Limitations of a Pick Up Bootcamp

This will be the last pick up artist centered post I plan on writing. The blog has moved on and so have I. There will continue to be articles on women, sex and love. But I have nothing more to say about the pick up industry or its tactics which I have not already said. Before we close the door on an era, I want to give my uncensored thoughts on the bread and butter of the pick up industry from the perspective of a long-time coach: the bootcamp.

From 2007 to 2011, I personally coached approximately 50 bootcamps and worked with over 150 different men over that time. Most of my experience came through my own business and website, but I assisted three other companies with clients and programs as well. I coached “night game” (taking men into bars and night clubs to meet women) as well as “day game” (meeting women on the street or in shops or stores). I worked in eight different countries and I spoke at about 20 different men’s groups and conventions. In the beginning, most of the coaching was done with groups of two to six guys at a time. Later, I restricted the coaching sessions to one on one, partly because I wanted to give students 100% of my focus and attention, but also partly because it allowed me to charge more.

Bootcamps in the pick up industry range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands. They typically involve one to three coaches and one to eight students. The cornerstone of the bootcamp is the “field” time where inexperienced students can go out and meet women with the coaches, men who are ostensibly more experienced and knowledgeable with women.

The utility and value of bootcamps has been hotly debated in recent years. Some people contend that they’re a scam, swindlers preying on the insecurities and hero worship of helpless nerds for massive amounts of money. Others contend that they’re the quickest and easiest way to jump start your dating life. My personal view is that bootcamps are an inefficient way for most men to learn, and likely a poor use of their time and money. I’m not saying they don’t work. I’m just saying they’re inefficient and overpriced.

Some may criticize my point of view saying, “Well, maybe it was just your students who didn’t get much out of your bootcamps. Maybe you were a shitty coach and don’t realize it.” Well, maybe. But in four years I never once got a negative review or a refund request. I’m proud of that. Many of my former students are still in touch with me on a friendly basis. Some are married. Most have gotten girlfriends. And many of them were disgruntled alumni of other companies before they signed up for coaching with me. So given the evidence, I’d like to think I was one of the better coaches in the industry. Maybe I wasn’t great, but I’m pretty certain I wasn’t bad.

I’ll give a quick rundown of what happens on a bootcamp and then dive into the problems they present.

What Happens On A Bootcamp?

Bootcamps vary from company to company and from coach to coach. They usually last three days and two nights. Some go longer. Some are slightly shorter. Most follow a similar structure:

  • Seminar – Almost all bootcamps contain some element of seminar and lecturing by the coach on theory and techniques. These seminars can range from eight hours (all day) each of the days, to only being a few hours long. Many coaches and companies implement drills, exercises and roleplays into their seminars. But not all of them. I think seminar time is a waste. It exhausts students without accomplishing anything. It creates a perception of value when there is none. Any information you need to know about getting good with women can be found on the internet for free or in a few books for less than $50. I personally did little to no seminar time and instead spent more time getting to know each student individually and figuring out what their needs were so I could help them understand their own process better.
  • “Field” Time – Time spent out approachingand talking to women with the coach. This includes both day and night. Most field sessions last three to four hours at a time. The most common configuration is two nights out and one afternoon. But again, it varies widely. Unlike a lot of critics of the pick up industry, I honestly believe few of the coaches are consciously out to scam guys and take their money. I do believe a lot of them are narcissistic and buy into their own bullshit. But I think most of them actually believe they’re helping people. And some of them are. Sometimes.My contention is that most of the coaches are ignorant to how their practices affect others and how useful their teachings actually are. That may come across as arrogant, but I’ve made a lot of the same coaching mistakes and corrected them in the past because I realized they were ineffective or even hurting my clients. Unfortunately, most coaches buy into their own personal ideology and don’t adapt. Instead of adapting their teachings to what the client needs most, they blame the client for not adapting to what the they want to teach. And to complicate things, we’re dealing with an entire customer-base of guys who are poor at distinguishing good social cues from bad ones, so they’re almost always completely unaware of the quality of coaching they’re receiving.

