The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

ISBN: 0060554738
ISBN 13: 9780060554736
By: Neil Strauss

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About this book

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.

Reader's Thoughts


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: [])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...


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.

Jess Elias

Halfway through this book and so far I'm loving and hating it at the same time. Loving it, because it's twisted and dark and scandalous debauchary - all of my fave things to read about. Hate it because it's mysogyny to the core. It's insulting to women AND men... but I think that arousing this kind of anger in me is good, because it's making me appreciate the 'good guys' - the 'nice guys' more and more and more... to all of you dirty PUAs (pick up artists) out there - sorry guys, but I KNOW I WOULD NEVER FALL FOR THIS CRAP.

Kelsea Dawn Hume

I read this to learn how to write manipulative characters more convincingly. It was slightly helpful, but I was mostly struck by the pathetic nature of literally everyone in the book. For people who devoted themselves to getting women they sure didn't have much sex. I suspect Strauss may have meant this book to be an object lesson about how pathetic you become if you are unable to think of half of the population as people. If so, his message was utterly confused by the pseudo-dating guide structure. Either way this book contributes to rape culture in very real ways. If you use this book as a guide to dating you will probably end up raping someone. Just saying.


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.


Yes, I'm female and No, I didn't read this to learn "pick-up" tricks! I heard about this New York Times bestseller a couple months ago from a girlfriend of mine in LA, I was intrigued enough to pick it up. Once I started reading I could not put it down! It is 400+ pages and it's an absolute page turner (in my opinion). It is very easy to read. I read the whole book in one weekend.Strauss exposes an interesting, often sad world of how easily everyone (men and women) can be manipulated, influenced, and persuaded by our unmet needs, emotions, and our primal need to belong and connect with others. He plays this out in the LA social scene. But again, it goes far beyond dating and pick-up lines. The Game is a bit of a disturbing look into our "emotional hooks", how and why we make decisions, non-verbal communication, and how we all use or don't use power tactics. It is a book like none other- I've never read anything like it. It is a true story of Strauss and his life in LA for a couple years, it is a wild, thought provoking, raw story. The 'pick-up" components are 3% of the story, and the under currents of psychology/ human behavior is 97% of the book. I've read alot of self-help, pseudo-spiritual books over the years, this one definitely stayed with me, it is an eye opener!

