Esquire Bets New 'Dude Lit' Will Entice Men to Read Fiction

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Empathetic Women Read More Fiction

Psychologists have found that women are more empathetic and emotional than men, which perhaps makes fiction more appealing. Others say that at least in the earlier grades of school, girls can sit longer than boys.

Ronald May, a psychologist at the Psychology Center in Madison, Wis., doubts men's reading habits will change, even though their capacity for empathy has become more evolved, particularly in raising their children.

"Esquire may be on to something, and I am sure they did their market research," said May. "But from clinical experience with a well-educated population, men don't read about relationships, they read about politics or social change or something in their field or sports."

"Men get stuff more from books with self-help strategies like "Change Your Life in Seven Days" or "How to Win Back the Love of Your Life," or the movies," he said. "They are much more oriented toward movies that may have a kind of story about honor or integrity or being there for family than the mushy chick flicks that are values-driven."

But William Pollack, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Centers for Boys and Men, said men are emotional as women and will read these books -- if they are packaged the right way.

"You call cologne perfume and men will buy it," said Pollack of the Esquire's new eBooks. "Using the technology part as a boy toy to bring men into fiction. It's a male friendly manner... For men, this is perfect -- they get the whole structure of downloading something."

And, he asked, who says males don't read fiction? "I can't tell you how many male grads from MIT at 30 and 40 are into Harry Potter."

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