    In no particular order, here are the problems with the bootcamp model and why it’s an inefficient way to learn pick up:

    1. Success with women is based on habits, not knowledge or a few experiences. Becoming successful with women requires a process of building a series of overlapping habits: good conversational habits, habits for expressing your sexuality, creating a habit of acting despite your anxiety, a habit of teasing and making jokes, a habit of dressing well, etc. All of these habits require two things: conscious practice and time. A bootcamp can provide one, but not both. And it’s debatable that a bootcamp provides better practice than a student would get on his own.

    2. Bootcamps do not address poor lifestyle decisions. If you make poor lifestyle decisions, there is little that a bootcamp or that learning game can do to make you attractive. This includes being broke, unemployed, living with mom, having no friends or hobbies, dressing horribly, or being 40 pounds overweight — there were sadly a number of clients I had where most anything we did was ineffective because their personal lives were such a mess.

    3. The bootcamp “high” and other concerns. One aspect of bootcamps which many companies take advantage of is the “high” a student gets in the immediate aftermath. Whenever people do something which is far outside of their comfort zone, they get a huge shot of adrenaline and endorphins. This often carries them for the next several hours or even days to do all sorts of actions or behaviors which they’d be too intimidated to do normally. Students often come out the other end of the bootcamp with the perception of massive improvement, even though what they were experiencing was a short-term emotional high. Some companies even consciously pursue giving students this high and then ask students for testimonials immediately afterward.

    There’s nothing wrong with the bootcamp high. It can be great. The problem is the next week, or next month, when the coach is gone, the high has worn off and the student realizes he hasn’t really changed (success is based on habits, remember?). He’s stuck back at square one. Many men blame themselves for this. They become even more disillusioned and frustrated with their situation and give up. Others sign up for another bootcamp.

    4. More does not necessarily equal better. The bootcamp model bases itself on the idea that more is better. More approaches. More theory. More phone numbers. More practice. More money. Little attention is paid to quality of interactions and the quality of habits being developed. What’s more useful, three approaches which really test a student’s boundaries and beliefs, or 20 which are hardly outside of his comfort zone? Is it better to get eight phone numbers from girls he doesn’t really care about, or one phone number from a girl he likes a lot? Is it better to learn how to approach a lot of women in a crude and manipulative way, or approach a few in an honest and authentic way?

    5. Bootcamps cannot fix one’s poor self-perception. Something which surprised me, particularly early on, was how many of my clients were actually cooler and more successful guys than I was. They were already successful entrepreneurs, had interesting hobbies, were funny and charming, were bad asses in their careers, had amazing life experiences and stories to tell. And yet, here I was: this broke, unhealthy kid, who just happened to get laid a lot, and they were looking up to me. They thought I had it all figured out. It made no sense.

    I never got far with these guys. Girls would love them, but they couldn’t see it. In their eyes, they were losers and someone needed to fix them. You couldn’t get this out of their heads. I even had a few clients who had slept with more women than me, who were still convinced that they sucked with women and I needed to teach them. One of them had already been with over 100 women. Yet he was paying me over a $1,000 to help him get more. Why? I have no idea, to be honest.

    Looking back, I understand now these men needed therapy, not a dating coach. They suffered from low self-esteem and horrible self-images, both things I was not qualified to deal with. Hiring me was treating the symptom of their problems, not the illness. It’s because of cases like this that I began screening my clients in 2009 before accepting them. I couldn’t bring myself to take money of guys I couldn’t help. Over the last two years, I turned down approximately 10 men and told them to attend therapy, not a bootcamp. I never heard from them again.

    6. Bootcamps can remove a man’s sense of responsibility to himself. We’re all experts at avoiding what makes us uncomfortable. As explained above, developing a habit of confronting our fears is a crucial step to becoming successful with women. It’s pretty sick, but there are a number of guys — usually rich guys — who have struggled with their anxiety for years and barely taken any action, so they hire a coach to relieve themselves of any responsibility. They throw money at you expecting you to fix them like they pay a mechanic to fix a car or something. They don’t actually want to take on any of the burden of improving themselves. These are the worst students. They refuse to cooperate. They try to debate you on theory when they have no experience. And they insist that you do everything, as if you’re a street performer they’ve hired for their evening entertainment. Anything to avoid doing it themselves.

    The truth is that many people simply don’t want to improve. They want to find others to take the responsibility away from them. They want to live vicariously through others. They want validation and someone to complain to. One coach in the industry used to refer to this dynamic as the “rent a cool friend service.” That’s what it felt like at times. These miserable, nerdy guys paying you tons of money to come and just hang out with them and argue about evolutionary psychology for hours. It was another way of tricking themselves into thinking they were accomplishing something without actually having to risk accomplishing something.

