Book Review: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists is a fascinating book and almost too incredible to believe. Neil Strauss, an accomplished writer and journalist, penetrates the secret society of male pick-up artists who aim for one night stands by employing "seduction psychology". Not only does Strauss penetrate this underworld as a journalist, he himself becomes one of the world’s greatest seduction artists and king of the hill in Los Angeles. It’s a highly entertaining and provocative book, if a bit R-rated.

I didn’t know seduction communities existed, but a little online research indicates it’s a large market with many followers.

The men portrayed by Strauss become sophisticated studiers of behavioral psychology, meticulously tracking the success and failures of certain phrases or actions. Their end goal is sex, not long-term relationships. Many average looking, mildly extroverted men — through practice and study — become expert seducers.

After I excerpted from The Game in a prior post, one reader asked how I would square the over-the-top hedonism glorified by Strauss with my comments on "raunch feminism". My attitude is people can do whatever they want to do so long as it doesn’t affect me. However, it’s clear that the values of the pick-up artists are not ones I would impart to my children, as I don’t think they lead to overall, long-term happiness. Many characters in Strauss’ account end up depressed, suicidal, or just plain empty. Flesh is flesh, after all. Some men in the book, after leaving the seduction community, can’t get back to thinking of women as anything but sex objects. Oops.

I wonder, though, what businesspeople (and anyone else) can learn from the psychology employed by pick-up artists? Below are some of the tips / lessons for men trying to pick up women that were buried in the book. Which have crossover to the "real world"?

  • You must not do what everyone else does. Ever. Be different.
  • Don’t walk up to a woman who’s all by herself. Woman of beauty are rarely found alone. Better to find a woman in a group.
  • Pick a target in the group and then intrigue her by pretending to be unaffected by her charm. How do you do this? By using a "neg". A neg is neither compliment nor insult — it’s something in-between — it’s an accidental insult or a back-handed compliment.
  • #1 characteristic of an alpha male is the smile. By smiling you look like you’re together, you’re fun, and you’re somebody.
  • An amateur hits on a woman right away. A pro waits eight to ten minutes.
  • Wear a conversation piece.
  • How do you kiss her? Just say, "Would you like to kiss me?" She’ll say one of three things. "Yes" (then kiss her), "Maybe" or hesitates (then kiss her), or "No" (say "I didn’t say you could. It just looked like you had something on your mind.")
  • Recite a memorized opener. The opener should open the group, not just the target.
  • Convey personality to the entire group. Do this by using stories, magic, anecdotes, and humor.
  • Ask the group, "So, how does everybody know each other?" If the target is with one of the guys, find out how long they’ve been together.
  • Give yourself a time constraint ("I have to go in a minute, but we should continue this.") If you don’t, she’ll be thinking, "I wonder when he’s going to leave."
  • How to respond to the "let’s just be friends" speech: "I don’t promise any such thing. Friends don’t put each other into boxes like that. The only thing I’ll promise is never to do anything unless you and I both feel totally comfortable, willing, and ready."
  • Two Indicators of Interest (IOI): she asks what your name is; when you take her hands in yours and squeeze them, she squeezes back.
  • It takes roughly seven hours for a woman to be comfortably led from meet to sex.
  • We’re evolutionary wired to feel aroused when someone smells us. Lean in and tell her she smells good.
  • Interrogation is not seduction. Don’t ask tons of questions. Seduction is the art of setting the stage for two people to choose to reveal themselves to each other.
  • "The word energy is the equivalent of the smell of chocolate to most women in Southern California."
  • Girls don’t respect guys who buy them drinks.
  • The key to physical escalation is two steps forward, one step back.
  • Style’s routine: First, open. Then demonstrate higher value. Next, build rapport and an emotional connection. Finally, create physical connection.
  • "How do you guys know each other?" is a good opener for a group.
  • The secret of personal ads: sound like a selfish prick in the ad, and then be a fascinating, laid-back gentleman on meeting.
  • Anti-slut defense — woman doesn’t want you to think she’s easy, so offers last-minute resistance. Two steps forward, one backward.
  • Women: potential for beauty is as attractive to most men as actual beauty.
  • The less you appear to be trying, the better you do.
  • Create a yes-ladder: capture her attention by asking questions that require an obvious affirmative answer.
  • If you have someone pick a number btwn one and ten, 70% of the time — esp if you rush their decision — they will choose seven.
  • Rapport equals trust plus comfort.
  • Ultimatums are the ultimate expressions of powerlessness, empty threats designed to try to influence a situation someone has no control over.

(Thanks blog reader TG for sending me this book for Christmas, who said he found my blog via one of the online discussion groups for seduction dating.)

16 Responses to Book Review: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *