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The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall?

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Based on an unprecedented survey of the romantic lives of more than 100,000 people, most of them in couple relationships, "The Normal Bar" identifies what is "normal" for the most satisfied partners, and provides effective tools for shifting one's normal if one so desires.
This book's team of expert authors uses a powerful interactive survey tool known as OnQ to compare re
...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by Crown Publishing Group (first published September 25th 2012)
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Average rating 3.33  · 
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Jane
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jane by: The Gottman Institute blog
Even though it's talking about the statistical norm, there's something about the title of this book that's deeply objectionable. It's not pop psychology; it's barely even Anthropology Lite. It's crowdsourced opinions about relationship satisfaction, which might be interesting as a listicle, but not so much as a full book. I was looking forward to some good infographics or otherwise easily digestible statistics, and what I got was anecdata and superficially extrapolated advice with a side of perc ...more
Malin Friess
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So what is normal in a relationship? Not what is right and wrong, but what is statisically normal?
These PhD's collected data from 70,000 couples to answer that question:

65% of women would get plastic surgery if they had unlimited money (45% of men would).
22% of couples said they have never had a heated argument (48% have one weekly)
61% of men and 60% of women find their jobs rewarding
54% of couples read their partner's e-mail

The statistics goes on and become more graphic (who sleeps in the nude,
...more
Lorilin
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I picked this up at the library after seeing it referenced in Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (an excellent book, btw). What an intriguing read. It is more anecdotal than scientific. The information is based on an online survey composed of hundreds of relationship questions taken by 70,000+ people in several different countries.

The chapters cover some of the usual relationship topics: sex and intimacy, communication, fidelity, honesty, physical appearance, addictions
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Randy
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very quick read, much faster than its 290 pages would indicate.

I was drawn to this book after seeing the authors on the Today Show one morning... they fielded a large number of surveys using an online questionnaire, so I thought there might be some wisdom in here.

The premise is similar to the "7 habits of highly effective people" or whatever the name was... ask people who are happy in their relationships about their habits, and you'll find the Magic Key to Relationship Happiness. It's very beh
...more
Elena
Feb 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
'Normal Bar' whatever that means. Well, actually, the books says the Normal Bar "provides you with a compass and a toolbox so that you can get as close or as far away from normal as you see fit." What are the tools in the toolbox, you ask? They are: 1) Just You and I; 2) How Well do I know You?; 3) It takes two to tango; 4) Form a Book Club of Two; 5) Rules of the Game; 6) The Three-Prong Romance Test; 7) A Gift with a Twist; 8) Block Dating Tip; 9) Let's Bring Back the Make-Out Session!; 10) Yo ...more
K.
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Firstly, I'd like to thank Goodreads and everyone who had a part in the creation of this book for giving me the opportunity to win this remarkable book to read on my own. It is filled with detailed accounts, problems, suggestions and statistics. It definitely soothes worries over relationship blunders, helping the reader to understand just how common the problems are all over the world. Very conclusive, creative, touching on what must be every possible subject. This book is great self-help, leav ...more
Angief
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I don't know how exactly how much I believe all the information in this book but I did find it interesting and I did enjoy reading it.

I received this book free from GoodReads FirstReads program.
Cathryn Conroy
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all want to be normal. Right? Well, except when we don't. Because normal can be boring. But wait! When it comes to our most intimate relationship—our marriage—yes, we definitely want to be considered normal when compared to others.

So what is normal when it comes to love, sex, and marriage?

It's all revealed in this book by Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, and James Witte, which is based on a massive online survey they created and actively marketed through several media partners, including
...more
David
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Regardless of whether or not you agree with the normative claims this book makes I'd still highly recommend it because the data it showcases is by far more accurate than anything you'd pick up from friends and family.

Why is this important? Look up the anchoring bias. Anchoring is what happens anytime we're are given information about a subject and then later called upon to make decisions about that same subject. Problem is, many times this information anchor is wildly unrepresentitive of reality
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Yochi
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This book popped up as a suggestion on my overdrive and I gave it a go. I thought it was interesting. I am a huge fan of self-help, psychology, and statistics, and although I wondered about some of the results, it was neat to see what percent of who does what. I am very happy in my relationship, but I still like getting advice from relationship experts to better myself, and get insight into what's going on in our current situations and how my action are influencing my partner (for better or wors ...more
Jaden
Nov 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I found this book fascinating. To see how your own relationship compares to others and what they consider "normal"- to see whether you struggle with the same types of relationship problems as others- piqued my interest. I also thought that some of the exercises in the book seem useful and could certainly help my relationship. While the numbers and data can be cumbersome at times it was overall an enjoyable read.
Shannon
Dec 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was not as interesting as I'd imagined. While the research is thorough and offers perspective, in reality it's just statistics and does not share a greater story of the 'why' or 'how'. What we see presented here is averages and normals, and while the statistics are quantified against relationship happiness, I question the value in general to the average reader of this information. Comparison is the root of discontent; read this book at your own risk.
Natalie Jade
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had plenty of data and antidotal information, but I think the information would have been more digestible in a series of blog posts. The chapters were incredibly short conjoined with little snippets of other people's lives.

