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Is There Anything Good about Men?: How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  283 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Have men really been engaged in a centuries-old conspiracy to exploit and oppress women? Have the essential differences between men and women really been erased? Have men now become unnecessary? Are they good for anything at all?

In Is There Anything Good About Men?, Roy Baumeister offers provocative answers to these and many other questions about the current state of
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Hardcover, 306 pages
Published August 12th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Stacy
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
The first half of this book was fascinating. Overall, the book was well written, well organized, and well thought out. I applaud the author for being willing to speak candidly about an opinion that is not considered politically correct. And, at first I thought that his opinions were right on the mark.

Then I kept reading and I became more and more conflicted. As I read I was first impressed, then incredulous, and occasionally downright insulted. I think the author honestly attempted to remain
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Greg Linster
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The title of Florida State psychologist Roy Baumeister’s book speaks to how silly much of the rhetoric surrounding the gender debate has become. Dare I suggest that both sexes are good? We don’t need our men to be more like women, nor our women to be more like men. Both sexes need each other for who they are. Someone had to write this book and I’m glad that Baumeister had the audacity (and tenure) needed to do so. To put it simply, this is hands-down the best book on gender differences I’ve ever ...more
Zahwil
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Baumeister gives a standard economic argument to explain differences in outcomes (e.g. career success, incomes) between men and women. He attributes these differences, not to oppression as feminists would have us believe, but to differing levels of motivation. Women, says Baumeister, are better at close, intimate relationships while men are better at developing broad networks of shallow relationships. Men, for evolutionary reasons, strive to achieve greatness. In our evolutionary pasts, only ...more
Andrew
Dec 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
I read this book because I thought the title was intriguing. I thought it could have been a great book about how men are socialized to be exploited, or that American or Western Culture produces men that are expendable, and exploitable so that it can flourish. I thought the book could have been great.

Instead the book is a 300 page argument with an imaginary feminist. It was lazy. The author even said so in the back of the book. He said that if he was writing this book to be taken seriously he
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Marshall
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It's sad that our culture has become so anti-male that we seriously ask a question like, Is there anything good about men? This book is about what purpose men have served in our culture, and the ways our culture exploits men. As an answer to all of the various feminist complaints, it is insufficient. What it does is builds a case for a perspective rarely seen in gender discussions: evolutionary psychology. It spends a lot of time discussing the way humans have evolved culture to band together ...more
Brittany
Nov 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
"Although feminist ideas are mentioned from time to time in this book, I want to emphasize from the start that I am not debating any actual feminist scholars of the movement of feminist thought itself. In fact, I strongly suspect there is not point in debating with feminists...That means that even if an outsider like me made the most brilliant, correct, and insightful point against some feminist claim, the feminists wouldn't listen or change their views one iota. So why bother?"

Well, he didn't
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Veronica
Jan 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was recommended to me by the Goodreads algorithm (why?!), and—being amused by the obvious boorishness of the book's premise— I decided to give it a try, if only for sheer entertainment. But it reads like the bitter vitriol of a 4chan rant. Perhaps I will return to this book and read it in small amounts.

Really, though, I protest the characterization by other reviewers that the first half of the book is acceptable. By his own admission, the book probes how 'culture exploits men.' He
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Avi
Feb 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
If it were possible to give a book 0 stars (or even better, negative stars), I would. This book is actual sexist, misogynistic garbage that I would not have so much as read past the first page if it had not been a required text for a class. Among Baumeister's many claims are that only men can innovate because women are good for absolutely nothing besides reproducing, men should be rewarded for not sexually harassing women, men must produce something in a culture whereas a woman need only to take ...more
Katherine
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book definitely makes you think about the reasons for inequalities between men and women as well as how men are used by our culture. Baumeister does a great job of presenting alternative explanations for issues like the pay difference between men and women. However, I feel like parts of the book could have been presented in much more sensitive ways. As a woman, I felt defensive in parts of the book and I think a lot people will be turned off by the way the information was presented.
David Rutter
There is no way to present the ideas in this book without looking sexist. People have lost careers saying these things. They are extremely unpopular. Does that make them untrue? Some of the things written here do appear to be false, but this is not a work of science. It's an essay. I do wish this were written more like a literature review and less like a pop-sociology book, but it certainly did not leave me wanting for things to think about. Things that I could be shunned for pondering aloud...
Olga
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I didn't read the book, but i found an essay written by the author on is book and i was impressed. If you don't have the time to read all the 320 pages, just read the essay following the link http://www.denisdutton.com/baumeister...
Matt
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book isn't horrible, but despite the author's insistence that he's not a misogynist and that he's not trying to paint men as victims, he kind of is and the book kind of does. It's worth reading if you're interested in masculinity, but it's not exactly chock full of words to live by.
Ian Pollock
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Baumeister makes a good case that the rhetoric of gender politics has become unmoored from reality and selectively blind to, among other things, the lives of men. (One quick proof of this is that despite participating in the workforce in close to equal numbers, over 90% of workplace deaths occur among men, the gender with the supposedly huge advantages in every sphere. Clearly, things are not THAT simple.)

He claims that men and women are biologically different in interesting ways (mostly related
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William
Jan 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
I read this book because a favorite online magazine of mine was having a discussion of it. After getting about halfway through, I simply had to give up. Frankly, I'm amazed at the high rating this book has.

