54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Seduction: more than manipulation
Hmm. I feel like a lot of the negative reviews (my focus) are caught up in labeling this book somehow misogynistic and manipulative at its core. And I certainly agree to an extent: the language that Greene uses is definitely suggestive of manipulation and in many ways focuses on upsetting the power balances that naturally occur in relationships. But I think that those...
Published 17 months ago by Reader
803 of 1,037 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Better the devil you know...
This unusual text can be viewed from many points of view. On one level, the author's intentions are at best quite disturbing, because the texts theme has definite anti-social undertones. Deception, manipulation, exploitation of peoples weaknesses to achieve selfish ends has no moralistic value whatsoever; in fact the whole idea of preying on a 'victims' weaknesses in...
Published on September 17, 2003 by C. Middleton
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Seduction: more than manipulation,
This review is from: The Art of Seduction (Paperback)Hmm. I feel like a lot of the negative reviews (my focus) are caught up in labeling this book somehow misogynistic and manipulative at its core. And I certainly agree to an extent: the language that Greene uses is definitely suggestive of manipulation and in many ways focuses on upsetting the power balances that naturally occur in relationships. But I think that those who focus on this point entirely are very cynical. In our modern age, we have lost touch with art. We have lost touch with patience. Even writing this review was a matter of pointing, clicking - and I am running more on a general feeling here than I am attempting to make careful points.
So, to answer to those who labeled this book dangerous, misogynistic, manipulative, superficial, etc., I'd like to make a few points. Greene is careful to explain that "the art of seduction" originates in the feminine mystique, and that men have adopted it because they recognize the great power that it holds. So, good job ladies. Sure, society still has a ways to go in order to truly honor any REAL notion of equality between genders, but if you see a man reading this book, it is because he is trying to master the art that originated in the depths, mysteriousness and natural power of femininity. (And besides, how difficult is it to seduce most men? Many of us are simple creatures.) The arguments about misogyny also seem to originate in our societal attitudes towards sex - but this book is not about how to get laid. Certainly, sexual interactions play a role in seduction, but this book is more about how to win people over.
Now, the manipulative part. The language in this book certainly suggests that manipulation is really they key to seduction. Greene labels the seduced "victims" and "targets", etc. But here's the thing, in my humble opinion: our society is excessively individualistic. We have all been socialized to think of how to "get what we want". And look at the TREMENDOUS deficit in emotional capital that we find in Western society... This book does not talk about seduction in terms of magically forcing people to do what you want. It talks about LEARNING HOW TO FULFILL THE NEEDS OF OTHERS in order to GREATLY increase your personal seductive allure. According to Greene (and for the sake of argument only) seduction is about learning to be more focused on the other person than ourselves. It is a reality that EVERY last one of us has needs, and to a large extent it would seem that altruism is an ideal that is beyond the grasp of humanity as a whole. Period. Whether it is a woman chasing security, or a man seeking gratification, we ALL have needs that long to be fulfilled. Those whom Greene labels as the MOST anti-seductive are the people who think exclusively of their own needs. What if your need is to find the woman of your dreams, and because of your deep love, keep her in your life? Well, this book suggests ways to keep the mystery and spark that we ALL love in a relationship alive and burning. Are there people out there with far shallower needs than are bred by the lofty ideals of love? Absolutely, most of us included (if we really take a good look at ourselves in the mirror). The manipulative language in this book, is perhaps, an effort by Greene to seduce the reader. He appeals to our self interest by labeling those we wish to seduce as targets and victims, and then proceeds to teach us how to step into the mind and heart of that "victim" in order to find creative ways to fulfill the desires of that person. What you do with that knowledge and power will determine whether you are a manipulative scumbag/gold-digger, or a person who is simply trying to improve your social interactions with NOT ONLY the gender of your preference, but people in general.
What I was most struck by in this book was the chapter on "the Anti-Seducer". This chapter really forced me to look at some of my behaviours and to realize, that ultimately, I am acting a large part of the time out of selfishness. My failures in the relationship realm come down to selfishness. But Greene has helped me understand where that selfishness is simply a real need to move forward with my life, or an utter inability to empathize with others. I would venture that most of us have problems with recognizing the distinction in ourselves and others' behaviours.
