287 of 303 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2012
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.
570 of 667 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2005
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.
288 of 342 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2008
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.
68 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2010
Several months ago I published a review of this book and just as a food critic will dine at a restaurant several times before publishing his review, I decided to take another look at Robert Green's controversial, "The Art of Seduction".
Subsequent to my first encounter with the book, I panned it based on moral grounds, using as justification the words of Greene himself: "Seducers are completely amoral in their approach to life." This is one of the fundamental premises of Greene's book and ironically--or ignorantly--he contradicts himself by counting among masters of the art of seduction numerous individuals who clearly were not amoral. One such example is Benjamin Disraeli, the first Jewish Prime Minister of Great Britiain who labored on behalf of wheat farmers who were being vicitimized by the aristocracy, instituted social reforms in health care and public safety, sought to improve conditions for factory workers and to improve living conditions for laborers as well as empower workers to bring suit against employers for breach of contract. These are hardly the characteristics of "amorality" that Greene says is an a priori orientation of the seducer to life. Anothe master of the art, according to Greene, was Josephine Baker, who in addition to adopting nine children, was involved while in France in the civil rights movement in the United States. Again, such personal characteristics are not those displayed by the individual lacking a moral compass.
Consequently, when Greene makes such a sweeping generalization and declares it to be an essential characteristic of the seducer and then impeaches his own argument, is it unreasonable to suggest that other "givens" may be equally flawed?
Those of us inclined to dismiss this book with one or two stars have various reasons for doing so. The fatal flaw in Greeene's treatise, in my opinion, is the individuals he holds up as icons of the art of seduction. Randomly scan the index at the end of the book and you will discover that between the covers there is a "who's who" of history's most famous characters. Greene's masterful seducers are far and away men and women counted among the aristocrats, nobility, powerful, wealthy, and most influential people of their time. He is particularly enamored with Casanova, who at 21 found a patron in an influential Senator--a stroke of luck which allowed him to live the life of a nobleman. Casanova had a few bad years and reflecting on them said, "I saw that to accomplish anything I must bring all my physical and moral faculties in play, make the acquaintance of the great and the powerful, exercise strict self-control, and play the chameleon." He latched on to a new patron, an old friend who was the Foreign Minister of France."
Again and again and again, Greene cites examples of seducers who he describes as either uncommonly good-looking, having some sort of status lesser mortals don't, and whose existence is so alien to that which most of us must endure, the discerning reader will be compelled to admit that the strategies these individuals employed to affect their seductions were in large part due to their social status and not strategy flawlessly executed. As one example he cites the Aga Khan's pursuit of Rita Hayworth. The Aga Khan, of course, is one of the world's wealthiest men and as social scientists have discovered, money covers a lot of sins. In one experiment three men were assessed by women as to their physical attractiveness. The first--on a scale of 10--was rated a "2", the second, a "5", and the third a "10". Then the researchers told the woman the "5" was an IT/Softwhere developer who made $150,000 a year. His rating jumped to an eight. The "2", the women were told, owned his own company and made $350,000 a year. He became a "9". The devishly good-looking "10" was said to be a clerk in a retail store and was consequently downgraded to a "2".
I've been told I'm a "7" and on my very best days and in the right light, with the cooperation of other favorable circumstances, I might "punch above my weight class" and flirt with an "8". My "intangibles" are fairly solid. I'm told I have a good sense of humor, can put people at ease, and play well with people. Still in all, I'm not likely to approach a woman like Bar Rafell with much confidence. Give me a net worth of $800,000,000, make me a Senator or a well-known Broadway producer and I like my chances.
Greene, in his acounts of the seductions of the overwhelming majority of his master seducers chalks their success to strategy and completely dismisses status and other variables--one, for example, being that our sexual attractiveness to a particular individual has been demonstrated in replicated studies to be dictated by the hardwiring of our brains).
This ommission to include pertinent, solid research on seduction reduces "The Art of Seduction" to a theory Greene trots out predicated on anecdotal evidence.
If we are honest with ourselves, we know intuitively that it is status, physical attractiveness, power and similar attributes, and not strategy, that grease the wheels of seduction and the mass of humanity who do not possess such advantages are going to have to work a lot harder--most often only to be disappointed--to get the girl or guy coveted by those who possess these assets.
