1,564 of 1,614 people found the following review helpful
"The Game", at first, appears to be an informative, eye-opening, entertaining and DANGEROUS MANUAL ON HOW TO SEDUCE WOMEN. Deep within this controversial book, however, lies one of the best self improvement books available to man... as long as he understands and embraces the fundamental reality that the acquisition of confidence and personal worth are strictly required in order to succeed at the Game. A lot of low self esteem individuals will read this book and become, I believe, better men.
And I completely understand the threat many women would feel by this material. But intelligent women are insulated from the manipulation at which many of the individuals featured in this story are so inept. Only the naïve are at risk, as they always have been.
Many people refer to this book as a manual on how to seduce women. But Neil Strauss, its author, never made such a claim. It was merely his honest and humorous account of his experience in the PUA (pickup artist) community. But Strauss is a talented writer. And, as such, he not only managed to make this the very entertaining and insightful manual everybody said it was, but has also given an extremely valuable tool to goodhearted men with benign goals - a tool that can be used with mutual benefit, without anyone getting hurt or played. In spite of other reviewers' claims to the contrary, Strauss does disclose the nature and vivid examples of the emotional and spiritual consequences PUAs reap when they manipulate people for narcissistic purposes.
This endeavor began when Strauss, a writer for the New York Times, was given an assignment to write about the underground pickup artist community. Strauss was a skinny, balding intellectual who felt awkward around women and hadn't had much success with them prior. He immediately homed in on a character named Mystery and hit the mother load. Mystery was a modern day Casanova and widely considered, by the cumulative underground community of PUAs, to be the preeminent pickup artist in the world. Tom Cruise's seduction guru character in "Magnolia" was supposedly based on Mystery. By the time Strauss finished his assignment, he had transformed himself and assumed Mystery's title as tenth degree pickup master of the universe.
As I began reading the book, I felt uneasy. Knowing this knowledge was out there felt akin to suddenly discovering a bunch of troubled kids figured out how to make nuclear weapons.
I've always had great interest in psychology and what makes people do the things they do. I discovered my knowledge of psychology was pale in comparison to these guys. They (the serious ones) study contemporary literature on psychology and ancillary subjects, many of which involve some sort of self-improvement. The young, horny ones operate with one laser-focused mission: Bed women... bed as many "9+" women as possible! The more they bed, the more they validate themselves. But some, more enlightened ones, were simply looking to find the best wife/partner they possibly could.
Strauss began as Mystery's student. After a few successes, he began to catch the eye of other PUAs to whom he quickly acclimated himself. He soaked up their knowledge like a sponge. At the end of two years, Strauss had studied, one-on-one, the methods of all the world's alleged greatest pickup artists and took that which best suited his own personal style and made it his own. In the process he became an underground, worshipped legend - Code Name: Style. But in the process, he also greatly strengthened his core person and acquired the Holy Grail: self-esteem. This book doesn't just contain the cumulative knowledge of the PUA community, but one hell of an entertaining story.
It must be stated that the Game's contribution to much of Strauss' unstoppable success is mitigated by the fact that he was a writer for one of the most respected publications in the world, living in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills over Sunset Boulevard (a consequence of rising to the top of the PUA community), regularly interviewing celebrities and driving a nice car; most men with these assets aren't having issues dating. Still, I believe the majority of what he achieved was aided by his mastery of the basic principals of "The Game". And those are:
1. You can only "game" a woman with whom you are prepared to fail (if you find yourself wanting her too badly, you'll never have her)
2. Exude extreme confidence
3. Demonstrate some kind of value, skill or talent NEAR your target, but not directly to her. Initially, pretend you don't even notice her.
4. Win over her friends
5. Be hard to get
6. Be fun
7. Handle challenges from competing men intellectually and psychologically. Never fight.
8. Respond to any signs that she's not interested as if it were "no big deal"
9. Once you have your target's attention, playfully insult ("neg") her. For example, "I like your hair, is that your natural color?" The more beautiful the woman, the more effective the neg is in garnering interest as they rarely hear comments of that nature.