The book is easy to read and intriguing, and surprisingly enough seems to work. It's a long read, so I would recommend taking notes on anything you find particularly interesting for your own review at a later date, just as a refresher. That's enough of my windbaggery! Hope you all find what you're looking for.
394 of 472 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart.,
This review is from: The Art of Seduction (Paperback)If you are just looking for a good book to help you get laid with minimal effort, then put this book down. There are books that are much easier and will get you results much faster. This book is not about getting easy pussy at a bar or strip joint. It is about helping a person fall deeply in love with you, and this is better. A person in lust for you is wild and not concerned about you. A person in love with you will go to the ends of the earth for you.
If you have very little background in psychology and/or philosophy, put this book down because you're not ready to understand it yet. It is an incredible book and I hope you don't get turned off because you're not prepared to read it.
If you are a die hard, conservative Christian moralist who is happy with their life and belief system, then PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE put this book down. Your beliefs will change to some extent, I promise, regardless of how strong you think they are. And if they don't you'll just be filled with dissonant emotions when you really understand what the Bible means when it says the world can be a terrible place.
On the other hand, if you are intelligent, observant, and patient then this is just simply an incredible read. You will see everything in this world with a new outlook. It will teach you the most intricate workings of human nature. Human nature is dark. Consider the following two biological facts:
1. A woman is likely to retain more sperm when she has an orgasm during sex.
2. A man's sperm is designed to kill the sperm of other men.
What does this mean? Women have been biologically hardwired to seek one man (the Alpha male) to be the sperm donor and to seek out another to raise the kid (the Beta male). Sorry folks, nature is just that dark. And this book has exactly the same kind of dark twists. It explains what makes people fall for other people, even if it is not so pure and wholesome. And though it is dark, it still is true, and there is beauty in truth.
This book will teach you how to play other people's emotions. This is a very important thing to learn. One cannot survive in this world without these skills. The most important thing people must realize about this book is that what is containes here is a dual edged sword. It most certainly can be used for evil. It does teach manipulation. But it also a book that can be used for good. With this kind of knowledge one can keep their partner happy for life. A seducer is a benevolent manipulator by definition.
For instance, if the seducer is really interested in mutual benefit, much useful learning will take place. A woman will learn that the most powerful way to keep her man happy is to be a sexual woman and a fun playmate. She will learn how to keep things spiced up with a few masculine psychological traits to appeal to masculine narcissism, deepen a man's love by giving him the gift of missing her. A man will learn how important it is to let his woman know how much he desires her and will also keep things spiced up with styling. Men and women can both learn how to keep people happy by being nondefensive and natural, to psychologically enrich others by being charismatic and charming, and to give and receive love as ideal lovers. And I've seen how much people who embody the psychological traits of the anti-seducer are despised by other people. The anti-seducer leaves people feeling diminished and hurt.
To summarize, it's hard, it's dark, and it can be used to wreak havoc in the lives of others. But most people don't want to hurt others. They want to live, and help other people live, better, happier more enriched lives in all ways. I truly believe that with the knowledge that is in this book, people can accomplish just that.
Use it wisely, young Jedi. The dark side of the force is much more seductive.
60 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Psychological Expose,
This review is from: The Art of Seduction (Paperback)Must read romantic persuasion studies to treacherous seduction, Greene's historical tale here is a work of art. This is a sardonic, yet often profound view of the use of persuasion, influence and manipulation for personal benefit. This book is a synthesis of philosophy and psychology, and is paradigm breaking. Freud must have had a similar unnerving effect on his contemporaries when he discussed premises for behavior that were previously not part of social discourse. The author expands his global metaphor of "life as war" from his book the 48 Laws of Power into love and spirituality. This piece may be the most effective tool in today's culture, but it certainly is an interesting study. Numerous conflict and struggle analysis, and subliminal persuasion techniques to exploit situations.
The first half of the book identifies a number of infamous seductive characters over the centuries, and identifies the unique characteristics of each personality. The second half describes the seduction techniques they used, and the likely personality types they would most effectually be used against.
For the modern Casanova, Greene's seduction stories are a bit dated and chivalrous to translate into a modern day pick up artist, but highlights how the great seducer's of the past used their persuasion and charms to their advantage.
