Review: The Sexual Paradox

*** FYI - It's a catchy title, but the book is NOT about sex in the 'doing it' fashion. ***I'm almost done Susan Pinker's eye opening book which is nicely fitting along my general reading on human brains (The Stuff of Thought), evolution (The Selfish Gene), morality (Moral Minds: The Nature of Right and Wrong), civilization (Guns, Germs, Steel: The Fates of Human Society's).

Here are the cliffnotes:

The Sexual Paradox

1. Men are extreme:

On the smart and stupid scale.

2. Men have a biological / evolutionary inventive to be risk takers:

Fight to get more women, which they impregnate, spreading their seed etc. You know, the usual evolutionary stuff.

3. Brain Stuff:

Dyslexics are more often men, their brain has functional differences that drives system level / conceptual thinking.

4. Successful Women Opt-ing Out (in particular Out of Science / Technology but basically high earning careers):

They need people connection, work less intensively to have / raise kids. Want to raise own kids even if more economically profitable to let someone else do it.

5.  Women are more Emphatic:

Evolution prompted this so we could understand babies needs before speech. (Also raise babies in groups).

6. Women don't plan careers:

They fall into very successful, lucrative career patterns based on others expectations. They are very successful, which gives them the flexibility to opt-out. Women want flex time for family, personal life more than men.

7. (Some) successful women feel they are impostors:

Less ego centric - less likely to thing recognition, advancement is because of own success (true or not) vs. men (true or not).

8. Men are more competitive:

Again, the whole evolution / biology thing.


So the basic idea is that hidden behind current gender equality in (western) societies is the reality that women want and are motivated by different things in their life (and hence career) which is reflecting the 'real gender' gap in the workforce. The big missing link in the book so far is how do we (as individuals) and as a society effectively manage these differences given that what women want leads to them having less economic power?