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The Female Brain

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  8,581 Ratings  ·  1,293 Reviews
Every brain begins as a female brain. It only becomes male eight weeks after conception, when excess testosterone shrinks the communications center, reduces the hearing cortex, and makes the part of the brain that processes sex twice as large.

Louann Brizendine, M.D. is a pioneering neuropsychiatrist who brings together the latest findings to show how the unique structure
ebook, 304 pages
Published August 7th 2007 by Harmony (first published 2006)
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This book pissed me off more than anything I've read in a long time. In fact, I think the last thing I hated this much was Sharp Teeth. And this piece of drivel was way worse.

This crazy bitch makes Dr. Laura look like a raging feminist. I understand that this woman is a doctor and I get that she thinks she was doing the world a favor by explaining why women are the way they are. HOWEVER, she takes a very stereotypical view of women and does not make any allowances for women whose behavior is di
Jason Koivu
The way some men talk about women I'd assumed they'd think The Female Brain was a work of fiction, "'Cuzzin' womens ain't got none brains, heeyuck, heeyuck!" It's too bad that most of those guys are illiterate, because they're the ones that need to read this the most.

In The Female Brain, neuropsychiatrist Dr. Louann Brizendine uses clinical research and the experience of counseling patients to examine how the many various hormones flowing through a woman's body may affect their actions and behav
Dec 30, 2008 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking to dismiss females as irrational. Females who look to excuse their bad behavior.
Chauvinists around the world will thank Dr. Brizendine for her pop-science oversimplification excuse of a book that will add a modicum of misplaced credibility to the belief that women are powerless over their emotions an hormones.

"Don't tell me it's not your period, honey! Dr. Brizendine proved that you are powerless over the hormones in your brain! It's ok!" *pat,pat* "Why don't you take a Xanax and zone out in front of an episode of Grey's?"

This book irritated me beyond belief. I think any pe
I stopped reading this book on page 68.

It's amazing I made it that far. Part of me thinks I should finish the book because I should know what is inside. People not only like to come to me for gender advice, but also test my boundaries on "gender roles." A friend loaned me this book, I believe as a way to see what my expert opinion of it would be. I have no idea how she feels about it.

It frightens me to think this was a NY Times Best Seller. Oh, the masses who read this and loved it!

You know what
David Rim
Sep 26, 2007 David Rim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noone
The takeaway from this book is that the average woman is a hyper-sensitive control freak ruled by hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, testosterone in the same way that some people feel they're controlled by the movement of the stars. These hormones in turn are determined by a combination of genetics and rearing but developed over time as a reaction to evolutionary necessities. All of which enforce behavior which you know of as a set of common stereotypes. There's not much scientif ...more
Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 30, 2007 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: recommended
Okay, this is serious. We ALL need to read this, and we need to get our significant others to read it, too. This author is a neuropsychiatrist and she analyzes how we (women) work (in easy to understand language) and why we do the things we do with regard to our moods, our biology and our evolutionary inclinations. It is infinitely interesting and lends an amazing insight into how we as women function on a daily basis. She also does a bit of the same for the male gender and it is really very eye ...more
The train wreck started with the initial characterization of the hormones. Establishing the hormones with a particular gender and giving them “jobs” that fit with gender roles does not bode well for the hope to see an objective look at the female brain without sexist stereotypes or gender roles muddling the examination of evidence.

Then it got into the book. At the beginning, it casually implied that PMS is scientifically valid. I was disappointed in that since there are quite a few medical profe
Audrey Babkirk Wellons
Mar 17, 2008 Audrey Babkirk Wellons rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Audrey by: Aunt Barb
Shelves: social-sciences
Please do not believe what is said in this book before you check the references. Many of the assertions are false or a misinterpretation of facts.

Here a linguistics professor from the University of Pennsylvania fact-checks a short passage from "The Female Brain" and finds no evidence to support the book's claims about women talking more than men:

Delusions of Gender ( also dismantles many of the harmful claims in
Lori Carpenter
Dec 17, 2007 Lori Carpenter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Wow! Where to begin! Julie recommended this book to me. I'd suggest all women read it; especially those going through changes in life and these can be the obvious, like menopause, to your girls going through puberty. It will definitely keep me more patient and "grounded" as Ellie goes through puberty to remember not to take things personally and to remember what she is going through.