As far as the modern era, a comparable effective book for sexual influence, toying and subconscious steering of ones emotions to lure in women, I suggest The Professional Bachelor Dating Guide - How to Exploit Her Inner Psycho. Besides being a funny analytical satire, it encompasses very effective persuasion tactics and NLP to seduce the subconscious of each of a dozen personality types, who, let's be realistic, want to be seduced, or they wouldn't allow it to happen.
122 of 148 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am a victim. This is a dangerous book. Everybody should read it.,
This review is from: The Art of Seduction (Paperback)I am a self-confident, self-motivated, self-directed individual who pretty much knows exactly what to do and when to do things to get the preferred results. I am a smiling, friendly and mostly a charismatic person. At least that's how I used to be before I met this girl in my Freshman composition class.
She was very attractive and I fell in love with her. She exercised the seduction techniques mentioned in this book (such as stirring interest indirectly, creating triangles, getting close to me and giving the impression of like-mindedness etc) to make that happen and it came to a point where I was fantasizing her with me in my life. She was all that I was thinking of. I was losing grip over my life. I somehow became dependent on her. She then started coquetting and withdrawing herself. I gradually started losing my self-esteem and I was no more that charismatic person with self-confidence and self-esteem. I was doing things that she thought would ultimately would lead to our mutual pleasure...but it only made both of us empty.
Finally, one day she drove me to a isolated forest...and I thought she was going to have us do something pleasurable (finally). She just asked me to step out of the car and handed some papers and got in her car and left me there stranded. I was devastated. I started reading the papers. It was titled "The Seduction of <my name>". It started with a character map of me...everything that she had observed about me, my weaknesses, what gave me my self-confidence etc. Then there were list of steps, almost like a manual, that described how she seduced me step-by-step. Then there were extracts from personal journal entries that described how, initially when we'd first met, she admired my quality of self-confidence and how much she wanted to have control over someone like me...primarily because of her own lack of it...and how over time she got bored of playing me like an instrument and how predictable I became etc. She didn't enjoy me anymore. So, she decided to dump me in the middle of the forest with this fact sheet. I was lying on the ground there crying my lungs out to death with limbs too weak to move. I completely lost my self-esteem and was at a point where I wanted her to accept me as her slave and was honored by that thought. I couldn't even look up at people's faces anymore. This is the worst form of exploitation there exists. It almost feels like being eaten alive by insects from the inside and not being able to do anything about it.
Few days after this devastation, I googled and found this book. I read it and it revealed to me how someone as intellectually incompetent as herself could do something as vicious as this. It made me feel a lot better to know how exactly the worst thing ever to happen in my life happened. Now I feel that everybody should read this book...just to avoid being exploited in this way, if not for anything else.
As for those of you who were inspired by the cinematic quality of what happened to me and are motivated to use the techniques mentioned in the book to drain admirable qualities off someone for self-gratification, I have to warn you by letting you know why she even had to dump me like that. She had to condition herself against expressing any genuine emotions and had to perfect the impression of genuineness of her made-up emotions. She conceded in one of her later personal journal entries that she was in a sort of psychological trap. She started having trouble doing even simple things such as expressing genuine awe or even anger. She always felt the need to go by the rules. It made her less of a real human being and more of an imitation of an 'admirable human being'. When I recently contacted her, she said she needs professional help because she is very confused in discerning emotions that come from within and those that are just made up. She's messed up.
As for the testimonials of these admirable people (who 'practice' the art of seduction) thrown around in Greene's book, I have to inform you that those people are genuine human beings with natural seductive mannerisms. The most dangerous aspect of this book is Greene's portrayal of them as people who calculated their behavior and that ability to calculate behavior as being admirable. It inspires people to look at themselves and their naturally arising feelings with belittling eyes and to try to become these admirable people with admirable statistics. It also inspires them to lower the value of their genuine emotions. In my erudite opinion, focusing on your behavior and trying to adjust it using the feedback it receives from outside rather than using one's judgment from within leads to termination of personal growth. If you're so desperate to have a reputable history of 'conquests' when you're older as to compromise on investment in your personal growth and true exploration of human relations, then go ahead and seduce people into falling in love with you for all the wrong reason and become an imitation. Remember that unforeseen pleasures are often the most gratifying.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Because You Read This, Doesn't Mean You HAVE To Apply It,
This review is from: The Art of Seduction (Paperback)I understand and agree with the assertion that many reviewers (and even the main book review) have made about this book being creepy and distasteful in some ways. That being said, anyone on the fence about buying this book should understand that just because you educate yourself about social psychology and human manipulation does not mean that you have to apply what you learn or believe that people who do apply these principles and tactics are noble people. Also, keep in mind that learning about these things provides you with the knowledge to DEFEND YOURSELF against people who try to manipulate YOU.
