The Game

Neil Strauss

Published 2005

Non-fiction/Biography/Seduction/Self Improvement

What is it about?

The author investigates the underground world of pick-up artists and in the process becomes one himself.

How long is it?

400+ pages.

Is it easy to read?

Yes. It is long, but very engaging. Strauss being a journalist has a very clean, concise style.

Is it any good? 

Yes. It caused a huge shock when it was first published. It shed light on an underground subculture and exposed the secrets that pick-up artists were employing in order to seduce women. It launched pick-up onto the mainstream, sold over a million copies and has been cited by numerous people as being their first inroad into self improvement.

How will it inspire me?

The book is not really about what most people think it is, it is not a guidebook on how to talk women into bed, even though there are numerous examples of how to do that. What is far more engaging is the incredible transformation that the author undergoes over the course of just two years. It is about how one man through persistent trial and error was able to drastically change his life.  

The book begins with Strauss giving a damning description of himself: skinny, insecure, short, thinning hair, big nose, small beady eyes and effectively saying in his own estimation how completely undesirable to women he was. He details his experiences with women up until that point which have been largely scarce and uneventful. The belief he had convinced himself of was that some men have it and some don’t, he didn’t. He then by accident stumbles across an online ‘lay guide’ and this launches him on his path to uncover the secrets of the pick-up community.

Strauss attends a boot camp hosted by the eccentric pick-up artist Mystery and from this initial ‘sarge’ his life begins to change. He meets other men who are in the same position as him, meets some of the world’s most prolific seducers of women and discovers the online forums where the community swap stories and offer advice. After some early success, Strauss then does something I advocate in this blog whereby he immerses himself in positive stimuli. He reads books on women, on body language, on influence and persuasion, watches old movies starring sexually attractive men, all in an attempt to build up his confidence and help him reach his goal. Consequently, his old limiting beliefs about himself slowly begin to erode.    

Although there is a physical change that Strauss undergoes, it is ultimately his conception of himself that is the biggest most significant change. There is a book called Mind Gym by Gary Mack and David Casstevens that I will review in a future post that essentially details how pivotal a winning mindset is for athletes. One of the many good points that the authors make is ‘you cannot outperform your own self-image’. For example, if an athlete doesn’t believe themselves to be capable of beating their opponent, they won’t. Strauss similarly starts off by believing himself unattractive and undesirable to the opposite sex which hampers his development in the beginning. This poor self conception he has is the single biggest obstacle he overcomes in the book. This is why I put so much emphasis on self belief, without it you simply are not going to achieve your goals.   

The book does the same thing that The Millionaire Next Door does in that it explodes a pervasive myth that a lot of men believe. The belief being that only six-foot tall, attractive, ‘alpha’ men who drive supercars and have millions in the bank are sleeping with attractive women. Strauss demonstrates in a revelatory way that this is simply not true. Although some of the techniques that the book employs I don’t agree with, the book is worthy of inclusion as Strauss’s transformation and his success at improving this particular area of his life is still genuinely inspiring.     

Choice lines:

-I had a list: to believe that I was attractive to women; to live in my own reality; to stop worrying about what other people thought of me; to move and speak with an air of strength, confidence, mystery and depth; to get over my fear of sexual rejection; and, of course, to attain a sense of worthiness, which Rasputin defined as ‘the belief that one deserves the best the world has to offer.’

-Helena Rubinstein once said, “There are no ugly women; only lazy ones.” Since society holds men to less rigid standards of beauty than women, this is doubly true of guys. Give a man […] a tan, better posture, whiter teeth, a fitness regime, and clothes that fit, and he’s well on his way to handsome.

-There are certain bad habits we’ve groomed our whole life-from personality flaws to fashion faux pas. And it has been the role of parents and friends, outside of some minor tweaking, to reinforce the belief that we’re okay just as we are. But it’s not enough to just be yourself. You have to be your best self. And that’s a tall order if you haven’t found your best self yet. […] But who are we, really? Just a bundle of good genes and bad genes mixed with good habits and bad habits. And since there’s no gene for coolness or confidence, then being uncool and unconfident are just bad habits, which can be changed with enough guidance and will power.   

-I can say after a thousand approaches, there are only so many ways to get rejected or ignored. It doesn’t hurt at all anymore because why should someone who’s a complete stranger have any control over your sense of self-worth?

Note: I have chosen to post as an accompaniment to this book Models by Mark Manson as I believe this to be a far better seduction book as it does not rely on some of the more questionable techniques that are employed in The Game.

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