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You Just Don't Understand  By  cover art

You Just Don't Understand

By: Deborah Tannen
Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
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Publisher's 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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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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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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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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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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Just silly opinions

Not based on research nor experiments. Just the opinions of the author which can be completely wrong. I stopped listening after she tried to defend a woman using anecdotal evidence to argue against research as the woman using a “different kind of logic”. No dear Deborah, she is not using logic at all. She is using ignorance. And by defending her you just show how dumb you are.

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Should be mandatory reading

Wow what a fantastic work. I started listening to it and kept resonating with my real life experiences with my wife. I pushed her to start it and we’ve both been riffing on it with each other. It’s so on point and helps us understand the mechanics of what goes into to what we say and how we say it.

Most significantly this book is written with an incredibly thoughtful approach with no judgment against men or women — it seeks to understand rather than to prescribe changes in behavior. The author is very clear in communicating that it is not necessarily that men are trying to oppress women, for example, but rather that they are treating women as they treat other men and are confounded by how that doesn’t work out. I especially appreciated the example dialogues between young children, between boys and between girls amongst themselves and how we can see patterns of speech developing at such a young age. The authors analysis provides a lot of insight as to how and why speech patterns develop as they do.

Final comment: the narration is fantastic. The narrator does a great job of putting on character voices without sounding over wrought in the dialogue examples and it really enhanced the listening experience for me.

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old school gender roles & stereotypes

I quit this book after chapter 2 with the use of the word "retarded" in reference to mentally ill patients. that im addition to the general stereotyping ideals was frankly disgusting.

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This will change your life

Everyone should read or study Deborah Tannen. This is wonderful and insightful. The reading itself was clear and well paced, engaging and quiet enjoyable on the ear.

I also recommend checking out Tannen’s genius classic “That’s Not What I Meant” too… it’s the social Bible we all need to understand, communicate and excel even in the most confusing exchanges! It provides the teachings and tools to help strengthen self awareness and clarity in all of our different interpersonal relationships and areas of life. Don’t think twice, like all Deborah Tannen’s work - this is a diamond.

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  • Davy
  • 10-10-22

Excellent

It's a book about behavioural psychology that naturally works as a self-help book.
Like most good books of its kind, much of what you learn you sort of already knew in one way or another, either subconsciously or with loose conception, simply by having lived a considered life. The book therefore brings those things into clear view and discusses them at length, resulting in a sharp lens through which you might understand the humans around you, both in hindsight and in the present.

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  • Leon101
  • 06-14-22

Amazing

Eye opening and a must for anyone looking to understand people and the differences between men and women.
Thank you Deborah Tannen !!!

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  • Rasul
  • 03-15-22

Boring!

I listen to 1-2 books/week and I find this one very boring. Many stories/dialogues and it is not easy to understand the point.

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  • Adam Finch
  • 09-21-21

This is another great book

I've learnt a lot from Deborah over the years. recommend it to anyone, especially with daughters