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i n  p r i n t

with Scott Ruddick

New Launching: Men Are From Mars & Women Are From Venus

(also, read In Review: February print offerings!)

Just when you thought the world had enough 'self-help for your relationship' magazines, along comes John Gray, marriage and partnership guru.

Apparently not content with best-selling books, audio-tapes and videos; CD-ROMs; seminars; prime-time television specials and a lucrative psychotherapy franchise enterprise, Gray has launched himself into the world of print magazines with a glossy bi-monthly named after his best-selling book, Men Are From Mars & Women Are From Venus.

The preview issue debuted in February . It's rather formalistic ninety-six pages are populated with articles such as 'John Gray's 365 Days of Love' and '20 Years of Passion - How To Make Your Marriage Last Forever.' There is, of course, the obligatory self-analysis test; this one purports to measure how well you know your partner. Some recipes and a travel section are thrown in for good measure.

If I sound skeptical about this magazine and the motives behind it…well, I am.

There is no disputing Gray's commercial success. His book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and its four sequels have sold over ten million copies worldwide. His latest effort is "Mars and Venus on a Date" and rumour has it he is fast at work developing a Mars-Venus approach to raising children.

Yet, I have never been a fan of Gray's nor understood the lure of his rather simplistic advice for others. Frankly, I find his relationship healing advice too slick, too simple, too uncomplicated to provide any true substantive assistance for relationships in trouble.

Gray himself is a bit of an enigma. Twice divorced, he is re-married and resides in California. He is not a therapist, though the nine years he spent as a monk entitle him under state law to refer to himself as a 'spiritual advisor'. He boasts a PhD - awarded by Columbia Pacific University, a mail-order school who, for a few thousand dollars tuition, will award degrees based on 'life experience'.

If you have read any of Gray's books or seen any of his videos, the magazine will seem very familiar. It has, in essence, taken Grays's work and spread it out in article and column form. Like it's publisher, there is nothing particularly cutting edge nor original about Mars & Venus. Many of the magazine's concepts and column ideas have been liberally borrowed from other similar magazines.

Nothing new here. Perhaps Gray's next work should be entitled One Concept Forever: How To Make One Idea Last A Career.

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