Nicholas Karpuk

There's an interesting article I found before I read this book that really gives some insight into the pick up world as it stands now, years after The Game came out. ANTI-PUAS When I first noticed that title, on a site like Jezebel, I just naturally assumed it was a place devoted to dissecting what's so broken and wrong about pick up artist culture. But nope, it's basically the equivalent of an anti-scam artist page. These guys are all furious and filled with misogynistic rage because the canned patter and mind games didn't get them laid.Here's the thing, and it's something that even Strauss discovered by the end of the book: memes have a saturation point. Trying to use the standard pick up artist tactics from these books is like asking "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Most people are at least passingly familiar with the concept, and will not be impressed. Even as a person who never watched Mystery's TV show I still had at least a basic knowledge of negging and peacocking just from people making fun of it.Because really, anytime pick up artists are mentioned outside their own context, it's to make fun of them. A PUA (which sounds like the noise you make when you spit out something that's gone bad) will try to tell you that we're all just jealous or in denial of our primal instincts or just lack what it takes. But PUAs seem to be powered by two things, acronyms and rationalizations.Strauss' book is rotten with acronyms and PUA slang. 3% of the book is entirely devoted to a glossary of all these needless terms. And the rationalizations about their behavior are a constant force. Most of the PUAs are constantly reading, so they can throw out some biology study to justify their promiscuity and bad behavior. The most memorable justification to me was "It's not lying, it's flirting." After a while it's hard to not just yell at my Kindle, "No. You're lying. It's all lies, deceptions, or manipulation. You know who else uses this much weaselly language to support their behavior? Con artists. You are a sexual con artist." What separates Neil Strauss from most of the people he documents is that Strauss internalized the reasons why all the advice and tactics worked, and used it to build his self esteem and create new tactics. And because he's a thinking person who got into it because he genuinely felt he lacked something, he's the same type who would of course leave the community when he realized that the community had much more limited interests and values.Because really, the bulk of the pick up artist industry is basically trying to turn horny, socially-retarded nerds into sexual sociopaths. They aren't using this information to teach true confidence, they're memorizing the words and patterns like it's a cheat code in a video game. Just type IDKFA to get 9.5 ho at a club to kiss you!No wonder they get angry when they realize everyone's already heard these cheesy lines, and that sometimes even the dumbest girls have already had more than one guy in a flamboyant outfit try to screw with her head.What really fascinated me was a comment that even Strauss himself made early on, that some girls just don't respond to the pick up artist tactics. He dismissed this by saying those are the girls they don't want anyway, but it's worth digging into. Some people, no matter how fancy your pitch, know bullshit when they hear it. The demeanor of a sales pitch, no matter how sly, is going to be visible to some people. So the PUA tactics, by nature, remove any girls who are even halfway perceptive. This, at least to me, actually makes the whole thing more predatory.It also makes it terrible for those few PUAs in the book who say they're looking for a girlfriend. If we're all looking for a partner with quality, this is narrowing it down to some of the wrong traits.The best put down to the whole process actually came from Tom Cruise, who Strauss interviewed because unlike a lot of the PUAs, Strauss actually had a pretty decent career, which allowed him to do celebrity interviews for places like Rolling Stone.To quote Cruise, ”A lot of that stuff is about trying to control people and manipulate situations. Can you imagine all the effort they’re putting into that? If they took that effort and put it toward something constructive, who knows what they could accomplish.“Like a bullet through the heart of all other arguments. Tom Cruise may be one of the most ridiculous figures in acting, but the guy is more or less made of confidence. Even when I was young at utterly clueless about women, this sort of behavior never really appealed to me. Sure, I wanted a girlfriend, but the methods PUAs use involved spending massive amounts of time, money, and effort. While it seems to provide some measure of sexual success, it doesn't seem to make most of them any smarter, any more successful, any wealthier, or any healthier in anything except perhaps pelvis strength.One of the PUA techniques they kept referring to was to "show value", where you do a magic trick or otherwise entertain the target. You know what attracts normal women? Actual value. Seriously, pick up a new hobby, go back to school, start working out, join a book club, anything that would give you more value in mind or body. There are probably women who will respond to that.I'd like to give this a higher score, since it's well paced and Strauss has a knack for being thorough without it being unwieldy, but I feel like his journalism is miles ahead of his writing.Hunter S. Thompson always had a knack for writing from inside hellish scenarios with a good perspective. The trouble with Strauss is that the perspective only comes in sporadically, a line pointing out the foolishness of the PUAs before diving back into denial. Only at the end does he deliver a moral about the hollowness of the lifestyle, and it's hard to really swallow after reading the Wikipedia article about him breaking up with the girl he's with at the end and starting a dating business.There are also times when it seems like Strauss still speaks from a place of insecurity. Name dropping the books he's reading to show off his intellect just raises an eyebrow, but the narrative seems to give the impression that he's somehow above the behavior other PUAs engaged in, even when he's just described himself participating in that exact same behavior. It feels like we're getting a picture of Strauss himself that's distorted by his own ego. His own journalistic clarity doesn't extend to himself nearly as consistently.But the most offensive blind spot is how little he seems to comment on the misogynistic nature of the whole affair. When you basically treat women as disposible targets, it's weird not to comment on how objectifying that is. Considering how much he talks about the community turning men into robots, the absence of much discussion of how it teaches them to view women feels like a lost opportunity.It's still an entertaining read, and definitely worth recommending to anyone with a young daughter. The guide ends up being a very effective guide on how to spot a pick up artist in the wild.


