The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists Info

Fan Club Reviews of best titles on art fashion, artists, history, photography. Check out our top reviews and see what others have to say about the best art and photography books of the year. Check out The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists Community Reviews - Find out where to download The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists available in multiple formats:Imitation Leather,Kindle,Paperback,Audible Audiobook,Audio CD The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists Author:Neil Strauss Formats:Imitation Leather,Kindle,Paperback,Audible Audiobook,Audio CD Publication Date:Sep 6, 2005


Hidden somewhere, in nearly every major city in the world, is
an underground seduction lair. And in these lairs, men trade the most
devastatingly effective techniques ever invented to charm women. This is
not fiction. These men really exist. They live together in houses known
as Projects. And Neil Strauss, the bestselling author, spent two years
living among them, using the pseudonym Style to protect his real-life
identity. The result is one of the most explosive and controversial
books of the year -- guaranteed to change the lives of men and transform
the way women understand the opposite sex forever.

On his
journey from AFC (average frustrated chump) to PUA (pick-up artist) to
PUG (pick-up guru), Strauss not only shares scores of original seduction
techniques but also has unforgettable encounters with the likes of Tom
Cruise, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Heidi Fleiss, and Courtney Love.
And then things really start to get strange -- and passions lead to
betrayals lead to violence. The Game is the story of one man's
transformation from frog to prince -- to prisoner in the most
unforgettable book of the year.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists:

5

Jun 07, 2007

I know I'm taking a risk by even acknowledging its existence and my familiarity with its contents. It may not be interpreted kindly that an Orthodox rabbi (in training) reads *this* widely. But this book tells a story of ethical tension that is, hands down, the most powerful treatise on morals and group dynamics I have ever read. Period.

I found it at once the modern man's sefer mussar of choice, and the endgame of every single Reality TV show every made. But it is not for everyone.

You'll know if I know I'm taking a risk by even acknowledging its existence and my familiarity with its contents. It may not be interpreted kindly that an Orthodox rabbi (in training) reads *this* widely. But this book tells a story of ethical tension that is, hands down, the most powerful treatise on morals and group dynamics I have ever read. Period.

I found it at once the modern man's sefer mussar of choice, and the endgame of every single Reality TV show every made. But it is not for everyone.

You'll know if it's for you after reading the first 10 pages.

(The first 5 are here: [http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/00605...])

THE GREAT novelty in this book is simple: credibility. The author walks down roads, and perhaps comes to conclusions, that ultimately reflect an eerily familiar set of values. However, this presentation is backed up by his experience, and so we trust his authority.

And who is "we"?: non-authoritarian, ethical, sexually aware (not necessarily active) human beings who thoughtfully approach the question: What kind of relationship is a good one? Because before we even seek an Other, we must choose: wordless college hook-up, one-night stand, short term "friend", long term friend "to have fun with", companion, life partner, or spouse/best-friend to start a family with. This book may make you question your unconscious assumptions or conscious decisions in this area.

(I admit my assumption that female readers can also gain these things from a man's story.)

Authoritarians ask their authorities (clergy, philosophers, etc.) and skip the discovery process I describe. Unethical people should have little interest in the book, as ethical-tension is the book’s essential content, and they can get more direct material online. Finally, sexually -unaware or -sensitive folk (e.g., modest or religious individuals) won’t stomach the mildly graphic descriptions of what the protagonist lived through – ignorance is bliss, for them.

Understand:
A 'pickup artist' is an amateur social scientist who adopts a language of "technology" complete with acronyms and jargon in order to systematize interpersonal relations: in this specific instance, how to get girls into bed. With the internet as catalyst, they formed a community, granting the unprecedented ability to share knowledge and methods.

The author is an NYT and then Rolling Stone reporter who, born and raised a geek, discovered this community of pickup artists. To make a long story short, he mastered the "art". How did it change him? Does power corrupt? Esp. power over sexuality?

The book is selfish. I.e., it is about self-discovery, self-esteem, self-worth. It is about the connection sex has to the self, and reveals much about the modern cultural condition. It also tells a story, and effortlessly, such that rays of life’s truths stream though the filter of (every) author’s unavoidable sins of omission. You will learn what you want to from the book, and therein lies the "danger" in my recommendation.

Full disclosure: I vicariously got something out of my system, learned about the human being, and myself. It validated many concepts I have about friendship, group dynamics, and honesty. It also serves as a warning about the evils of backbiting and gossip, misogyny, and coveting. It has, in its way, said the same thing as such classic Jewish works as Mesilat Yesharim and Orhot Tzadikim (though they say much more as well), and modern day "classics" like Magic Touch and the entire Gila Manolson oeuvre. It complements Wendy Shalit's "Modesty" nicely. I am not a fan or groupie: I am engaged to a woman who has trebled the joy and light in my life, and opened up new worlds to me, my teacher, my student – so I am not a consumer of this. And the only habit I have adopted since reading the book is to smile whenever I walk into a room of people I don't know. Though perhaps, that is life-changing enough... ...more
1

Aug 20, 2007

Although well-written, this book is appalling and sad. Ultimately this peek into "the secret society of pickup artists" is not as enlightening as the cover art, book jacket and title would like us to think. And I can't help but feel a writerly disappointment in Neil Strauss for having embraced something that brazenly revels in its own misogyny.

Don't be fooled; Mystery--who is a solid example of what happens when one is deprived of validation as a child-- tries to spin his technique as a means to Although well-written, this book is appalling and sad. Ultimately this peek into "the secret society of pickup artists" is not as enlightening as the cover art, book jacket and title would like us to think. And I can't help but feel a writerly disappointment in Neil Strauss for having embraced something that brazenly revels in its own misogyny.

Don't be fooled; Mystery--who is a solid example of what happens when one is deprived of validation as a child-- tries to spin his technique as a means to understanding women. It isn't. It's about programming, memorization and regurgitation. There is nothing genuine about any of it, no emotion attached.

Scores of men are knowingly--and happily--being programmed to objectify, demoralize and dehumanize women in an effort to build their own self-confidence. I think it's important for both men and women to have self-confidence. But even at this point in the 21st century, why must one gender STILL be torn down in order for the other to feel confident? Aren't there more emotionally and socially constructive ways to build a sense of self-worth?

But then again...who are the women who so willingly fall for and buy into the lines, the bullshit and the false confidence, time and time again? That is an important point that is sadly overlooked. ...more
2

Apr 06, 2008

I spent the first 100 pages utterly confused. Was the point of The Game to meet lots of girls, get a girlfriend, or just have lots of sex? One wannabe-PUA crows about losing his virginity - it's a horrible, painful experience which he can't wait to end. But afterwards, he says that he's excited because this will take the pressure off, and allow him to approach more women, presumably to have even more painful, awful sex with women he doesn't like.

After a few hundred pages I realised that The Game I spent the first 100 pages utterly confused. Was the point of The Game to meet lots of girls, get a girlfriend, or just have lots of sex? One wannabe-PUA crows about losing his virginity - it's a horrible, painful experience which he can't wait to end. But afterwards, he says that he's excited because this will take the pressure off, and allow him to approach more women, presumably to have even more painful, awful sex with women he doesn't like.

After a few hundred pages I realised that The Game isn't about sex, or getting a girlfriend, or falling in love. It's just about showing off in front of other men. They're collecting women, but it could just as easily be fast cars, or the high score on Zelda, or bear carcasses. PUAs go out, recite their lines, get phone numbers or a 'kiss close' (a girl kisses you, then leaves), then go home to type up their conquests on PUA message-boards. They could just make the whole experience up, and they would have the same response. Strauss himself realises that "it was really shared emotions and experience that creates relationships, not seven hours of [PUA] routines followed by two hours of sex".

I learned a few rules of succeeding in The Game:
1. Don't care about women. That way, if they knock you back, it doesn't matter. They're just numbers to you, so anything hurtful they say or do is irrelevant.
2. Get used to rejection. One wannabe-PUA spent a weekend trying to chat up exactly 100 women - and "even managed to get a few phone numbers". If 3-5 women gave him their numbers, that means that 95 didn't. It takes unshakable self-esteem to be rejected 95% of the time and still push on.
3. As soon as you can, puff up your chest and crow about your successes to any other PUA who will listen.

The most disturbing part of the book - hypnosis - is mentioned, but never explored. Strauss mentions a PUA who "approached the girl...and within thirty seconds she was passed out in [his] arms". This is never mentioned again in the book, but is the most sinister aspect, crossing the line from harmless pickup routines into nonconsensual sex.

