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Book Review of: Points

Women Have Them, Men Need Them
The Relationship Survival Guide for People Who Don't Like Relationship Survival Guides

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Review of Points, by I. Glebe (Paperback, 2007)

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)

Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.

This small book is squarely aimed at a specific demographic (television-addicted male who believes domestic work is entirely the woman's domain). The examples and context won't ring true for all guys (myself included). For guys who fit the profile, the examples and context will probably cause them to laugh aloud because they recognize themselves.

One example of something where the intended audience and I don't match would be Glebe's repeated references to wanting to go to Las Vegas (meaning the strip). The Las Vegas strip does not make my "Top 500 Places to Visit" list. In fact, the Las Vegas strip does not even make my "Top 500 Places in Clark County, Nevada to Visit" list. Different strokes for different folks.

Another example is his perception that men are clueless in grocery stores. Men who care about what they eat (and we all learned when little that you are what you eat) are quite familiar with grocery stores. In certain cultures, this whole aspect of life is a priority for men.

I could give other examples, but the point is the specifics of this book apply to a specific group and not to men in general. The author hints that men don't read books (I read at least 50 per year), and it's probably to these men he is writing. Which may be why they have those other characteristics that I can't relate to.

For the rest of us, Points does provide some general principles and food for thought. These can be very useful. And the details don't really matter--the principles are the same. Glebe's general thesis involves three major platforms:

  • Women keep score.
  • The woman's score is the only one that matters (unless a guy enjoys being miserable).
  • A guy can do things to improve his score.

While his advice is tongue-in-cheek and often couched in examples I don't relate to, some things jumped out at me. For example:

  • When women talk, they want you to listen. They are not asking you for your advice, even when they tell you their problems.
  • A little affection goes a long way.
  • A little respect goes a long way. A little disrespect goes an even longer way--in the wrong direction.
  • Men and women place different values on things. Don't assume she'll understand your values.
  • Inappropriate gifts don't make her happy.
  • Arguing from a point of logic when you have hurt her feelings doesn't smooth things over.
  • Women don't think they are asking a whole lot from their men.
  • Women have one set of rules for themselves, and another set for men.

Glebe boils down the male-female relationship into a game where the man must earn points and the woman keeps track of them. She is the banker for these points and can wipe them out at any time for no particular reason.

In reality, there is always a reason. Unfortunately, men seldom see things from the woman's perspective. For example, men like to offer unsolicited advice. We do this with the best of intentions. Women have a very low tolerance for this, and very quickly become annoyed or offended--usually without our noticing it at the time. The man, thinking he's given her something of value, feels pretty good. She is steaming inside. She may stew for days. Finally, she unloads on him and he has no idea what he did wrong.

Glebe's point-keeping system is probably a good approach, as we men generally like to work with numbers and keep lists. We also have a different focus than women do and a point-keeping system can help us stay aware of our behaviors so we can avoid mistakes. Without a system of some sort, we will do what we are comfortable doing. Certain things seem wired into us guys; offering unsolicited advice is just one of them. Having a system that helps us keep track of such things makes it less likely we'll keep pushing the wrong buttons.

Going with Glebe's particular system is probably not a "best practice." But looking at his system and applying the concepts to create one of your own sounds like a good idea to me.

While Points is aimed at a very specific kind of guy, there is something in it for every man to learn from or at least think about. Being able to replace some of our irritating behaviors with positive ones, in the absence of specific feedback from the person being irritated, is a key theme in the hundreds of relationship books aimed at men. It seems to me that the methods prescribed in most of those books aim to change our nature. Which doesn't work. Glebe's approach embraces that nature. Sometimes, you have to work with what you have. While I can't relate to many of Glebe's examples, I can relate to this underlying concept in his light-hearted but insightful book.

(167 pages, totaling 190 pages with appendices)



About these reviews

You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?

I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?

And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.

This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.

My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.

A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.

About your reviewer

  • Books are a passion of mine. I read dozens of them each year, plus I listen to audio books.
  • Most of my "reading diet" consists of nonfiction. I think life is too short to use your limited reading time on material that has little or no substance. That leads into my next point...
  • In 1990, I stopped watching television. I have not missed it. At all.
  • I was first published as a preteen. I wrote an essay, and my teacher submitted it to the local paper.
  • For six years, I worked as an editor for a trade publication. I left that job in 2002, and still do freelance editing and authoring for that publication (and for other publications).
  • No book has emerged from my mind onto the best-seller list. So maybe I'm presumptuous in judging the work of others. Then again, I do more describing than judging in my reviews. And I have so many articles now published that I stopped counting them at 6,000. When did I stop? Probably 20,000 articles ago! (It's been a while).
  • I have an engineering degree and an MBA, among other "quant" degrees. That helps explain my methodical approach toward reviews.
  • You probably don't know anybody who has made a perfect or near perfect score on a test of Standard Written English. I have. So, a credential for whatever it's worth.

About reading style

No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.

Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.

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