Yes, there are exceptions. I would have found this book much more worthwhile had Greene told stories of "commoners" like most of us are who beat the odds rather than, let's say, the less than inspiring and irrelevant account of the Aga Khan's persistance in pursuing Rita Hayworth by bringing her to his palatial mansion and squiring her to Paris, won her over.
It is Green's M.O. to recount such stories and then fit them into his theories of seduction, which, I admit in many cases, I believe to be arbitrary constructions. Greene declares there are nine seductive characters but there is not a single footnote or citation to validate this assumption. Remarkably, for a book of 454 pages, the bibliography is astonishingly short--a mere two pages. Similarly, he codifies the strategems to employ in the practice of seduction into 24 tactics which are to be employed on 18 types of victims.
This is where Greene really goes off into the tall grass. By way of example, let's say the object of your lust is a victim-type Greene classifies as "An Idol Worshipper". Greene says the way to snare this prey is to "simply become their object of worship".
Most of us have to apply a degree of cunning and invest considerable sweat equity just to get somebody's phone number and Greene is telling us it is a simple matter to get someone to worship us?
I could write a sizeable book on the leaps of logic, baseless assumptions, and risks involved in Greene's advice. Think for a moment on the permutations: nine seductive characters each having 18 types of potential victims for which you could use any of 24 different strategies.
At the end of the day, there is some sound advice here: be patient, listen more than talk, observe--the basics. But this book is so bloated with conjecture and countless accounts Greene draws from history that it's probably better in the long run to just run through the numbers. If you're attracted to someone, screw up your courage, smile, say "Hi, I typically don't do this but if I didn't make some attempt to meet you, I'd spend the rest of the day regretting it."
A final note: some have applauded the book because they believe has done a great service in helping them see how some people manipulate others: fair enough--but that's not what Greene promises in the first page of his book"
"We all have the power to draw people in and hold them in our thrall."--that is, we all have the power to control the way people will respond to us to such a degree we can hijack their freedom of choice if we play specific head games.
If that was true, Greene would be as rich as the Aga Khan for breaking a code that Casanova himself confessed often completely baffled him.
832 of 1,073 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2003
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 order to position them within your power, to then sexually dominate and influence them to your wiles and wishes, is a deplorable concept anyway you view it. Then again, from another perspective, the numerous techniques of seduction that Green instructs the reader on, supplying a plethora of examples from history and Western and Eastern literature, can teach us to be wary, or at least aware of certain individuals unscrupulous methods to attain what they desire. As the old saying goes, "Better the devil you know, than the one you don't."
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.
111 of 142 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2002
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.
64 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2007
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.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2013
My stepson was in prison and specifically asked for this book. It's my own fault for not doing more research on it; but he had always requested books so I sent him what he specifically asked for and anything I thought he'd like.
I believe he used the techniques in this book against us. When he got out of prison, he landed a good job via my husband's good reputation in the community. We were not pleased with some of the choices he made but, hey, he's an adult. He was charming, outgoing and gave the appearance of leading a stellar, crime-free life. It was not until the police appeared at our door one night looking for him did we realize the prior two years of his life had been a complete lie. Two days later he was dressed in orange on the front page of the newspaper.
We were duped in many ways, both emotionally and financially.
I'm sure this is a good book for someone with no ill intent. I find the human psyche very interesting. However, this book in the wrong hands is dangerous. It's basically a how-to book on how to get over on someone--BIG TIME.
For him it turned into a book on how to get your family to disown you which is exactly what we did.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2008
This is the most useful book on romance I've encountered, and I'll bet I've read fifty. Greene untangles the mystery of what attracts us: a fantasy of an easier, more colorful, more exciting life. Note that we are attracted to fantasy, not reality. Unlike reality, fantasy can be created and manipulated. This gives great hope to women who are not super-models and to men who are not super-rich.
Greene teaches us to investigate, to plan our attempts at romance. We learn the right mix of revelation and obscurity, of kindness and cruelty. Yes, that's correct; the biggest mistake we make in seduction is being too nice. If you've been around the block a few times, you know exactly what he's talking about.
