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129 of 174 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a bit shallow but possibly worth reading once, December 19, 2006
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This review is from: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists (Imitation Leather)
This is one of the strangest autobiographies I've ever read. I found it difficult to put down, much in the same way that I can't help but slow down and look at the scene of an accident while passing by on the freeway. But does anyone ever turn around and go back for another look at an accident, or tell his friends to drive over and see it? It's easy to cheer on Strauss as he develops more confidence, improves his sex life, and eventually leaves the community of socially damaged pickup artists that he helped establish, but the degree of self-transformation is over-hyped. In the end, the author finally recognizes that pickup artists "derive [their] entire self-esteem and identity from the attention of the opposite sex." Remarkably, it took several years of Strauss' life and 350 pages of text to reach this conclusion.

Here are a few other observations:

* The book opens with an awkward flash-forward that should have been saved for later.

* It does include potentially useful information for picking up young, credulous women with low self-esteem, but one could probably get more detailed information from any of the "how-to" books cited by Strauss.

* Some of the "ESP" tricks used for pickups are so silly that it's embarrassing that they impress anyone.

* Strauss actually quotes Gloria Steinem: "The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn." The author is probably aware of the irony of quoting a feminist icon, but may not realize that the same speech also included this line: "Much of the trouble this country is in has to do with the masculine mystique: The idea that manhood somehow depends on the subjugation of other people." Though the women ("targets") portrayed in the book really do seem to want the sexual encounters, the few resulting relationships portrayed in the book are hard to describe as anything other than subjugation.

* Despite his recognition that the relationships he forms through pickup are ultimately unsatisfying, Strauss truly feels he is a better man for all of his experiences. Disturbingly, he doesn't seem to realize that he's more of a man because he's more confident, not because he's learned how to juggle multiple girlfriends with emotional detachment. Surely there are more direct paths to self-improvement.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 15, 2009 8:42:27 AM PDT
U. Dongre says:
great review

Posted on Jan 12, 2010 2:11:10 PM PST
A. Tomsho says:
I have to say this. I'm a professional magician. I use some of those "silly tricks" that you think it's embarrassing people fall for in my work. And I guarantee you that I could fool you with tricks even more absurd that that. Are you going to tell me that all of my clients and audience members are stupid or credulous or naive?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2010 6:04:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2010 6:05:11 PM PDT
"Are you going to tell me that all of my clients and audience members are stupid or credulous or naive"

Apparently, they are.

Posted on Apr 13, 2010 6:15:55 AM PDT
Land Rover says:
Did you even finish the book?!

Strauss clearly realizes that he is a better man because of the confidence he has gained. It has allowed him to take some pride and ownership in himself. It allowed him to meet the "women of his dreams" and he is using this story to help other men like him.

Strauss wrote this book not to teach men to bed women but to help men who may have been in the same place he was before this journey. He seems to want to help men become better men. Sure he might use the leverage of meeting women. But isn't that one of our driving forces in life? To find a partner. And Strauss does not use this power in a demeaning way like many of the PUAs in the book. He wants to help men find a quality partner and in order for anyone to be in a successful and healthy relationship they must first be happy with who they are in their own life. This book may highlight some of the more unmoral things he has done but it is in the end a great read with a powerful message.

Tell these men to go to the self-help section and they might laugh at you. Give them this book and they will def read it and may even come away with better because of it.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2010 8:50:51 PM PDT
A. Tomsho says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Sep 9, 2011 12:48:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2011 12:50:40 PM PDT
Mark Twain says:
I've read this book and as I enjoyed it very much, I was curious what the most helpful critical review would say. While the book may not be as good as a "How to" guide, I never imagined this book would be that.

It is a book about a guy penetrating this formerly secret society. You call this book strange, and that is a good word to call it. Most people think that's a bad thing though. I think that's a bad word for this book unless I look at the definition:

1b. not native to or naturally belonging in a place
2a. not before known, heard, or seen
2b. exciting wonder or awe

In that case, I completely agree with that. I love unique things. They are fascinating! I grow tired with the same stories, the same books, the same movies.. so this book was a personal favorite of mine.

Also, I might be wrong about this - perhaps you saw a sentence in the book somewhere that suggested otherwise, but I didn't get the feeling Neil doesn't know he is more of a man because he is more confident even if he didn't directly state it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2013 1:49:28 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 3, 2013 1:51:03 PM PDT]

Posted on Dec 5, 2013 9:51:21 AM PST
I'm a psychotherapist helping a man recover from the distortions in this approach to human being (sic). The terrible mistake for both men and women is the emphasis on developing a persona for power as opposed to developing a truly authentic self that produces a powerful sens of self that no longer needs to exert power, especially in intimate relationships.
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