10. Once attraction has been established, punish any unwanted behavior by withdrawing and disinterest, but do not pout or have an attitude.
11. Alternate between attraction and disinterest signals in a push-pull fashion until rapport is established
There are many other rules, but those are the ones that stuck out to me.
As I read, I found myself subconsciously adjusting my behavior, according to Game theory... and getting surprising results. Women that used to intimidate me with their "presence" were suddenly acting goofy/nervous around me. Could this be real? After I got over the initial excitement of my newfound knowledge, I began to get disappointed that the women that made ME goofy/nervous for so long could be so easily manipulated. I feared that I would start to lose respect for women. Who wants someone they don't respect?
But by the time I got to the end, I realized that I wasn't manipulating anyone. I was simply carrying myself with more confidence. I found myself initiating conversations with strangers. There were no signs of neediness or social anxiety. I realized a man with a conscience can take a small portion of the knowledge shared in "The Game" to simply get over that first, most difficult hurdle of establishing rapport with a woman to whom he is attracted. I realized all anyone reading this book is really looking for is confidence. And many individuals that happen to gain a skill or talent as a result of his quest for a better sex life might just get some self esteem in the process. And that, I believe, is the greatest good of this material. The greater one's self esteem, the higher his goals.
Knowledge is power. And it's only how that power is used that can reveal the nature of its possessor. The only real dangerous "players" out there are the ones whose cognitive reasoning and emotional maturity never fully develop and, at the same time, possess Oscar-worthy acting skills. Yeah, there are a few out there. But an intelligent woman knows when she's being played. And as Strauss saw repeatedly, manipulating and seducing a woman, in and of itself, is a victory that invariably leaves one hollow, still unfulfilled. In the end, your true self is what counts and is the only thing that can find and keep love.
918 of 1,097 people found the following review helpful
First, a disclaimer, because of the sniping going on about this book: I don't know any of the people portrayed in "The Game." I have no biases in either direction regarding any of them. In fact, I'm a straight (and married) female, so I really have no vested interest in ANY pick-up strategies.
I read "The Game" after seeing a review of it in the newspaper. I was amused and a bit intrigued at the idea of a whole subculture centered around seducing members of the opposite sex -- at the idea of guys who honestly had NO other goals in life.
In a way, it's almost an inspirational story in the beginning. Everyone likes an underdog, and the short, bald guy who's suddenly able to get all the babes is no exception. But it wouldn't be much of a story if there wasn't a dark side to the success. Strauss describes how he loses interest in everything EXCEPT picking up women and in fact feels compelled to hit on them almost constantly. He holds seminars on seduction. He posts to message boards about seduction. He lives in a house full of guys whose sole interest is seduction -- some who spend thousands of dollars attending seminars around the country.
Of course, at the end, he realizes that all the tricks and one-liners he uses to get a woman into bed won't help him when he meets The One. And maybe I'm a bit naive, but isn't that what most of us really want in the end?
Strauss is a fine writer, though not a highly remarkable one. I think the story itself, rather than the writing, is what carries the book. The characters are truly compelling -- especially Mystery, who I almost want to meet to see if he's as irresistable as everyone seems to think. (You have to wonder, though, if his techniques work half so well when the women already know about them.)
So, should guys who can't meet women pick up this book? I don't think so. I -do- believe that some of the advice here could work, such as "negging" -- giving a good-looking girl a subtle put-down to make her want to win you over. I know that, in my single days, I was more intrigued by the guys who weren't under my spell, so to speak. Still, it doesn't make putting people down a nice thing to do.
My problem with this book is that it might be overly seductive to single guys, and draw people in to a rather twisted subculture -- which I think is NOT the author's intent. I also think that the techniques described encourage objectification of women to an extreme, and aren't particularly healthy for guys, either.
It's easy to see how becoming an expert in seduction would sound, well, seductive. But these "expert" philosophies all have one thing in common: They treat women as the enemy. And we're not, I swear!
