"The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the 4 Key Causes of Male Depression and Aggression" (Rodale, $22.95) proposes that IMS is menopause's male equivalent, "a state of hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration and anger . . . associated with biochemical changes, hormonal fluctuations, stress and loss of male identity."


Jed Diamond is a California-based psychotherapist who has created something of a cottage industry on this subject. The best-known of his seven books is "Male Menopause," which was published in 1998 and followed up by a couple of others offering men and women advice on coping with men going though their version of the change.


Though he does spend a good portion of the book discussing the factors underlying IMS, as he calls it, Diamond's therapeutic approach is refreshingly affirming and forward-looking. He places the greatest emphasis on answering the question of how you want your life to be today and offers a variety of ideas for improving things at home, at work and inside.


The book has a sort of girlie-man vibe that prompts wonder as to whether Diamond's message will reach beyond the converted. And some of the suggestions for bolstering men against the syndrome -- testosterone replacement therapy and ceasing the practice of circumcision, to name two -- seem to stray away from his generally solid ground.


Diamond is not just the author of the syndrome, he's also a member of the club. He writes poignantly, not only about how the syndrome frayed his own marriage, but also about his father, a frustrated actor who abandoned the family when Diamond was 6 years old and found happiness as a street puppeteer in San Francisco.