Blair Read Books! #2: Why Him? Why Her? and Divorce Corp.



Hey all!  Happy Tuesday!  I took an accidental break from this book + documentary series, but I'm back and ready to roll!  Typically I'll be posting on Saturdays, but I'm trying to squeeze in an extra post, so here we are on a Wednesday!!  Not every Fashionista Who Love Learning will be themed, but this particular one is as I intended for it to go out Valentine's week totally right before April.  Whoops!

Book: Why Him? Why Her? by Helen Fisher

Why anyone would like this book: I get that it sounds whiny, but it's really not.  Helen Fisher is a renowned neuroscientist (she's given Ted Talks, which is how I discovered her and ultimately discovered this book to read) and she's kind of the coolest.  What that means is that she can write about science is a relatable way.  The tag of this book is "How to Find and Keep Lasting Love," but this is not a self help book per se, nor is it exclusive to singletons.

Expanding on all of that, I love neuroscience.  It's my favorite.  I find the brain fascinating, but while I do maintain that is is not a self-help book, I find books of the science of how our brain works to be the best form of a self-help book, inadvertently or blatantly.  Knowing why we function the way we do is so important.  This book is good for everyone because it explains personality types.  So if you're searching for someone you can help identify your needs better and quickly identify and understand where potential partners are coming from, but if you're committed you may better understand yourself or your partner and therefore become a better partner.  Plus, you can also convert aspects of this into understanding your friendships better too.  

How polarizing is this book?  Not at all.  All four major personality types that Fisher covers has good and bad points, and she is very fair in covering all of the good, the bad, and the ugly without alienating anyone.  

Summary and points of interest: Fisher divides the first few chapters into explaining the four personality types that exist in the realm of interpersonal connections (Builder, Explorer, Negotiator, and Director) including a test you can take to identify your main personality type as well as you're secondary (and also important) personality type.  Builders are more rule orientated, Explorers are curious, Negotiators are into meaning and thinking, and Directors are leaders (amongst many other traits each). Never the cookie cutter, I'm a primary Negotiator with a dead tie for a secondary type in Explorer and Director.  What's interesting about these defined personality types is that she explains which chemicals and other neurotransmitters are likely pumping through your brain more frequently, thus making you the way you are.  (Seriously, neuroscience is the best!  If you cry a lot you're not weak...it's probably just how you're built.  Reading some basic reader friendly neuroscience book will immediately help scratch the surface of why you are the way you are without weird cultural stereotypes coming into play, which is why I argue neuroscience is a very effective and calming self-help tactic).

From there Fisher goes on to explain how different personalities interact together, which is why I said above could also be useful in friendships as well as relationships.  This not only shed a lot of light on various romantic relationships that I've been apart of, but I also found myself better understanding a few of my friends that I could easily define as a personality type that I had inadvertently judged what I didn't understand or observed patterns they exhibited that utterly confused me.  Towards the end of the book, there's even instructions for each personality type about how to go about dating in the future.  Fisher says to each personality type what not to read into, what to take a chance on, etc.  She also lists out how to handle someone in any given category.  I can't think of too many books that are so thorough like that.

A few other points are worth mentioning:
  • Helen Fisher was contacted by Match.com to create their sister site, Chemistry.com based on these personality models.
  • This is possibly the first book I've read that addresses changes that can happen chemically and therefore personality wise when someone is transitioning from one gender to another.  It's only a small portion of the book, but other books on this kind of brain chemistry blatantly omit how a brain of homosexual or transgender person could be different than a straight person.  (Read: only use studies that talks of hormone interactions when it's a female with a male).  It was nice to see them included and fascinating to read about how altering chemicals "upstairs" via hormones during a transition can suppress or increase certain impulses in the realm of dating.
  • I learned a lot about the personality type of being an Explorer, both in general as well as it being a secondary type of mine.  When you hear the general term "explorer", I imagine most people envision extreme lifestyles, jumping out of planes, possibly engaging in risky behaviors, and I don't know, camping in a foreign place in the elements with limited rations?  This is true, according to Helen Fisher.  But she said that it's not just the sometimes true caricature that comes to mind as any kind of curiosity tick tends to be an explorer trait.  People who love exotic food, love to travel, love to meet new people, love to learn, etc are considered "explorers."  This was like a lightbulb turning on in my head because I don't like life to be boring and I do consider myself pretty adventurous, but I don't identify with "extreme explorers" nor do I 100% relate to them (especially in this crazy adventurous state of Colorado).  For instance, I have some food anxieties, I have virtually no interest in drugs, and I likely won't jump out of an airplane anytime soon, but the fact that I enjoy crashing parties, learning, want to travel to the Middle East above other places on earth, and am an all-around social butterfly is why I ranked so highly in the "Explorer" category.  I love how Fisher debunked some of the black and white mythology of various personality types!