    Who Benefits From A Bootcamp?

    With all of the flaws mentioned above, bootcamps can still be effective tools for specific individuals. When judging how much value one would get out of a program, here’s a good checklist to run through:

    • Do you already have your life put together? Are you employed, do you have your own place, have friends and hobbies, and are you already in decent health?
    • Do you feel that you are already somewhat confident in general? Do you have a positive and optimistic attitude about yourself? Do you honestly believe women can find you attractive if you just put in the work?
    • Do you have one specific sticking point with women? For instance, once you meet them you do great, but you are just scared to death of approaching. Or perhaps you can already get dates, but they just never go anywhere. Does this describe you?
    • Have you already gone out on your own and attempted to tackle the problem with friends or local wingmen?
    • Are you NOT starstruck by the coach you want to hire? If the coach you want to hire was just a random guy you had never heard of, but he was guaranteed to fix your problem, would you be just as excited to sign up with him?
    • Can you afford the cost of a program without burdening yourself financially?

    If you answered “yes” to every question above, then chances are you’ll get value out of a program, assuming you go with a good coach/company. But if you answered to “yes” to every question above, then chances are you’d end up being successful eventually anyway. So it’s hard to say if the money is worth it.

    In the case of men who already have their act together for a certain degree, bootcamps will speed up the process by quite a bit. And if they’ve got the money lying around, then it may be worth it to them.

    Speaking of which…

    Why Does It Cost So Much?

    Pick up companies and their marketing will tell you bootcamps are expensive because they are the most valuable form of self improvement. They’re also labor-intensive and have a lot of expenses (travel, hotel, seminar rooms, etc.)

    But there are other reasons bootcamps cost so much.

    The pick up market is what’s referred to as price inelastic. That means that it’s a market where raising prices doesn’t affect demand very much. It’s why pick up books are often $47 or even $67, why seminars cost hundreds and bootcamps cost thousands. Unlike say, the market for milk, dating advice solves such a deep and painful problem that many men are willing to pay a lot to try and fix it. No one would pay $67 for a carton of milk. But a lot of people can be talked into $67 for a 150-page book.

    This means for businesses to maximize revenue, they should have products both on the low end of the scale ($20-$50) and on the high end of the scale ($1,000+). It’s good business.

    The other aspect of the market which makes this particularly profitable is what in psychology is referred to as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The Dunning-Kruger Effect states that people of low competence in a skill are unable to recognize people of high competence of that same skill. For instance, people who are really bad at music will be poor at recognizing the difference between someone who’s a good musician and who’s a bad musician who says they’re good.

    When you apply this to pick up, you get a large market of men with very low social competence, who are unable to recognize high competence, therefore they can be easily led into believing ridiculous claims and will be more likely to pay a lot of money to meet a coach for a weekend, when really there are probably a dozen guys in his neighborhood who are just as socially competent and just as successful with women if he looked for them.

    And that’s the ultimate problem with bootcamps, and why companies are able to charge so much. It’s not just about the advice. It’s about the personalities. Many times, consumers in the market begin to look up to the coaches as role models whether they realize it or not. As men, our sexuality is closely tied to our self-esteem. So when we see someone who is achieving the kind of sexual success we can only dream of, they begin to become a form of celebrity in our minds. This is why Mystery can charge people $10,000 a weekend to learn some weird magic tricks. People aren’t just paying for the advice anymore. They’re paying to see Mystery. To hang out with him. To talk to him. It’s human nature.

    But you don’t need to spend a weekend with a personality to improve yourself. You don’t even need to pay anyone. If you have trouble approaching and are considering getting coached, consider this option. Take your $2,000. Give it to your best friend. Tell your friend to come out with you for three nights and not to give the $2,000 back until you approach 25 girls. Do this for conversations or escalation or whatever your issue is. Tell him to watch you and tell you if he sees you doing anything weird. Do NOT discuss pick up theory with him, just ask him to mention anything he sees which seems weird. Chances are, your friend will notice a few obvious places you’re screwing up. They’re usually not hard for others to notice.

