Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Book Review: "The X and Y of Buy" (Elizabeth Pace)

Book: The X and Y of Buy (sell more and market better by knowing how the sexes shop)
Published: Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009

This book works well simply because it deals with the evergreen formula of gender differences. The battle of the sexes has always been a fascinating one not reserved for any age group. Pace, a first-time author, delivers quite a convincing message about the differences between a woman (X) and a male (Y), and what a marketer or a salesperson needs to be aware of. Pace does a great job when it comes to the 'science' of understanding the two genders. Through her research and experience, plus personal encounters with buying behavior, both hers and others, she reconstitutes them into 200 pages of delightful reading. From humor to how to control tears, Pace presents us multiple reminders that the key to selling and marketing to the different sexes lies in putting ourselves into the shoes of the other, both male and female. Helpful tables comparing and contrasting the X and Y perspectives were carefully spread out in the book to aid comprehension.

The strongest part of the book is the research as well as the illuminating examples that magnify the principles and observations she made. Her one key note is worth the price of the book. It's all about them. Pace makes a courageous statement:

"When communicating with the opposite sex, the golden rule does not apply. Instead, treat them as they prefer to be treated." (106)

Bravo! That essentially is the spirit and is worth the price of the book. In fact, I will extrapolate the application to include marriages as well. Hopefully, couples who read this book learn to understand the little idiosyncrasies behind their spouse's buying behavior. This need not be exaggerated, but who knows, it can even save a marriage.

"Men buy; women shop and then purchase 80 percent of everything." (3)

My main reservation with this book lies in the fact that the author is female (X), and claims to be able to speak on behalf of the male (Y) department. For example, in her "GenderCycle Selling" proposal, Pace devotes one-and-a-half times more coverage to the female part, that is (31 pages for X, and 20 for Y). We can always defend Pace on the basis that males and females are different qualitatively, hence there is no need to be paranoid about quantitative measures. Having said that, it might still be worth noticing this small detail. My other reservation has got to do with the question of those whose sexes are not so clearly understood. What about those who grew up in environments dominated by the opposite sex? Will nurture override nature? What about the transexuals, or those with homosexual inclinations? This book about gender differences may help us understand the opposite sex better, in terms of the 'nature' part of it. Let us also read the book with the other eye on the 'nurture' side of it. Put together, we can truly understand not only the "X and Y of Buy" but the "X to Y of Buy and Sell."

Final Comments
Pace gives us a very helpful advice, that when dealing with the opposite sex, to see from their perspective. Having said that, I believe that the golden rule of doing-to-others-what-you-want-to-yourselves should not be ignored either. Both applies.

Moreover, we need to be careful not succumb to stereotyping anybody in any way. While the book helps us understand gender differences more, it does not replace the need for us to treat one another sensibly and respectably. It does not give us a license to manipulate them. What it does is to help us admire how each of us are uniquely created, and with each unique creation, let treat one another with love, respect and honesty.

I award 4 stars out of 5.

A Thomas Nelson Book Reviewer. (link)


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