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Book Review: The Game by Neil Strauss

It surprises me when guys tell me they have never heard of the book The Game by Neil Strauss.⁠ I always think todays upcoming and coming social artists all have heard to the greats that have contributed to this community and art form. That is often times not the case, as with most industries and disciplines.⁠ With that said, here is my in depth book review.
Title: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

Author: Neil Strauss

Synopsis: Hidden somewhere, in nearly every major city in the world, is an underground seduction lair. And in these lairs, men trade the most devastatingly effective techniques ever invented to charm women. This is not fiction. These men really exist. They live together in houses known as Projects. And Neil Strauss, the bestselling author, spent two years living among them, using the pseudonym Style to protect his real-life identity. The result is one of the most explosive and controversial books of the year — guaranteed to change the lives of men and transform the way women understand the opposite sex forever.

On his journey from AFC (average frustrated chump) to PUA (pick-up artist) to PUG (pick-up guru), Strauss not only shares scores of original seduction techniques but also has unforgettable encounters with the likes of Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Heidi Fleiss, and Courtney Love. And then things really start to get strange — and passions lead to betrayals lead to violence. The Game is the story of one man’s transformation from frog to prince — to prisoner in the most unforgettable book of the year.

Colgate’s Consensus: People are likely to have strong feelings about this book, from hatred to confusion to interest in taking themselves from AFCs (“Average Frustrated Chumps”) to Master Pick Up Artist. However, you should know that this particular book is more of a memoir and an expose by a Rolling Stone journalist, not an actual pickup guide. While Strauss/Style talks a lot about a few “seduction techniques” he and his fellow PUAs developed, this isn’t a self-help guide for teaching them. 

Over the years, for some good reasons, Feminists have reacted most strongly to PUAs and their ideologies, which tends to treat women objects to conquer. Get the correct series of words and gestures and you get the woman of your dreams. It’s obviously dehumanizing in its insinuations, and Strauss keeps going back and forth, admitting on the one hand that PUA lifestyle is in fact dehumanizing and tends to lead to misogyny, but on the other hand, defending the deprived involuntary celibates who are just looking for love and can’t figure out why what they are doing isn’t working.

The more interesting thing and possibly infuriating, fascinating, or disturbing, depending on your POV, is that it’s evident that these routines work. It’s not mind control or a secret passcode that will get women to have sex with you, but Strauss and his PUAs really have figured out a series of approaches that can be executed in an almost algorithmic fashion, and which elicit desired responses (i.e., interest, arousal, disinhibition, etc.) 

The key to it is that they are playing a numbers game, which means getting over the natural aversion most people have to making countless approaches and being rejected the vast majority of times, and perhaps more importantly, they are looking for certain types of women and certain types of relationships. 

After spending a couple of years in this lifestyle, Strauss becomes exhausted of it because he and his friends are living like unwashed bachelors in a Hollywood mansion, with hot and cold running women, internal catfights (male and female) over everything from money to relationships to household chores, and in the meantime, while PUAs do get laid a lot, very few of them wind up in fulfilling long-term relationships. Their original objective (getting a woman to bestow interest and affection and sex) has become an end in itself, and as Strauss describes it, the very process becomes addictive.

That said, listen to how he describes these techniques, and you can see that while most women will say “Oh, that would never work on me,” in fact it does. I think what a lot of PUAs miss is that perfecting calculated psychological manipulation as an art and a science isn’t gender specific – you could easily develop similar techniques to work on men, or for application outside the domain of romance.

Anyway, Strauss starts out his career as a PUA by attaching himself to a MPUA (Master Pick-Up Artist) named Mystery. This gives him instant credibility in the industry and has paved the way for a successful pick up career that he still taps into today. 

All in all, it is an entertaining read but there are definitely better books out there for practical application of strategies, techniques and tactics. If you want to get exposed to what life as a Pick Up Artist looks like it will give you a very clear look at all the great moments and the dysfunctional ones as well. If you want to hit the ground running, applying method yourself, wait until you have a couple dates to read it.  

Personally, I’ve read it once. Back in 2010 after Lovedrop said “Dude, you’re Colgate now, you have to read The Game!”.⁠ I guess at the time (and even more so now) I am more into reading practical application guides and manuals than stories. The way I look at it The Game is what i suggest for the guy that has no idea what a Pick Up Artist is or if he is in sure disbelief that this world even is possible or exists. ⁠

Other than that, it really doesn’t offer much learning opportunities on what to do practically in situations. It does however build up a world and the possibilities of what is possible. ⁠ Ultimately this peek into “the secret society of pickup artists” is not as enlightening as the cover art, book jacket and title would like us to think. While well written and designed, it shows you just how much disfunction, lack of respect, undercutting your friends and enemies, and really shows what happens when skills are developed without balance. ⁠

Is it worth a read, absolutely. For entertainment. However, if you are looking for more of a how to, there are several books that will give you more practical how to for your every day situations. ⁠

Score: Avg: 2/5

Informational/Practical Value: 1/5

Entertainment Value: 4/5


“If there was anything I’d learned, it’s that the man never chooses the woman. All he can do is give her an opportunity to choose him.”

Want Colgate to review a Dating Book or Product and give you his personal unbiased opinion on it, comment below!

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Askcolgate is a dating and social interaction consulting agency located in the heart of west hollywood, california. Founded by wemerson oliveira, askcolgate has been helping high caliber, goal oriented, and successful minded professionals for more than a decade in the areas of dating, relationship and personal development.

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