To summarize: If you're looking for a good read, pick up "The Game." If you're trying to meet women, get some fashion advice and learn how to boost your self-confidence, because magic tricks and insults aren't going to get you into a relationship worth having.
331 of 419 people found the following review helpful
I'm 52, married, don't know the author, have never heard of this secret society and still found this book fascinating. I say this because so many reviewers seem to have an agenda. From the arrival of this book b4 a business trip where my wife asked if I was going through another mid-life crisis, to the enjoyable but staccato writing style of Strauss, I read this book in pure fascination but half the time wondering if it was fiction. From reading these reviews it is clear there is basis for this book. But a Project Hollywood with male drama and Courtney Love thrown in for humor? Well, evidently it was true.
This book should be read by all young men. Yes, some have the ability to approach women in some manner, but most DON'T have the ability in ANY manner. This book will help. Does it give contrived starting lines? Sure, but the point of the book is, "men need it" and when most people think of pick-up lines, these are actually exactly the opposite as more fully explained in the book. We are not conditioned to know the appropriate way to approach women! But apparently, we can learn.
This book is educational on talking to women but also an interesting story about the crazy, neurotic lives these guys live. As to the author, his writing style is much too young for me but I did enjoy watching him weave this story and predict a bright journalistic career for him. I had previously read his biography of Jenna Jamison and enjoyed it also. I have not seen much publicity about this book. I heard about it from the short story in Esquire. I would love to read the NY Times article referenced in the book. I recommend this book for both men and women in their dating years but also recommend others read this that just want to learn about interpersonal relationships or read a zany life of needy men.
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2008
A few years ago I was the archetype of the lonely man. I came very very close to commiting suicide in fact, because I felt trapped in isolation. I wanted friends, and I wanted lovers but I had no idea how to get them.
This book quite literally saved my life, in my darkest hour this book introduced me to the concept that being SOCIAL, making friends and being liked was a skill. Until I read this it had never occurred to me you could practice those things and get better at them.
This book started me on a path towards self-improvement in which I eventually realized EVERYTHING in life is a skill. Everything can be practiced you can learn how to be better at anything. Even being happy.
The Game is not a how-to book, it does not teach you all the techniques of pick-up. It's a true story about how some of the first pick-up artists started out. But the Game is an excellent introduction into a sub-culture of men devoted to making their own lives better. It's a primer to the IDEA that if you want to be more happy, or more sexy, or more attractive, you CAN be. You do not need to stay miserable.
Pick-up is ironically, about much much more than getting laid. It turns out that learning to love yourself (which ends up attracting women anyways) is also its own reward.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The Game seems like a miserable lifestyle of unfulfilling one night stands. It seems like it is made of insecure men, who want to validate themselves on their ability to pick up women. Being able to attract the people you wish to attract is a major part of life, your ability for romance is incredibly important. But for men like Mystery and Ross Jeffries, who have these activities define their lives, you see two shallow, broken men, who are trying so hard to hold it together, and clinging to meaningless titles. Let us all be reminded and know that this book begins with a house in ruins, Mystery at the brink of suicide, most others disbanded and gone, and Neil trying to hold together the remnants.
The book is engaging, its a great read, but people who are reading it for the skills, should be wary of entering this game. It can be life draining, create that feeling of purposelessness. I weighed a lot through High School, and I'm still fat now, but I was always great at talking with women, never intimidated, never worried, but I never escalated. I worried about manipulating the girls unfairly. I'm the type of person who never dated a single girl in High School, but every guy would ask me how to escalate with their girl, because I projected a very unique charisma. This book entertained me to no end, because, that same charisma, I see, could have netted me a path into the gateway of manhood two or three years earlier had I cared to use it.
The first thing to know about the game is the story, Neil Strauss talks about his conversion from an Average Frustrated Chump with no success with women to a lady's man, who walked in anywhere, and got himself a girl. It's an interesting story. It's unique. It's sort of a sexual Horatio Algier's tale. And, if you're looking for a unique true story to be entertained with, you could do a lot worse than The Game.
