The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World

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9780679449096: The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World
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This explosive book will change the way you see yourself, your family, and the world around you, including every man and woman you meet. Drawing on original research, the celebrated anthropologist Helen Fisher reveals in The First Sex how women's natural  talents are changing the world, making women ideal leaders and successful shapers of business and society today and on into the twenty-first century.
        
Through deep evolutionary history, women and men developed different abilities and brain structures. In The First Sex, Fisher explores how women's innate superiorities are particularly well adapted to today's global society. Why is entrepreneurial America increasingly female? Why are many American philanthropic organizations led by women? How are women changing what we watch on television? How are women changing medicine and the law?  Why are women better able to juggle many tasks at once--an important talent for today's executive? The answers lie in prehistory. Fisher shows how the special structure of the female brain enables women to do "web thinking" or "synthesis thinking," as compared to men's more linear or "step" thinking, and she shows why this difference in female and male brain structure and thinking creates opportunities, and complications, for women in the business world. With anecdotes and stories, Fisher explores how women's special talents--superior verbal abilities, people savvy, acute senses, healing techniques, and more--are geared to success in medicine, education, communications, law, philanthropy, government, and police work. Changes in society--the growth of the global service and communications economy--are also giving women an advantage: women's unique talents are especially needed in our modern age.
        
The evolution of women's sexual, romantic, and family lives is also explored as Fisher traces the origins in prehistory of the differences between the ways men and women love and bond. She discusses new trends in families, maintaining that if there ever was a time when men and women had the opportunity to make fulfilling marriages, that time is now.
        
"Like a glacier," Fisher says, "contemporary women are slowly overturning worldwide business and social practices, creating a new economic and social landscape." Provocative and eye-opening, The First Sex will make you think, and will help you understand why people are the way they are--and why, as Fisher says, "tomorrow belongs to women."

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Review:

Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher isn't afraid of immodest proposals. The woman who demystified four million years' worth of romance in Anatomy of Love now suggests in The First Sex that evolution favors women. Citing recent research in biology, sociology, sociobiology, and anthropology, Fisher makes a strong case for a near future in which the natural talents of women as thinkers, communicators, and healers, adapted to the age of information, create a new kind of global leadership in business, medicine, and education, skewing the power dynamics of sex and relationships towards the feminine. Women, she says, are contextual thinkers to a far greater degree than men; this "web thinking," as Fisher dubs it, is an asset in a global marketplace. Women are far more talented than men at achieving win-win outcomes in negotiations. On an organizational level, women are less interested in rank and more interested in relationships and networking, an essential attribute in a world without borders. In the arena of education, women have a natural talent for language and self-expression; as healers, they enjoy an emotional empathy with their charges that can and will redefine doctor-patient relationships. And, she predicts, in the next century women will reinvent love by asserting feminine sexuality and creating peer marriages, true partnerships. While Fisher's future may seem idealized, her science and her sociology make for a well-reasoned case that the people Simone de Beauvior once defined as "the second sex" are about to move to the head of the class. --Patrizia DiLucchio

From the Back Cover:

"Men and women emerge from the womb with some innate tendencies bred on the grasslands of Africa millennia ago. The sexes are not the same. Each has some natural talents. Each is a living archive of its distinctive past....On the savannas of ancient Africa women 'commuted' to work to gather fruits and vegetables. They left their children in day care with relatives and they returned to camp with much, often most, of the evening meal. In 'deep history,' as Edward O. Wilson calls humanity's primordial beginnings, the double-income family was the rule. Anthropologists believe that women were regarded as roughly equal with men. As the agricultural revolution took hold, however, men assumed the primary economic tasks: clearing land, plowing fields, and harvesting crops. Soon they also became the traders, warriors, heads of household, and heads of state. Women in many farming cultures were and still are treated, in many respects, as what Simone de Beauvoir called 'the second sex.' With the Industrial Revolution in the West, powerful economic forces began to draw women into the paid workforce. It is no exaggeration to say that this has led to one of the most extraordinary developments in the long journey of Homo sapiens: the return of economically powerful women. Women around the world are gradually reacquiring the economic clout they enjoyed hundreds of thousands, even millions of years ago. They bring to the marketplace many natural talents."

--from The First Sex

"The topics of marriage, sex, and love are on everyone's minds and lips. Drawing on a wealth of anthropological and ethnological data, Helen Fisher proposes a thought-provoking new theory of the evolution and future of human pair-bonding. It will give everyone who reads it a lot to talk about."

--Deborah Tannen

"Fisher's book, whose clear and engaging style easily captivates the lay reader, answers all those puzzling questions that caused your mother (or priest or guidance counselor or gym teacher) to blame God and/or hormones....Her prediction of a more open and egalitarian order provides a compelling--and hopeful--vision for the future."

--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Fisher [is] one of our best science-popularizers....Many will be convinced by her knowledgeable, persuasive, and entertaining discussion--and the more skeptical will find fascinating tidbits for thought along the way."

--Kirkus Reviews

"Delightful to read...fascinating."

--The New York Times Book Review

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