Would I recommend this book and if so, to who?  I would recommend this book to anyone because we can all learn about ourselves and our interactions with each other, regardless of where you may or may not be in romantic world.

Things to look out for: Honestly, there were no red flags or other things to warn you guys about in this book that I could detect!

Readability:  Almost completely readable.  She uses lay terms except for when she can't (there's no way to dumb down the term "oxytocin" and not use it over and over again in a book about brain chemistry), but she does a great job of explaining things.  My only warning with readability was some of it got repetitive (listing off the personality types and associated traits and chemicals that come with it), so I found myself skimming a few paragraphs when that happened.

Additionally, after the halfway point I got bored with the Builder personality trait sections.  I know so few builders in my life (and we somewhat begrudgingly get along...) plus it was the one type that was left out of my personality type structure since I had a tie for secondary type.  I'd be lying if I said my eyes didn't glaze over at times during their sections!  Ironically, I knew the most about them going in.  It's as if all of my instincts of them were correct so I already had them figured out, also leading to my boredom of reading about them, so that fed into my propensity to yawn during their sections.  (I can do impressions of people, especially if I think they're weird.  I believe this is because I study them more closely trying to figure them out...I'm curious if I have studied my 'not so much' personality types harder like I would for someone I will ultimately impersonate and therefore that's why I know the most about them??)  ANWAY, if there's a type that just isn't in your life, you may get bored during their sections too.

Outfit Details:
Cardigan- Banana Republic
Brooch- Luxulite
Dress- Retrolicious from ModCloth (still available at Unique Vintage) (The dress has a woman in comic book form on the phone searching for a deadbeat lover, haha.  How appropriate for a book on searching for love!)
Shoes- G by Guess

Similar books I'd recommend: 
  • The Female Brain AND The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine.  These are two separate books, but obviously they go well together.  Brizendine explains what makes us male or female in the brain and why we react differently to things than our opposite gender.  These books are fascinating read, but they do have their issues, notably nothing on how being gay or identifying as transgender can have shades of gray.  Plus she only writes about what it's like to be attracted to the opposite gender in both books, so if you're a gay girl nothing about the chapters of why you're going to like certain features in a man from a biological point will be relatable.  And, I feel both books were closer to the black and white aspects of being a gender from a science perspective with limited wiggle room.  Read: Fisher does a better job at "humanizing" science over Brizendine, but Brizendine's books are still amazing.
  • How God Changes Your Brain by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman.  This recommendation sounds out of left field maybe, but it's one of the most fascinating books I've ever read.  Without being bias to the religious or non-religious, it explains how certain beliefs and lack of beliefs can alter your personality...which is why this book is in this recommendation list. It's a great read on why people are the way they are and how to better identify what's going on with someone underneath the surface (if you know their religious preference).

Documentary: Divorce Corp. (Available on Netflix)


Hehe.  Always the comedian!  I figured why not supplement a book that's about finding or keeping love with the polar opposite: DIVORCE!

Is it polarizing? I don't think so...  It's all about how the system of trying to obtain a divorce is corrupt from a legal standpoint, but I'm not well versed enough in this subject to know how much was biased propaganda versus 100% factual.

Worth noting: Drew Pinsky narrates it, and the second I saw his name pop up in the beginning credits I almost turned it off.  I hate a love/hate relationship with Dr. Pinsky.  For nice stuff I can say on him, I believe he's not only highly intelligent but also very well versed in his field.  He has a soothing voice and personality.  BUT when he started publicly diagnosing celebrities he didn't even know with depression or drug issues a few years back, I lost a lot of respect for him.  He's continued to be closer to a celebrity over a doctor since then in other forms, which also make my eyes roll, a la my guilty pleasure that is Teen Mom and is his terrible job moderating(?) the reunion shows (he sure isn't dispensing advice on those shows!!!).  But he only narrates this documentary and I don't believe had much to do with the making of the film, so if you're not a fan of his the fact that he is involved shouldn't be an issue.

