The most recommended books about the differences between sexes

Who picked these books? Meet our 15 experts.

15 authors created a book list connected to differences between sexes, and here are their favorite differences between sexes books.
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What type of differences between sexes book?


Book cover of Silences

Linda Lawrence Hunt Author Of Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America

From my list on innovative women who overcame silencing.

Why am I passionate about this?

While a history student at the University of Washington I became aware that courses never included more than a paragraph on the important contributions of women, such as Eleanor Roosevelt or Jane Addams. I longed to know more. What gave some women motivation to defy conventions and use their talents?  When I first learned that Helga Estby’s audacious achievement was silenced for over 100 years, it launched me into over 15 years of research trying to recover this forgotten woman’s story.  As a writing professor for twenty years, I saw how assigning papers that led to exploring and understanding the women in one’s family background deeply enriched college students' lives.

Linda's book list on innovative women who overcame silencing

Linda Lawrence Hunt Why did Linda love this book?

Olsen’s landmark book (1994) sheds light on how the writings and creativity of marginalized women and working-class people are often disenfranchised and the circumstances and forces that seek to silence them. I discovered her seminal ideas while in the midst of writing my Ph.D. dissertation at Gonzaga University on Helga Estby that emerged later as Bold Spirit. I was trying to figure out why her family burned hundreds of the pages Helga secretly wrote of her audacious journey across America. This evolved into my closing chapter in Bold Spirit on “the silencing of family stories,” which prompts readers to consider their own family silences. She raises important questions, especially for writers, on what nurtures creativity. 

By Tillie Olsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Silences as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A study of the crucial relationship between circumstances - of sex, economic class, colour, the times and climate into which one is born - and creativity. The book draws on the lives, letters, diaries and testimonies of writers such as Melville, Hardy, Blake and Rimbaud. Tillie Olsen focuses on the financial and cultural pressures which obstructed, or silenced, their work. She then turns to those who have lost most: women writers, their energies deflected into domesticity and motherhood; black American writers, only 11 of whom published more than two novels from 1850-1950.

Book cover of Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud

Lisa Lindquist Dorr Author Of White Women, Rape, and the Power of Race in Virginia, 1900-1960

From my list on sex in the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over my twenty years as a historian, the common thread in my work is the gap between how people are supposed to behave and how they actually do behave. From interracial sexual relationships in the segregated South, to rum smuggling from Cuba during Prohibition, to abortion on college campuses before Roe, I'm interested in how people work around rules they don’t like. And rules about sex are some of the most ignored rules of all. Reading about strange beliefs and common desires connect us to our ancestors. Being a professor of history at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama allows me to research bad behavior in the past to my heart’s content.

Lisa's book list on sex in the past

Lisa Lindquist Dorr Why did Lisa love this book?

We assume people have always recognized two sexes, male and female. But did they? In the past, people believed men and women were the same sex; women were just incomplete, unfinished men. Men and women had the same sexual organs, with women’s located internally. Surprisingly, if conditions were right, women could even turn into men. They also thought women needed to achieve orgasm to conceive.  That’s right. For over a thousand years of western history, women’s sexual pleasure was as important as men’s. 

By Thomas Laqueur,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Making Sex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a book about the making and unmaking of sex over the centuries. It tells the astonishing story of sex in the West from the ancients to the moderns in a precise account of developments in reproductive anatomy and physiology. We cannot fail to recognize the players in Thomas Laqueur's story-the human sexual organs and pleasures, food, blood, semen, egg, sperm-but we will be amazed at the plots into which they have been woven by scientists, political activists, literary figures, and theorists of every stripe.

Laqueur begins with the question of why, in the late eighteenth century, woman's orgasm…

Book cover of Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference

Macaela Mackenzie Author Of Money, Power, Respect: How Women in Sports Are Shaping the Future of Feminism

From my list on explaining why the gender gap is bullsh*t.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, I write about women and power. I’ve written about everything from taboos in women’s health, to the importance of reproductive autonomy, to the ability of women athletes to shape culture. Across all of these subjects, my work is rooted in the desire to explore the factors that drive gender inequity and how we can create lasting cultural changes that will close the gap. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in writing over 2,500 stories, it’s that gender inequity—from the pay gap, to the motherhood penalty—always comes back to power. And to one group’s desire to keep it at all costs. 

