Relationships/Recommended Books

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The Evolution of the Human Brain[edit]

The Biology of Transcendence: A Blueprint of the Human Spirit, by Joseph Chilton Pearce (2002), begins with an excellent 70-page presentation of the triune brain.

"Natural vs. Sexual Selection" is largely from The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature, by Geoffrey F. Miller (2000).

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • A General Theory of Love, by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon (2000), page 2.
  • The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin (1859), page 3.
  • The Descent of Man, by Charles Darwin (1871), page 4.

How Women Select Men[edit]

"How Women Select Men" and "How Men Select Women" are largely from Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind, by David M. Buss (1999). It's a college textbook but not dry or boring. The writing is clear and easier to read than the "bestsellers." Topics include human survival in nature, men's and women's mating strategies, parenting and kinship, altruism, cooperation, aggression, conflict, and social dominance.

For more about emotions, start with Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman (1994). You'll learn how to improve your ability to use a range of emotions. You'll also learn to appreciate different emotional styles in other people. Then read The Relationship Cure, by John Gottman (2001), to improve your skills at recognizing and responding to emotional messages; and The Emotional Revolution, by Norman E. Rosenthal (2002), for the latest neuroscientific discoveries and treatments of emotional disorders, including depression, anxiety, and anger.

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • The Biology of Transcendence, by Joseph Chilton Pearce (2002), pages 14 and 15.
  • The Psychology of Personal Constructs, by George Kelly (1955), page 16.
  • One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, page 20.
  • The Mating Mind, by Geoffrey Miller (2000), page 22.

How Men Select Women[edit]

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde (1890), page 23.

How Our Ancestors Lived[edit]

This chapter is largely from Women in Prehistory, by Margaret Ehrenberg (1989). The book focuses on women and their relationships with men in Paleolithic (hunter-gatherer) and Neolithic (early agricultural) societies.

I also recommend Humans: An Introduction to Four-Field Anthropology, by Alice B. Kehoe (1998). This easy-to-read textbook covers the evolution of primates and humans; the Paleolithic, Neolithic, and beginnings of civilization; linguistics; cultural ecology; economics; social organization; and religion.

I don't recommend The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler (1988). For a critique of Eisler's "gynocentric" hypothesis, read The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future, by Cynthia Eller (2000).

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Germania, by Tacitus (circa A.D. 100), pages 30, 31, and 41.
  • Parlor Politics, by Catherine Allgor (2000), page 36.

Monogamy and Polygamy[edit]

Women of Principle: Female Networking in Contemporary Mormon Polygyny, by Janet Bennion (1998), quoted on pages 39, 40, and 41, is a fascinating study of women in a Montana polygynist community.The section about Christian polygyny was from After Polygamy Was Made a Sin: The Social History of Christian Polygamy, by John Cairncross (1974).Sex in America: A Definitive Survey, by Robert Michael, John Gagnon, Edward Laumann, and Gina Bari Kolata (1994), presents the only statistically accurate survey of intimate relationships. The survey included how couples met, how many partners individuals had, sexual practices, and risk factors for STDs. The surprises were not in what Americans do-the large majority of Americans are in traditional relationships-but in the contrast between media messages (e.g., Sex and the City) and reality.

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • The Descent of Man, by Charles Darwin (1871), page 39.
  • Polygamous Families in Contemporary Society, by Irwin Altman and Joseph Ginat (1996), page 42.
  • Polygamy Reconsidered, by Father Eugene Hillman (1975), page 45.
  • The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell (2000), page 48.

Hormones[edit]

This chapter is from An Introduction to Behavioral Endocrinology, by Randy Nelson (2000), Sexual Pharmacology: Drugs That Affect Sexual Function, by Theresa Crenshaw and James Goldberg (1996), and Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research on Homosexuality, by Simon Le Vay (1996).

Communication Styles[edit]

This chapter is largely from You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, by Deborah Tannen (1990).

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • The Gift of Fear, by Gavin De Becker (1997), page 72.

Adolescence - Seeking Romantic Love[edit]

Iron John, by Robert Bly (1990), Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés (1993), and Men and the Water of Life, by Michael Meade (1992), show the life stages men and women go through, and their relationships in each life stage, as symbolized in folktales.

For more about developing awareness of hidden elements of your personality, read Romancing the Shadow edited by Connie Zweig and Steve Wolf (1996). The chapter about romantic partners shows how a projected ideal shatters, and how couples can pick up the pieces and use the experience to grow. Another chapter discusses how the negative qualities of each Greek god and goddess archetype sabotage relationships.

Three Black Skirts: All You Need to Survive, by Anna Johnson (1998) and The Go-Girl Guide: Surviving Your 20s With Savvy, Soul, and Style, by Julia Bourland (2000) are advice books for twenty-something women. The Go-Girl Guide has better relationship advice, but a 23-year-old told me that Three Black Skirts has better fashion advice. Both provide good advice about careers and finances.

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Evolution's End, by Joseph Chilton Pearce (1992), page 75.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde (1890), page 77.
  • Coming Alive With Love, by Barbara De Angelis (1985), page 78.
  • The Go-Girl Guide, by Julia Bourland (2000), page 80.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (1936), page 83.
  • The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1943), page 85.
  • A Little More About Me, by Pam Houston (1999), page 86.
  • The Spirit of Intimacy, by Sobonfu Somé (2000), page 88.
  • What Our Mothers Didn't Teach Us, by Danielle Crittenden (1999), page 88.