Excluding that aspect, I do feel the need to defend The Game. It's just a series of behaviours and word patters, and women don't just 'fall for it'. We can be dumb sometimes, but we're not that dumb. As the book says, women want sex just like men do, they "just don't want to be pressured, lied to, or made to feel like a slut". If a woman wants to go home with a guy, she will. If she doesn't want to, she won't. Is there really any harm in a guy trotting out some bullshit lines, just to get a girl to notice him? These men are sad, lonely, and socially inept. They need all the help they can get.

As I'm sure you can guess, in the book I discovered, word-for-word, a routine that was used on me a few months ago. I met a guy in a club, he started reciting all the lines. We talked for a while, and when he asked for my number I reminded him that I had a boyfriend - to which he said that he just wanted my number so we could continue our conversation about Wuthering Heights (you at the back, please stop laughing at my gullibility). He seemed pretty harmless - I certainly wasn't going to sleep with him, but new friends are always good - so I gave him my number. He texted a few times, then started to mention sex, at which point I told him to please go away, then deleted his number.

At the time, I figured that he hadn't got anything out of this interaction. I clearly wasn't interested in him, and we never met up again. Yet, in terms of The Game, he won. He left with a girl's number - a girl with a boyfriend, no less. He could have gone home and bragged online about the pocketful of phone numbers he got, even if they wouldn't have got him any closer to sex or a girlfriend. He could have had approval from other men, and that is the whole point of The Game. ...more
4

Mar 27, 2013

I'll start with the Cliff Notes for those of you who don't like long reviews: This book would be five stars if it was about 200 pages shorter. And if you're one of those people who takes things way too literal, confuses the opinions and attitudes of the subject for the opinions and attitudes of the author, or needs every report of observed misogyny to be prefaced with twelve paragraphs of either apology or condemnation ... this is probably not the book for you.

At the same time this book makes a I'll start with the Cliff Notes for those of you who don't like long reviews: This book would be five stars if it was about 200 pages shorter. And if you're one of those people who takes things way too literal, confuses the opinions and attitudes of the subject for the opinions and attitudes of the author, or needs every report of observed misogyny to be prefaced with twelve paragraphs of either apology or condemnation ... this is probably not the book for you.

At the same time this book makes a rather revolutionary suggestion that I think more women NEED to open their minds to. But that's not the way things go with this one ... people get too distracted by the bombast. They either eagerly attach themselves to the promise of some secret seduction technique, or they become blinded by their offense.

It's true, there are a lot of offensive things in this book. But that seems to be par for the course with social commentary nowadays. If no one is pissed off, no one is listening.

My first exposure to this book was Arden Leigh's column on being a female pickup artist (here after PUA). I was fascinated by the idea, but like most I didn't really believe her claims. She looked perfectly pretty to me. Doubtful her "technique" played that much of a significant role in her seduction success. Probably more like a combination of actual attractiveness and good old fashioned confidence.

Then a female friend described this book as "amazing" and "life-changing" and I thought "waaaaaaaatt?" O.o Especially since this friend is normally all positive energy, self love, visualization/actualization bullshit. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

I was intrigued, and within twenty pages I understood EXACTLY why she loved it.

Let me clear something up for the rest of you: THIS IS NOT A BOOK ABOUT HOW TO SLEEP WITH WOMEN.

This is a book that tries to trick you into thinking that it's about having sex with the hottest girls possible, because that is way more marketable than the actual content (especially to a male audience). But that is not what this book is about. The amount of actual advice on how to pick up women is tiny ... barely 5% I'd say.

This is a memoir -slash- cautionary tale about the dangers of living your life constantly seeking validation from others. The various PUA artists in this book are all depicted as sad, pathetic, self-loathing, mentally unstable people who truly believe that being desirable to others will make them like themselves more. But from chapter one Strauss makes it clear that doesn't happen. They get everything they think they want and end up more miserable for it.

The problem is this book is too fucking long. I half suspect that most of the people (both women and men) who talk about it in terms of its seduction secrets did not read it to the end. Add to this the fact that Strauss is trying to stay in character as he narrates his journey from True Believer to Disillusioned Master and the profound brilliance of The Game barely has a chance. There are plenty of hints dropped throughout the book about Strauss's eventual enlightenment, but some people have no mind for subtly I guess.

Anywayz...

--PART ONE--
The first chunk of The Game tosses out a pretty mindblowing concept for would be Gamers to consider:

Attraction is not physical, but psychological.

Part of what annoys me about the so-called "feminist" reaction to this book is that there's a multi-billion dollar industry built around convincing women of the exact opposite and humiliating anyone who dares to call bullshit. An industry that makes the bulk of its money by inventing flaws and imperfections to make women feel horrible about themselves. And yet the best we can come up with to combat it are fairytales about "different standards of beauty"? These feminists act like liberation from the image-obsessed media is all about accepting your lot in life and just waiting for a partner whose standard of beauty happens to fit your look to come along. They accept the underlying notion that some people are "pretty" and some are not ... and try to use relativity as a weak defense.

The big problem with this thinking is that people are not static. Looks change over time. If the answer was to rely on the off chance someone somewhere thinks you are beautiful exactly the way you are ... what happens when you no longer look the way you used to?

By contrast Mystery's Method claims attraction has more to do with how people feel around you than how you look. Mystery teaches his students about group think and instructs his pupils to focus on the friends of the hot girl, rather than the hot girl. People are strongly influenced by the opinion of the group. Anyone who's taken a basic organizational behavior class has read the mounds of research on this. When your target sees everyone around her acting like you are amusing and desirable, she will be more attracted to you.

People become much more susceptible to that suggestion when they themselves feel insecure. So the second thing Mystery teaches his students is the "neg". Probably the most controversial part of the book, the neg is basically just a back handed compliment. It's teasing, innocent, and delivered in a flirtatious manner. It's this disconnect between the words (which sound like a criticism) and the way they are delivered (which sounds positive) that makes people second guess themselves. And the suggestion that maybe the PUA isn't interested in the target makes the target more likely to convince themselves of an attraction. The group desires something apparently unattainable ... a recipe for attraction.

Of course some readers seem to have interpreted the passages about negs to mean "act like a fucking jerk" That's not at all what Strauss is describing.

Most of The Game's secrets resonated with me because I've been there. When I was twenty-two my life fell apart and I moved to the Czech Republic to escape my demons. My first week there I fell for a stocky, thirty-six year old statistician with a bowl cut and coke bottle thick glasses (Revenge of the Nerds all the way). I knew objectively speaking this man was in no way attractive, but I couldn't help myself. I had the biggest crush.

I was also in a strange country where I didn't speak the language. I had no idea where I was going to live, whether I could get a job. I knew NO ONE. And here was this guy who was knowledgeable about something interesting to me and talked to me like I was SMART. Of course I was smitten.

At the same time two of my American roommates were fighting over a balding, short, bespeckled geologist who smoked way too much pot and had abandoned his pregnant girlfriend back in the states to run off to Prague ... So yes, it's not that people have "different standards of beauty", it's that attraction is psychological.

Now take a minute to consider what that means: you can be with any person you want. Right now. Absolutely anyone. The determining factor is not perfecting your physical form, but making them feel a certain way around you. They won't suddenly think you're beautiful, they will suddenly not care that you aren't. Consider that unlike your physical appearance, your personality and social skills don't change.

Every girl in America should read this book.

--PART TWO--
This is where the book suffers. Strauss moves from discussion of technique to long rambling conquest stories with backgrounds of various PUA mixed in. Although the PUAs become important later, at least half of these could have been cut.

--PART THREE--
The last part of the book is probably the most important. Prior to this Strauss has tried to maintain the voice and perspective of someone who believes he has discovered the secrets of the universe. There is the occasional remark that alludes to problems with the PUA lifestyle (many of his ... err colleagues? have no other interests or pursuits, Strauss finds that while he has no problem picking up women he has become sort of the jerk to his friends, the community's resentment of women alarms him, etc, etc, etc) but the narrative quickly jerks back.

Until Strauss's mentor begins to self-destruct. At this point Strauss realizes that most of his students haven't gained anything by being PUAs, they've actually lost a lot. Even though they win the women they want, they only wanted those women in the first place because they were trying to impress others. Instead of seducing the crowd to win the girl, they are trying to win the girl to seduce the crowd. Instead of surrounding themselves with awesome people who make them happy, they inevitably surround themselves with people who they think will make them look attractive and successful to others but ultimately do not like. This soulless existence only increases their underlying self hate.