Macaela's book list on explaining why the gender gap is bullsh*t

Macaela Mackenzie Why did Macaela love this book?

For anyone who has ever wondered if there is any truth behind sexist gender stereotypes—women are wired to be empathetic caregivers, men are biologically designed to be analytical problem-solvers, for example—award-winning academic and writer Cordelia Fine breaks down what’s really happening in the “male brain” vs. the “female brain.”

Spoiler alert: gender differences aren’t so much hardwired as they are culturally conditioned. I found Delusions of Gender incredibly informative and empowering—if stereotypical gender differences are the result of cultural conditioning, that means they can be changed. 

By Cordelia Fine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Delusions of Gender as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's the twenty-first century, and although we tried to rear unisex children-boys who play with dolls and girls who like trucks-we failed. Even though the glass ceiling is cracked, most women stay comfortably beneath it. And everywhere we hear about vitally important "hardwired" differences between male and female brains. The neuroscience that we read about in magazines, newspaper articles, books, and sometimes even scientific journals increasingly tells a tale of two brains, and the result is more often than not a validation of the status quo. Women, it seems, are just too intuitive for math; men too focused for housework.…

Book cover of Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist

Marta Magellan Author Of Just Wild Enough: Mireya Mayor, Primatologist

From Marta's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Nature lover Traveler Birder English Professor

Marta's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Marta Magellan Why did Marta love this book?

I became interested in primatology after writing a children’s book about a primatologist, Mireya Mayor, and reading about her life story.

In my quest for information, I read books and articles, watched many videos, and even drove to hear Jane Goodall speak in person. When I read a review of Frans de Waal and his book based on his work with primates, specifically, chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest relatives, I bought the book. It is a fascinating and truly balanced account.

He moves from chimpanzee to human behavior with ease, making the reader aware that we have a lot in common with these primates, especially as it applies to gender differences. I’m a big nonfiction reader because I love learning new things, especially things I’ve only recently become interested in. I enjoy a really fluent and easy-to-read book, which this one was.

I learned so much about chimpanzees and bonobos,…

By Frans de Waal,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Different as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Different, world-renowned primatologist Frans de Waal draws on decades of observation and studies of both human and animal behavior to argue that despite the linkage between gender and biological sex, biology does not automatically support the traditional gender roles in human societies. While humans and other primates do share some behavioral differences, biology offers no justification for existing gender inequalities.

Using chimpanzees and bonobos to illustrate this point-two ape relatives that are genetically equally close to humans-de Waal challenges widely held beliefs about masculinity and femininity, and common assumptions about authority, leadership, cooperation, competition, filial bonds, and sexual behavior.…

Book cover of Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps -- And What We Can Do about It

Christia Spears Brown Author Of Unraveling Bias: How Prejudice Has Shaped Children for Generations and Why It's Time to Break the Cycle

From my list on raising bias-free kids.

Why am I passionate about this?

Christia Spears Brown is an author, researcher, and professor of Developmental Psychology. She is also the Director of the Center for Equality and Social Justice at the University of Kentucky. She earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. Brown began her academic career on the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles. Her research focuses on how children develop gender and ethnic stereotypes, how children understand gender and ethnic discrimination, and how discrimination and stereotypes affect children and teens’ lives. As part of her research on discrimination, she also examines the perpetration and acceptance of sexual harassment and how children understand politics, public policies, and societal inequalities.

Christia's book list on raising bias-free kids

Christia Spears Brown Why did Christia love this book?

This book holds a magnifying glass up to the gender differences and stereotypes we see every day. Eliot describes in easy-to-understand language the neuroscience behind gender differences and details how small differences between boys and girls at birth become amplified over the course of childhood by parents, teachers, and the culture. 

By Lise Eliot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pink Brain, Blue Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An important scientific exploration of the differences between boys and girls that breaks down damaging gender stereotypes and offers practical guidance for parents and educators.

In the past decade, we've heard a lot about the innate differences between males and females. As a result, we've come to accept that boys can't focus in a classroom and girls are obsessed with relationships. That's just the way they're built.

