Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that men are from Mars, women are from Venus, but prior to John Gray’s 1992 best-selling book of the same name, quarreling mates might have contended that men are grumpy, warrior-wannabe couch potatoes and women are demanding, pushy money pits—or something along those lines. Gray’s insight into gender differences brought humor, understanding and compassion to relationships for millions of readers. His latest book, Why Mars and Venus Collide, due out this spring, helps couples improve their relationships by understanding how men and women cope differently with stress. For more than 20 years the Texas-born former Hindu monk and his wife, Bonnie, have lived in Mill Valley, where they’ve raised three daughters, hiked the trails and been active in community life. He can often be seen at the Book Depot or D’Angelo‘s in Mill Valley or Paradise Bay in Sausalito, contemplating his next adventure.
You could live anywhere. Why Marin?
We have access to the city, but live in the country. Downtown Mill Valley feels like a little European village. In all, Marin is an amazing place to live, with its beauty and sense of community.
What makes you happy in Marin?
Chalking with my granddaughter in Lytton Square, and going for walks on Mount Tam.
What bothers you here?
Traffic — increasing over the last 20 years.
What do you value every day?
Time I have with my wife. I travel a fair bit, so I really value time at home.
What’s your favorite romantic restaurant?
No question, a table by the window at Gaylord during a full moon.
Do you give your daughters advice on romance?
I don’t have to anymore; my youngest daughter just has all her boyfriends read my books. I believe they find them interesting.
What is your personal idea of luxury?
Having my three daughters and granddaughter live nearby is a luxury. And then, a beautiful home surrounded by nature, the opportunity to go to Hawaii a couple times a year and heading to our ranch in Mendocino.
What person has influenced you the most?
My mother was my biggest influence. She had a generous spirit, a contagious positive attitude, and was always supportive of my dreams. She was the one who encouraged me to write about the gender insights I had been discussing for 10 years.
What has been the most fulfilling moment in your work?
I remember a moment in 1996 just before stepping onto the stage to do a Men Are From Mars presentation in front of a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. My sister turned to me and asked if I was nervous. I wasn’t. I told her this is what I was born to do.
What’s your desert-island favorite book or album?
Lord of the Rings.
What’s your favorite place to unwind?
My ranch in Mendocino.
What do you like about yourself?
A lot. I like myself; I like that I have talents that can inspire, entertain and truly help people have a better quality of life.
How do you want to be remembered?
As the author of Men Are From Mars, and as a loving and generous husband, father and grandfather.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s March 2008 print edition under the headline: “John Gray.”
Now that her oldest daughter is driving, executive editor Mimi Towle can spend more of her spare time “researching” for the next big story on hiking, stand up paddleboarding or sampling any and all of the culinary gems around the county. Mimi has spent the last two decades editing and writing for various magazines and websites. While her daughters were babies she wrote a book, Bilingual Babycare, published by theKnot.com. Fortunately the same day a Washington Post writer was going to take her to task for promoting the employment of illegal aliens (he didn’t read the book), Rush Limbaugh’s Oxycontin overdose flooded the newswires, leaving her forever grateful a man she had formerly detested. Born and raised in Hawaii her fondness for the islands has on occasion made it’s way into the pages of the magazine. If you want more, she’s created a website, www.HawaiiIslander.com.