I did find it interesting/comical that she listed each stage of life separately. Which is obvious, but I kept thi
Mar 28, 2008 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone - women and men
Recommended to Kate by: Shea DiDonna
This book is amazing. I normally do not read books like this, but it is so worth it. Dr Brizendine describes the various stages of the female brain, from fetus through menopause and all the changes in between. I now find myself looking at Louisa and thinking how her brain is begging for reassurance that she's doing 'it' right. Then looking at myself, current owner of the 'mommy brain'. Amazing. I really appreciated how the author presented the material to explain actions of individuals while aff ...more
Apr 17, 2009 Khalid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: already-read
The Female Brain is a science book that discusses the physical and psychological aspects of the female brain. It will teach you how the female brain works, and why does it work the way it does.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot by reading it. It contains enough science that you feel convinced yet not bored, and enough stories that entertain you along the way.

To be honest, I didn't like it at first when she started talking about females as super human beings, and how we
You know an author is out to prove something when she states that she attended Harvard, Yale, and Berkeley within the first page of her book. Furthermore, you know she wants to be taken seriously when she keeps repeating this claim to fame every few pages and also reminds you of all the thousands of cases she has seen while working at her clinic. What you don't know, however, is why someone who claims to be so experienced relies solely on anonymous studies and personal anecdotes about herself, u ...more

Thanks to this book, my mother and I hug more often in order to secrete oxytocin so she doesn't abandon me. It works.

Jan 17, 2009 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
On what I found out about the female brain: Dammit! They're smarter than us. I wish I had this book a couple years ago. But seriously, intelligence is relevant and this book is not about that. Instead, it's about the different ways in which both brains operate.

In no way is this book fluff, which is what someone coming across the title, and in light of its mainstream success, might think. What this book is, is an attempt to understand the circuitry of the female brain; which, hasn't been thourou
Rebekka Steg
"Did you know that every brain begins as a female brain and that it only becomes male eight weeks after conception? This is when excess testosterone shrinks the communication centre, reduces the hearing cortex and makes the part of the brain that processes sex twice as large."
- from the back cover.
The author of The Female Brain, Louann Brizendine has a degree in neurobiology from University of California, Berkeley and graduated from Yale's School of Medicine. Post-graduation she has work
Dec 02, 2008 Monica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My mom recommended it, I think, because she was overjoyed to discover a scientific rationale for her new-found post-menopausal selfishness (which I think is a good thing for be selfish after decades of tending to others).

I felt a bit "meh" about the book...while the science and anthropological studies were mildly interesting, if a little cursory, the anecdotal "tales from the couch" were really annoying, in the way that, say, "The Tyra Banks Show" and women's magazines are annoying.
Nov 13, 2012 Rosytown rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
There are two things that you MUST know before reading this book.
1 - The author received the 2006 Becky Award, which is given to 'people or organizations who have made outstanding contributions to linguistic misinformation'.
2 - There are a myriad of doctors and experts (male and female) who dispute the science in this book. One such 'fact', regarding the usage of words per day has been removed in current printings due to it's inaccuracy.

On the positive side of things, I found small pockets of th
Nov 04, 2015 ☆☽Erica☾☆ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE EVER
Shelves: did-not-like, dnf


This is an absolute true story: I got this book as a gift while I was living in my dad's apartment. I tried reading this and just absolutely couldn't because it was so fucking dumb. So i put it back on my bookshelf and resumed my life. YET i was unable to even look at this piece of shit on my sh
May 25, 2012 Sonia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ensayo
Apasionante estudio del efecto de las hormonas en el cerebro femenino y como estas influyen en nuestro comportamiento a lo largo de todas las etapas de la vida. Pese a la terminología científica que utiliza en ocasiones es un libro muy ameno ya que intercala historias reales de pacientes de la autora como apoyo y explicación de diferentes reacciones.

Sus conclusiones son demasiado similares a las convenciones sociales de los 50' para mi tranquilidad (las ciencias son para los hombres y las humani
Jan 07, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookgroup
I mostly really liked this book. It is a somewhat scientific book that describes the effect of hormones on the female brain from birth through death, specifically examining puberty, child-bearing and rearing, menopause, etc.
I was left feeling like the worst parts of myself are all controlled by my hormones. And that the best parts of myself, are also a product of my hormones. It made me wonder what my personality would be left with once I didn't have any hormones? It was really educational and i
Jen O'Brien
Aug 31, 2014 Jen O'Brien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that a lot of people are up in arms about a book that they clearly don't understand. This book is about the brain chemistry of why woman think they way that they do and does not at all intend to make anyone some superior or inferior in the relationship. I used to be one of these hyper feminist bra burning individuals, then I turned 30. Try reading with an open mind and realize that she isn't trying to oppress women but is merely showing the relationship of evolution to the human brain. S ...more
Jan 03, 2012 Rajesh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
First off, I'm not in the target audience intended by the author, as I understand this book is written for women. However, my approach to this book was to understand any scientific advances in the field of biology that finds interesting difference between the sexes. In this regard, I think the book fails. Firstly, it constantly talks about proximate rather than distal causes as in "estrogen triggers this circuit during this time that causes this". This perhaps is interesting to a clinician, but ...more
Erik Graff
May 05, 2010 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: psychology
This book was a delight to read. Having long decried supposed gender differences and endorsed a faith in the universality of reason, much of what Dr. Brizendine claims to be gender-characteristic of brains was definitely not what I wanted to read. However, her mix of challenging claims and anecdotal exemplifications of them worked very well towards making what could have been a very dull exercise into something fun and memorable.

