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Ever have that feeling that a member of the opposite sex just doesn’t get you? John Gray’s books have highlighted this and attempted to explain why it happens and how to bridge the gap. This lesson will fill you in on his life and work.

Boys and Girls Are Not the Same

Think back to middle school. Do you remember a lot of the girls at that age — and maybe even yourself — being interested in ‘girly’ things like shopping, talking, or reading magazines? But a lot of the boys, on the other hand, were maybe more interested in competitive sports and games? These are broad examples that might not apply to everyone, but author John Gray thinks there are reasons why traditional ‘girl’ activities are so different from traditional ‘boy’ activities — because the sexes themselves are very different from each other. He even wrote a book about it. Let’s take a look to see how this all came about.

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John Gray’s Young Life

Before author and relationship counselor John Gray began his career he led a relatively normal and quiet life.

Born in Texas in 1951, his father worked in the oil business and his mother at a spiritual bookstore. He did his undergrad work at the University of St. Thomas and Texas University and went on to earn his master’s degree in the science of creative intelligence.

Later, Gray’s professional credentials were often questioned, as he also earned one degree from the Maharishi International University, Iowa and got his doctorate via correspondence courses. Remember, this is way before online courses existed. He has also received honorary degrees from Columbia Pacific University and Governors State University.

Author John Gray

Early Career and Relationships

In 1969, Gray met a transcendental Yogi master named Maharishi Mahesh. Gray was Mahesh’s personal assistant for nine years, taking a vow of celibacy and traveling with Mahesh where he likely learned about public speaking and teaching.

He moved to California in 1979 and married Barbara DeAngelis in 1982. DeAngelis herself was a relationship consultant, and together she and Gray began to give relationship workshops on weekends. Gray wrote and published his first book, What You Feel You Can Heal the same year he and DeAngelis divorced, 1984.Gray isn’t the kind of man to get down on his life; he looked at his failed relationship with DeAngelis and wondered how two relationship experts could fail at marriage. While he continued working as a relationship therapist he self-published his second book, Men, Women, and Relationships, in 1990.

Gray married his current wife, Bonnie, in 1986; the couple is still married today. They are parents of three daughters and several grandchildren.

The Big Break

Gray’s second book is described as a gathering of research focusing on the differences between men and women. He used this idea to publish Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus in 1992. It became a bestseller and remained so for more than four years. It has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, grossed over $18 million and set a record for bestselling nonfiction book.

Published in over 40 languages, the book explains Gray’s ideas about how men and women operate differently, especially in their emotional worlds. Like the title implies, the book is easy-going and simple to read, appealing to a wide audience. It contains colorful analogies and metaphors people easily relate to.

Filled with advice for couples on how to bridge the gap between their differences, the books acknowledge that men and women are essentially wired differently and offers practical advice on how to recognize differences and work with them, not ignore them.

The planets Mars and Venus
mars venus

Gray took the success of his first book and ran with it. His Mars and Venus concept has been stretched into a line of books, such as Mars and Venus in the Bedroom, Mars and Venus on a Date, The Mars and Venus Diet and Exercise Program, and Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice. Gray has taken his success with the Mars and Venus idea to the max with workshops, seminars, videos, board games, print publications (magazine), food and nutrition supplements (shakes for men and women, a Broadway show and even a sitcom in 2000.

Other Work by John Gray

Gray followed his success from the Mars and Venus series with advice focusing on several different areas. He writes and lectures about other health issues such as stress relief, ADHD, memory and the impact of pornography. His latest book, Staying Focused in a Hyper World, Volume 1, published in 2014, details how to connect work, nutrition, relationships and self-awareness to become a well-rounded person.

Gray continues to give advice and guidance through his blog, seminars and appearances on television and print.

Criticism of John Gray

Gray has helped countless couples with relationship advice, but has also received criticism for his efforts. Some accuse Gray’s subsequent Mars and Venus books as simple rewriting of the original, using the same ideas and molding them into new books. Others say his concepts used in the Mars and Venus books aren’t anything new; in fact, they simply bring up gender stereotypes and roles that have been around for centuries. Finally, because of his unorthodox education (remember the communication course degree?) his credibility is often called into question. Despite these criticisms, Gray continues to remain a bestselling and widely recognized author and relationship expert.

Lesson Summary

John Gray hit the self-help author jackpot with is book ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus in 1992. This international bestseller started a long-standing series that circles the theme of figuring out how men and women can better communicate for stronger relationships. Gray’s life began simply, and his early career as a relationship coach and therapist set the groundwork for his current fame. Gray continues to write books and offer couples help in his subsequent books, lecture tours, blogs and appearances, filling us all in on why the opposite sex seems to act kind of odd.

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