Strauss's ultimate point is that the reality of the PUA is giving up all the pleasures of ACTUAL LIFE for the endless quest of validation from some outside source. The tragedy being that as soon as the PUA gets to know the person providing the validation, once they become a human being with their own flaws and insecurities, they're approval is no longer valuable. And so the cycle continues until everyone is miserable. ...more
2

Nov 29, 2012

Know thy enemy.

One extra star for pure entertainment value, especially the very first scene where 'the hero' of the book, Mystery, lies curled up crying on the floor of the communal pickup mansion dressed in the bathrobe previously belonging to his stripper ex-girlfriend.

Apparently he misses her, like a lot, which is quite sweet I suppose.

That is for a man who reinvented himself from a living-in-his-parents-basement type of guy, to the cons-insecure-wannabe-starlets-in-LA type of guy.

And Know thy enemy.

One extra star for pure entertainment value, especially the very first scene where 'the hero' of the book, Mystery, lies curled up crying on the floor of the communal pickup mansion dressed in the bathrobe previously belonging to his stripper ex-girlfriend.

Apparently he misses her, like a lot, which is quite sweet I suppose.

That is for a man who reinvented himself from a living-in-his-parents-basement type of guy, to the cons-insecure-wannabe-starlets-in-LA type of guy.

And thereby invented the trend of men wearing ugly hats.
And ugly jewlery.
And doing 'negging'.
And who destroyed magic for me.
And briefly dating.

Actually strike what I said earlier: I think I just enjoyed to read about him crying.

----

Ok, some background on me reading this book. You know how there's always the shy, but kind of nice, guy in every group of men? Me and my friends knew two of those in two separate groups of guy friends during high-school. The funny thing was that they were so similar to us, despite their groups being very different, that we thought they might've been twins. Both were tall, thin (which they tried to hide with ill fitting clothes) and with blonde badly cut hair. Both of them were as I said quite shy, and were both hoping to have future careers within computer sciences of some sort. One of them once arrived at one of our parties to cry on a couch during the rest of the evening. He had just reached the profound realisation that he was never getting laid. One of my girl friends force fed him ice-cream in an effort to make him feel better.

So I understand the frustration of teenage boys not getting laid. Hell, I understand the frustration of teenage girls not getting laid. I've been there. (Though women might get more 'offers', this does not mean we get to have all that many opportunities to have sex with some one who's not drunk of their ass and/or are being rude to us at the same time as they offer sex.)

Then on the other hand you have the other of my blonde geeky high school friends, let's call him Mike. Mike was always one of the most talkative ones in his group of friends. He was friendly and easy to get along with, although shy around girls he didn't know. Then suddenly at one party he started to become really snappy. He'd criticize all the female attendants clothing and most of what they said. We asked him what the hell he was doing and it turned out that he had just read this book... It turned out to be 'The Game naturally. We asked him to please stop and go back to being, you know, a normal polite human being. He insisted on keeping up with the book, and although his clothing and hair style went from bad to worse, he did eventually get laid. (Though he never seemed too happy about it. She wasn't hot enough or something.)

This was my first exposure to The Game.

Years later I met this other quite shy but friendly guy who due to certain circumstances, such as the number of people left in that town during summer being low, I ended up spending some time hanging out with. Physically he was the absolute opposite of those earlier male friends, but this guy had constant diet and self-improvement plans going on so it shouldn't have come as a surprise when he drunkenly confessed to having read The Game after I had previously made fun of the book at a book shop. He even confessed to trying to use the techniques in the book on me. This was when I decided to read this book, in pure self-defense. And I found it a great read. In fact the rest of that summer I wouldn't shut up about it. I felt it was my personal calling to tell all of my girl friends about it so that they wouldn't fall for any of the tricks. In fact I even managed to detect this awful 'are the two of you best friends?' routine this one guy tried to pull at a club that summer.

So is my rating of two stars really fair? After all I did found it funny, fascinating and it made for a great conversation piece.

However as I said in the shorter version of my review, it also brought so much pain and suffering into this world. Neil Strauss might be the sane straight man in the story, the one who points out all the follies in the system and who eventually gets out and gets a 'happy ending' (i.e. he gets a real girlfriend), but obviously he didn't make a good enough job of showing all of the pitfalls. I say obviously because I keep meeting these men who just didn't get it. Who buy into the negging and peacocking, but engage in no genuine self-improvement (I'm not talking about them buying more self-improvement books here, I mean coming to peace with one self). This might not have been Strauss' intent, but his description of how he went from sexless nerd to sex stud, sure did not help. The reaction I've mostly seen are men who are really stressed about all of this sex they should be having, they start blaming everything from their job (which can often be quite well paying,) to that one pound too much/too little, to girls just being mean.

I think it's that last aspect that disturbs me the most. That the book implies that men and women are really all that different. I mean I read The Selfish Gene (which I think sadly is on Mystery's recommended reading list), and that is not the message I took away from that at all. Sure some biological differences might mean we have different pros and cons in 'the game', but ultimately we all want the same thing: to be loved (and to have sex/procreate).

And that's why this book is sad on so many levels, it makes women out to be this exotic species to be studied from afar. It also makes it so that there are no cultural differences. Instead Strauss claims that since their strategies worked both all over LA and once in Bulgaria (or was it Romania?) it is a universal success. Oh, and it's not only the wanna be actresses women you meet in the night clubs in LA, actually one of the women in the Eastern European country they were in, she was a doctor of some sorts, and she liked them, so boom - it works on all smart women as well!

I could go on and on, but I'd like to end this review by issuing a warning for all potential readers:

- DO read this book as an anthropological study of LA and how far women and men have come from each other in some sub-cultures
- DO NOT read this book as a instruction manual
- IF you do want better sucess with the opposite sex, you already know what to do: smile, have interests that not only involves your own sex, and don't panic (panic makes you smell gross...)
(Or possibly read The Art of Love, it seems like fun) ...more
4

Nov 12, 2012

Actually, Profound Applied Psychology of Mating Rituals

“That’s a very sexist way to talk abou’ dees bitches!"
S. B. Cohen a/k/a Da Ali G.

This is a fascinating trip to vicarious realization of Eros' dreams of shy guys--e.g., the younger me-- and geeks everywhere. Yet, a journey that--as one might suspect--comes to the author's recognition of the emptiness of sexual prolificity.

I concede this isn't one most of my friends will read. Because I don't want anyone reading this to get the idea I'm Actually, Profound Applied Psychology of Mating Rituals

“That’s a very sexist way to talk abou’ dees bitches!"
S. B. Cohen a/k/a Da Ali G.

This is a fascinating trip to vicarious realization of Eros' dreams of shy guys--e.g., the younger me-- and geeks everywhere. Yet, a journey that--as one might suspect--comes to the author's recognition of the emptiness of sexual prolificity.

I concede this isn't one most of my friends will read. Because I don't want anyone reading this to get the idea I'm chauvinistic, my fascination comes from being painfully shy growing up and lacking self-confidence to talk to girls/ladies. I'm a guy who fits every profile in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. I would drift off to sleep nights, praying for a cure. In fact, up until I was maybe 17, it was dreadful: I would clam up even around girls who pursued me.

Anyhow, Strauss, a reporter for Rolling Stone, decided he was tired of losing with the ladies so he signs up for some pickup artists' courses and infiltrates the pick-up society. As it turns out, these guys are far from the bores I pictured when I heard "pickup artist." Strauss takes the reader through a sort of odyssey in lessons on and applications of the pop psychology of mating, especially focused on single hetero females, as he quickly learns how to meet and date women.

When I look back on those long ago days of a quarter century ago when I was single, I would have given anything to know the secrets of "Mystery" and his "Method." Just one of many examples (giving this from memory on a book I read 5 years ago): even with all self-confidence in the world and "peacocking," one should never directly go after his target, he approaches her crowd and focuses on another girl, and then as soon as he gets a chance, he gives her what pickup guys call a "neg" to give her the idea he notices her, but isn't that interested, and puts her down a rung, but not too harsh to offend.

