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7 Dating books that could change your life

Jenna Birch is a health and lifestyle writer, lipstick enthusiast, aspiring yogi and diehard Wolverine based near Ann Arbor, MI. For more information, visit jennabirch.com or follow her on twitter @jennabirch.

I read every dating book so you don't have to

Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this, but I am fascinated by dating and relationships. I’m a bit of an aficionado, collecting experts' sage wisdom and people's experiences.

In the morning, I usually check to see if there are any new scientific studies that cover relationships or dating. If you met me, I'd question you to death about your exes. As a journalist, my all-time favorite person to interview is biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, who studies stuff like how relationships function cross-culturally and how the brain works "on love." I am a legit fan girl. A total geek.

You can probably say when it comes to dating, relationships and love, I have "read the book." Er, actually, I've read every book. Literally, though: All. The. Dating. Books.

And since I'm a certified expert (ha ha ha), I can give you the skinny on all the major dating and relationship lit out there. Let me tell you what's definitely worth making time for, worth your time if you have the time and totally not worth your time at all. Here we go...

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

I read every dating book so you don't have to

The lowdown:

If a guy's not treating you right — not asking you out, not calling you, not marrying you — it's because he's just not that into you. Move on.

Best advice:

"Guys tell you how they feel even if you refuse to listen or believe them. 'I don't want to be in a serious relationship' truly means 'I don't want to be in a serious relationship with you' or 'I'm not sure you're the one.' (Sorry.)"

Read it or toss it:

Read it, but with the realization that there are some exceptions. You need to be honest with yourself. And if you're not getting what you want from a guy? The result is the same as "he's just not that into you," whether he's an exception or not. (Also, though, Greg is hilarious.)

The New Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider

I read every dating book so you don't have to

The lowdown:

Don't call him. Don't ask him out. Don't text him first (ever), wait four hours to text him back after his initial text and then at least 30 minutes thereafter. Pretend you care less than he does, act super-busy and play hard to get to make the guy you want go crazy for you.

Best advice:

"Be a Creature Unlike Any Other, which is about doing the best with what you have, not wishing you were someone else."

Read it or toss it:

Toss it. You don't need to play a game to win a guy. In fact, you shouldn't. That's a recipe for disaster.

The Gaggle by Jessica Massa

I read every dating book so you don't have to

The lowdown:

Surprise: You have a gaggle. It's full of all the guys in your life you could potentially date — the guy whose shoulder you cry on, the ex you still IM with, your legit boyfriend prospect or even the guy who just blew you off. Recognize that no matter how single you feel, there are still dudes in your orbit. Second surprise: Dating in the millennial generation doesn't look much like dating. Remember that as you proceed into the confusion.

Best advice:

"If you stop worrying about dating and start cultivating fulfilling relationships with the guys in your gaggle (and the new guys who could be entering it every day), then you can actually enjoy your love life. As I like to say — right now, today, immediately."

Read it or toss it:

Read it, definitely, but realize my love/hate relationship with this book. On the one hand, it teaches you to open your eyes to possibilities — and it's eerily accurate about describing how guys of this generation think and behave. On the other hand, dating isn't "dead" and I think guys who are romantically interested usually will go that extra mile for you.

The Manual by Steve Santagati

I read every dating book so you don't have to

The lowdown:

Quality guys have a Bad Boy side, and we women like that edge and confidence. This guy doesn't want to settle down — except for the right girl. You can tame the beast by being playful, unpredictable and proving you're a smart, sophisticated, high-caliber woman.

Best advice:

"Every woman must have a set of personal standards that she will not compromise just because she wants love... What's reasonable in terms of laying down the law? There are five 'must-haves' that build relationships, not walls: trust, respect, personal space, honesty and quality time."

Read it or toss it:

Read it. Steve has been around the block, knows what guys want and walks the fine line between blunt honesty and well-intentioned (almost big-brotherly) advice.

Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov

I read every dating book so you don't have to

The lowdown:

Men don't tend to be attracted to total bitches because they're bitches, but in spite of the fact that they're bitches. Bitches have standards, and women with standards get the men to come calling.

Best advice:

"It is your attitude about yourself that a man will adopt."

Read it or toss it:

Toss it. I like the idea that you should have standards, but the other books I like get that point across more subtly — but just as effectively — and I don't like the idea that women might get the wrong idea. That you should be a bitch. No, no, no.

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey

I read every dating book so you don't have to

The lowdown:

Men think differently and love differently than women. They're simpler. They're not going to call you every hour of the day, or meet standards that you don't set for them. They're going to pursue their dreams and play the field until they find a quality woman who's supportive and loyal. If you display your worth early and often, you can score a great guy — even if you have to train him a bit along the way.

Best advice:

"Newsflash: It's not the guy who determines whether you're a sports fish or a keeper — it's you. When a man approaches you, you're the one with total control over the situation... It's you who decides if you're going to give us any of the things we want, and how, exactly, we're going to get them."

Read it or toss it:

Read it, but with one caveat. Don't forget guys are not that simple and that clueless all the time. The sentiments here are all legit, but if a guy's not starting to get what you're throwing down (and by that, I mean Steve's "standards and requirements"), you probably need to move on. You can only provide training wheels for so long, before it's just plain exhausting.

Get the Guy by Matthew Hussey

I read every dating book so you don't have to

The lowdown:

It's time to get real about dating. If you sit back and let life pass you by, it will. Facilitate interactions. Meet guys everywhere. Be a high value woman (showing self-confidence, integrity, femininity and independence) and a desirable woman (playful and spontaneous) and men will get in line.

Best advice:

"The bottom line is this: Women who live passionate lives are inherently sexy. Every guy imagines the girl of his dreams as having a vibrant, interesting life that he wants to become a part of."

Read it or toss it:

READ IT. Matthew's advice about going after what you want, showing your standards and displaying your value is all spot-on — and guys respond. (I've applied some of his advice to great effect.) If you buy one book about dating, make it this one.

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