    There are some men out there who get a lot of value out of coaching. But I honestly think that the above strategy would be almost as useful for 80% of the guys out there. And if you do screw up and chicken out, if you fail and don’t improve, you’ll still be out $2,000. But at least your best friend will have it and not some guy you read about on the internet.

    Overall I’m satisfied with my experiences with my former clients. There certainly were some I didn’t help. There certainly were some who probably shouldn’t have signed up for coaching and wouldn’t have if they were more aware of their problems. But there were many who did benefit, and a few who benefited a lot. It was an interesting experience, and I actually learned a lot about teaching and motivating.

    A number of people have asked me if I will ever start coaching again. The answer is no. At least in the form that coaching takes in the pick up industry. If I ever return to working with people in person, it will be in a new and different capacity, and hopefully one that’s far more effective.

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47 Responses to Limitations of a Pick Up Bootcamp

  1. SexyBack says:

    Great. read. An honest, fair, well balanced account and assessment from someone who offered the service. What I’m curious about is… is the industry still growing in your opinion? Or was it an early to mid 2000s trend that has now run it’s course more or less and is on the decline? I’m sure new PUA instructors and schools are still popping up but do you reckon the customers are still buying the products? I’ve come across some of it in the UK but much less so in continental Europe.

    • Mark says:

      The PUA market is definitely shrinking. It’s also decentralizing. There are far more small, local amateur coaches, and fewer big companies. I think this trend will continue.

  2. SW says:

    ‘Beast mode?’

    That’s a real thing in pickup?

  3. Giga says:

    Wow, this was an amazing article. I started looking at community literature back in 2009 and have been through all the bullshit that these coaches espouse. I recently realized that so much of the stuff I’d exposed myself to was bullshit — but I’m still glad I went through the whole experience.

    If nothing else, the community served as inspiration for me to express my sexuality and confidence. It’s time to step out of the vehicle.

  4. Jake says:


  5. beta_plus says:

    Really good article. It confirmed many of my suspicions about boot camps.

    I did 3 boot camps and was very happy with them in 2007. I will say at the last one that most of the other students did not get much out of them.

  6. Bigfoot says:


    What do you think of RSD Bootcamps?

    I feel that that a BC may be worth the price because a lot of these guys have taught so many students that they can find sticking points and give them a guideline on what their weaknesses are. I don’t have problem taking action, its just that I”m often very confused on what I need to do, with many different guys I know telling me different things. I feel that with a coach who’s a authority at least I’ll stick to one thing instead of being all over the place.

    • Mark says:

      There are some disgruntled former RSD students who are regular readers and commenters on this site who could probably answer better than me.

      But I’m not a fan of their business practices. The stories I’ve heard have varied widely. Some people have signed up and loved them, others have had horrible experiences and demanded refunds within hours of starting the bootcamps.

      Some of the RSD guys have a lot of bootcamp experience, but if the coach doesn’t give a shit about you and you’re just another number to them, then their experience does you little good.

      It depends on your issues as well. I hear Tyler is great for pushing guys through their social anxiety. But I imagine he’s not the best guy to go to if you have trouble with conversations.

      Do your research. Ignore all of the hype you possibly can. Never trust reviews from a company’s own site, always look for outside sources. Ask on forums. Try to get the coach on the phone or email before you sign up and ask them questions about your situation. Do NOT let them pass you off to a sales rep. Companies including RSD will do this. If the coach isn’t willing to take 15-20 minutes of his attention before the bootcamp, chances are he’s not going to care much about you during it either.

      • Bigfoot says:

        Yeah, a lot of RSD concepts are not really that great and don’t help at all.

        I’ve been browsing around your forum and have been seeing a lot of ex-RSD disgruntled guys.

        I think RSD works very well for some guys and not well for other guys. I have friends who went from sucking ass to dudes who get constant ass. However, one thing I see in common is that they were all cool guys before but they just didn’t approach/escalate enough. On the other side, their looks don’t matter bullshit leads a lot of guys to do thousands of approaches without really improving their style, look, or their lifestyle.

        The funny thing is that each RSD coach has a completely different style and teaching technique. I think the reason a lot of guys get so confused is because there are so many concepts floating around because each coach has its own style. I guess the important thing is to stick to learning from one coach.

        • Mark says:

          Yes, RSD can work well for certain personality types assuming the coach shows up and takes it seriously (from what I’ve heard, not always the case).

