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Download Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences Audiobook, by Leonard Sax Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.17 out of 54.17 out of 54.17 out of 54.17 out of 54.17 out of 5 4.17 (23 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Leonard Sax Narrator: Raymond Todd Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781455183074
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Are boys and girls really that different? Doctors and researchers didn’t think so twenty years ago. Back then, most experts believed that behavioral differences in girls and boys were mainly due to differences in how they were treated by their parents, teachers, and friends.

It’s hard to cling to that belief today. An avalanche of research over the past two decades has shown that sex differences are more significant and profound than anybody guessed. Sex differences are real, biologically programmed, and important to how children are raised, disciplined, and educated.

In Why Gender Matters, psychologist and family physician Dr. Leonard Sax leads parents through the mystifying world of gender differences by explaining the biologically different ways in which children think, feel, and act. He addresses a host of issues, including discipline, learning, risk taking, aggression, sex, and drugs, and shows how boys and girls react in predictable ways to different situations.

For example, girls are born with more sensitive hearing than boys, and those differences increase as kids grow up. So when a grown man speaks to a girl in what he thinks is a normal voice, she may hear it as yelling. Conversely, boys who appear to be inattentive in class may just be sitting too far away to hear the teacher—especially if the teacher is female.

Likewise, negative emotions are seated in an ancient structure of the brain called the amygdala. Girls develop an early connection between this area and the cerebral cortex, enabling them to talk about their feelings. In boys these links develop later. So if you ask a troubled adolescent boy to tell you what his feelings are, he often literally cannot say.

Dr. Sax offers fresh approaches to disciplining children, as well as gender-specific ways to help girls and boys avoid drugs and early sexual activity. He wants parents to understand hardwired differences in children, but he also encourages them to push beyond gender-based stereotypes.

A leading proponent of single-sex education, Dr. Sax points out specific instances where keeping boys and girls separate in the classroom has yielded striking educational, social, and interpersonal benefits. Despite the view of many educators and experts on child-rearing that sex differences should be ignored or overcome, parents and teachers would do better to recognize, understand, and make use of the biological differences that make a girl a girl and a boy a boy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Until recently, there have been two groups of people: those who argue sex differences are innate and should be embraced and those who insist that they are learned and should be eliminated by changing the environment. Sax is one of the few in the middle—convinced that boys and girls are innately different and that we must change the environment so differences don’t become limitations.”


  • “Convincing…Psychologist and family physician Leonard Sax, using twenty years of published research, offers a guide to the growing mountain of evidence that girls and boys really are different…This extremely readable book also includes shrewd advice on discipline, and on helping youngsters avoid drugs and early sexual activity. Sax’s findings, insights, and provocative point of view should be of interest and help to many parents.”

    New York Post

  • Why Gender Matters is an instructive handbook for parents and teachers…to create ways to cope with the differences between boys and girls.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Sax makes a compelling argument for parents and teachers to tread lightly when it comes to gender…His readable prose…makes this book accessible to a range of readers.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The book is thought-provoking, and Sax explains well the science behind his assertions…a worthy read for those who care about how best to prepare children for the challenges they face on the path to adulthood.”

    Scientific American

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather McCubbin | 2/16/2014

    " Take what you will from this book. Much of the advice in here is fascinating and some of it true, based upon my own observations of my 2 boys and 1 daughter. However, some of the issues, like anomolous males, irked me. Sax suggests we, as parents, try to stop this behavior if it appears around the age of 3 (anomolous means: likes to play sports that aren't team oriented, associates with more females than males up until puberty--then it's the girls that pull away he says--and these males, supposedly, have a certain facial shape). To 'get rid' of this behaviour we are to force that child into competitive sports, which will in turn foster a better male/male friendship. This is one section that made me want to write him and ask: why does he want us to change our children from who they are? Yes, they will have a harder time when puberty hits and their female friends may move onto their girlfriend groups. Puberty is hard, our job is to be there for our child and provide them with the tools and morals to make it through middle and high school. Alive. Also, the "Are you Feminine/Masculine" quiz was a joke! It's not masculine to read alot and you aren't feminine unless you know what the parts of a sewing machine are? Is Sax from the 1920s? Come on, grow up and be grateful for all the wonderful individuality that is out there! I do agree learning styles are different for males and females and, as a preschool teacher, may even try to apply some of his thoughts. His chapter on sex and teens has spurred me to talk more with my kids, so these issues he talked about were beneficial. This would be a great bookclub book and will definitely spur on some interesting, albeit heated, discussions! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan D. Neal | 2/14/2014

