Summary and book reviews of Female Intelligence by Jane Heller

Female Intelligence

By Jane Heller

Female Intelligence
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2001,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Feb 2002,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

A contemporary comedy of manners, Female Intelligence is a social satire about the way men and women communicate - or don't. Dr. Lynn Wyman has a wildly successful practice in sensitivity training, instructing men how to become fluent in the language of Womenspeak so they can relate better to the women in their lives. She teaches them how to ask for directions, how to participate in "active listening" and how to say, "How was your day?" With thousands of satisfied clients, numerous talk show appearances and a bestselling book, Lynn Wyman is at the top of her game. But when Lynn's personal life suddenly becomes the stuff of tabloids and her professional reputation is sullied, she must do something - anything - to resurrect her career. After spotting macho CEO Brandon Brock on the cover of Fortune magazine's "America's Toughest Bosses" issue, she bets her friends that, by tinkering with his words, by adjusting his speech patterns, by putting him through her Wyman Method, she can turn him into "America's Most Sensitive Boss" and climb back on top. Little does she know that by winning her bet she will lose her heart. Female Intelligence is a hilarious look at our inability to bridge the communication gap between men and women, despite all the Mars/Venus books on the market. It's got Heller's trademark mix of humor, romance and suspense, not to mention her dead-on take on men, women and relationships.


It is a nightly ritual all across this great land of ours, and it has nothing to do with sex. It has to do with intercourse. Verbal intercourse.

What happens is that millions of husbands and wives sit down at the table to eat dinner together. They begin the meal -- take a bite of this, a sip of that -- and, before you can say, "Pass the salt," there's trouble: The wives attempt to make conversation with the husbands and the husbands act as if they've been cornered; the wives attempt to make more conversation with the husbands and the husbands get that I-don't-understand-what-she-wants-from-me look; the wives become angry and frustrated with the husbands and the husbands either assume a ridiculously defensive posture or retreat into their imaginary cave. It should be noted that this nightly ritual is occurring in spite of our awareness of the problem and in spite of generational shifts in attitudes. It is occurring because, like cotton, it is "the fabric of ...

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Media Reviews
Woman's Own Magazine

Jane Heller's novel is a deliciously clever battle-of-the-sexes romp. Female Intelligence is a lot more fun to read than the Mars/Venus books, and just as enlightening.

Romantic Times

You can always count on Jane Heller to take a subject and turn it on its ear. This is a wonderfully witty and humorous book that pokes fun at the whole industry of male-female communication.

Publishers Weekly

Good lines plus precision timing add up to a lot of laughs as the author trains her sense of cultural irony on the complex contradictions between what women say they want, what they think they want and what they really want. Heller has always been adept at devising clever premises, and this is no exception.

Kirkus Reviews

The author of Name Dropping spins a feminist plot with a few decidedly retro twists. Entertaining.


Heller's style is witty and lighthearted, and her observations about men are dead-on and hilarious.

Library Journal

This first-person narrative is a breeze to read, full of laughs, and solidly built upon an intricate, suspenseful plot. Heller (Sis Boom Bah) weaves messages about style, substance, and loyalty to oneself and one's friends into the humorous dialog. Enthusiastically recommended for public libraries.

Author Blurb Chris Gilson, author of Crazy for Cornelia
Jane Heller is the most fun you can have with a dust jacket on. Once you read her hilarious, pacy, and wickedly-poignant Female Intelligence, you'll whisk Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus off your shelf and replace it with this delicious sendup of the fault line between men and women. The unexpected twists and turns soar through the meaning of love, friendship, betrayal, and what makes us worth saving. Female Intelligence will leave you convinced that both sexes would make up a lot sooner if they stopped jumping through hoops and took a fresh look at the wisdom of vive la difference.

Reader Reviews

I found this book thoroughly enjoyable, but not extremely fast paced. I recommend it if you want a laug because, overall, it's funny and easy to relate to.

jeni dela cruz

i'm a jane heller fan. from cha cha cha to the club, infernal affairs, princess charming and now to this. fun, fun, fun. laugh-out-loud book.


This was the first Jane Heller book that I have read. I found it hilarious, insightful, and very well-written. If you're like me, and have a limited amount of time to read, but really need some outlet for pure enjoyment, pick up this book !

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