          I think for other personality types and issues they’re a complete disaster though.

  7. Good article.

    You really hit the nail on the head with a lot of problems in the whole “bootcamp” model for teaching guys.

    I’d add that another issue with bootcamps is that they tend to teach guys that they need to rely on other people (wingmen, their bro’s, the coach) in order to be able to approach and talk to women. Instead of teach them how to be self-sufficient in their dating lives.

    A lot of the bootcamps also give guys what I would call “false positive success”. They (not all) take guys out to high-end clubs, VIP lounges, or expensive parties where every single guy in attendance is a target for women who want to bag a guy with cash. Girls know that the only guys who can get in those places are guys with cash to spend. Most of the Pickup Artist “game” relies on giving girls the impression that you are a guy with cash and connections without doing it overtly (the whole idea of status and DHV’ing). It attracts a very certain type of girl with a very certain type of agenda. In my experience, most guys aren’t looking for this kind of girl. Especially considering there are tons of really hot women out there who will like you for who you are without caring one bit about your income, status, social value, or really anything other than the fact that she feels happy and incredible when she’s with you.

    Then guys go out into the real world and they don’t know how to have normal interactions with women when you remove all of the environmental elements that boosted his success during his program.

    Really good blog you have here. I’m surprised I hadn’t seen it before. Props.

  8. Jacob says:

    “If you answered “yes” to every question above, then chances are you’ll get value out of a program, assuming you go with a good coach/company. But if you answered to “yes” to every question above, then chances are you’d end up being successful eventually anyway.”

    Should the first sentence say “If you answered yes to any question above…”? Is this a typo? I think it’s time for me to go to bed.

  9. good write up man! I’ve been writing one like this over the past few days

  10. juggernaut says:

    Do you still run bootcamps?

  11. Ford says:

    Solid advice.

    Some people who want to lose weight decide that buying a gym membership is the solution. Really? Are you already doing pushups and crunches and running 30 minutes a day and failing to see results? If not, why not try that before you shell out money for a gym membership?

    Similarly, have you already worked on your lifestyle, body language, voice tone and stories, and done a few hundred approaches, taking notes on what happens and trying to improve each time? If not, how do you even know whether you need a boot camp?

  12. Davinci says:

    Excellent article man!!!

    I love the way that you write, you bring out all the facts without the fluff that other people include, its very refreshing!!!



  13. michael says:

    So mark,

    Since you have stop running bootcamps and moved on from the community, how do you make money then these days?

    How is it even possible that your business model even make money anymore if you don’t run bootcamps? what do you sell?

  14. Matt Adams says:

    Hey Mark.

    I agree with all 6 of your points under “Problems With the Bootcamp Model of Instruction” and there’s a small conflict between points 1 and 4 that I want to address.

    Yes, getting good is about building habits and to guys for which approaching/meeting women isn’t a habit (the majority of guys who take bootcamps), doing more approaches/getting more numbers (whatever the student needs) is a way to begin developing those habits.

    But good coaches should be smart enough to distinguish between which students need to be building habits and which should be focusing on having quality interactions. In the former case, the student should also be advised to focus on the quality of the interaction when he’s more comfortable approaching.

    Just my thoughts.


  15. David says:

    A great insightful post and remarkably honest for someone who used to actively teach bootcamps.

    I’ve been on several and kept in touch with other students. Almost everone gained something and felt it worthwhile, but generally seemed to revert to their previous behaviour after a few weeks. The only people who rapidly improved as advertised, were good looking, sociable guys who simply hadn’t given themselves permission to approach before taking a bootcamp.

    I think your point 1. Hits the nail on the head. It’s not possible to establish a habit over one weekend. I think the solution is positive active lairs, or some companies which have an ongoing training program.

    For point 5 I would respectfully suggest that therapy is not the answer in all cases, especially where the problem is lack of confidence with women. I tried it before finding the community and personally found it a lot of navel gazing. It even made things worse by focussing on perceived deficiencies. The community provided far better advice, a sense i was not alone and a much needed confidence boost after small initial successes.

    I believe what is needed in the cases you refer to may be a strong external source of validation, which props up the confidence until the self image is re-formed. For some that will be success in the field, for others an interim measure is needed and it is not clear what that is – perhaps a friendly mentor?