Flirting[edit]

For more about flirting, see Secrets of Sexual Body Language, by Martin Lloyd-Elliott (1995). This book is beautiful, well-written, and well-produced. Every page has color photographs, of great-looking men and women. Twelve chapters cover everything from personal space zones to eye movements to how to kiss. The chapter on peek-a-boo is especially good.

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Coming Alive With Love, by Barbara De Angelis (1985), page 100.
  • The Language of Clothes, by Alison Lurie (2nd edition, 2000), page 107.
  • Big Hair: A Journey into the Transformation of Self, by Grant McCracken (1996), page 107.
  • House as a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home, by Clare Cooper Marcus and James Yandell (1995), page 108.

Personal Ads[edit]

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Paths to Marriage, by Bernard Murstein (1986), page 113.

Dating[edit]

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • The Open Mind, by Dawna Markova (1991), page 123.

Sex[edit]

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Our Bodies, Ourselves, by the Boston Women's Health Collective (1998), page 128.
  • The Social Impact of AIDS in the United States, by Albert Y. Jonsen and Jeff Stryker (1993), page 131.
  • Good Vibrations: The New Complete Guide to Vibrators, by Joani Blank (2000), page 131.
  • Sex in America: A Definitive Survey, by Robert T. Michael, John H. Gagnon, Edward O. Laumann, and Gina Bari Kolata (1994), page 137.
  • The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, by Jill Conner Browne (1999), pages 137 and 139.
  • How to Please a Woman In and Out of Bed, by Daylle Deanna Schwartz (2001), page 138.
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets and Poems, edited by Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. Lamar (1988), page 139.
  • The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks (1997), page 139.

Becoming a Couple[edit]

For more about switching gender roles in dating, read Getting to "I Do," by Patricia Allen and Sandra Harmon (1994). The authors believe that relationships work when one partner uses masculine behavior and the other partner uses feminine behavior. A man and a woman may take either role, but a relationship breaks down when both individuals use masculine behavior (resulting in competition), or both use feminine behavior (needing, but not getting, emotional support).

A Fine Romance: The Passage of Courtship from Meeting to Marriage, by Judith Sills (1987), is the best book I've read about the transition from dating to committed relationships. The book also discusses the coded communication of flirtation, moving from dating to seduction, negotiation to work out problems, and commitment to marriage.

Why Do Fools Fall in Love: Experiencing the Magic, Mystery, and Meaning of Successful Relationships, edited by Janice R. Levine and Howard Markman (2000), is about the transition from loving your projected ideal to loving your real partner.

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • The Rules, by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider (1995), page 140.
  • Passionate Marriage, by David Schnarch (1997), page 143

Conflict in Relationships[edit]

How to Love a Woman: On Intimacy and the Erotic Life of Women, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés (1993), would be better titled "The Birth-Death-Rebirth Cycle of Intimate Relationships." Relationships start with high expectations. Sooner or later, scary, ugly, disturbing things happen. Expect this cycle. Staying emotionally committed through crises leads to a deeper relationship.

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Passionate Marriage, by David Schnarch (1997), page 151.
  • Reporting Live, by Lesley Stahl (2000), page 152.
  • The Emotional Revolution, by Norman Rosenthal (2002), page 153.

Emotional Control Systems[edit]

The emotional control systems are from Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions, by Jaak Panksepp (1999). Goddesses in Everywoman (1984) and Gods in Everyman (1989), both by Jean Shinoda Bolen, present the Greek gods and goddesses as personality types. Each god or goddess has a 25- to 30-page chapter presenting mythology, the archetype in contemporary society, and the personality type from childhood through old age, including marriage and sex. Each chapter also identifies psychological difficulties associated with each archetype, and ways to grow to overcome these difficulties.

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Romancing the Shadow, by Connie Zweig and Steve Wolf (1997), page 156.

Poseidon-Athena[edit]

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Iron John, by Robert Bly (1990), page 163.

Apollo-Artemis[edit]

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Goddesses in Everywoman, by Jean Shinoda Bolen (1984), pages 174 and 175.

Hermes-Hestia[edit]

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Gods in Everyman, by Jean Shinoda Bolen (1989), page 182.

Dionysus-Demeter[edit]

For more about the relationship between the New Testament and older Dionysus myths, see The Jesus Mysteries, by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy (1999).

For more about Osho, see Golden Guru: The Strange Journey of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, by James S. Gordon (1987).

Hades-Persephone[edit]

For more about Persephone behavior, including passivity and self-destructive behavior stages, see The Wonder of Girls, by Michael Gurian (2002). Gurian's The Wonder of Boys (1997) is also worth reading.

Quotations and Mentions[edit]

  • Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice (1976), page 201.
  • Hamlet, by William Shakespeare (circa 1600), page 201.
  • The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams (1994), page 201.
  • I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, by Hannah Green (1988), page 201.
  • Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism, by Philip Miller and Molly Devon (1995), page 204.

 v  d  e 
Relationships
About This Book · Q&A · Recommended Books
The Science: The Evolution of the Human Brain · How Women Select Men · How Men Select Women · How Our Ancestors Lived · Monogamy and Polygamy · Hormones · Communication Styles
Life Stages: Childhood—Seeking Unconditional Love · Adolescence—Seeking Romantic Love · Adulthood—Families And Forgiveness · Agape—Altruistic Love
Practical Advice: Where Couples Met · Flirting · How to Write a Personal Ad · Dating · Sex · Becoming a Couple · Conflict In Relationships
Personality Types: Emotional Control Systems · Zeus-Hera · Poseidon-Athena · Apollo-Artemis · Hermes-Hestia · Ares-Hephaestus-Aphrodite · Dionysus-Demeter · Hades-Persephone