Apparently, this "negging" is a well-worn technique of initial primitive attraction, much more successful than not, if the man can maintain his confidence and her interest. Examples include: "Aww, that's cute, your nose wiggles when you laugh. Look! There it goes again!"
"I really dig those tall, hot heels. What are you, like 4'9" without 'em?"
"You’re really cute; you know that? Well, not like cute-cute, more like puppy-cute"
"I think I saw you here a few weeks ago. Were you wearing that same dress? It IS a nice dress."
"Wow. You really wrecked a moment! Your old boyfriends must have really hated that about you.”
"You blink a lot.")
This book also intrigued me because I was always wanting to know why some of you girls actually fall for such horseshit. It's all so demeaning to the female. Nonetheless, given my background, yes, it is true that I would find this all very fascinating, notwithstanding its lack of practical use to me now given my age and marital status.

Strauss becomes so proficient and successful that he became somewhat of a mythical figure in the pickup society. Given his appearance and comportment at the beginning--bald, a big honker, short--I seems quite astounding.

Alas tho, in the end, he came to a few self-revelations: “To win the game was to leave it.”

“In fact, every woman I met seemed disposable and replaceable. I was experiencing seducer's paradox: The better a seducer I became, the less I loved women. Success was no longer defined by getting laid or finding a girlfriend, but by how well I performed.”

“There is a downside to casual sex: Sometimes it stops being casual. People develop a desire for something more. And when one person's expectations don't match the other person's, then whoever holds the highest expectations suffers. There is no such thing as cheap sex. It always comes with a price.” ...more
1

Aug 22, 2012

I think The Game straddles the line between comedy and tragedy. If, as I truly would like to believe, Strauss is joking, then the book is a comic masterpiece. If the book is an attempt at non-fiction, then the number of devotees is nothing short of tragic.

Some of the recommended pick-up techniques are sinister. One involves discreetly undermining a woman's self-esteem by paying her a backhanded compliment in the hope that she will hang around to seek your approval!!?? Really?

Honestly, sinister I think The Game straddles the line between comedy and tragedy. If, as I truly would like to believe, Strauss is joking, then the book is a comic masterpiece. If the book is an attempt at non-fiction, then the number of devotees is nothing short of tragic.

Some of the recommended pick-up techniques are sinister. One involves discreetly undermining a woman's self-esteem by paying her a backhanded compliment in the hope that she will hang around to seek your approval!!?? Really?

Honestly, sinister soon gives way to pathetic in this book. The Game is really a book about the fragility of male ego and how it seeks refuge from the complexity of human relations in a puerile cult of sexual conquest.

I find it remarkable how Strauss races up the ranks of the pick-up fraternity even before he has procured so much as a snog from a lady. So bereft of charisma are most of the people who haunt the lothario chatrooms that anyone with a modicum of self-awareness and humour can take command.

It soon becomes clear that the approval PUA's get from other men is more intoxicating than the pleasure they get from sex.

Terrible...simply terrible.



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4

Mar 11, 2009

Impossible to put down. This is a fascinating tale of a guy with marginal skills with the ladies (despite fame), who sets out on a life changing mission to master picking up women. I dare you to try and not get hooked in the first few pages. The characters are philanderers, gigolos, wannabes, braggarts, and every dysfunctional category in between.

Their quest is obvious, and thrust in your face; to hook up with as many beautiful women as possible. Strauss becomes prolific at the social marketing Impossible to put down. This is a fascinating tale of a guy with marginal skills with the ladies (despite fame), who sets out on a life changing mission to master picking up women. I dare you to try and not get hooked in the first few pages. The characters are philanderers, gigolos, wannabes, braggarts, and every dysfunctional category in between.

Their quest is obvious, and thrust in your face; to hook up with as many beautiful women as possible. Strauss becomes prolific at the social marketing skill, and becomes addicted to his casanova killer abilities. But as is so often the case, the higher levels of his skill (seduction) lessens the inner drive and excitement he feels towards his conquest. The chase becomes not only boring, but a bit frightening. Not a spoiler here, but the author reflects. He ponders. He accidentally finds an inner moment observing from third person where his life has now taken him. He wonders if it is all he wants to become. He looks closer at his bizarre friends. All of them have major issues. Is this what he really wants?

Strauss has written several best sellers, as well as for Rolling Stone, and literally has no competition when it comes to spinning tales of this type.

For this genre, I recommend picking up the best three.
The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed
Written by the guru of the seduction community. His encyclopedia-like book reads like a PHD college course on seduction. It is the template for what Strauss uses in the Game. It lays out the techniques, terminology, and methodology for anyone to learn.

The other great one is The_Professional_Bachelor_Dating_Guide_How_to_Exploit_Her_Inner_Psycho.
This is a devious sexual persuasion guide for hooking up, written by a psych doc who cruised the nightclubs with great success for a decade. It also contains an asset protection guide to set up pre-marriage to shield you from divorce.

Get these three, and get ready to laugh and learn. Really interesting books.
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3

Mar 27, 2009

There are some very valid reasons to skim through this controversial, pornographic, poorly written, and often obnoxious anthropological tour of the "seduction community," a network of men who use social psychology and hypnosis to pick up women. First, women should know that this exists and defend themselves accordingly -- if you don't want to wade through a whole book on the subject, here's a synopsis:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seductio...

It's fascinating and queasy at the same time.

The There are some very valid reasons to skim through this controversial, pornographic, poorly written, and often obnoxious anthropological tour of the "seduction community," a network of men who use social psychology and hypnosis to pick up women. First, women should know that this exists and defend themselves accordingly -- if you don't want to wade through a whole book on the subject, here's a synopsis:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seductio...

It's fascinating and queasy at the same time.

The second reason is that although this book got slammed by feminists, Strauss is actually a whole lot smarter and more thoughtful than he first appears on the surface. The book is a pseudo-memoir in the gonzo journalism style, mixing participant observation with tall tales about life in the meat market. Strauss is not a missionary for the movement, but instead charts his own relationship with the seduction community from skepticism to enthusiasm to ambivalence to rejection. I don't know how anyone could miss this, since the opening chapter is about a famous pickup artist's psychotic break and existential despair, and the book continuously circles around the underlying anxiety and loneliness that drives the pickup mentality. Compared to "Fear and Loathing," which does hilariously glorify drugs, sex, and mayhem, Strauss's gonzo style is more critical and distanced. Here is how he ends the book: "And though I've learned everything there is is about attraction, seduction, and courtship in the past two years, I learned nothing about maintaining a healthy relationship. Being together has required a lot more time and work than learning to pick up women ever did, but it has brought me far greater satisfaction and joy. Perhaps that's because it is not a game."

The third reason is that if you factor out all the misogyny and silliness (a tall order, I know), then there is actually a surprising amount of good advice in here -- advice I myself would give, albeit within a different philosophical and ethical framework, to any guy who was currently lonely, bored, desperate for human contact, and terrified of talking to women -- and sadly there's a whole lot of people like that in our society, people paralyzed with anxiety and anomie wasting their lives in social and emotional vacuums. Sometimes it takes some baby steps to break out of a disabling mental box, and Strauss charts how sex can sometimes function as a psychic icebreaker to get somebody who is stuck moving forward towards real life. The sex drive is powerful enough to motivate someone who has dug themselves into a deep and alienating silo to climb out of it, and that motivation, under the right circumstances, can help break them out of dysfunctional patterns that are not working. For example, my favorite part of the book comes early on: Strauss has just signed up for a "workshop" with a pickup artist, who is bringing him and some other shy and geeky guys to night clubs and teaching them how to pick up women. Another guy in the same workshop is 26 and never even kissed a girl before. He is so shy that he cannot use a urinal, because peeing in front of other guys terrifies him. A few weeks later, he excitedly shares, "I can pee beside people now! It's all about confidence. So the stuff I learned in the workshop isn't just for chicks after all...it's for pissing too!"

So to summarize the good advice that is threaded through the book: if you are miserable, try changing. Just because you've always done something a certain way doesn't mean you are eternally doomed to repeat it, people can change and grow and learn. The self is flexible. Social skills, like any skills, can be learned, studied, and honed. It's better to take a risk and throw yourself out there than to waste your life accruing bitter regrets. The only way to learn new skills is to be willing to experiment and fail and sometimes look foolish, but if you stick with it and pay attention and get good advice and mentoring, you will get better at it eventually and be glad that you had the patience and balls to move out of your crippling little box. Our society is filled with women and men who are lonely and bored and stuck and who want desperately to connect and live and have fun but don't know how to get there. The sad thing about the book is that it documents the tragic lack of vision in people who settle for the shallow, canned interactions of casual sex rather than taking a real risk with full, authentic relationships.