  16. Eagle says:

    Hanging out with a natural and watching him in action is as best as it gets.

    But a good coach is better for constructive feedback. Bootcamps seem to be a waste of time and money but a highly skilled 1-on-1 coach can be very valuable. He should be able to teach a wide range of stuff though. The big picture, like Mark described it, not just some pick-up tactics.

  17. Poder says:

    Great post. I agree with all 6 of those points. I think a lot of people take these bootcamps due to desperation and feeling that they’ve hit rock bottom. At least that was the case for me.

    I took a bootcamp with a credible company a little over 2 years ago and, at the time, I thought it was a helpful experience. In the subsequent months, I had gone on a lot more dates with significantly more attractive women prior to going to the bootcamp. But, in retrospect, I probably would’ve gotten the same results if I just had just saved my money, approached the same number of girls as I did post-bootcamp and just implementing the information I read on the internet.

    With point 3, I would say that that happened to me. After taking my bootcamp, I felt on top of the world. But going out the few weeks after, I was getting only slightly better results than before the bootcamp. The only real difference was is that I approached more girls and was more indifferent to rejection.

    Concerning point 2, it reminds me about a lair meeting (the first and only time) I went to back in 2008. I had gone thinking that there would be guys there that were good with women but upon meeting them, it was clear why they were unsuccessful just by looking at them. They had bad body language, dressed poorly and seemed unconfident.

    Lastly, concerning point 1, I think the model that some companies have of year long programs, where materials are sent each week and the clients can consult with the dating coaches, are more effective. After the bootcamp, I remember going out a lot of nights not knowing what I should be working on, why the things I wasn’t doing wasn’t working, etc. Basically, after the bootcamp I was on my own with very little guidance.

    This may sound like a totally critical post concerning bootcamps but if nothing else, going to a bootcamp has instilled a habit of having me approach more and as well as being more indifferent to rejecton.

  18. Jack says:

    “This may sound like a totally critical post concerning bootcamps but if nothing else, going to a bootcamp has instilled a habit of having me approach more and as well as being more indifferent to rejecton.”

    I think that alone has probably helped you out a lot!

  19. Kevin says:

    If you’re fairly young and have the time, another good alternative way to spend a few thousand dollars on your dating development is to go traveling to partying/backpacker focused destination. Go to Mexico for Spring Break, or stay at a bunch of hostels in Australia. It’s really easy to meet a ton of women that way. And if nothing else, you’ll get a trip out of it.

  20. Chris says:

    I just read this article about bootcamps and agree with Mark Manson 100%. My friend founded the Richmond, VA lair & passed it on to me before I passed it back to him. He attended 2 bootcamps with RSD and Mystery Method that he considers to have been a waste of his money. He was the character Swingger777 on Thundercat Seduction lair that was ripped off by RSD and cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Anyways, I’ve never taken a bootcamp but have hung with cool alphas, naturals and players outside the community and am convinced they have more to offer aspiring PUAs than the gurus. We have both met tons of people that got nothing out of their bootcamps with the best PUA companies. One lair leader that we met took up to 12 bootcamps to no avail until taking 2 bootcamps with Pickup 101 and his progress sky rocketed because they focused on social skills rather than theory.

  21. Chris says:

    My main point. I’ve hung with professional PUAs and seen some crazy stuff both good and bad. The main thing guys need to focus on is building a high status life which includes a nice car, high status male friends, hot female friends, nice living space, cool hobbies and very social interests, along with being in good physical shape, confident and socially connected. Making these changes requires lots of effort that nerds don’t want to exert. Bottom line, nerds don’t get laid and are unpopular because they don’t care enough about getting laid and being popular. Becoming cool means learning to play petty games, keeping up with current trends, learning to live an anti-nerdy and very social lifestyle, becoming more socially political and sacrificing old interests. If you want to be cool then you must start watching and playing football, basketball, boxing and MMA on TV while learning to like lots of alcohol and occasional drugs without coming off stupid. Most nerds are too smart for their own good and live on a totally different planet from party people.