The second thing, the reason this loses a star is because the book made me cringe. I would give it a lower score, but for a personal distaste, that would be unjustly rating to a very good book. The women in this book are put to a rating system, HB 5's to 10's, a sickening demeaning concept in my mind. Because the scale simply goes on looks, it's a shallow, and pointless concept that means absolutely nothing--sort of like the sex life of these characters. One of them had sex with several women unable to experience enough pleasure with his interactions to ej a culate. What type of meaningless existence are these men living in. In one part, Neil says that he was more concerned with perfecting the skills than getting the girl. I'd never want to get into that mindset. For me, I wanted to be able to seduce the women that I wanted to seduce, the women that I meant. Just because they were hot didn't mean they were interesting, and if they weren't interesting, if I wasn't connecting with them on an intelectual level, why in the hell would I want to connect with them on a physical level. I've stopped dates with girls who were quite hot, but lost my interest. Went out with a girl who said she liked the earlier Harry Potter books because they were shorter. I asked for the check and took her home.
If I were to give this book to a younger person, I might tell him to appreciate the skill, but never let yourself get sucked into the game.
Another major thing that I found absolutely stupid was DHVing (Displaying (demonstrating) Higher Value). Real Men, which this book lacks in spades, live their lives as men with High Value. To make a last point in this long review, what I took away from all my research is a very simple thing, sexual selectiveness. When you approach a woman, don't approach her wondering how you're going to get her, wonder if she's going to be worthy of getting you. You should be wondering if she's going to be interesting (not if she's going to be interested). Women dress up for men, women put on make-up for men, women do everything to look their best, just to go out and get groceries, because they hope that someone will be a man. So why are you so worried about if you're good enough for her, when you should be wondering if she's good enough for you. Take this feeling into life, going after what you want, and you'll get better results, rather than going after what you think will work.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2015
This is by far the most mind-numbingly stupid book I have ever read.
From reading the other reviews, it seems like many give it 5 stars because they feel it's a good guide to picking up women. Others gave it 5 stars because it's a good story. The book is neither of these things.
As a pickup guide:
-The entire book is about socially awkward individuals using humiliating, cringe-worthy tactics to hook up with bar trash throughout Los Angeles. To give you an idea, the author suggests a method called 'peacocking', where an individual will wear everything from glitter to bedazzled clothing to fake piercings just to attract more attention. If you still don't believe me, look up Erik Von Markovik (aka Mystery), the Author's idol throughout the entire book. If you want a step-by-step guide on how to look and act like him, I suggest you order a copy immediately. Otherwise, you will want to consider a different book.
As a story:
-Once you catch on to how truly weird and socially retarded these individuals are, you will lose all interest. The characters are neither interesting nor relatable. They're social outcasts who, as if they weren't awkward enough, spend time researching and studying other pick up artists in order to become even more strange. By the end of the book you will not care either way what happens to any of them.
I've never been so mislead by a star rating before. Take my word for it, this book deserves less than the 1 star I am giving it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2008
If anything, this book is entertaining. I couldn't put it down. It's like a seedy gothic novel! If you are interested in social dynamics, dating advice, and just a good LA tale, this book is well worth your time. It is well-written, interesting, and a bit disturbing. But as a whole, it does not take itself too seriously, and the author does an excellent job in showcasing his storytelling and narrative skills. The Courtney Love appearances alone are worth the price of the book; halfway through it, I found myself wanting to hear more about her than the would-be Casanovas.
Now for my analysis of "The Game." If you ever wondered what happened to all the freaks and geeks from high school who could never get a girl to kiss them let alone sleep with them, this book will answer that question.
With crazy nom de guerres like Mystery, Twotimer and Grimble, these nerds turned ladies men descend on unsuspecting females at trendy, urban night clubs like a horde of social vampires. Their prize is not blood, but the elusive booty calls that they've craved for their whole lives.
This particular peek into the world of the self-described pick up artist (PUA) is told from the perspective of one of the Seduction Community's most prominent members, who also happens to be the author. The adventures of Neil Strauss (a.k.a. Style) and his trusty mentor / wingman Mystery are chronicled in merciless and graphic detail. Mr. Strauss gives a highly personal and candid account of how the lonely and introverted author Neil transforms himself, with the help of Mystery, into the gregarious and outrageously charming PUA Style.