Overall, it's not a book I would recommend sitting down to read. More like a coffee table flip through while waiting for your partner to get ready to go.
Kaia
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tons of great information about good practices for long term couples and marrieds.
I recommend this to my future self, if she ever gets hitched again and to any couple needing a boost or a kick in the pants to connect and fall back in love with each other.
Emily Horvath
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Intriguingly loose science about what's normal for couples who report they are happy in their romantic relationship. Overall, a quick, easy read that encourages some healthy self reflection but very statistics heavy to the point you were drowning in numbers.
Amanda Taylor
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Good book to read if a person wants to make their relationship better even in happy relationships. Was helpful but a little on the boring side though.
Daniel Nishi
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Although the data is interesting, the read itself was not. I was not able to find much actionable advice for my own relationships after reading this book.
Eva
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
So many summary statistics.
Kerri
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting and enlightening stats on what’s considered “normal” in happy relationships. Some good insights into relationships with lots of suggestions and examples provided.
Tyler Welch
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
Maxine
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A super easy read that every couple should read/discuss together! What is normal relationship? Read this book and find out! Totally enjoyed this.
Ebony
Mar 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: relationships
Spurious. That’s the word I would use to describe The Normal Bar. First of all, bar is such a cold and unwelcoming metaphor. I hear it, and I don’t think love relationships. The “tools” at the end of each chapter are also utilitarian and kind of masculine to me. When they started discussing prongs, I was like, are we building a house or a love relationship? The metaphors were so technical. We’re talking about normality. Why not use a more accessible i.e. gender neutral i.e. normal metaphor? Perh ...more
Deirdre
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
The New Normal is not asserting that their IS a relationship normal for everyone, but rather shares what other people are saying on a variety of relationship topics and where the averages lie, and what comes out as "norm" in the various results in many cases does surprise. It took me much longer to read this book than it should have, many months actually, for a variety of reasons, but that has no bearing on the quality of book this is. On the one hand its style is casual and friendly and easy to ...more
Elizabeth
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: as light reading
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marcia
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
"The Normal Bar" gives percentages of what people answered to questions such as "What kind of parent do you think your partner is?" "Do you hold hands with your partner?", etc. It covers all the normal things that effect relationships...sex, money, housework load, children, etc. and gives you an idea if you are in the norm or not on these issues.

I like that the book has statistics from many different countries. It was interesting to see that views on some things did vary by country.

I would say
...more
Bretnie
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I expected so much more out of this book. The concept (thousands of people responding to surveys about their relationships) had me hopeful that the book would be more about the findings and a more scientific approach to analyzing those findings. I was disappointed that it reads much more like a self-help book with simplistic recommendations and cheesy cartoons.

The conclusions the authors make about what it takes to make a relationship work and what's normal seem overly simplistic for the amount
...more
Saralyn
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I found a lot of things in this book very interesting. But a few things really bugged me. Enough to rather turn me off to the book in general. First of all, reading the book, there were several conclusions made that seemed awfully biased. With what information they SAID they based their conclusion on, it sure didn't seem like they had enough evidence. (With some of the conclusions, I even wondered if I had accidentally skipped a page. How did they come up with that answer based on THAT informati ...more
Boiling
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5/5

The title is a bit misleading - like they want everybody to fit into the 'normal' category but it is actually not like that.

Has plenty of useful tips at the end of each chapter. Some of the questions are broken down country wise but I felt that the authors did not explore the cultural norms that may have resulted in certain answers,especially when it came to Asia. They just took the answers at face value while they tried to fit the European answers into stereotypes.

As this is a self reporte
...more
Jacinda
This book was informative, and it does provide some good advice on how to make a relationship stronger; however, I found the many facts and stats to be a bit dry and repetitive. I did learn a few new ideas on communicating with my partner, which is really useful. But I found that a lot of the questions in the survey had no applicable answer. So I didn't know if I should just skip the question or pick the closest answer, even if it didn't fit for me at all.
Overall, I'd say that it is great for p
...more
Janice
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This was an interesting and pleasant book that my husband and I listened to on a trip this past spring. While the book did spur some discussion for us, it is not one I would recommend as a "marriage manual" or something to help those trying to improve or enrich their relationship. The authors merely look at what the majority answers are to all varieties of questions, and take that for what is "normal". That does not necessarily equate to what is healthy or meaningful, which can be a very individ ...more
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Have you tried the high five tool that is listed in The Normal Bar? 1 2 Feb 25, 2013 07:33PM  

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