Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: Summary & Review

act like a lady think like a man book cover

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man (2009) is a best-selling dating book for women.
Steve Harvey, the author, shares his views on how men think and shares knowledge and dating strategies to help women secure a man, a happy relationship, and a wedding ring.

Bullet Summary

  • Men show love with Professing (introducing you as official), Protecting and Providing
  • Men need your support, loyalty and sex
  • Set your requirements, demands and needs early on

Full Summary

About The Author: Steve Harvey is an American comedian, television host and public personality. He is also the author of the sequel “Straight Talk, No Chaser” and “Act Like A Success, Think Like A Success“.

PART ONE: The Mind-Set of a Man

In the introduction, Steve Harvey says men are simple and they all think in a similar way.
He says that “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” is a playbook of sorts.

1. What Drives Men

Steve Harvey says men are simple. No matter where he’s currently at, there are three things that shape his identity and self-esteem:

  • Who he is (his title)
  • What he does (how he gets the title)
  • The reward he gets (how much he makes)

A man must achieve a minimum in those three areas to feel like he is fulfilling his duties as a man.
Before he figures out how to achieve his minimum goals in those areas he will be too busy to focus on you (and on family & relationships).

I also recommend you read a more scientific text on how good men think:

The Women’s Guide to How Men Think: Notes & Review

2. Our Love Isn’t Like Your Love

Harvey says men and women love differently.

Women profess their love many times a day and will probably expect their men to do the same.
But men love in three ways instead, which the author dubs the “3 Ps”:

1. Profess

He will tell everyone you are his woman and he will introduce you with an official title.
Conversely, if he doesn’t take you out and you haven’t seen his family and friends, you’re not there to stay.

2. Provide

The more a man can provide, the more he feels like a man.
If he can’t provide, he doesn’t feel like a man.

That’s one of the reasons, Steve says, that poor men run away from their father’s duties: to escape their feelings of inadequacy (indeed Tony Robbins says his father ran away when strangers donated his family food for Thanksgiving).

Providing is not only monetary, but it’s also about helping to fix things, moving stuff, or solving problems.
And that’s why you need to make him feel like he’s providing for you (later chapter).

3. Protecting

When a man loves you, he will defend you and stand up for you.

He will defend you physically, from people who are disrespecting you and by doing things he deems too dangerous for you.

3. The Three Things Every Man Needs

Steve Harvey says a man needs three things:

  1. Love
  2. Loyal Support
  3. Sex

Love means to make him feel like he’s special, like he’s a king.

Loyal support means that you will stand by his side no matter what happens.
Sex, well, Steve says men can only go a month without it. And if you start rationing out sex, he’ll be looking for it elsewhere.

When a woman doesn’t provide for these three things, the relationship is doomed.

4. Talking Differences

Steve Harvey says men are about purpose-driven talk and solutions.

Men rarely open up like women do, but they like fixing stuff for you.

For more on gender difference (generalizations) read:

PART TWO: Why Men Do What They Do

5. First Things First

Harvey says again that men are simple, and if they come to talk to you, they like you.

When he comes, he has two things in mind:

  1. If you will sleep with him
  2. And if so, how much effort it will take

Now that you know, he says, let him know what’s your price so that you won’t waste any time.

6. Sports Fish VS Keepers

Steve Harvey says men divide women among women good for a night, and women good for long term.

My Note:
This is the basis of the Madonna/Whore dichotomy

The key, says Harvey, is that it’s you who decides if you’re disposable or if you’re a keeper.
By being a high quality woman, by setting the bar high and by demanding and requiring proper behavior, you communicate that you’re a keeper.

And here’s how to recognize if he’s looking for something serious or for quick fun:

  • He picks up the bill (VS asking to split)
  • Keeps his word and shows up on time
  • Introduces you his friends
  • Happy to meet your kids

For more details read:

Am I Wasting My Time On Him? Check These 7 Signs

7. Mama’s Boys

Does your boyfriend put his mother above you?

That’s not a good sign as you should be a team. Check the book on why that happens.

8. Why Men Cheat

Harvey says that men can have sex without emotions.
Which means he can love you and still cheat for the simple act of sex.

For more on cheating read:

PART THREE: The Playbook

9. Get Some Standards

The author says men like women with standards.