The author simply goes on and on and on about nothing in particular. He makes some good points, but instead of moving on, dwells on these points, restating them, for several more paragraphs. As an editor, it makes me wonder if he had to reach a certain number of pages before being published.

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vi macdonald
This meninist bullshit would actually be kinda funny if it wasn't so depressing.

Does this book seriously want me to pity poor unfortunate exploited men who this book alleges are oppressed by the greater freedoms afforded to women in a modern society thanks to feminism?
Does this book genuinely want to try and convince me that it's not women (or trans and non-binary individuals for that matter) who are suffering and oppressed by the way society views gender, but actually men?
Really?
REALLY?

Good
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Samantha
Jan 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
It is clear this is heavily biased against women. The author increasing insults women through out without any evidence whatsoever. You hate women, we get it. The idea that any sex is inherently lazy or not a hard worker is such bullshit. I was thinking this book was about how a sexist society can actually hurt both women and men, but it was a bunch of whining.
Jim Ballmann
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
The first part of the book was pretty interesting, and challenges some commonly held beliefs between men and women. That was for the first 100 pages. After that, he takes the same points and beats the reader over the head with them over and over. This isn't something I'd recommend to a lot of people unless they are extremely interested in gender differences and warn to read a different opinion.
Nathan
Sep 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So good I wrote something on the back jacket.
Neil H
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is an instinctual reaction to all the men behavior vs female behavior, which is revulsion.. I recoiled at the idea put forward showing women as domesticated and non creative, no aspirations on a professional level. There are many times I want to out down the book as I perceived it to be sexist and perhaps it is. But, I look all around me and it is somewhat reflected. But I can say that in my locale; Singapore. Women are provided with a backdrop of contributing to the family fiscally and ...more
Bowdoin
Feb 08, 2019 added it
Shelves: bowdoin-reads
Reader in group–During winter break I chose to read something that spoke loudly about my gender. In "There Anything Good About Men?", Roy Baumeister takes a courageous stance that few would, ultimately answering the question of how cultures flourish by exploiting men. He does not argue that one gender is superior to another but takes the stance that both genders need each other, women need men just as much as men need women. With numbers of insightful comments that challenged the way I think, ...more
Captain Jack
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must Read for young people

This book was a great read, filled with unapologetic non-PC truth, backed by a science and peer-reviewed studies.

Communists won’t enjoy this one, but do they enjoy anything?
Jason
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dean
Feb 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
I found the first quarter of this book really insightful and entertaining, but after that the author begins to diminish the very real accomplishments and struggles that women have had. This is an example of what turned me off about the book:


One dramatic and revealing contrast concerns giving birth. What could be more feminine than giving birth? The birthing process has always been central to women’s lives, and for the thousands of years when men and women had separate social spheres, giving
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Frank Lindt
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Although the title is a tat provocative (and is mainly used as a sales driver), Baumeister makes excellent points in this book. The general tendency in society nowadays is to single out and point to female (under)performance in certain areas. Differences in salary and influential positions are a couple of the topics on which there is intense gender debate. Men, in general, have higher salaries and occupy the more prestigious job positions. Baumeister points to data that shows that at the very ...more
Thu
Dec 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I like it that Baumeister attributes the gender divide to [i]motivational[/i] differences rather than biological/ability differences. He really makes a strong case that it is culture (created by men) that shape men's roles as expendable members of society. The question of whether men only compete with themselves or they conspire to play down women according to some 'imaginary feminist' is extremely interesting. The book, however, gets too long and repetitive after the first half. The author ...more
Marmite
Nov 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I refer to Stacy's review, it reflects most of my objections.
Baumeister might have tried to remain unbiased, but he failed. While reading, the book becomes more and more pro-male, which is understable if you are talking about if there's anything good about men and how men have been exploited etc etc, but in the end this is of course just as boring as reading a biased book about how females have been oppressed and exploited. It is a pity because Baumeister is capable of writing intelligent and
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Celeste
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Has some interesting ideas, but fails to back them up with any substantial evidence. It would have helped if citations were inserted in their appropriate places in the text rather than lumped together in the back, too. Baumeister says outright that it's meant to be read more like an essay, but this is rather bad considering that the book often becomes offensive with its assumptions.

Overall, though, the idea of the sexes being "different but complimentary (in general)" is good. It's nice to not
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Vladislav Mikhov
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
When i was choosing this book, i based my choise on his previous brilliant book "Masichism And The Self". But to my disappointment in this book he wanted not to be offensive to anyone: as to feminists, as to normal people. This book, in my opinion, not bad but insipid and vapid.
Stuart
Dec 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
The author offers an interesting perspective on gender roles and the evolving american culture. His sociological background is nice though he can be a bit too objective at times. The nature of the topic makes it difficult to have no bias one way or the other.
Seth Turner
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book, and it was a lot more elaborate in its arguments than the short essay. I felt the book didn't stray far from common sense and research, but YMMV.
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Dr. Roy F. Baumeister is Social Psychology Area Director and Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. He is a social psychologist who is known for his work on the self, social rejection, belongingness, sexuality, self-control, self-esteem, self-defeating behaviors, motivation, and aggression. And enduring theme of his work is "why people do stupid things." ...more
“Culture is partly made out of information. There are at least two main types of this information. One is a set of shared beliefs and values. The other is shared knowledge of how to do things. Culture consists of both.” 1 likes
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