Although I mark myself as owning a copy of this book, I plan to giv
This book was pretty interesting though too chatty in style for me - a common fault of 'mass market' science books. It talks about the hormone and other neurochemical differences between women and men, nothing in it was too earth shattering and I did still have a nagging voice in the back of my head complaining that this was essentialist/reductive/oversimplified...but the actual mechanics of neural processes being different were interesting, and the chapter discussing the "mommy brain" was both ...more
Dec 09, 2008 Caitlin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-brain
This book needs no parody. Brain science in the service of silliness and stereotype truths about women... "With this accessible, fun guide, women will discover that they have a lean, mean communicating machine at their disposal -- and men will find that they finally have a key to understanding their relations with women" etc etc. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus plus amygdala drawings and synapses.

Which wouldn't be a problem except so many damned people bought it!
Feb 04, 2016 Kimberley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Misogynists
Innately sexist and ignores social construction of gender. Emphasizes on biological determinism which is a major contributing factor into women's oppression. This book needs to go back to 1955!
Amanda Root
Feb 12, 2016 Amanda Root rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So awesome. I learned so much. Very well done.
Mar 15, 2013 Miranda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Books of this type often lose its ground. In an attempt to fill itself out, it goes off topic and outlives its point. However, Louann Brizendine's The Female Brain is dense with information. I compulsively highlighted every page. It was all fascinating.

I have tried to insert Brizendine's finds in everyday conversation, but I was surprised to find friends weren't as enthralled as I was. What at first seemed like common sense (girl talk, PMS, motherhood) turned into something I re-discovered throu
Oct 10, 2011 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book does take a very general view on the topic, and there were a lot of things she mentioned in the book that I already knew, and there wasn't much that changed my outlook already of what I've already gathered and heard about the female brain. However, that is because I realized this book is more about offering biological, and strictly, chemical/hormone explanation for women's behavior. It is not as psychological as I expected it to be. Its more of a verification of general ideas we already ...more
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HMSA Reads: Book Review: The Female Brain 3 17 Aug 24, 2016 04:27PM  
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Louann Brizendine, M.D. is a practicing clinician, best-selling author, public speaker and media commentator who specializes in the relationship dynamics that result from the neurobiology of male and female brains.

She completed her degree in Neurobiology at UC Berkeley, graduated from Yale School of Medicine and did her internship and residency at Harvard Medical School. She has also served on bot
More about Louann Brizendine...

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“Women have less direct relationship to anger...When a woman "bites" her tongue to avoid expressing anger, its not at all socialization. A lot of it is brain circuitry. Even if a woman wanted to express her anger right away, often her brain circuits would attempt to hijack this response, to reflect on it first out of fear and anticipation of retaliation. Also, the female brain has a tremendous aversion to conflict, which is set up by fear of angering the other person and losing the relationship. Instead of triggering a quick action response in the brain, as it does in males, anger in girls and women moves through the brain's gut feeling, conflict-pain anticipation, and verbal circuits.
Scientists speculate that though a woman is slower to act out of anger, once her faster verbal circuits get going, they can cause her to unleash a barrage of angry words that a man cant match.
Typical men speak fewer words and have less verbal fluency than women, so they may be handicapped in angry exchanges with women.
Often when I see a couple who are not communicating well, the problem I see is that the man's brain's circuits push him frequently and quickly to an angry, aggressive reaction, and the woman feels frightened and shuts down.”
“During times of physical separation, when touching and caressing is impossible, a deep, longing, almost a hunger, for the beloved can set in. We are used to thinking of this longing as only psychological, but it's actually physical. The brain is virtually in a drug-withdrawal state. During a separation, motivation for reunion can reach a fever pitch in the brain. Activities such as caressing, kissing, gazing, hugging, and orgasm can replenish the chemical bond of love and trust in the brain. The oxytocin-dopamine rush once again suppresses anxiety and skepticism and reinforces the love circuits in the brain. From an experiment we also know that oxytocin is naturally released in the brain after a twenty-second hug from a partner- sealing the bond between huggers and triggering the brain's trust circuits.” 12 likes
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