Summary and points of interest:  This is all about how divorce lawyers and are more for profit than they are about making the process of obtaining a divorce just and fair.  I found it fascinating that family court, where you go in divorce proceedings, has next to no baring on the regular court systems and at times violate supreme court rulings.  And upon researching most judges, they seem to be "in bed" with several divorce lawyers and other professionals that help decide the arrangement of divorces (mediators, etc).  One law firm would take judges on extravagant vacations, which raises questions on how a judge could ever have a fair ruling when they're being gifted by lawyers presenting a case?

Almost everyone interviewed was fairly charismatic and very well spoken.  So many of these people got completely screwed, ranging from losing the rights to their children despite no abuse claims, losing everything they owned, or even lost their first amendment rights if they spoke out about a judge's unfair ruling on the Internet.  More on if I think this is a propaganda machine later, but the fact that both parties in a divorce are not entitled to an attorney, like a criminal would be, was intriguing enough to make to raise an eyebrow and believe that that alone could cause for a difficult divorce.

Other things were fascinating points, like how if two people are married their ability to raise a child is never questioned.  But once they are divorcing, no matter how upstanding both parties are, both parents are borderline assumed guilty until proven not in regards to custody.  "Best interest of the child" is a term that judges use, but has never been clearly defined by law.  The people hired to evaluate the parents are usually not so much the brightest or even psychology experts, but the people who can file paperwork and can clearly talk to a judge about whatever findings they dug up (they're mostly only looking for bad things).  Because it's far from a perfect system, some people end up with less visitation to their kids than parents who reside in jail.  This made me better understand why people get so nervous about custody cases; anything can happen and it's not always fair or warranted.

Bottom line:  It was a fairly insightful documentary about a topic that isn't really talked about enough.  Sure, divorce isn't as "taboo" as it was a few decades ago, but we as a society still tend to shun the nitty gritty details of any ugly part of life.  I don't think the documentary was pure propaganda, but it was full on one sided worst case scenario stories.  Though all the victims that got screwed who were interviewed for this film seemed earnest, genuine, and charismatic, it's hard to tell if ALL of them lacked another side to this story.  That said, this made me want to keep lawyers out of if I'm ever in a position to get divorced and made me compassionate towards my friends who let their ex have their way so they didn't have to duke it out in the long run/realized it was cheaper to get screwed up front instead of over the long term.  I'm also now horrified at how divorce laws and the system it is set up for child's rights.

Would I recommend it?
Yes.  I'd liken watching this possibly skewed documentary to thinking that the education system is fair until you have a child that either beats to their own drum or has special needs.  Or for me, on a more personal note, thinking that hospitals and the people who work in them are competent and the whole thing is a well oiled machine, until it's not.  It's not that every time is a worst case scenario (though being told I had a blood clot at 21 in a Miami hospital when I didn't and being the only person I know to get injured during heart surgery is what I would call "less than ideal"), it's more you realize that you're treated like an idiot, or the hospital sucks are paperwork, staff communication systems breaks down to your detriment, etc.  It's probably not all bad, and for you or your friends it may be smooth sailing, but knowing what could happen is a great way to be an informed advocate for yourself or loved ones.

Balanced perspective or not, I would recommend this film to anyone.  We all know someone who has been divorced, we will know more people who will get divorce, we are possibly children of divorce or divorcees ourselves, and while I hate to be realistic and say it...roughly half of us will get divorced, even if it seems unfathomable currently.  Knowledge is power, and can also lead to compassion, so this is probably a film worth watching.  It's also very watchable (read: does not feel like a boring documentary you had to watch in school).

Similar recommendations: I'm truly at a loss for what I could possibly recommend without it being a stretch.  I can't think of too many similar documentaries, and while I'm well versed in documentaries that expose how corrupt something we thought was normal really is, again it would be a stretch to put it here because the topics are too different.  Weird!

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Comments

  1. love your Dress dear
    lena
    http://skinnycature.com/zaanse-schans-tired-feet-and-happy-hearts/

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  2. Totally love your look, that dress is divine.
    xox
    Lenya
    FashionDreams&Lifestyle

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  3. A book review and outfit post in one! Love it. Your dress is fab, Gemma x
    www.jacquardflower.uk

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  4. I haven't touch a book for so long and I really think I should! That dress is so special and you look amazing as always!

    Prudence
    www.prudencepetitestyle.com

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  5. Fabulous look!

    Chiara

    http://www.culturewithcoco.com

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  6. I love this book series. I myself prefer fiction or memoirs but it's fun seeing what you've been reading especially since you have such eclectic tastes in books! Also, my husband really likes that documentary! We watched it a few months ago. It's very interesting if not a little sad...

