Monday, October 17, 2011

Venus on fire, mars on ice: Hormonal balance---The key to life, love, and energy

By John Gray

Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I have been writing about relationships for many years.  My book, Understanding Interpersonal Communication (now out of print) went through seven editions and always included at least two chapters on interpersonal relationships.  Thus, I am familiar with the related literature and always interested in new developments.

That paragraph explains why I might have an interest in Gray’s new book.  Also, I feel that any book that will help people form, develop, and maintain healthy relationships can be (should be!) a useful tool for relationship partners — especially when it is as fundamental and practical as this one.

With numerous sets of male-female explanatory dialog, sentence inserts that offer key phrases, tables that illustrate key concepts, bulleted lists that aid comprehension, many real-life examples from Gray’s seminars and practice, important summaries when they are needed, this book literally begs for reader understanding.

Clearly, from the writing, the illustrations, and the advice, it is written for a lay audience — the same audience, I might add, for which his best selling book, Man are from Mars, Women are from Venus, was intended.  I say this simply to indicate that this is not a sophisticated book nor is it scientifically obtuse — although when you are explaining hormones and hormonal behavior it certainly could be.  Note the following paragraph from page 45:

        “Over the past 10 years, researchers at a variety of universities in Canada have developed and researched a new compound called PolyGlycopleX * (PGX*), a unique complex of water-soluble polysaccharides (plant fibers) that can help reduce blood sugar fluctuations”. . . (p. 45).

Incidentally, this is not typical prose, just an example of one explanation.  Most others are considerably simpler; however, Gray’s understanding of biochemical research and its applications is impressive.  There are so many facts in this book relevant to the success of relationships (or, at the very least, the understanding of relationships) that these facts could well be one’s only excuse (need) for reading it:

        “What’s more, he may become needy.  Did you know that the average man at 58 makes more estrogen than his woman does?  It’s true, and the estrogen — combined with his continuing lack of testosterone — tends to make him more prone to sharing his woes with his woman” (p. 161).

Now, the part of the book I found most interesting is Chapter 10, “Super Fuell to Balance the Planets—Nutrition for Healthy Hormones.”  One interesting point is Gray’s approach: “Do as I say, and as I do.”  Follow the guidelines, and you will fall in line right behind Gray himself.  Although I have no trouble with Step One (water, sea salt, lemon, aloe vera, and plant-sourced enzymes), in Step Two the ingredients that go into his “daily shake” (maca power, goji berries, PGX, caco nibs, a ai berries, coconut oil, stevia, and molasses) would be quite a stretch for most people (and, thus, not followed!).  Step Three (includes magnesium orotate or citrate, calcium orotate or citrate, potassium citrate, zinc orotate or citrate, chromium, and trace minerals) would also create some public concern.

You can love the book for all its connections between hormones and relationship effectiveness, but when it comes down to the nutritional elements “necessary” to mend the stress problems relationship partners may experience, I think most readers would want to solve their nutritional needs in a local grocery store and purchases they can make without going to pills, powders, and ingredients in vials and small brown bottles.

Although the tips for improving sleep patterns (pp. 195-197) are well-known (except perhaps for the use of the superfood PGX* with dinner), it is good to have them spelled out in detail here.

I thought Gray’s “18 Essential Sources of Love and Support” (pp. 211-225) were excellent — even though, once again, they are commonplace suggestions.

My one major weakness of the book is the lack of sources.  There are no page-by-page footnotes, notes listed at the back of the book, bibliography, sources cited, or even recommended sources.  I think this would add a great deal of strength to the book, and it would provide those interested, places to go to gain further information, related ideas, or even more support and evidence.  It is likely that most readers of the book would not be concerned about this, and it is unlikely to affect the sales of this book; however, it is a bit much to expect readers to assume that all of the information came from the author alone.  Of course, Gray has a great deal of credibility — especially with the popularity of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, but that is no excuse for not including sources in this book.

This is, for the most part, an excellent read, and as I said earlier, any book that contributes to relationship harmony is welcomed.

This book can be found at Venus on fire, mars on ice: Hormonal balance — The key to life, love, and energy

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