Despite their antics and the inherent emptiness of their chosen field of endeavor, I have to admit that there is something lovable about these PUAs--much like the sympathy you feel for the pimps in the Hughes brothers' documentary "American Pimp."
You can't help being captivated by various adventures of Style and his minions, ranging from the Sunset Strip to far-flung places like the former Yugoslavia. Each PUA seminar, in-field workshop, and night out on the town offers with it a healthy dose of sex, drugs and drama. These stories are the ones that stars tell, not onetime nerds. But, these guys have them, and as the author states at the beginning of the book, they are all real.
Despite the juicy tidbits and taboo subject matter, the many vectors of the PUAs in the book and the two main vectors of Style and Mystery also tell a cautionary tale. Namely, happiness can never be found outside of one's heart. To share happiness with others, one must first find happiness within, which means accepting who you are, faults and all, and being grateful to be alive.
Although Mr. Strauss appears to come to a variation of this conclusion by the end of the book, I'm still not convinced that the PUA world offers a healthy vehicle for self-improvement. Sure: Style became a cool and probably a bit of a healthier person, but at what cost?
Make no doubt that the women chronicled in this story are by no means hapless victims. Granted, some are young and naïve, but most are willing accomplices. What's more bothersome is that some of the men who live the PUA lifestyle believe that learned routines, fashion-sense, and social fakery can replace good old fashion soul searching.
I'm happy that the Seduction Community helped Mr. Strauss in this regard, but I have the sneaking suspicion that there are many more lost souls out there looking for answers in the PUA sub-culture that it can never give them.
The darker side of the Seduction Community is not a pretty place. The lost souls are one thing, but the power hungry and megalomaniacal opportunists like Papa and Tyler Durden are ubiquitous and far more insidious. People like them will continue to lurk about sub-cultures such as this one to take advantage of vulnerable people. In every sense of the word, they truly are social predators.
To these corrupt and unforgiving souls, I can only say that manipulating others is not a game. No person is a means to your end. As the PUA Ross Jeffries is quoted to have said in the book, "leave them better than you found them." Some of the PUAs would be well-served to take his advice.
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2007
Say what you will about the lifestyle depicted in The Game, but the book itself is fascinating. What's not to like? On investigative assignment to check out an online manual that supposedly holds the secrets to bedding women, Neil Strauss insinuates himself in the underground lothario community, and graduates from average frustrated chump (AFC) to master pickup artist (mPUA) in under a year. Due largely to his own prowess and exploits, he bears witness to a scene that explodes (or climaxes, if you will) from a few geeks hawking self-help books online to a global enterprise thousands strong. A skilled writer, Strauss details, with as dispassionate a tone as possible for a reformed nerd getting that much action, events in a true story that pretty much writes itself. The Game has all the elements of a thrilling spy novel: tribalism and warring factions (among the different camps of pickup artistry); conflict and resolution; philosophy; colorful characters (a major one of which is Courtney Love); and, of course, lots of sex.
The story's main players and methodologies described were mostly loathsome. The PUA method is best described as fabricating the confidence necessary to approach women in social settings through a combination of memorized routines, tricks, and sophomoric reverse psychology; bypassing their initial stranger anxiety and flight response; and quickly bedding them after wearing down their defenses. The latter is accomplished by emphasizing the PUA's self-worth, insulting the women to indicate a seeming lack of interest, and isolating them from their friends. The overall result, in Strauss' words, is "dehumanizing the opposite sex," and objectifying women while pretending to hold them in high regard.
