Gottman and Gray: the two Johns – comparison of credentials of authors John Gottman and John Gray – Psych 101 – Brief Article
Hara Estroff Marano
Walk into any bookstore in America, head for the psychology section, and there shelved side by side–until sales do them part–you’ll find two of the gurus of marriage and relationships, John Gottman, Ph.D., and John Gray, Ph.D.
Gottman, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, virtually invented the science of observing how people behave within relationships. From groans and grimaces we scarcely notice, Gottman can predict the likelihood of marital bliss with almost frightening accuracy. He’s a prolific writer, but most of his work appears in scholarly journals. A few years ago he penned a book for nonprofessionals, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail (Simon & Schuster). It sells respectably.
But Gottman’s royalty checks pale compared to those of John Gray, who at last count had sold 10 million copies of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (HarperCollins) and its four sequels. His latest effort is Mars and Venus on a Date–hey, why restrict a hot concept to married folks? Or even adults: Gray is already developing a Mars-Venus approach to raising kids.
Of course, we haven’t even talked about Gray’s audio tapes and videos. Or his one-man show on Broadway earlier this year. The Celebrity Line cruises. CD-ROMs. Seminars. A recent prime-time television special. And the first franchise deal to hit psychotherapy: for a few thousand dollars, plus a yearly renewal fee, you too can buy the right to call your therapy practice a “Mars & Venus Counseling Center.” Lack the appropriate professional credentials? So does Gray, who isn’t licensed to practice psychology but is allowed to work as a “spiritual counselor” in California because of his nine-year stint as a monk.
John Gottman and John Gray, side by side. The placement invites–nay, demands–a comparison of the two. How do their information and advice stack up? The short answer is that Gottman is the gold standard while Gray is the gold earner. Gottman creates top psychology, while Gray mines pop psychology (or “poop psychology,” in the words of one PT reader). Below, we’ve compiled a handy crib sheet from their writings and sayings. Judge for yourself.
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