The Male Brain Book Summary - The Male Brain Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Male Brain summary

Louann Brizendine

A Breakthrough Understanding of How Men and Boys Think

4.5 (376 ratings)
19 mins
Table of Contents

    The Male Brain
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    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.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Male Brain?

    Key ideas in The Male Brain

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    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.

    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. 

    Categories with The Male Brain

    Books like The Male Brain

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial