"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.