drawn out, and many of the points sounded too much like generalizations. I would've preferred more quantitative information as well as information about the differences within men and women, as I felt like within each category there is a large range by which each person differs from the gender stereotype. Nonetheless, I didn't find myself disagreeing with her points, and I enjoyed the collection of stories and ways she mentioned the book's lessons can be applied to work and personal situations.