    " I read this one on the recommendation of a speaker at the last homeschool convention I attended. The book discusses the differences in the male and female brains and the author draws some conclusions about the ramifications of those differences. I'm not sure what I feel about it. I think that the common trend for gender-sameness in public schools is problematic, especially for boys. (By "gender-sameness" I mean the idea that there are no physiological or chemical differences -besides the obvious glandular and hormonal ones- in boys and girls and how they learn best.) I'm not sure I would draw the same conclusions he does in some instances regarding what to do about those gender differences, especially in regard to those children he terms "anomalous." But the book makes for fascinating reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Njesus | 1/10/2014

    " The author, a family physician and psychologist, cites numerous studies and his own experience to support his assertions. There is so much food for thought in this book, all very interesting, some terrifying. I'm really glad I read this book, even if I didn't believe everything in it, and I plan to read his next one as well. It's worth reading even for those without children. Covers how we as a society raise and educate our children based on what we believe about gender and what common beliefs may or may not be accurate. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kendra | 12/23/2013

    " I think this book is a must read for all parents. It is intimidating what our children are facing in the world today. This book helped me feel a little more prepared and helped me feel more capable of leading my children on the right path. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 8/1/2013

    " Fascinating book about gender difference. I really enjoyed it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay Evermore | 6/29/2013

    " Lots of food for thought and further research, although parts of the discipline chapter had me recoiling and ready to put the book down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 9/22/2012

    " This book had a lot of good info that made sense to me. I've been citing things out of it to almost anyone I come across. That said, anyone can take a study and interpret it in a way that makes their point. I can't call Sax's info fact but it does make sense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 DeAnn | 5/4/2012

    " Incredibly interesting. Really made me evaluate how I teach and interact with my students. I heard Leonard Sax speak and he was great! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn Mccormac | 4/17/2012

    " Great read for parents and teachers of kids of all ages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Juliefrick | 3/25/2012

    " This was a fascinating read, and very easy to get through. I've heard that some of Sax's research has been called into question, though from my experience teaching sixth graders for 12 years, I can say I was nodding my head through about 90% of it. A worthwhile read for any parent or teacher. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kami | 1/20/2012

    " I can't say enough good things about this book. I found the reported research findings fascinating and enlightening. Also, I loved the practical advice for handling discipline. I think this should be a must read for anyone that works with or has children. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johanna | 11/24/2011

    " I found it a valuable read, but had some very disturbing/mature chapters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly Perry | 10/23/2011

    " I think every parent and teacher should read this book. I found it interesting and insightful. Enjoy "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 7/25/2011

    " I probably shouldn't give this a rating as I flipped through and read selected portions. I picked it up from the library because I heard the author speak on a podcast and I liked what he had to say. It's due so I had to do a quick flip through of this and his other book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 5/12/2011

    " I really liked this book also. I read it after Ronda recommended it to me and it helped me understand a lot of things with Sterling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 5/2/2011

    " Excellent! Very practical suggestions and facts for use in the classroom setting! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 4/27/2011

    " Every educator and parent, (especially every parent-educator!) should read this book. It articulates the science behind common-sense, Biblical truth: "male and female He made them." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Grace | 3/16/2011

    " This book is eye-opening and true. I wish every parent, teacher, anyone who interacts with children, would read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/17/2011

    " Another good book by Dr. Sax. I just picked the chapters that interested me and ignored others. But, the information is good and definitely important for parents to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tricia | 1/15/2011

    " Every teacher should be required to read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 1/9/2011

    " Excellent book! Easy to understand and helpful examples or situations are included. It offers good advice and biological insight into how children of both sexes have different needs. Both parents and teachers should really pick this book up and read it. It also makes for great discussion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 1/2/2011

    " Very interesting. Wish I and my children's teachers had read this when they were in school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 12/29/2010

    " A must-read for anyone that teaches children! "

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About the Author

Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., is a practicing family physician, a PhD psychologist, and a speaker for community groups, schools, and professional organizations. His scholarly work has been published in a wide variety of journals including American Psychologist, Annals of Family Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience, Environmental Health Perspectives, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He has been a featured guest on CNN, PBS, The TODAY Show, Fox News, NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” and many other national programs. He lives with his wife and daughter in suburban Philadelphia.

About the Narrator

Raymond Todd is an actor and director in the theater as well as a poet and documentary filmmaker. He plays jazz trombone for the Leatherstocking quartet, an ensemble that gets its name from one of his favorite Blackstone narrations, The Deerslayer. Todd lives in New York.