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  7. Interesting book. Thanks for sharing.
    Xo, Christianne
    Http://simplychristianne.com

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  8. What an interesting book. I also enjoy learning more about human behavior and such so thanks for the rec :) Also I love your dress! It's so fun and reminds me of Sunday mornings reading the comics!

    Mili

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  9. Gorgeous dress Lauren! I love the combo with your stunning maryjanes! I want to check that book too!
    ♥♥♥
    Jeanne
    http://fashionmusingsdiary.com

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  10. Love the comic print of your dress. And that book definitely sounds intriguing. I wonder what personality type I would be...

    xx Yasmin
    http://banglesandbungalows.com

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  11. First off, I LOVE your dress, so fun with the comic book print, but the fit and style are so feminine! This books sounds like a really great read. I was initially pursuing a career in neuroscience and worked in the field for a couple of years, so this is really right up my ally! Thanks so much for sharing, I'll have to check it out! I hope you're having a great week so far, beauty!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    www.thestylecontour.com

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  12. I was hesitant to read your review, because I saw how in-depth you got... and I don't like knowing too many details if I am interested in reading (or watching!) something... but will note this book as a literature piece to check out.

    Loving your comic dress! So cute and how fun for this time of year with both DC and Marvel movies coming out just weeks apart!


    Amber
    All the Cute
    Latest Post: Patchwork Print Romper

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  13. Such a fun dress! I love finding a good book. I used to be in a book club, but I got a little overwhelmed and quit. Ha!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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  14. Frankly, I have never heard of this book before but judging from your summary of it, it's a very interesting read. I'll have to check if I can find it here or maybe buy my husband to get it on Kindle.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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  15. Such an interesting article! Thanks for sharing honey! And you look amazing in your fun dress!! <3 xxx
    New posts on the blog:
    http://www.mlleepaulette.com/frontend/index.php?r=site/blog
    Follow me on instagram @mlleepaulettegirl

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  16. Great post and AWESOME dress! Love your shoes too!

    xx
    Jen
    http://belledecouture.com

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  17. Oooh sounds like I need to give that a read! I'm always looking for good book recommendations, so this is a great post for me! xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com

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  18. Really great post, thanks for sharing! I think your blog is lovely by the way, let me know if you would like to follow each other!

    adelelydia.blogspot.com

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  19. Oh wow! I'm liking the sounds of this book. I just recently did this personality test that was very interesting...you might be interested in it too: http://www.personal.psu.edu/~j5j/IPIP/ (there's a long and short version). The results reminded me of this book. And it's always good to be self-aware. :) And I LOVE your dress!! Perfect for the book. :)

    ~Lindsey
    have-clothes-will-travel.com

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  20. Yup just going to say it again! U have the cutest dresses! And paired with those heels is absolutely perfect:-). Hope ur having an awesome week so far!

    www.wunderbliss.com

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  21. very informative! thanks so much!!

    www.kynagem.com

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  22. This sounds like a really neat book! And your dress is unreal. Super cute!

    https://forsevenseasons.wordpress.com

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  23. This sounds like a very interesting read! I cry all the time, and it's interesting to think that it has a physiological basis. I'll admit that I don't know as much about neuroscience as I'd like, so I think I might check this one out!

    On another note, I seriously adore the print on that Retrolicious dress, and I think plum really suits you! <3!

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  24. Ah you have the best dresses! I love this one too!
    xo
    www.laurajaneatelier.com

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  25. Such a great dress! Looks awesome!
    Xoxo,
    Love from www.trangscorner.com {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

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  26. I love the print on the dress.Makes it so cool.Nice one
    sophieatieno.com

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  27. Lindo look amei as imagens, resenha maravilhosa gostei da dica
    Canal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmO8csZDARM
    Blog: http://arrasandonobatomvermelho.blogspot.com.br/

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  28. I haven't heard about this book nor known a lot about neuroscience before, so I'd like to read this book too, sounds interesting, Lauren ;) What's more, I love your dress!

    http://crafty-zone.blogspot.com/

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  29. Interesting book! Your dress is so cute!
    Xo
    Jeanie
    www.thefashionlotus.com

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  30. I really like Helen Fischer and her talks. The book sounds amazing and I need to go check it out!

    xo
    www.carinavardie.com

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  31. First of all, love your outfit! And those heels are perfect! :)

    Secondly, that sounds like a really interesting book! As a member of the singles club.. I might have to give that a read.. and see what I'm doing wrong! ;-)

    YouTube | Blog: Geekette in High Heels | Instagram

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