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Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget

By: Marianne J. Legato, MD, FACP (Rodale 2005)
Book Review - Gerald Le Van
UWWM Family Business and Wealth Bookshelf

A man and a woman quarrel.

After the heat subsides, the man forgets what was said, what they fought about, and may even forget a fight occurred. On the other hand, the woman remembers every detail of the battle…forever.

Dr. Legato is a wife, mother and cardiologist at Columbia Medical School. She’s a leader in gender-specific medicine, a burgeoning field that studies why and how women should receive different medical treatment than men.

In an earlier book, The Female Heart, Legato pointed out that most prior medical research had been conducted on men because they were simply easier subjects – no hormonal fluctuations –notwithstanding important physiological differences between the sexes, their hearts included.

In Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget she explores how differences in male and female brain architecture may explain ongoing difficulties between the sexes, and how capitalizing on these differences can lead to richer relationships.

Beginning with the ABCs about men and women, she discusses what attracts us, how we fall in love and why we marry, with illuminating insights into gender differences in sexual needs, experiences, fulfillment and frustrations. As the title promises, she talks about how we listen (differently), what we hear (differently) and how we communicate (differently)…or don’t… including “Legato’s Laws for Improving Communication between the Sexes”. She rounds out her discussion with how men and women have different approaches to parenthood, different experiences of stress and depression, and how we age differently.

Dr. Legato declares that writing this book has improved her relationships with men, and even tempted her to lay aside a few feminine traits in favor of a few preferable masculine behaviors. Her fascinating book may encourage some readers to consider doing the same. Or at least to be more considerate.

As to why men forget fights but women never do, Legato suggests these may be gender-based survival skills, holdovers from our cave-dwelling ancestors. Charged with child-raising, cave women needed to remember where dangers lurked and nurturing could thrive, e.g. safe watering holes that didn’t attract carnivores. Cave
men, charged with slaying mammoths needed to forget past fears and dangers of mammoth hunting in order to summon the courage to hunt again.

Ponder this when replaying your last fight with a member of the opposite sex.

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