Overall, a solid and interesting book worth reading if you're interested. Nothing more, nothing less.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you know a female friend helped him write it?,
This review is from: The Art of Seduction (Paperback)I'm saddened by the number of people who have misunderstood this book because I've encountered various people who could really use it to transform their own lives and the lives of those they might build connections with. I'm going to use this review to clear up some misconceptions about the book and give a few points of advice in using it.
There are some who read the Art of Seduction and immediately assume from the language Greene uses that it can only be used by someone who wants to gather conquests, or to sexually or emotionally exploit people and make them their playthings.
Many seem to have missed a quote from the acknowledgments section: "First, I would like to thank Anna Biller for her countless contributions to this book: the research, the many discussions, her invaluable help with the text itself, and, last, but not least, her knowledge of the art of seduction, of which I have been the happy victim on numerous occasions." Greene still lives with Biller. He talks about his own seduction in an interview which I've posted in the comments, which may also clear up some misunderstandings.
If you read the book carefully, especially the chapter on victim types, you'll recognize that when Greene uses the term "victim", he is referring to concepts of which exploitation can be a part, but helping enrich someone's life in a way they desire can also be. First, we are victims in the sense that, when we are seduced, our seducer opens a defining wound or wounds in our personality, such as dissatisfaction with our circumstances or something about us. The term "target" is a reference to the metaphor of Cupid's arrow. Second, we are victims of a seduction in the sense that parts of are life are gradually left behind or destroyed as we come into a new life that our seducer leads us toward. Whether this new life is good or bad for us in the long run depends on our seducer and the ways in which we attempt to meet our individual needs - sometimes desires fulfill a need only at a superficial level.
Some also say that to follow the Art of Seduction, you are not being your authentic self; that you are acting out a kind of fake simulation of a fantasy figure for the seduced. To these people I would point out a concept in social psychology known as the Fundamental Attribution Error: in the initial impressions we get of others, we have a tendency to attribute the behaviors someone engages in to their overarching personality traits rather than to the circumstances of the situation. If you reveal intense or vulnerable sides of yourself soon off in a relationship, people will assume that is how you tend to be--they don't know enough about you to think otherwise. In the seductive process, you are gradually revealing yourself. Now, it is true that in a love affair you are to some degree applying a fantasy aura to some of your traits, but this can be a pleasurable way to bring out the private side of your target so they can access transformative attitudes and feelings. Consider also that there are different approaches to using the steps and ideas in the book. As Greene says, "select certain things that strike you as something you can do."
Why does Greene write as he does? Perhaps the following quote will shed some light on this issue: "The problem in writing such a book [The 48 Laws of Power], as I saw it then, was the massive amount of confusion surrounding the subject. Few people like to admit they are motivated by ambition or a hunger for power. That seems too ugly. If somehow they attain some success in life it is because of their goodness or talent, never because of any maneuvering or political gamesmanship. Many people are masters at passive aggression--disguising their grabs at power behind a benign or smiling façade.
All of this moralizing and denial creates a great deal of fog. To pierce this fog and get at the reality, I devised a method that has served me well in all of my subsequent writings: I would ignore people's words and justifications; instead, I would study their actions. To show what is timeless and universal in this hunger for power, I would look at the most illustrious people in history--all periods, all cultures--and ruthlessly dissect their successes and failures." [...]
There are some things we may find hard to acknowledge about love affairs. The idea that having to go through some emotional turmoil or getting emotionally rough treatment can sometimes engender confidence and a greater ability to engage with the world may be disturbing to some, but it can, as it did for Napoleon, and Nietzsche to some extent. I think rather than applying the emotional and vague label "love" to a relationship, it's better to evaluate, specifically, what dynamics are going on between those involved and how their separate lives are affected.