The majority of the "artists" aren't even dimly aware of how hugely annoying or creepy they are. They form a collection of bitter, friendless misfits who in many cases still live with their parents and didn't even kiss their first girl until after age 21. The worst were Ross Jeffries, Tyler Durden, Papa, and Mystery, a petulant, sullen, often-suicidal "magician used to exploiting the gullibility of others." After trading in their six-sided dice for a few instructional videos and expensive lifestyle seminars, these guys tally successes with the opposite sex, but somehow become less cool in the process. I mean, can you imagine James Caan or Steve McQueen meeting women by pretending to pick planted lint off their shoulders or sticking elbows out to intentionally bump them walking by, or carrying a "man purse" filled with glow sticks, costume jewelry, and fortune-telling runes?
And at what point is the scheming too insidious? These guys were willing to steal women away from boyfriends and husbands, to fake injuries to get massages, to lie, to remove chairs from their bedrooms so as to direct women towards the bed, to hypnotize, and to unilaterally remove their clothes and ask for baths. All behaviors were easily rationalized by pat explanations like obedience to the male biological imperative, and recognizing that women "want to be seduced." I imagine a lot of roofies get slipped into bar drinks by similar guys employing similar logic.
Strauss wasn't the basket case that the rest of these guys were, though. The more a guy has on the ball before learning these methods, the more he can parse the logical from the asinine ones, and do phenomenally with women in the process. Strauss entered the scene with at least a job, his own place to live, and some money. And although he loved the lifestyle, he maintained enough clarity to recognize when things spiraled out of control, and when he began to succumb to the seducer's paradox: the better a seducer one becomes, the less they love women. A truly spellbinding and strange story.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Strauss had written 1/2 of a fascinating account of the subculture of pickup artists, and how he transformed himself into one of the best (or so he says...). Whether it's strictly true or not, the story is entertaining and funny and odd, but halfway through this book really goes downhill.
I was slightly put off by the objectification of women in the beginning also. I didn't like the chase, the hunt, the scoring, the comparing notes. I thought anyone who signed up for a seminar to become a predator was a big loser (and many of them were, in fact, big losers). Then I started to look at the techniques as a way to "win friends and influence people" instead of score with chicks. Many of the techniques have to do with being charismatic and comfortable in new situations with a bunch of strangers. Even someone who doesn't want to have a gazillion one-night stands could learn something from the ways to warm up a group of strangers and impress them with your charisma.
The second half is a list of Style's conquests, complete with name dropping, a sudden interest in name brands (when Courtney Love wakes him up in the middle of the night, somehow he knows she holding a Prada shoe in her hand--what?) and a bitter sort of humor. The author really lost my sympathy when he started making fun of a lover who told him she had herpes--very 14 year old boy humor, and hey, it's greatly to her credit that she told him.
By the end of the book, Style seems to have turned into a sort of wanker/narcissist in Diesel jeans, with a Mercedes-driving girlfriend who informs him "I could have anyone." In reply, he dumps out all his collected pickup phone numbers and says: "Of all the girls in LA, I choose you." Clearly, they deserve each other. And his hero is the biggest crazy narcissist around, Tom Cruise. Give it a shot and see how it strikes you.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2015
I was told this was a great book. I did not believe it, but decided to give it a try instead of flatly rejecting it. And after reading it, I can tell you: it is trash. The characters in there are disgusting. Take these comments, for instance:
The author supposedly admires Mystery. Two comments about him are more than enough to show this guy's moral sense (or lack of):
"Mystery had met Patricia four years ago, when she was fresh off the boat from Romania. He tried to mold her into his ideal girl—he talked her into getting a boob job, giving him blow jobs (which she’d never done before), and taking a job as a stripper—but she drew the line at bisexuality. For Mystery, this was a dealbreaker."
"she e-mailed Mystery’s girlfriend, Patricia, and told her about her boyfriend’s extracurricular activities. The fallout nearly destroyed his relationship, and in the process taught him that there was a downside to being a pickup artist: getting caught."
Or another of his idols: a loser poet that committed suicide.
"One of my teenage heroes was Harry Crosby. He was a poet from the 1920s, and, frankly, his poetry sucked...At the age of thirty-one, when he realized that his lifestyle hadn’t killed him yet, Crosby shot himself."
The problem is that this book is read by high-school or college boys who believe they have to behave like that.