Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Barnett are widely praised for their analysis of women, men, and society. Their "uncommon storytelling grace" led the Boston Globe to name their book, Same Difference: How Gender Myths Harm Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs, one of the best of 2004. The New York Times has called Barnett "one of the researchers who is re-drawing the map of women's psychology," and the New York Review of Books has commended their confronting of public policy "with less superstition and sentimentality than is currently the case."
The Truth About Girls and Boys tackles a new, troubling trend in the theorizing about gender: that the learning styles, brain development, motivation, cognitive and spatial abilities, and "natural" inclinations of boys and girls are so different, they require completely different styles of parenting and education. Ignoring the science that challenges these claims, those who promote such theories make millions, frightening parents and educators into enforcing old stereotypes and reviving unhealthy attitudes in the classroom. Rivers and Barnett unmake the pseudoscientific rationale for this argument, stressing the individuality of each child and the uniqueness of his or her talents and desires. They recognize that in our culture, boys and girls encounter different stimuli and experiences, but encouraging children to venture outside their comfort zones keeps them from falling into old, fossilized gender roles that can suffocate their potential. Educating parents, teachers, and general readers in the true nature of the gender game, Rivers and Barnett help future generations transform if not transcend the parameters of sexual difference.