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Editor reviews

"Utterly fascinating....A classic in the field." ( San Francisco Chronicle

Summary

Deborah Tannen's number-one best seller revolutionized the way men and women talk - and listen - to each other - at home, at work, and wherever the communication gap between the sexes can lead to troublesome misunderstandings. The problem dates back to childhood, when boys and girls learn to use language in distinctly different ways; years later, their adult efforts to talk often place them at cross purposes - even when both are sincerely trying to communicate. Dr. Tannen illustrates how the best intentions can go painfully awry between spouses, family members, co-workers and friends. With You Just Don't Understand, you'll recognize yourself and your own efforts to be understood - and gain valuable insight to help you communicate better than ever before.

©2013 Deborah Tannen (P)2013 Simon & Schuster Audio

What listeners say about You Just Don't Understand

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  • Terese
  • 23-12-16

Long on explanation,short on application.

Good research. Prefer more application of insights. Author took too long to make a point.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Douglas
  • 18-02-14

Deborah Tannen...

was one of the first voices (appropriately, that of a woman) to speak up against the feminist insisience that there are no innate differences between men and women. (Neuroscience has since proven Tannen and the early van guard correct in their assessment, as men's and women's brain themselves are, indeed, different.) Tannen is a linguist and has accented on how men and women communicate, and I have taught her for nearly two decades in my English classes. It is important to note that, though there clearly are differences in how men and women think, emote, and talk, there is much overlap, some exceptions to the rule (I always say I am a heterosexual man who thinks like a woman), and that seeing the reality of difference in no way implies a surperiority or "better way" on either side. I read this on the heels of Gurian's Boys and Girls Learn Differently, which I also highly recommend.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 04-06-18

Unhelpful and condescending

This is one of those books that takes a single, simplistic concept and then pads it out to make a book. For a man who wants to be a better communicator, there was very little "The best way to express what you mean is...." and a lot of "what you really mean is...." This book is ultimately unhelpful and extremely condescending.

The core concept seems to be that men want everyone, and especially women, to be subservient to them. They don't have any opinions and desires of their own beyond that. To use two examples from the book related to driving: If you're a man and you yield to another car that has the right of way, you're not following the rules of the road. What you're really doing is establishing your dominance by being so magnanimous as to let the other car go first. Likewise, if you express concern that your wife keeps letting go of the steering wheel, you're not concerned about safety. What you really mean is that the little woman should have let you drive in the first place.

As a man who wants to communicate better, I didn't find a single actionable piece of advice in this book. Rather I was talked over and down to and told that none of my wants or opinions are real beyond my just being a jerk for having them. Very condescending, unhelpful, and ultimately disappointing.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Savannah
  • 14-01-18

This book is a gold mine

Barbara Rosenblat did the best reading of all the maybe 25ish books I’ve listened to. That was almost a reason in itself to listen to this book.

The content is a gold mine.

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  • Noah Hager
  • 01-08-16

Explained a lot about my 5 yr old son

I was surprised by how much this book helped me gain insight into the communication style and habits of my 5 yr old son. The descriptions of conversations from the authors research seemed as if my son was one of the subjects. It really helped me gain some understanding of his communication with other girls and boys and is (his parents).

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  • Trisha Dotts
  • 06-02-18

so helpful I everyday interactions.

This book is a helpful for everyone. With a communications degree, I am a source poodle ask for ideas. I always recommend this book for those who want to appreciate communcation diversity of all kinds. Not JUST gender differences.

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  • Chad
  • 16-02-20

Great work on male-female communication difference

"Nonviolent Communication" is the book I recommend most, and this ties in with it beautifully, but focusing on differences in the communication styles between men and women. It's fascinating to learn about how humans work, such as how women's communication style changes as soon as there are any men in the room, but men use one communication style whether or not women are present. It's also interesting to see the large communication style differences between the sexes from toddlerhood on.

This book was helpful to me almost immediately. A female friend reached out to me to express a fear, and I strove to reassure her by logically explaining why her fear was unrealistic. The book contains a very similar example, and when I remembered it I realized it probably sounded like I was invalidating her fear and telling her that she was foolish to think that way. I tried to make up for my error, to empathize and show that I understood why it was scary.

That's just one example. Much of this book is just "hm, that's interesting" but there's a great deal that's practical and can be used immediately in conversation, or will just change how you approach some interpersonal situations differently. Highly recommended. This is the sort of material I would love to see students taught and trained in before they ever graduate high school.

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  • Marty Denholm
  • 24-04-18

I don't give 5 stars lightly

this is one of those books that is life changing. it explained me in so many ways and also interactions I have had with others. Tthank you Jessica for sending it my way.

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  • Hello 101
  • 24-04-16

Insightful

Would you listen to You Just Don't Understand again? Why?

Yes because it helps me understand how men and women communicate differently.

What did you like best about this story?

How I can apply it to my life to make positive changes.

Have you listened to any of Deborah Tannen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from You Just Don't Understand?

I use it in my day to day conversations with others.