Book Review of "Sexual Paradox" by Susan Pinker
by Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.
I loved this book!
Pinker gathers examples of what she calls "extreme men" in order to highlight some of the many differences between men and women. The main point of this book, I think, is to highlight the different choices that very highly talented or gifted people make with their lives and careers. I highly recommend it to my clients (who are parents of smart and gifted kids) to help them understand a common trajectory of gifted girls and women compared to gifted boys and men. Pinker's use of case study interviews leads to explaining why it is that there remains a gender gap in many fields and why this may be so.
I find this book especially helpful in getting parents of gifted children to understand why it is their gifted boy may appear to have ADHD in school and their gifted girl may decide after years of academic success not to pursue -- or stay in -- that highly competitive, time-consuming career that she is so qualified to pursue. Pinker repeatedly makes the distinction between outside influences and personal choices for her subjects. For my own clients, it helps to explain why so many smart, well-educated women "change their minds" about their career involvement after they have children. In my consultancy I've learned that many fathers of gifted kids feel they'd been "set up" to expect a two-earner family life-style and that their wives hadn't been sincere about their plans to be career-successful prior to the marriage and having children.
Pinker lays it all out in such a way that it really does make sense. Well done!