The Male Brain Book Summary - The Male Brain Book explained in key points
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The Male Brain summary

A Breakthrough Understanding of How Men and Boys Think

4.5 (397 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine is a scientific exploration of how biology and nature shape men's behavior, emotions, and thoughts throughout their lives. It delves into topics such as love, sex, aggression, communication, and mental health.

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    The Male Brain
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    A Male Brain Is Born

    From eight weeks of gestation onward, three hormones have an outsized impact on the development of the male brain. The first is testosterone, whose rises and drops affect everything from male brain development to sex drive to hair growth. The second is vasopressin, the male bonding hormone. It influences things like his mate-guarding behaviors and bonding. 

    The third has a complex name and a complex function. Called Müllerian inhibiting substance, it builds many of the circuits in the male brain that are associated with traditional masculinity. It shrinks any remnants of female structures in the developing embryo to grow a male body. And it creates the neural connections for things like muscular action, exploratory behavior, and competitive aggression.

    This hormone trio, along with a few other helpers, grows a brain that ends up looking significantly different from the female brain. The amygdala – the part of the brain that handles fight or flight reactions to threats, becomes larger and contains more neurons in the male brain. Their circuits for defending territory are larger, too, while their communication circuits and memory centers have far fewer connections than female brains.

    The male brain is bathed in high levels of these hormones until birth and beyond, and they shape his behavior during those early days. For the first year of life, his testosterone levels are on par with an adult man’s. This inhibits brain circuits for recognizing facial expressions, which are smaller than his female-brain counterparts. 

    By seven months, he can recognize facial expressions of anger or fear in adults, but by twelve months his sensitivity to them plummets. With an immunity to signs of danger or warning, and a neurological drive to explore and track motion, it can challenge even the most attentive caregiver to keep up and keep him safe.

    Without brain structures in place to put on the emotional brakes, he’ll likely be easily worked up – and harder to soothe. His outbursts will last longer, and he’ll make less eye contact during these emotional exchanges.

    At the end of the first year, his hormone levels decrease as the male brain becomes a juvenile. For the next decade, give or take, he’ll have low, steady hormone levels like his female-brained counterparts. But his brain has been completely structured under the hormonal influence, and his on-the-go, rough-and-tumble impulses will continue through boyhood.

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    What is The Male Brain about?

    The Male Brain (2010) is a neuroscientist’s account of the interplay between hormones and brain development that shapes the formation and growth of male brains and behavior. Based on decades of research, it argues that the roots of many masculine stereotypes can be seen in neurobiology, and that hormones shape the male brain and outlook for a lifetime.

    The Male Brain Review

    The Male Brain (2010) explores the complex inner workings of the male brain, shedding light on how biology shapes behavior and influences relationships. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With insightful research and relatable anecdotes, it offers a fascinating understanding of the male brain and its unique characteristics.
    • The book delves into the impact of hormones on male behavior, providing valuable insights into topics such as aggression and sexual desire.
    • By debunking myths and offering evidence-based explanations, it challenges common stereotypes and prompts a deeper understanding of men and their experiences.

    Who should read The Male Brain?

    • Anyone with a male brain wondering about how it works
    • Minds curious about biology’s effect on culture
    • Those who interact with male brains looking for insights

    About the Author

    Louann Brizendine is an American neuroscientist, researcher, professor, and clinician. She is the author of three books, including The Female Brain, and was the inspiration for the 2017 film The Female Brain. 

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    The Male Brain FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Male Brain?

    Understanding the unique characteristics and behaviors of the male brain helps us navigate relationships and communication better.

    How long does it take to read The Male Brain?

    The reading time for The Male Brain varies, but you can read the Blinkist summary in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Male Brain a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Male Brain is worth reading because it provides insights into male psychology and sheds light on gender differences.

    Who is the author of The Male Brain?

    Louann Brizendine is the author of The Male Brain.

    What to read after The Male Brain?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Male Brain, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine
    • Moody Bitches by Julie Holland
    • Man Overboard! by Craig L. Bowron
    • The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
    • The Art of Reading Minds by Henrik Fexeus
    • 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
    • The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant
    • The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking by Michael D. Watkins
    • Get Better at Anything by Scott H. Young
    • The Molecule of More by Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long