In Pink Brain, Blue Brain, neuroscientist Lise Eliot turns that thinking on its head. Based on years of exhaustive research and her own work in the new field of plasticity, Eliot argues that…

Book cover of Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half: Why Differences Make a Marriage Great

Jay Payleitner Author Of 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands: What Husbands Can Do to Build a Stronger Marriage

From my list on for husbands to get less nagging and more nookie.

Why am I passionate about this?

After a decade writing advertising for airlines and beer, I found myself working as a freelance radio producer for thousands of radio broadcasts for Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell,, Heritage Foundation, and Voice of the Martyrs. Later, I reinvented myself as a national speaker and best-selling author of 25+ books including 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Don’t Take the Bait to Escalate, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? with sales approaching one million copies. My wife Rita and I live near Chicago, where we raised five awesome kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood.

Jay's book list on for husbands to get less nagging and more nookie

Jay Payleitner Why did Jay love this book?

This book delivers solid ideas on a successful marriage from a man’s perspective. Johnson’s approach may feel a little old-fashioned, where the man is the strong provider and the woman is the nurturer and she even has power over him because of her feminine wiles. But you know what? It works! Let’s face it, men and women have different world views and priorities. Johnson’s style is sly, fun, and relatable.

By Rick Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's no secret that men and women are different. And it's no secret that they don't always get along because of these differences, even when they love each other. But having a successful marriage is not about finding the perfect person to marry. It's about loving someone in an unselfish, Christlike manner. Whatever we want out of marriage--unconditional love, forgiveness, passion--that is what we have to give to our spouse. Rick Johnson shows couples how to go beyond merely tolerating each other's differences to using those God-given differences to add spice and passion to their relationship.

Book cover of The Female Brain

Lisa A. Kramer Author Of P.O.W.ER

From my list on that empower women and girls with a touch of magic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love any book that carries me away into a different world, allows me to feel new possibilities, and makes me think. That is what I call magic. This creative magic has filled all aspects of my life. In addition to writing, I am a theatre artist, a mentor, an advocate for women and girls, and a creativity facilitator. In other words, I believe in the creative powers of people to make a more just and enriched world. My goal is always to inspire others to find their own voice, and to use it to make a difference. That’s what guides my reading, and my book recommendations. Enjoy!

Lisa's book list on that empower women and girls with a touch of magic

Lisa A. Kramer Why did Lisa love this book?

This might seem like a strange book to include in a list that has a touch of magic, but in many ways this book sparked my first novel. I am a firm believer that women can (and should) do whatever they want. I also accept that there are differences between men and women based on things like brain structure and biology. These differences are not limitations, but rather things to celebrate. 

As I read, I began to ask questions. What if women have more access to their brain’s abilities than men? What if our connection with creative power were seen as more important than physical strength? My characters became my answers. That, in itself, is magic—because magic is simply answering the question “what if,” with “anything is possible.”

By Louann Brizendine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Female Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since Dr. Brizendine wrote The Female Brain ten years ago, the response has been overwhelming. This New York Times bestseller has been translated into more than thirty languages, has sold nearly a million copies between editions, and has most recently inspired a romantic comedy starring Whitney Cummings and Sofia Vergara. And its profound scientific understanding of the nature and experience of the female brain continues to guide women as they pass through life stages, to help men better understand the girls and women in their lives, and to illuminate the delicate emotional machinery of a love relationship.

Why are women…

Book cover of Women's Sports: What Everyone Needs to Know

Wray Vamplew Author Of Games People Played: A Global History of Sports

From my list on history books to find out why sport matters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love sport. I played my last game of cricket when I was 69 and, as I approach my eightieth year, I continue to play golf, confusing my partners by switching from right to left hand when chipping and putting. I like watching sport but prefer to spectate via television rather than being there. I confess I do not fully understand American sports: I cannot fathom why a hit over the fence in baseball can score 1, 2, 3, or 4 rather than the undisputed 6 of cricket; and, while I admire the strategies of American football, I wonder why a ‘touchdown’ does not actually involve touching down.

Wray's book list on history books to find out why sport matters

Wray Vamplew Why did Wray love this book?