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3

Mar 22, 2009

I learned that I am what, in pick up artist ("PUA") parlance, is called a "natural." I've never had problems meeting women. So I didn't pick this book up for its instructional content. Rather, I was intrigued into reading this book by curiosity. I wanted to see how my life experience stacked up with my preconceived notion of a true PUA. I envisioned a PUA as being a highly confident, suave, cool operator that women swoon over without being able to control themselves. I learned that my concept of I learned that I am what, in pick up artist ("PUA") parlance, is called a "natural." I've never had problems meeting women. So I didn't pick this book up for its instructional content. Rather, I was intrigued into reading this book by curiosity. I wanted to see how my life experience stacked up with my preconceived notion of a true PUA. I envisioned a PUA as being a highly confident, suave, cool operator that women swoon over without being able to control themselves. I learned that my concept of what the PUA is, prior to reading this book, was wrong. In fact, PUAs are very insecure, needy, but intelligent people that have figured out how to give off the illusion of being confident and interesting, to trick (or some may say "persuade") women into casual, short-term and primarily physical relationships. Yet, they long for the long-term relationships, built on emotional connections, that us "naturals" seek and often maintain, but have mistakenly chosen what they perceive to be the best path to get there- i.e., picking up many women constantly. I'll cease any further substantive review because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone interested in picking it up (pun intended).

But I will add two more comments:

First, viewed in a general sense, the concepts discussed in this book within the context of meeting and successfully "closing" women, can be applied to all other aspects of life. I plan to incorporate them into my practice and use some of them to "pick up" new clients and negotiate and close business deals. Many of the concepts in Strauss' book were restatements of concepts I found in marketing and persuasive psychology books I've read.

Second, the writing is good and it flows well despite Strauss' style of doing the little things that writing instructors and agents caution against- for instance, his frequent use of descriptors that end in "ingly," and switching tenses too often in the same chapter. Some writers can pull this off and still give you a good read. Strauss is one of those writers. It's a page turner.






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1

Oct 14, 2017

Read this almost ten years ago and was appalled that there is a community of PUAs (Pick-Up-Artists) that go around doing all of this just to get laid. So I read the book so I can be aware of these sleaze bags and their methods. Unsurprisingly some guys have used these methods on me and obviously I knew what they were doing so it wouldn’t work. For example, Active Disinterest is where they’ll pay attention to your friend (that’s with you) instead of on the person of interest. They actually think Read this almost ten years ago and was appalled that there is a community of PUAs (Pick-Up-Artists) that go around doing all of this just to get laid. So I read the book so I can be aware of these sleaze bags and their methods. Unsurprisingly some guys have used these methods on me and obviously I knew what they were doing so it wouldn’t work. For example, Active Disinterest is where they’ll pay attention to your friend (that’s with you) instead of on the person of interest. They actually think if they ignore her, she’ll get offended because she’s not receiving the attention she usually gets thus resulting in her talking to the guy first. Such utter BS! This is why men dehumanize women. Use women as objects, make them their property. Add another notch to their belt and brag to their buddies about how many women they have bedded. A whole community of disgusting advice like this exists. Wish more women read this disgusting book so they can be more aware of what type of predator these men can be. ...more
1

Mar 05, 2012

I don't usually say I've read a book when I haven't finished it. But I simply can't read the second half of this book without losing little parts of my soul on every page, and I damn well want recognition for those parts of my soul I have already lost. So here I am, reviewing a book I haven't really read.
Let's start with something important - Neil Strauss is a very talented writer, His style is not only engaging but often even literary, and I didn't just enjoy turning pages quickly but was quite I don't usually say I've read a book when I haven't finished it. But I simply can't read the second half of this book without losing little parts of my soul on every page, and I damn well want recognition for those parts of my soul I have already lost. So here I am, reviewing a book I haven't really read.
Let's start with something important - Neil Strauss is a very talented writer, His style is not only engaging but often even literary, and I didn't just enjoy turning pages quickly but was quite comfortable in the warm bath of his prose.
So full points for style (no pun intended). It's the content that stinks. you see, fundamentally, Neill Strauss is a big nerd. The kind that is scared of women - and we all know fear breeds contempt, misunderstanding, and misrepresentation. He admits his nerdery freely, but what he seems to have missed in the detail of this horrifically graphic, autobiographical book of sexual exploration and psychological navel gazing, is that pick-up does not transform him. While he is swept up in a world that gives him magical powers to overcome his own shortcomings (again, no pun intended), he doesn't understand that the essential problem in his sex life is that he doesn't see it as social life - in other words, he still sees women as objects, not people. 'Style' is just Neill Strauss in a cowboy hat, with a poorly-written script and a hard-on.
Style still doesn't understand women because he has failed to identify with them. If this is a book about freeing your sexuality, it is also a book about stifling your humanity. It is about using your words to manipulate, and using sex to dominate. Without throwing a single punch, it is fundamentally violent. It claims to be about demystifying women, but really it is about stripping them of all reality and moulding them into what some men would rather they were - mindless, obedient pliable, and constantly, overtly sexual.
There may have been some kind of redemption later in the book, but I could not wait around for it - too much had already been said. Too many stereotypes had been promoted and too many coded ways of undermining women had been let loose into the slimy gutters and the minds of readers.
I couldn't handle this book. It made me nauseous. Mr Strauss, please use your powers of writing for good next time.

Edit (2019): I wrote this 7 years ago; forgive me for being naive. I didn't know what an incel was, or that PUA culture was already the sewer of the internet. I now know this book is partly responsible for fuelling the rise of violent misogyny that normalised and formed the breeding ground for the resurgent far right. This book is garbage and if you have a copy, I recommend incinerating it. Zero stars. ...more
4

Oct 30, 2008

Oh wow, hard to say if I'm horrified or fascinated or what. I guess some of both. Good thing I'm reading this for book club cuz I can't wait to discuss. I can't believe this is for real. And then what I'm wondering is, what are girls supposed to do? Just sit there and look pretty? Hmm. But here's some quotes I liked:

"In life, people tend to wait for good things to come to them. And by waiting, they miss out. Usually, what you wish for doesn't fall in your lap; it falls somewhere nearby, and you Oh wow, hard to say if I'm horrified or fascinated or what. I guess some of both. Good thing I'm reading this for book club cuz I can't wait to discuss. I can't believe this is for real. And then what I'm wondering is, what are girls supposed to do? Just sit there and look pretty? Hmm. But here's some quotes I liked:

"In life, people tend to wait for good things to come to them. And by waiting, they miss out. Usually, what you wish for doesn't fall in your lap; it falls somewhere nearby, and you have to recognize it, stand up, and put in the time and work it takes to get it. This isn't because the universe is cruel. It's because the universe is smart. It has its own cat-string theory and knows we don't appreciate things that fall into our laps." (p 114)

"We have the idea that love is supposed to last forever. But love isn't like that. It's a free-flowing energy that comes and goes when it pleases. Sometimes it stays for life; other times it stays for a second, a day, a month, or a year. So don't fear love when it comes simply because it makes you vulnerable. But don't be surprised when it leaves, either. Just be glad you had the opportunity to experience it." (p 193)

"And building a lifestyle is cumulative. Everything you do counts and brings you closer to your goal. The right lifestyle is something that is worn, not discussed." (p 252) ...more
5

Nov 08, 2015

One of the best things about looking through the 'Giveaways' on Goodreads is discovering new
books coming out soon by authors you have read.

Neil Strauss will release his new book called "The Truth" "An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships" ....sometime soon. (hope to win it through the give-a-ways -hint-hint)


About THIS book:
It was a gift...from a successful Jewish Male friend who lived in S.F. who knew Neil Strauss. (Funny gift, I know)... But I enjoyed it more than I thought...I enjoyed it One of the best things about looking through the 'Giveaways' on Goodreads is discovering new
books coming out soon by authors you have read.

Neil Strauss will release his new book called "The Truth" "An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships" ....sometime soon. (hope to win it through the give-a-ways -hint-hint)


About THIS book:
It was a gift...from a successful Jewish Male friend who lived in S.F. who knew Neil Strauss. (Funny gift, I know)... But I enjoyed it more than I thought...I enjoyed it tons and tons more than I thought!

Strauss was very frank about his 'logical' methods: "Teaching men how to be more confident in 'picking up women'."
As a woman --I had to admit --I felt many of his techniques -(as much as I might have wanted to avoid them -already married at the time anyway), --were 'spot on'!

The best part of the book (all kidding aside) --was the science behind behind the techniques, and his personal 'real' life stories.