With a subtitle like “Penetrating The Secret Society of Pickup Artists,” I was expecting more of a how-to or an expose. Luckily I was wrong.Strauss’ The Game is a fascinating look at an American subculture’s moment in time. It is a captivating story that rivals Hell’s Angels and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in its engrossing tale of American hubris, endeavor, success, and failure.The book itself is beautiful, packaged like a bible with gold embossing and a red ribbon bookmark. But it is TOO LONG. And that might be the only thing I didn’t like about it because despite that, there is plenty to keep the reader entertained:As Strauss refines his abilities as a PUA (Pick-up Artist (this book not for the AFoH (Acronym Faint of Heart))), he is assigned an interview with Tom Cruise (other celebrities who make appearances include Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Courtney Love). Strauss is immediately taken by Tom Cruise’s charisma and likability. Strauss notes that Cruise naturally exudes all the tactics and behaviors PUAs spend months and years trying to master in order to win women’s affection. Tom Cruise introduces Strauss to Scientology and Strauss further identifies the same tactics being used by Scientology recruiters to attract converts as the PUAs use to attract women. There are some really creepy similarities made between Pick-up Artists and Scientologists in this book. So now I don’t know if I’m more freaked out by Scientologists or Mormons.And now that I have read The Game, once I read How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, there won’t be a graduate student out there who can resist my advances. Yes!But most importantly, The Game contains the BLE (Best Line Ever):“I want a woman I can respect for her art, like a singer or a super-hot stripper.”HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! Gents, next time you head out for the titty bar, tell your significant other that you’re going to an art museum. It is her art and she is dancing it for you.And there was also this little nugget of wisdom from Neil Strauss that I found interesting:“For most of their childhood, females are conditioned to act subservient to male authority figures. Once they grow up, a certain subset of them - many of whom end up in Los Angeles - move through the world psychologically stunted, constantly dumbing themselves down in the presence of the opposite sex. They believe that the techniques they used to manipulate their fathers will work just as well on the rest of the world, and often they’re right.”Poor Britney.


Well, I'm 2/3 of the way through this book and it is an outstandingly strange read. On one hand, it's got some interesting notions about human behavior, mostly grounded in the notions of the way women are generally socialized to deal with sexuality and, thus, men's ability to exploit that (though, ultimately, Strauss mostly tries to deny he's doing any such thing. Which is to say that his rationalizations of the entire pickup artist community are staggering). But, on the other hand, if everything in the book is true, it speaks to terrifying truths about human nature. If women really do react this way -- and I assume it's only a certain age of woman and with a lesser intelligence level, as the book takes place mostly in clubs in LA and Toronto -- then I fear for humanity. I really do.Moreover, the book appears to be a giant bragging effort by Strauss. It's filled with locker room talk, graphic exploits of his sexual conquests and relatively quasimacho nonsense. ---OK. I finished. I can't properly rate this book. I'm too mixed.


Originally, "The Game" held a lot of promise, and I can see why it briefly became a NYT Bestseller. The author, under the pseudonym "Style," generally writes well and knows how to tell a story, which comes off far better than your average blog. He should, too, since he wrote for Rolling Stone and the New York Times in his prior life as a music journalist. He illustrates his supposedly true-to-life journey through the world of seduction and pickup, and it's a fairly quick and interesting read for the uninitiated.Unfortunately, it all falls apart once you take a look at the author from a view outside his own.At the beginning, he panders to his probable audience, saying his reasoning for learning pickup stems from emotional insecurity, sexual frustration, and a desire to learn as much as he can. In essence, he's just another guy who wants to improve himself; he's just another one of the boys. Convenient, right? Problem is, he never really gets away from that line of thinking, but as he changes and the story becomes more and more outrageous, it becomes more difficult to believe. As he's discussing his trips to Eastern Europe, Australia, and Los Angeles (and sleeping with dozens of women), he still claims to harbor these intense insecurities. It doesn't really click, and it's a disconnect that lasts throughout the entire novel.Similarly, for someone so insecure, he does an awful lot of bragging. There's one particularly eye-rolling chapter where every single paragraph describes a different woman he slept with, as the details grow increasingly few. The intended effect was meant to show how he saw all women blurring together; the actual effect caused more than a bit of "really?" on my end. It's vain and stupid, and in case he hadn't been divisive enough up to that point, he pretty much guarantees a negative reaction with that. Worse, it's hard to tell why he would bother-- for someone of his writing and journalistic pedigree, you'd think he would know a sad trope when he sees one.As it stands, "The Game" is a titillating introduction to some true oddball characters and a world devoted to a subject most choose to willingly ignore. It's particularly interesting for those who know nothing of the field, or its participants. It's a decent story worth telling. Unfortunately, it just makes you wish someone else had taken a stab at it, first.


