Are you just another AFC ("average frustrated chump") trying to meet an HB ("hot babe")? How would you like to "full-close" with a Penthouse Pet of the Year? The answers, my friend, are in Neil Strauss's entertaining book The Game
. Strauss was a self-described chick repellant--complete with large, bumpy nose, small, beady eyes, glasses, balding head, and, worst of all, painful shyness around women. He felt like "half a man." That is, until a book editor asked him to investigate the community of pickup artists. Strauss's life was transformed. He spent two years bedding some fine chiquitas and studying with some of the North America's most suave gents--including the best of them all, the God of the pickup "community," a man named Mystery.
Mystery is an aspiring Toronto magician who charges $2,250 for a weekend pickup workshop. He is not much to look at: a cross between a vampire and a computer geek. But by using high-powered marketing techniques he's turned seduction into an effortless craft--even inventing his own vocabulary. His technique sounds like a car salesman's tip sheet: his main rule is FMAC--find, meet, attract, close. He employs the "three-second rule"--always approach a woman within three seconds of first seeing her in order to avoid getting shy. Other tricks: Intrigue a beautiful woman by pretending to be unaffected by her charm; also, never hit on a woman right away. Start with a disarming, innocent remark, like "Do you think magic spells work?" or "Oh my god, did you see those two girls fighting outside?" And finally, the most important characteristic of the pickup artist--smile.
After two years, Strauss ends up becoming almost as successful as Mystery, but he comes to an important realization. His techniques were actually off-putting to the woman he ended up falling in love with. And they never prepared him for actually having a relationship. After a while, he ran out of one-liners and had to have a real conversation. Still, The Game is a great read that may help some AFCs come out of their shells. --Alex Roslin
[Signature]Reviewed by Amy Sohn
I never dated Neil Strauss, but I dated guys like him. Like many New York women, I have always gone for balding, pale guys because they're grateful and good in bed. But a few years ago, a distraught Strauss decided he was a loser with women and set about transforming himself into the world's greatest pick-up artist. The Game
is his long, often tedious but hilarious account of how he did it. This ugly-duckling tale will affect different readers in different ways, depending on their degree of cynicism: some will be awed by Strauss's ménage-à-trois snowball scene, while others will suspect it was cribbed from a third-rate porno Strauss watched in his pre-macking days.When his story begins Strauss is, well, a Neil: an unconfident, self-described AFC (average frustrated chump). He is also, it should be noted, a well-known rock critic who penned porn star Jenna Jameson's autobiography, leaving one wondering just how pathetic women really found him. After paying $500 to join a workshop for aspiring PUAs (pick-up artists) led by a magician named Mystery at Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel, Strauss becomes addicted to pick-up technique. He trains with several PUA gurus, including Ross Jeffries, a hypnotist rumored to be the basis for the Tom Cruise character in Magnolia
. With his brains and dedication, Strauss renames himself Style and soon becomes a master of the game—able to get sex from beautiful women who once would have run the other way.But The Game
doesn't get really interesting until Strauss deviates from his NC-17 Horatio Alger story and tells what happens when he moves into a Sunset Strip mansion with a group of other PUAs. He starts to see the misogyny of the sport and realizes that most of its leaders had miserable childhoods. The AFC who became a PUA to understand women ultimately becomes an expert on men.As Strauss grows restless to talk about things other than number closes and phase shifts (the book's glossary is a juicy read of its own), the mansion loses its appeal and he reluctantly grows up. When he meets a tough-talking band mate of Courtney Love's named Lisa and they bond over music, we can guess where the narrative is headed. In the book's final pages, he dumps onto his bed all the phone numbers he's collected and tells Lisa, "I've spent two years meeting every girl in L.A. And out of them all, I chose you," which is like telling your mother-in-law that the Thanksgiving dinner you had last year at Applebee's was nothing compared to the one she just prepared. But for some reason, Lisa doesn't flee. I can only hope that in the inevitable 2007 movie version, starring Jack Black and Kate Hudson, Lisa throws the numbers in his face and leaves him for a guy who knows how to pay a girl a compliment.(Sept. 1)Amy Sohn is the author of
My Old Man, which was just released in paperback by Simon & Schuster, and she writes the "Mating" column for New York magazine.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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"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.Read more ›
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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.Read more ›
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304 of 383 people found the following review helpfulBy R. Spell VINE VOICE on September 23, 2005 Format: Imitation Leather Verified Purchase
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.
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