However, Harvey warns the readers this does not mean you get on a man’s face telling him what he must and must not do.
You need some tact and some good presentation for your requirements (indeed high initial demands are a sign of low quality).

10. The Five Key Question Every 

Steve proposes you find out 5 things about him early on:

  1. Long Term Plans: and how they fit into who he is, what he does, how much he makes
  2. Short Terms Actions: is he acting on his plans?
  3. Relationships: with his mother and God. How he feels about family and children
  4. What He Thinks About You: you want details and examples (or he’s not thinking long term)
  5. How He Feels About You: you want to see deep feeling (missing you, feels great with you, loves you..)

One and two tells you if he’s ready for something long term.
Number 3 tells you if he wants something long term.
Questions 4 and 5 come after you have been knowing him for a while.

These questions by themselves will also cause him to start seeing you in a different, and better light.

11. The Ninety Days Rule

The ninety day rule relates to sex, and you can imagine what it means.

My Note:
Making him wait for sex is a very common concept among women’s dating advice books. I think 90 days is a bit too long, check my article on why you shouldn’t let him wait for sex.
But if you must, read “how to delay sex effectively“.

How To Turn Down Sex & Get A Relationship

12. Let Him Meet The Kids

If you have children, Harvey recommends you introduce them early on because you also want to check for compatibility between them.

13. Strong, Independent -and Lonely- Women

Harvey says that when a woman says she doesn’t need any men, men cannot provide and protect, and they feel useless.

For a couple good articles on the subject, check:

Why Successful Women Fail At Dating (& How to Fix It)

14. How To Get The Ring

Harvey says the only reason why he is able to stall marriage is that she hasn’t required him to set the date.

So you must make the ring a requirement for your continued relationship.

My Note: Use selective submissiveness and “in need” to get the commitment
See a real-life example here:

text example to make men chase and invest

And read the full description here:

15. Answer to Question You’ve Always Wanted to Ask

The last chapter is for questions and answer.

act like a lady think like a man book cover

Real Life Applications

Let Him Take The Lead
He will feel more like a man and he will like you more.

Fix Your House
Your house is a reflection of who you are.

Avoid playing nasty power games or overplaying your independence
Men want women who make them feel important. Men want women who want men.
They don’t want independent women or women who seek power in their relationship. So cut out nasty power games:

10 Nasty Games Women Play (Women, Stop These!)

Also read:


I think that Harvey is a much better person to learn from than most other female authors who write for other women.

But still, there are a few cons here:

  • Dogmatic: men are not all the same

Steve Harvey purports to speak for all men.

For example, he writes:

I cannot tell you the fulfillment we have in knowing that we’ve secured your time (…) it’s all the affirmation we need

But that’s not how I feel, for one.
And I’m not alone.

Because “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” is:

  • Tailored Towards Providers Men

This book is tailored towards men who want (and need) to provide for their women.

Not all men are like that. Some men want women who are more equals and who can work for themselves.

You don’t need to take my word for it: the most up-voted bad review on Amazon is exactly from that type of man.

Also read: “lovers VS providers” and “psychology of womanizers“.

  • Inductive Fallacy

To prove that sleeping with him before 90 days is a bad idea, Harvey asks where are all the men you’ve slept with before 90 days.

But that’s an inductive fallacy and doesn’t prove anything.
Most sexual relationships don’t last forever, whether you slept with him after 900 days or 900 seconds.
Plus, women who are reading this book are likely looking for a man, which of course leads to almost all the readers answering positively -ie.: a trap question-.


I listed a lot of cons there because, well, I believe they are valid points.

But don’t get me wrong, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” has some genius content.
And, as a rule of thumb women, try to read more dating books for women written by men. Women advise other women to be strong and independent, but that’s a covert manipulation and it’s not effective.

Particularly useful are the concepts that:

  • A man needs a minimum level of achievement before he can fully give himself to relationships;
  • Many men need to feel they provide and protect their women.

That’s true and Harvey is the only one of all the women’s dating books I read to stress that.

I also liked and fully agree with the concept that a woman should make clear, early but in a tactful way, what her final goals are (marriage or kids). And she should have a timeline.

That goes against what some other authors advise. But not putting your needs and demands early is, in my opinion, too big of a risk.

Check the best dating books for women, or Get The Book on Amazon

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