This book is so much better than "The Pickup Artist" by Mystery -- large credit goes to the author, Neil Strauss, who can actually WRITE. He weaved a story about an entire community and how it changed and affected his life. But in the end, it wasn't about learning pick-up artist games, it was about learning to simply be comfortable as himself. In that regard, I think a lot of men could benefit from learning Strauss' life lessons. I've heard a lot of their games and lines before, so it was both amusing and awful to read about their origins. I've fallen for the games in the past and then discovered later that there was nothing behind them b/c the people delivering the games had nothing other than game. Strauss comes to the same conclusion and for that I say, thank you for writing about it. Game means absolutely nothing without a real personality behind it.The part I find most sad is that there are a lot of guys out there who are still doing this crap and they have such low self esteem and know so little about themselves at the core. Yet they will persist at it to continue validating their existence through how many phone numbers they get from women and how many women they get into bed. Strauss' stories seem too strange to be real, but the truth really is often stranger than fiction. I didn't give this 4 stars because I was so disgusted by the lives of these people that it prevented me from enjoying the book more.One thing I wish that the author had explored more in his writing (b/c he clearly explored it within himself but didn't embellish further) was the application of the pick-up arts to better life scenarios for doing good things. I have definitely seen the possibility of how increased social skills can be taught to those who are socially challenged and that these skills can be applied to much better uses than just picking up unsuspecting women in a bar. As a woman, I am not so gullible anymore to bad games and I pity any man who attempts one on me in the future.


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.


I really struggled with whether to give this book three stars or four. A good friend of mine started talking to me one day about a male friend's behavior, and this book is what the discussion culminated in. He went to dig it out of his car, handed it over, and about a week later, here I am. The first adjective that comes to mind when I think of The Game is "interesting." At points, it's hard to really take Strauss's story seriously - the men, and many of the situations, just are so difficult to think of as actually existing. I'll leave any debates of realism to others though. The Game is an intriguing drop into a male-dominated world of sex and seduction. "Average Frustrated Chump" Neil gets pulled into writing a piece on pick-up artists, and in the meantime decides he's tired of his romantic life, and attends a pick-up workshop. More successful than his classmates, he's quickly adopted into the community of pick-up artists and begins to (unintentionally) work his way toward becoming the best. I've seen a lot of people put this down for the ways women are discussed, questions of believability, and the crass nature of many of the chapters, but what pushed it into four stars is the fact that The Game really touched on something. As Strauss discusses the community of pick-up artists, he takes a look at what truly makes a person fulfilled. Is it really the ability to go out and pick up anyone to take home for a night? Is it meaningless sex? What makes sex meaningful? I've seen some people refer to this as a manual, but anyone who thinks Strauss is trying to teach them how to go out and seduce women clearly missed the deeper points of the book. Overall, it was an interesting read that went by pretty quickly. If you're too easily offended by misogyny, swearing, or explicit sexual talk, it's probably best to stay away, but it's an interesting peek into social dynamics.

