The Male Brain

Author: Louann Brizendine, MD

10 Hours

I would encourage anyone who has a male in their life to read this book. It has helped me better understand the men and boys in my life. In other words, everyone should read this.

The Male Brain by American neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine is loaded with science. However, Dr Brizendine takes the science and makes it understandable by putting it in an everyday context.

The book goes through the different stages of life, covering the boy brain, teen brain, the Daddy brain and many more. It includes examples and amusing case studies. Daddy brain means his mission to finish the shelves in the garage, makes sense. He is nesting too, because his brain is telling him to.

An interesting point is that all men actively go through a wind-down phase, when they have finished conquering and achieving. It might be around 50, they start hanging around the house when the desire to change the world fades.

‘His brain circuits for dominance and the drive to outdo the other men were less intense as his testosterone production had declined. He still fought for the Fortune 500 account, but victory at all costs was not longer worth it to him. During a man’s midlife transition, he often isn’t as motivated about fighting his way up the ladder. He knows his value. This development, which usually attributed solely to psychological maturation, is also fostered by a new biological reality.’

And usually this is the exact opposite of women, who yearn to spread their wings as their chooks have finally left the roost. There are so many predictable moments and stages in male lives, and it is great to understand them better.

Here is one of my favourite passages. This explains to me, why my son does not hear me when I start to repeat myself. He screens me out as though I am white noise.
“Liesbert Ruytjens and colleagues in the Netherlands compared brain activity of 17- to 25-year-old males and females as they processed the sound of white noise and as they processed the sound of music. The female brains intensely activated to both the white noise and to the music. The male brains, also activated to the music but they deactivated to the white noise. It was as if they didn’t hear it.”

Has anyone else had that feeling? You’re talking, perhaps repeating, the morning routine for the 100th time, but you know your son is not listening. This is what is happening in his brain when he does that. When I reel off the morning routine, I have become the white noise.

I have a pet hate for books that say “the science says” without providing references. This book has an extensive section of notes and references. If I wanted to take a deep dive into any of the research it is all there. I loved listening to the book so much that I bought a physical copy to help me and anyone else passing our bookshelf to understand the men in our lives.