The book felt truthful -(scary to a face this truth at times), It was nice to discover I didn't think Neil Stauss was a asshole. I saw his heart!
Most, the book was very entertaining!



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Nov 06, 2013

I don't get this book. It's pathetic, the book, the men in it and their cult. What a bunch of losers. It's mind boggling that this book was once on NYT best sellers list. Why? I heard it being mentioned on Invasion of Privacy podcast and taught that it will be an interesting read. I was expecting to be thrown in into a secret society of men who decided to share their secrets on picking up women. What I got was a pile of bullshit on a pile of crap on a pile of whatthegoddamnfuck. I refuse to I don't get this book. It's pathetic, the book, the men in it and their cult. What a bunch of losers. It's mind boggling that this book was once on NYT best sellers list. Why? I heard it being mentioned on Invasion of Privacy podcast and taught that it will be an interesting read. I was expecting to be thrown in into a secret society of men who decided to share their secrets on picking up women. What I got was a pile of bullshit on a pile of crap on a pile of whatthegoddamnfuck. I refuse to believe that events in the book really happend in real life. Author is either full of it or world is over populated with women with tons of daddy issues, who would cut off their right tit for a side glance from a low life idiot.

Their tactics and pick up lines were beyond stupid. The secret to picking up a woman - never show her you are interested right away, start with an insult first, about her character, the way she looks. You should ignore a woman at first, talk to her friend in stead. If she does comment on something you said, smirk and say that it's cute the way her nose wiggles when she laughs, get her friends to notice too and get them laughing too. Then show her a magic trick. I don't know who to be mad at, these men in the book, or women who fell for this idiocity. If a dude would say something like that to me, I would give him such a nasty stare down that his skin would start itching.

I'm not exaggerating, that's the big secret. Fake piercings are a must. Make shit up about your life, never show your true self.

The self proclaimed love gurus talk a big game, but when you read further, you learn that they are nothing more than dudes who's mommies didn't hugged them enough. In one chapter you read about a guy sleeping with tons of women, in the next, that he's living with his parents and his grown ass sibling who's married and living at home too. He talks about mind blowing threesomes and I wonder how he managed to sneak women in without his parents raising an eyebrow. What do women think, when a guy tells a fancy ass story of how big of a big shot he is, then brings you to his parents home to have sex. Women in the book don't question that, they seem to fall head over heels for this nonsence. And they are talking about seducing a women of a high caliber. That is why I don't believe the events in the book. What smart, well educated, self confidant woman would fall for it? Because that is their priority target. According to these men, every one of them, because their lousy pick up lines are rock solid. Whatthegoddamnfuck?
And it's not just women in US who fall for this crap, the dudes are known worldwide, they travel from country to country picking up the best of the best of them. *cough*bullshit*couch*
They have these sky high expectations of women, yet have nothing to offer themselves.

Then there is the bullshit bit about the author climbing the latter of the pick up chain. He hasn't even got the chance to sniff a boob, yet his new buddies are in awe of his talents. I'm sure author wouldn't mind me calling him pathetic too, because his inner monologues hints towards him realizing how full of crap his new friends are. Then yet again, after DNFing this jewl, I read about the author and see a picture of him keeping the same makeover that the losers suggested. And then, what do you know, a picture with his wife, that could be his daughter, who is a model, not well know, but still, has the title. According to the author, this journey was suppose to be an educational. What did he learn? Nothing, if the info about him is anything to go by.

Just to clarify, I made it to 58%. I just couldn't take it anymore of the nonsense.
So those are the secrets to picking up women? Are you fucking kidding me? Losers like these existed since the beging of time. It's not a secret. Why was this book a bestseller? I'll never understand. ...more
4

Jun 03, 2015

People are likely to have strong feelings about this book, from disgust to bemusement to desperate interest on the part of the AFCs ("Average Frustrated Chumps") that Strauss talks so much about, after confessing to being one. However, it should be understood that this particular book is a memoir and an expose by a Rolling Stone journalist, not an actual pickup guide. While Strauss talks a lot about the "seduction techniques" he and his fellow PUAs (Pick-Up Artists) developed, this isn't a People are likely to have strong feelings about this book, from disgust to bemusement to desperate interest on the part of the AFCs ("Average Frustrated Chumps") that Strauss talks so much about, after confessing to being one. However, it should be understood that this particular book is a memoir and an expose by a Rolling Stone journalist, not an actual pickup guide. While Strauss talks a lot about the "seduction techniques" he and his fellow PUAs (Pick-Up Artists) developed, this isn't a self-help guide for teaching them. (If that is what you're looking for, Strauss still runs a company call "Stylelife Academy" which sells workshops and DVDs and coaching, etc.)

I listened to this book (narrated by the author himself) because of course I have heard of these "Pickup Artists" and while I have no interest in playing "the Game" or becoming the sort of person they describe, it's an interesting, fascinating, somewhat pathetic subculture, but it's also instructive. For example, feminists tend to react most strongly to PUAs and their philosophy, which tends to treat women as puzzles you have to unlock. Get the right combination of words and gestures and you score the poontang. It's obviously dehumanizing in its implications, and Strauss keeps going back and forth, admitting on the one hand that PUA lifestyle is dehumanizing and tends to lead to misogyny, but on the other hand, defending the poor involuntary celibates who are just looking for love and can't figure out why what they are doing isn't working.

The more interesting thing (and possibly infuriating, fascinating, or disturbing, depending on your POV) is that it's evident that these routines work. It's not mind control or a secret passcode that will get women to have sex with you, but Strauss and his PUAs really have figured out a series of approaches that can be executed in an almost algorithmic fashion, and which elicit desired responses (i.e., interest, arousal, disinhibition, etc.) The key to it is that they are playing a numbers game, which means getting over the natural aversion most people have to making countless approaches and being rebuffed the vast majority of times, and perhaps more importantly, they are looking for certain types of women and certain types of relationships. After spending a couple of years in this lifestyle, Strauss becomes weary of it because he and his posse are living like unwashed bachelors in a Hollywood mansion, with hot and cold running women, internecine catfights (male and female) over everything from relationships to money to household chores, and in the meantime, while PUAs do get laid a lot, very few of them wind up in fulfilling long-term relationships. Their original objective (getting a woman to bestow interest and affection and sex) has become an end in itself, and as Strauss describes it, the very process becomes addictive.

That said, listen to how he describes these techniques, and you can see that while most women will say "Oh, that would never work on me," in fact it does. I think what a lot of PUAs miss is that perfecting calculated psychological manipulation as an art and a science isn't gender specific - you could easily develop similar techniques to work on men, or for application outside the domain of romance.

Anyway, Strauss starts out his career as a PUA by attaching himself to a MPUA (Master Pick-Up Artist) named Mystery.

Mystery (who teaches the Mystery Method) looks like this:



PUAs call this "Peacocking." Yes, they deliberately dress flamboyantly and outrageously, in a way no real person would dress when not cruising for chicks on the Sunset Strip. (Keep in mind that these guys, in the book, are mostly operating in Hollywood. You can do this in LA or Vegas or NYC - I suspect they wouldn't advise you to "peacock" in quite the same way if you are trying some Game at your church social in Boise.)

Mystery, it turns out, is a mess, and that's true of pretty much all the PUAs. None of them start out as "alpha males," which is why they do so much posturing to convince everyone they are one. Most of them are really sad, damaged little boys. This shows itself over and over again as no matter how much Mystery and Strauss score, inside they are still the same old insecure, needy guys seeking female approval that they always were.

Strauss's account of life in the PUA community makes it easy to see how they'd attract a certain sort of person, and yet it doesn't seem to lead anywhere but emptiness. But there is more to them than desperate guys trying to get laid. Strauss manages to use his "Game" even on celebrities. In the presence of Tom Cruise, he sees a true alpha male; Cruise may be a Scientologist wacko, but he's also a genuinely charismatic and forceful personality. Strauss ends up sharing a house with Courtney Love for weeks, dates one of her band members, and during an interview with a very bored and uncooperative Britney Spears, uses his PUA techniques to turn it around and have Britney eating out of the palm of his hand.

It's also funny when he talks about the splintering and franchising of PUA "Projects," particularly towards the end, as Strauss goes cruising Hollywood bars and finds all the women reacting with bored amusement to his lines, which have now been disseminated so thoroughly that everyone has heard them.

This book isn't going to help you with your love life, but it's a fascinating look at psychology and a subculture that seems most fit for reality TV shows. ...more
3

Jun 19, 2016

Rating this because of what it provided me based on my own reasons for reading (writing research.)