Kater Cheek

I've been fascinated about the idea of a pickup artist community ever since I heard about its existence last year. What do these people do? Does it work? Why? This was the book seen as the essential guide to this underground lair of secret lotharios, written by seminal pickup artist guru "Style" who published an article about the scene in the NYT a few years ago. However, this book was wasn't available from the library, so I read THE MYSTERY METHOD first.Then a friend got a copy of this book back from the guy he'd lent it to. I kind of smirked when I saw he'd disguised it in the dustjacket of a more benign novel. I smirked less when I found myself flipping to the back of the dust jacket in an attempt to see what Style (aka Neil Strauss) looked like, only to see the picture of Umberto Eco. My curiosity at his looks stemmed largely from the fact that Style, like Mystery, claims to be able to sleep with any woman he wants.I'm glad I read THE MYSTERY METHOD first, because there are a lot of terms unique to the pickup artist culture. In fact, there's a glossary, but the glossary didn't cover every term I wanted (evolution phase shift?) Even so, there were so many people out "sarging" (picking up girls) that they developed their own styles and terminology to go with it.The story is basically how Style met Mystery, learned to pick up women, got good at it, rose to the apex of what they though possible, and watched as everything crashed and burned around them. This is a comfortable and successful plot arc, which has been used for everything from crime to gambling to alcohol and drug addiction. Two things made this story compelling. One, Style is an actual writer. Two, most of the characters (especially Mystery) are complete train wrecks.This book reminded me of WAR (Junger) and EASY COMPANY SOLDIER (Malarkey) in that like frontline combat, pickup artist circles are an exclusively men-only arena, and nothing intrigues me more than a "keep out! no girls allowed!" sign. At one point, they interview Heidi Fleiss, and say that she's "one of them" but I didn't buy it. In fact, as the story progresses to the point where Style, Mystery, and the other pickup artist gurus are living in a mansion in Hollywood, Style points out that "Project Hollywood" (the name for their bachelor pad) is remarkably devoid of women. He got into the game to meet women, but ended up with a band of brothers, who became a band of frenemies.Although it's not a how-to book by any means, this memoir fleshed out the dry how-to of THE MYSTERY METHOD fairly well. They briefly touch on other techniques, for example, woo-woo "waking hypnosis" where you get the "target" (attractive female) to conjure up happy/aroused feelings, and partner them with a gesture, word, or kinesthetic motion, then use that trigger to re-conjure those feelings. Another technique is "cocky funny" where the pick up artist jokingly and confidently assumes that every woman wants him. Most of the other techniques were varieties on the Mystery method. When you get down to it, the fact that these work is not mysterious. They all pretty much boil down to the fact that women like confident, powerful, interesting men who pay attention to her. Duh. Saying that women are helpless before this is like saying that men are helpless in the face of big sexy hair and giant tits.One of the side effects of being a successful pickup artist, some of the men lament, is that they no longer trust women to ever be faithful. It didn't matter if their target was married or had a boyfriend, they still got phone numbers. (To this I'd say, it's hard to say that "all women are unfaithful" if your sample selection is "attractive, urban, young women drinking in bars or clubs." )They also became mysogynistic once they realized how easy it was to pick up women with a few simple lines. I've heard similar things from women who lost a lot of weight--that the instant uptick in attention makes them feel disdainful of how shallow men were. Another disadvantage was that sarging soon took over the rest of their lives. They no longer had jobs or hobbies or even girlfriends, as their lives were so consumed with going out to hunt for new targets. Style and the other pick up artists soon realized what every addict eventually realizes--that even sleeping with a different beautiful woman every night won't make up for deep underlying problems you are too afraid to face.As the story progresses and Mystery and Style become richer and more famous, they become killed by their own success. New students use their material to the point that they can't find a woman who hasn't heard it. The inner coterie of pick up artists act more and more like rock stars, until strange people are wandering in and out, the drama escalates to MTV levels, and at one point even Courtney Love moves in. Ironically, Courtney occasionally comes out as one of the most emotionally mature people in the house, which really says something.The novel winds up with a happy "here's what they're doing now" ending for most of the main characters--most of which I don't believe. Even Style ends up happy and leaving the scene, after he meets a gorgeous woman named Lisa who won't fall for his schtick. His attempts to seduce her fail and fail and fail again, until he gets one-itis that he breaks it off with every other woman to commit to Lisa. I'd feel less cynical about the ending if I hadn't recognized her "hook a man and land him" strategy. I think she got it from THE RULES.


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)

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