Greene may have also written in the way he did and given so many destructive examples because he wanted to caution people about the possible ruin we need to fight against in relationships. We need to be able to perceive when a seducer wants to exploit us rather than connect with us and help us, and we need to know which of our desires can be self-destructive.
Greene deliberately avoids putting his personal philosophy on seduction in to the book. You can get some sense of it in a video interview, of which the following is an excerpt: [...]
"The thing in seduction is everybody that you're dealing with is an individual and your problem is you're bringing with you your baggage, your past, your stereotypes about who a man is or what a woman is like. The other sex is almost, Freud said, is like another country. You know you don't really understand them in any way, so you bring with you all of these stereotypes, these preconceptions and you just throw them on that person, and then you also have these lines that you learn from Robert Greene's book, all right, the Game or some other stupid thing like that, and then you know it's like you're not dealing with that person as who they are, and they know it and they feel it and it feels empty and mechanical. And so I preach it in The Art of Seduction is knowing that person, gathering intelligence on them. I hate to put it that way. Figuring out what makes them tick, who they are, what their needs are, what they're missing in life, what they want. [...] If you're able to make that person feel like an individual and that they are wanted and desired for who they are then you're going to seduce them whether your try boldness or whatever it is. So it's more like individualizing the people you're trying to seduce or reach in life."
Some things that may make it easier to understand the book: First, it's useful to try to interpret the implicit principles or methods in the stories that aren't always mentioned in the interpretations. Second, studying some of the types and needs or desires seen in the stories can also be useful. Rather than labeling yourself or others, think of these as hints towards studying people's deeper and more multifaceted complexities. Third, the steps in each phase of the seductive process aren't all that step-by-step; there's a lot of going back and forth and mixing among the steps. And of course, which steps you decide to use will define how you connect with the person you are interested in.
Lastly, it might be helpful to look into books on conversation skills, conflict management, storytelling, body language, and behavioral modification. So can exploring the books, music and other media you are interested in and that your target or your target's group may be interested in. Explore large cities nearby you - the bars, music, and other entertainment, as well as the parks and other natural places of interest (browsing local weekly publications or neighborhoods in Yelp can be useful for finding such places, though don't always trust the reviewers to know what you might enjoy). You may notice that the people who open up something important for you listen to music that greatly contrasts with what you typically listen to. It can also be useful to analyze the personalities you identify with or idealize in the Art of Seduction or in other literature you are lucky enough to come across - try to figure out the attitudes, conflicts, and needs which motivate their actions.
803 of 1,037 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Better the devil you know...,
The lessons on seduction, at bottom, can really only work if one's targeted victim has some weakness or vulnerability of character. (Green warns to stay away from confident, grounded individuals) Through subtly stalking your intended victim, listening to their every word, stroking their ego, thus discovering their weakness, you can then supply the necessary requirement, whether it be excitement, adventure, danger, loving parenting, add a little time and patience, your victim will eventually fall under your spell. This particular strategy of discovering weakness, focusing on needs, and appealing to an individual's ego, is as old as the pyramids themselves. What's interesting, however, is that this strategy works and continues to be used by individuals and organizations everywhere - but we continue to fall for the scam. And do not be fooled by Green's language and impressive erudite examples from the great works of literature - a scam is a scam no matter how you communicate it.
The text itself is a play on seduction. Green uses the two most seductive and sought after aspects of our existence to reel us into his tutorial: sex and power. None of us want to be victims, in fact we all want to dominate, be the winners, gratify our base and exalted desires. Do you want to unknowingly be seduced or be the seducer? The answer, of course, is evident. Green knows this and uses this strategy by proposing that he can give us an edge, supplying the means to attain our every desire.
In the end, after reading this text from cover to cover, I asked myself the question, what did I learn? What I learned is that certain individuals and organizations will go to any lengths, ethically or otherwise, to dominate others and get what they want. All things considered, it is better to know than to not know, no matter how unsavoury the subject matter.