I've been reading a little about Cluster B personality disorders, and I think the rules and attitudes outlined in this book relate a lot to that. The pithy arguments in favour of the lifestyle it promotes (effectively including "Some of these dweebs would've shot up their schools if I hadn't helped them lose their virginity") sounded almost identical to those in favour of sociopaths from Confessions Rating this because of what it provided me based on my own reasons for reading (writing research.)

I've been reading a little about Cluster B personality disorders, and I think the rules and attitudes outlined in this book relate a lot to that. The pithy arguments in favour of the lifestyle it promotes (effectively including "Some of these dweebs would've shot up their schools if I hadn't helped them lose their virginity") sounded almost identical to those in favour of sociopaths from Confessions of a Sociopath, one of which was, "Sociopaths do a lot of good in their community because they are often high-ranking lawyers, CEOs etc." (Elsewhere in that book, without any sense of irony, the author points out that sociopaths don't care how they achieve their goals, only that they achieve them. By that logic, you can bet that better, non-sociopathic candidates should rightfully have the higher ranking jobs stolen from them by unscrupulous manipulators.) It's like, these men tried everything but changing their attitudes towards women. They went all out to do anything but that. (Do you think you can be contemptuous and compassionate at the same time?)

And there's all the kind of blanket statements you'd expect about everyone wanting this lifestyle, it's beneficial for both parties because women enjoy being wooed etc. This is sociopathic also, I feel: there is no distinction between genuine interest for the aim of real connection and feigned interest for the sake of ego-boosting.

But it didn't make me mad; it just made me sad. Sad for all the many lonely frustrated men who, as Strauss warns about/ does anyway, attach all their self-esteem to their abilities with the opposite sex. It's in the make-up of life that we often yearn for one thing that will make us feel whole forever- why doesn't such a thing exist? Can't we be docile and sated by something, at least for like a few weeks, even? Life is tough, man- but you're not gonna find the cure in there.

I'm not repelled by the text because I know fine well if I met a master manipulator, they probably could convince me to do just about anything. That's not a slight on my lack of character but something I think most people should admit would happen when they meet someone who has dedicated most of their time and mental energy towards the pursuit of exactly what they want, which is all they think about all the time. There's only one solution when it comes to people like that: feel sad for them at arm's fucking length. Because their manipulation often relies on you believing you're the special one who will teach them the error of their ways! It's just another layer of their shit sandwich. They'll work out what you value and use against you in a way that is so cynical, you'll wish you were never exposed to it. I've met horrible people but never sociopaths, but I imagine the experience is shocking, both that someone can live their life thinking so little of human interaction, that it's all a self-serving pleasure-based construct or whatever; and also because the attitude is near irrefutable.

I'm not surprised by what happened to Strauss afterwards, since, as I suspected when reading this, he is not in fact a sociopath- which is a shame, because otherwise he could have gained lifelong satisfaction from being a pickup artist- he was just a lonely guy whose greatest hollow seduction he performed on himself.

I will be interested to read his latest book also, but I don't think he should be surprised what a tough time he will have trying to reverse public opinion of him. Who could even quantify the damage this book has done? ...more
5

May 30, 2009

This book addicted me even before I owned it. I found it on the floor of a friend's house and devoured two chapters before I ran to Borders to get it for myself. Then I found myself staying up till all hours to finish it, taking notes, chatting with friends about it, and reading everything the author put out. And I'm a woman.

I didn't find it offensive, ridiculous, or prurient, I found it a nice tasty behavioral anthropological meal. At the same time, I didn't pity or laugh at the guys pictured This book addicted me even before I owned it. I found it on the floor of a friend's house and devoured two chapters before I ran to Borders to get it for myself. Then I found myself staying up till all hours to finish it, taking notes, chatting with friends about it, and reading everything the author put out. And I'm a woman.

I didn't find it offensive, ridiculous, or prurient, I found it a nice tasty behavioral anthropological meal. At the same time, I didn't pity or laugh at the guys pictured inside. Real social pressures were at play on everyone involved, and Strauss depicted all his subjects with brotherly affection. Even the women, who a lesser writer would have objectified completely, were treated with respect and fairness. He's honest about his feelings for them, or lack thereof.

It struck me a break-neck epic full of anti-heroes (and anti-heroines) all competing for love, sex, and glory, and I ate it up. ...more
5

July 15, 2014

I read then got an audio book. This is a goid read, interesting stories and colorful characters.
3

Apr 02, 2007

This was an easy and mindless train/tube read, but I had to keep the book flat on my lap to hide the title after I saw a few women rolling their eyes. Since I've moved to London I've noticed that I'm not the only one who likes to take a sneak peek at what others are reading and then give them a meaningful look.

So, here’s Neil Strauss’s story as he claims. He had written books and articles about rock stars and porn stars. He had access to a lot of backstage parties and glamorous Hollywood galas, This was an easy and mindless train/tube read, but I had to keep the book flat on my lap to hide the title after I saw a few women rolling their eyes. Since I've moved to London I've noticed that I'm not the only one who likes to take a sneak peek at what others are reading and then give them a meaningful look.

So, here’s Neil Strauss’s story as he claims. He had written books and articles about rock stars and porn stars. He had access to a lot of backstage parties and glamorous Hollywood galas, but he wasn’t getting any. He was just another AFC – average frustrated chump. (There are a lot of acronyms and pick-up lingo in this book. There’s a glossary for you at the end to refer to.) He signs up for various pick-up workshops and meets every PAU (pick-up artist). This not only immensely improves his situation with women, it propels him to the top of the pick-up society. You read about all these different pick-up schools, each with an egomaniac at the top, that operate like cults and compete for business and clients and demand loyalty.

The book is about the story of his involvement and then disillusionment with the pick-up community. It’s not a manual on to how to pick up women, even through there are lots of advice and sample field reports scattered throughout the book. Some of the advice is just the common sense things that you know it yourself and hear from everyone. Their more specialized techniques go something like this: In order to get women to stay with you and like you during the crucial first few minutes, approach them with a "peacocked" appearance and some eye-catching gadgets, games, and stories. Once past the initial phase, start applying an assortment of manipulative psychological mind games. They claim a lot of success with their techniques (not very credible, but easier to believe when they do their field tests on Sunset Strip). I found most of the repertoire of their opening lines and stories not just corny, but so asinine that if they work on any sizeable portion of the female population, I’ll be dipped, fried, and hot-damned (expression borrowed from David Foster Wallace). The part about the manipulative psychological mind games, however, is interesting (and useful).

Strauss is honest about the emptiness and loneliness that eventually come with this lifestyle. They're a bunch of closet nerds looking for self-validation, but they overdo it. Dehumanizing the opposite sex eventually turns into self-dehumanization. They start with the feeling that they’re the alpha males, but soon they realize that “sarging” is for losers. A real alpha male doesn’t run around after women, acting like a clown and reciting memorized routines. So they set out to do something big. They rent a mansion in Hollywood and start “Project Hollywood” to expand their business and become rich and famous. Herds of gullible students come and go. Women come and go too. Egos clash. Everything falls apart. Eventually, Strauss is broken down by a woman who beats him in his own game.

The story, even if true in its entirety, is not that entertaining. The writing is mediocre at best. Lots of dumb and irrelevant drivel about Tome Cruise and Paris Hilton and Brittney Spears and Courtney Love, just to self-aggrandize and blow this book to 500 pages.
...more
3

Apr 11, 2011

I hate this book. I hate myself for reading it. (I tried not to.) I hate Neil Strauss and I hate every idiotgirl who slept with him or gave him her number. It's true that I love to hate and that would be reason enough not to drop kick this book into the nearest dumpster. (Also, I got it from the library so that would be rude and I'd have to pay for it anyway.) But I actually enjoyed it, God help me. The author put an astronomical amount of time and energy into bamboozling people and dammit it I hate this book. I hate myself for reading it. (I tried not to.) I hate Neil Strauss and I hate every idiotgirl who slept with him or gave him her number. It's true that I love to hate and that would be reason enough not to drop kick this book into the nearest dumpster. (Also, I got it from the library so that would be rude and I'd have to pay for it anyway.) But I actually enjoyed it, God help me. The author put an astronomical amount of time and energy into bamboozling people and dammit it worked. He's a pathetic little man but he's actually kind of likable. Grrr!