If you are married and want to stay married, this book is essential. I've been married five years and I use Greene's ideas every day, to keep the fire lit with my spouse. Read it, or listen on CD. You may realize you have more power over your objects of desire than you knew.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2014
The Art of Seduction is a read like no other: it fascinates and entices in ways few books are capable of. It is not a book on how to get laid; at its core, it is a guide for the most effective forms of manipulation, a series of social strategies that, if used correctly, will leave ANY person at your mercy. Don’t mistake that last statement for some gushing hyperbole. I’m not some Brian Greene fanboy or something. It’s just true: the strategies actually work.
But do you really, deep down, want them to work? Your immediate response is probably a resounding YES. You probably have in mind a particular person that you’ve been crushing on for some time, and you’re utterly ecstatic at the thought of being able to finally have that person. And the truth is, this book is going to teach you how, and if you follow the strategies correctly, you absolutely will have that person. But, and this is a HUGE “but,” do you think, that after all your cunning, all your deceit and manipulation and games, that you will even be excited to finally have that person? How can you respect, or be in awe, or be in love with someone you’ve deliberately sought out to deceive? How can you be amazed by a person who fell for a trick? And more importantly, how can you trust yourself beyond that point? You must be prepared to face these sorts of questions while reading this book, because despite how much I may have enjoyed reading it, I felt hallow, even depressed, after finishing it.
I suppose all of us are manipulative to some extent, and seduction can even be refracted as a pleasurable form of it; but the extent to which this book suggests one should be manipulative is plain scary, not to mention depressing. I know what some of you are thinking: there’s just no way that this book could be so effective so as to turn you into such a cunning and manipulative monster. As you read The Art of Seduction, though, you will most likely recognize many of the strategies adumbrated in the text: send mixed signals, never be predictable, speak in vague and ambiguous language, never be completely real, charm the other person by reflecting them back to themselves, create a wound in the person that only you can heal, etc. Every single one of these tactics are remarkably effective: You and I know they are, because we’ve either done them, or have had them done to us.
I’m gay and in my late 20s, and unfortunately, the gay scene is typically a lot more superficial and deceptive than the straight scene. (I could be wrong about that, straight people can be superficial and manipulative too of course). Some guys I’ve talked to never, ever, revealed an ounce of their true character to me; honestly though, I didn’t care, because I just wanted their bodies. (We’re all adults here right? I’m going to be brutally honest with you in this review). The feeling was mutual, and I, likewise, didn’t reveal an ounce of my true character either. It was all fun, all play, all a big game. I suppose in these circumstances—where both parties are merely interested in sex—the “game” is excusable, vital even. That’s what it’s all about, really. But this book establishes an even more sinister purpose: how to get someone to be deeply in love with you, to follow you wherever you go, and to be totally at your mercy.
And that’s its fundamental problem. Are you going to be comfortable and happy with the person you become? I’ve had incredible success employing the strategies in this book. Like, truly incredible success, so much that I can hardly believe. But I’ve never felt more empty and alone. I’ve never experienced so much dissonance with myself. On top of all that, the person that you finally are able to possess becomes all the less special and amazing to you. Your proclivity for boredom will intensify exponentially.
Ok, wait, it can’t be that bad right? The truth is, I was already subconsciously aware of many of these tactics, and I employed them to my advantage quite often: the only difference though, was that I did them mostly unknowingly. Many of us just have characteristics that are naturally seductive I suppose. But now that I “get it,” now that I know EXACTLY what to do, and have seen that it works, I’m afraid of who I could become.
This brings me to the summation of my review: don’t read this book. If you absolutely can’t resist, then at least do this: before reading, determine your moral boundaries. Be absolutely certain of who you are, what you value about others. Make sure you are perfectly, and I mean perfectly, in touch with your moral center. If not, you have no idea what you may become. I would also recommend eliminating at least a few of the strategies: pick the ones that strike you as the most immoral and deceitful, and refrain from ever using them.
The book though, on its own, is undoubtedly brilliant, maybe even a work of genius. Greene is incredibly clever, and the language is beautiful and seductive in its own right. The concepts and writing style have a deep, almost literary flavor to them, which makes it all the more enjoyable to read. The only place where Greene messed up in my opinion, is how he left out a possible final topic: I feel like he should’ve had one more chapter to discuss the effects that these strategies will inexorably have on the manipulator. It almost feels immature, even a little sophomoric to not cover this territory. I suppose though, that would’ve been contrary to the very ethos of this book. Don’t read it: it’s not worth the emptiness it elicits. If you must read it, please do so with the uttermost caution.