104 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My God,it's full of stars",
By A Customer
This book explains the psychology of seduction. With examples throughout history it shows what works, and what doesn't. It doesn't start from the humanistic premise that all people are generally good, but from the biblical idea that "all men are evil" and will do evil. This makes the book downright devilish, and extremely practical and useful.
Approach indirectly, play the coquette, mix pleasure with pain, insinuate, "Use the demonic power of words to sow confusion", be hard to figure out. These are just some examples and this stuff works.
This is a handbook on manipulation. Although it can also be used to avoid being manipulated (very usefull, indeed).
Do yourself a favor, learn from the past, not only your past but the past of peoples from the dawn of time. This book was worth every cent.
135 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seduce Anyone,
Step 1. Put distance between you and your target. Don't tell her you're distancing yourself, just do it! If your friend likes you she will miss you. If she was just saying "Let's be friends" and doesn't care for you at all, she'll still feel your absence because your loss of interest will wound her ego--that's important.
Step 2. Be different. Alter your appearance, make friends with new types of people, sculpt your body, develop new interests, and date as many people as you can. Try to date only those who are at least as attractive as your target, otherwise she'll look down on you.
Step 3. Reintroduce yourself to your target. Don't approach her directly. It's important that she now come to you. If you haven't talked to her in a while, she may have forgotten about you. That's not necessarily a bad thing--maybe the old you was forgettable. But it's a good idea to have maintained an indirect connection with your girl. Maybe you are an aquaintance of one of her friends. Chat with that person occasionally (Don't mention the friend you'll be seducing!) and that person will probably give your target updates about you. Or maybe you work in the same office or have the same circle of friends. In that case, she can witness changes in you first hand. Remember, however, that if you have to see your target regularly it is all the more important to maintain an emotional distance until you're ready for the seduction to really begin. If your girl suspects that you're improving yourself for her or that you're trying to make her jealous, all your hard work will be destroyed.
Now you can reintroduce yourself in one of several ways:
a) Haunt her periphery by attending the places she attends without taking much notice of her, making her come to you.
b) Play the "coquette," seeming interested then disinterested, interested then disinterested.
c) arrange a "chance" meeting. I like this one.
d) befriend or date a friend of hers.
Once she starts to think she didn't know you as well as she thought she did and displays a little interest in the new you, you can start over again and use the tactics in Greene's book. Greene's book never outlined how to seduce someone you've been friends with for a long time. I devised this strategy based on the tactics outlined in "The Art of Seduction." Like I said, it's work twice for me. The first friend became so enamoured that I had to break up with her after only a few weeks. She was smothering me! But I am still dating the second girl and it's great. If you balk at the idea of doing all this just to win someone over, consider that she may not be worth winning over after all, or that you might not be much of a Casanova. But I think that all this effort will actually make you a better man (or woman since this strategy should work on a guy too.) Happy hunting!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book seduces you and not all with sex,
This review is from: The Art of Seduction (Paperback)Robert Greene's book "The Art of Seduction" explains the psychology of seduction. Part of the allure of this book is that everything reads like a hypnotic novel. It is very entertaining, to say the least, and does contain some insights. All of people in the book are easily described like cartoon characters in terms of their outer motives, their inner motives and their subconscious needs. It parallels other interesting works such as Machiavelli's "The Prince" and scores of ancient writings in philosophy in that its conclusions are based on 99% argument and 1% evidence. Largely, this is because it is based on arbitrary, unverified models of human behavior.
I honestly believe that Robert Greene has mostly tried to make a compelling work of art here. Most of his assertions are not supported with scientific evidence or even balanced historical evidence. The book reads like a religious text, filled with unquestioned assertions. There are no qualifying statements about the content of the book whatsoever; there are no statements that document the certainty of the "truths" in the book based on the strength of evidence. Everything in the book is flatly stated. The text itself is written like a documentary about society narrated by an amoral, omniscient deity whose words reflect a potent combination of all of the described techniques of seduction
In this way, the book is a self-referencing paradox. It deceives you into understanding that you are being deceived. With examples throughout history it shows what works, and what doesn't. It doesn't start from the humanistic premise that all people are generally good, but from the biblical idea that "all men are evil" and will do evil. This makes the book downright devilish, and extremely practical and useful.
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The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene (Paperback - October 7, 2003)