I'm ashamed of the women who've fallen for all this pick-up artist bullshit and I'm ashamed of the men who wasted actual brain-power on learning how to do it. I don't want to believe that there are hundreds of thousands of men out there who want, more than anything else in life, to be able to nail chicks that are way too hot for them. What a pathetic life's ambition. How sad for society in general.

There has to be a way to end this. Prostitution should definitely be legal. Not just legal, but socially acceptable. Also, beautiful women need to be less stingy with the goods. Throw these social rejects a bone, so to speak. Their unchecked macking is a danger to us all.

Now please excuse me while I try to restore my faith in humanity by watching Remember the Titans, Return to Me*, and The Blindside.







*I know that one's not based on a true story but I like to pretend that it is. ...more
4

Dec 24, 2012

“If there was anything I'd learned, it's that the man never chooses the woman. All he can do is give her an opportunity to choose him.”

This is not a normal book read for me. I got it for my husband after he heard the author on the Howard Stern show. I will say that this is definitely a book geared for men but if you are an open minded female it is an interesting enough story that of one man’s journey from a total average boy next door struggling to get a date, into a super mac daddy to a man “If there was anything I'd learned, it's that the man never chooses the woman. All he can do is give her an opportunity to choose him.”

This is not a normal book read for me. I got it for my husband after he heard the author on the Howard Stern show. I will say that this is definitely a book geared for men but if you are an open minded female it is an interesting enough story that of one man’s journey from a total average boy next door struggling to get a date, into a super mac daddy to a man who learned what it meant to really connect with someone else.

The journey was full of interesting people and ideas. If you are a single male this is a great book to if nothing else get across that the more confident you are the more likely you are to attract someone of the opposite sex. Everyone knows that right, but it gives you some great ways to create an opening in a social situation. If you are creative you could probably take some ideas from this book and twist them up to your benefit.

There are some stories in the book including interactions with Scott Bayo and Tom Cruise that were incredibly interesting. The story of Mystery and the workshops he was running for men to learn how to seduce women were crazy and it was hard to believe that someone would walk around in complete peacock fashion but I’ve seen pictures since reading the book and it would seem that the portrayal him was pretty accurate. Mystery had a pretty up and down life, he was an interesting character in the book and reading about his highs and lows put an interesting spin on the story.

Guys If you might need a little extra help to figure out how to talk to girls, or what to read about someone else’s struggles and triumphs then this is probably a good start. It also has a list of books that you might want to check out on how to please a woman in bed…..just a suggestion, as well as other books on seduction if you are so inclined to delve deeper. I don’t think it will make you into a dating machine but it had some decent tips and a story is totally directed toward men.

Girls If you are single and part of the dating scene, I’d recommend reading this. Chances are some form of the game has been run on you at some point. I’m not saying to shoot down anyone that tries to run a scenario on you, but at least you would know ahead of time what you were getting into. This book might have saved me from a jerk or two back in my single days. I think that most girls will like where the story ends.


And the Moral of the story is.....

“Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything, whether it's a relationship, a business or a hobby.”
...more
1

Oct 28, 2013

The Game tells the story of a much-maligned subculture- one which sees keyboard warriors don feather boas, light-up tshirts, and platform shoes, while delivering corny lines, all in order to seduce a woman.

Meet Style, a journalist who goes undercover into the pick-up artist community, ending up so immersed in the subculture that it becomes his identity. He changes everything from his hairstyle to his walk and even his conversation, all just so he could get some action.

The funny thing is, I The Game tells the story of a much-maligned subculture- one which sees keyboard warriors don feather boas, light-up tshirts, and platform shoes, while delivering corny lines, all in order to seduce a woman.

Meet Style, a journalist who goes undercover into the pick-up artist community, ending up so immersed in the subculture that it becomes his identity. He changes everything from his hairstyle to his walk and even his conversation, all just so he could get some action.

The funny thing is, I know one or two people who have actually bought this book and even draw inspiration from it. Just yesterday a friend was seriously telling me that he learned how to talk to girls thanks to this book.

Sigh. Where to start?

OK, let me start with the most distasteful bit- negging. This basically takes advantage of the fact that even the most beautiful women can be insecure. The pick up artist subtly insults the girl (but not so much that she's repelled) and doesn't pay all that much attention to her until right before he 'closes.' This brings me to the second distasteful part- the lingo. Women are not women or even chicks, they're 'targets' and rated out of 10. The lines used to ensnare them are practised over and over again, until they become routine- so routine that sometimes the pick up artist can't even remember what he said.

Naturally these aren't exactly relationships built for the long term- the second these women attempt to get into a relationship, they discover that these so called smooth, suave men are just a bunch of whiney crybabies. And then most of them hotfoot it out of there while the heroes cry into the carpet,check themselves into mental institutions and wonder why they can't find wife material.

It was like a trainwreck. I was horrified and fascinated- enough to keep reading until the end of the book. So I suppose it has that going for it- it's reasonably fast-paced and readable (it better be, the guy's a writer).

Of course, this book was written in the early 2000s, when people had the spare time to spend thousands of dollars on workshops on how to talk to women.

The reason I gave it a low rating though is because people are still using it as a manual on how to talk to women. And that's a pretty frightening thought- because this messed up system actually works. Many of the kind of women these guys target have low self esteem and are easy pickings. The end result, even coming from a pick up artist himself, isn't pretty. Most of these girls are tossed aside like trash, easily forgotten or exchanged.

Not to mention that these guys willingly trade in any shred of personality to become a walking, talking automaton, just to get a girl.

UGH. Just ugh.

...more
3

Aug 05, 2008

This is a surprisingly good book that I would never have read if it hadn't been strongly recommended by a friend who was reading it and was totally fascinated by the gender politics. The author, Neil Strauss, has ghost written some celebrity memoirs, and writes for Rolling Stone and the New York Times. In other words, this man can write. The thing that makes this book so interesting is the author's running monologue about gender, specifically masculinity and the ways that boys and men are taught This is a surprisingly good book that I would never have read if it hadn't been strongly recommended by a friend who was reading it and was totally fascinated by the gender politics. The author, Neil Strauss, has ghost written some celebrity memoirs, and writes for Rolling Stone and the New York Times. In other words, this man can write. The thing that makes this book so interesting is the author's running monologue about gender, specifically masculinity and the ways that boys and men are taught to think about women. Some of it is disturbing - the constant rating of girls on a 10 point scale, the older men sleeping with 18 and 19 year olds, convincing them to have threesomes using the "tricks" the learned as pick-up artists, the endless descriptions of these guys having sex with women they don't care about, having relationships with women that they so clearly don't consider to be equals. And this is the most interesting part of the book: Neil Strauss eventually catches on to the fact that the pick up artist subculture that he is a part of is really a community of men. It is the men that share the emotional attachments, not the women they pick up. I have a lot more to say about this book, but this computer doesn't have a working enter key, turning this review into a huge block of text. In conclusion (for now): definitely worth reading as it's a very quick read, but I wouldn't buy it. ...more
3

May 25, 2007

For a book that targets (and caters very well to) young males, "The Game" truly belongs in the hands of a twenty-something cynic.
Parts of the story read like a self-help book, which was very funny in and of itself. But what I found to be interesting (on some level, perhaps) was that Strauss has taken his version of "rags-to-riches" and turned it into colorful, sexual, hopeful prose that reveals a protagonist traveling down a highway of mayhem to a destination of confusion. Fun. I imagine this is For a book that targets (and caters very well to) young males, "The Game" truly belongs in the hands of a twenty-something cynic.
Parts of the story read like a self-help book, which was very funny in and of itself. But what I found to be interesting (on some level, perhaps) was that Strauss has taken his version of "rags-to-riches" and turned it into colorful, sexual, hopeful prose that reveals a protagonist traveling down a highway of mayhem to a destination of confusion. Fun. I imagine this is how a script for an infomercial reads; like Chuck Norris demonstrating some back-breaking exercise machine or Paula Dean pushing a spray-on chocolate sauce, this is a how-to-make-your-life-better-by-jumping-off-a-cliff type story.
Despite the author's experience as a writer, it wasn't written very well (each chapter ends with some lame, unbelievable tidbit), the story was a bit dull (a guy called "Mystery" goes "Peacocking"...c'mon), and it left me with an overall sense of "Why?".
(I'll tell you why, because when you're stuck in the London Heathrow passenger terminal for 6 hours and you have to make a choice between a black leather-bound #1 seller and something about sisterhood and traveling pants, you choose "The Game".)
That said, it passed the time. Borrow it with low expectations.
...more

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