John Gray is Wrong: Men are from Earth and so are Women

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The advisor profession has a gender problem. Only about one-quarter of CFPs and fewer than 20% of advisors are women.

The problems don’t end with underrepresentation of women in our profession. Gender-based stereotypes have an insidious impact on how women advisors are perceived, their ability to attract clients, and their career path in corporate environments.

I blame it on John Gray.

Suspect credentials and research

As an author, John Gray’s success is awe-inspiring. His books, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and others in the series, have sold more than 40 million copies. They firmly established in the public mindset that the genders communicate so differently they might as well be from separate planets.

But Gray’s credentials are suspect.

According to this website, his Ph.D was “apparently” awarded by Columbia Pacific University, a “now defunct, unaccredited California institution that granted degrees via correspondence.” Another website observed that Gray “has only one accredited degree, a high school diploma,” and his “other purported degrees are also unaccredited and essentially worthless too.”

In this paper, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: An analysis of a Potential Meme, the author noted that Gray’s premise “is not based on established clinical and academic principles,” and is “an example of how incorrect and baseless ideas can displace good reasoned thinking based on research.”

Contrary research

When I read 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology, a book by four highly credentialed professors of psychology at prominent universities, I was surprised to learn Gray conducted no research to support his views.