Another dark side of sport is the position it accords women. In this accessible (but not dumbed down) work, American academic Jaime Schultz provides an overview of how women have fared over the years. Her approach is to pose a set of questions that are answered within chapters covering, for example, occupational opportunities, sex segregation (not, I would emphasise, in my bowls team), sexualities, female health, and the media. I admire Jaime for her determination to give women’s sport its rightful place not only in sports history but in contemporary society. She also deserves kudos when, though a young scholar, she challenged my views on methodology in sports history.

By Jaime Schultz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women's Sports as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although girls and women account for approximately 40 percent of all athletes in the United States, they receive only 4 percent of the total sport media coverage. SportsCenter, ESPN's flagship program, dedicates less than 2 percent of its airtime to women. Local news networks devote less than 5 percent of their programming to women's sports. Excluding Sports Illustrated's annual "Swimsuit Issue," women appear on just 4.9 percent of the magazine's

Media is a powerful indication of the culture surrounding sport in the United States. Why are women underrepresented in sports media? Sports Illustrated journalist Andy Benoit infamously remarked that…

Book cover of 47,000 Beads

Joy Ellison Author Of Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution!: The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History

From my list on to celebrate transgender pride.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid, I knew that my gender was different. I didn’t feel like a boy or a girl, but I didn’t know the word “nonbinary.” There were no kid’s books about people like me. I grew up with a lot of questions, which drove me to become a doctor of Women’s and Gender Studies and an expert on transgender history. Now I’m passionate about writing the kind of picture books that I needed as a child. If you want the kids in your life to understand transgender identity and feel loved whatever their gender may be, you’ll enjoy the books on my list. 

Joy's book list on to celebrate transgender pride

Joy Ellison Why did Joy love this book?

When we talk about transgender pride, the voices of Native people are often nowhere to be heard. 47,000 Beads is an exception. This beautiful book tells the story of Peyton, a pow-wow dancer who has stopped feeling comfortable wearing a dress. This book helped me understand more about Indigenous children who are Two-Spirit – a pan-Native term for people whose genders are sacred in their tribal nation, but unintelligible to the white people who colonized the United States. I’m so glad I was able to read it and I hope you will be too. 

By Koja Adeyoha, Angel Adeyoha, Holly McGillis (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 47,000 Beads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Peyton loves to dance, and especially at Pow Wow, but her Auntie notices that she’s been dancing less and less. When Peyton shares that she isn't comfortable wearing a dress anymore, Auntie Eyota asks some friends for help to get Peyton what she needs.

Book cover of Grace Meets Grit

Adrienne Hand Author Of Make Way For Women: Men and Women Leading Together Improve Culture and Profits

From my list on women’s confidence and accelerate their advancement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by women’s power in the workplace. My mother was intensely focused on breaking ground as a working mother of four small children on Capitol Hill in the 1960s. She was the first woman to be granted part-time status in Senator Ted Kennedy’s office. She worked her way up to speechwriter for Joan and personal correspondent for the Senator. And she kept a fierce border between work and home. And we were intensely proud of her. At a time when our friends’ mothers were mostly homemakers, our Mom had a cool job and kept a cool head among the political and intellectual elite – most of whom were men.

Adrienne's book list on women’s confidence and accelerate their advancement

Adrienne Hand Why did Adrienne love this book?

What a breath of fresh air! Daina Middleton gets it. She has been in the center of power at elite global companies, and she shares her observations and research data to clarify the critical differences and strengths that women and men bring to the table. And she brings in an often invisible – and certainly undervalued – element. Grace. A trait that women often bring, naturally. Respect, manners, consideration of others. Grit, by contrast, is more naturally embodied and projected by men: Competitive clashing and do-it-now urgency. I found it very satisfying to visualize the careful blend of grace and grit – and the resulting improvement in culture and the bottom line. Well done!

By Daina Middleton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grace Meets Grit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is no mistaking that inequality in the workplace is still prevalent in the form of salary inequity and unequal representation in leadership and board positions. Too often conversations about inequality can lead to men and women believing they are alike. Women and men are not the same, biologically or psychologically, and these differences lead to significant dissimilarities in how each approaches leadership situations. Grace Meets Grit navigates the previously unexplored subject of gender differences in the workplace specifically applied to critical leadership behaviors. Leadership behaviors are what make us all successful in the workplace. They are how we are…