  22. Chris says:

    Important questions to consider are…
    1) What are your favorite sports teams & do you watch them?
    2) Who are your favorite fighters?
    3) What gyms & dojos to you train at?
    4) What’s your favorite beers?
    5) What’s your favorite bars/clubs?
    6) What sports do you personally play?
    7) What are your favorite movies? (Be careful because real alphas and party people don’t watch many movies. Movies aren’t usually very social so only social movies are cool. A great example of a cool alpha movie is “The Hangover”)

    There are more questions but I’ve always been a nerd even in my 30’s but my friends and I are cracking the cool code. The truth is highschool never ends and it’s up to us to play the petty games and reap the benefits or play by our own rules and reap different benefits. Unfortunately, we can’t have it both ways unless we are rich.

  23. Chris says:

    Last but not least. The biggest question aspiring PUAs and rAFCS need to ask themselves is are they truly social. Mark hit the bullseye about awkward guys not knowing the difference between what is good and bad socially, good and bad social cues or even good standing versus bad standing. I’ve literally met catatonically shy WBAFCs that can’t even carry on a 15 minute conversation with another guy argue with me as the lair leader because they are convinced they are cool social guys. I even had a woman approach me about this guy asking if he was some weird stalker because he was so shy and quiet. This guy was of very low social value and a complete DLV to the entire group but he was convinced that he was a cool and social guy. If your idea of fun is hanging out by yourself and watching a movie or playing on your computer instead of going clubbing for the night then you have a very long way to go with women.

  24. MICHAEL says:

    Came here to say I really enjoyed this article…. but got a little distracted by this:

    “If you want to be cool then you must start watching and playing football, basketball, boxing and MMA on TV while learning to like lots of alcohol and occasional drugs without coming off stupid”

    Damn, all this time trying to figure out how to be cool and BAM, here it is in the comments. So simple! You forgot to mention something that’s also heaps cool – being a lair leader. Especially your buddy that did 12 bootcamps and didn’t get anywhere. He sounds like he’s really got his shit together!

  25. James says:

    First time visitor to your site..yeah I just did a keyword search on the pickup business out of curiosity to how much money is being made…as its something I was kinda considering getting involved in, as I like easy money haha. Anyhow I found your article very well written and honestly written to boot. In response to Chris’ comments…I am trying to figure out if you were being sarcastic or serious…but if your serious…you are way off. I do not like sports, do not have money and have no close friends…yet if i go into a bar alone…I talk to people, I get noticed by people as a confident, cool guy, and I pick up attractive women. Its nothing to do with your so called status or game playing, its nothing to do with living a “cool” lyfestyle. Its the ability to convey personal power and sexual magnetism, through your walk, talk and dress, even if you have very little material power in “the real world”, the bar scene is not the real world, its fantasy land where everyone dresses up and wants to be seduced by someone who has the ability to do it, because the skill required is considered to be a rare talent, and yes it can be taught however I’m very skeptical of those who allegedly teach it, I cut my teeth in the bars and clubs long before i ever heard of the PUA industry or books or boot camps.

  26. Leo says:

    Full Metal Jacket. Good movie!

  27. jimmy says:

    Mr Manson,
    some of my “poor” lifestyle “choices” include living with my parents and essentially having no friends, at the age of 30.

    living with my parents is a good business move because I still earn an entry-level salary and I save a lot of money on rent. Also, the fact that I have no social life means that if I were to live on my own I would likely feel very lonely and depressed.

    given those two factors that will likely not change any time soon, does it mean that I should stop focusing on self-improvement and success with women and just accept that as long as I keep doing things the way they work for me I will never be successful with women?

    you see, i have had psychologists and puas make it seem like more confidence and less approach anxiety is all I need in order to be successful with women, but you are the only person I’ve come across so far who seems to have the guts to tell it as it.

    do you agree that maybe I am not overly delusional in thinking that there’s no point in my bothering to attract women since sooner or later they will discover the truth about my “poor” lifestyle “choices” and reject me anyway?

  28. Just a guy. says:

    I totally agree that if you want to get good at approaching women you can just go out and do it yourself.

    The other day I went to the 16th street mall in denver and worked up the guts to walk up to a beautiful brunette. I said “excuse me,” she looked up and we made eye contact.

    I then said “I just want to let you know that you look really pretty”. She smiled a bit and said thank you. She then went back to deciding what snacks to buy, and I walked off. I guess your right, you really don’t need to pay someone else to help you with this stuff. Even though i’m terrible with women, 22 and still a virgin. I don’t have weight issues (i run track and cross country) and i’m not broke. I just have self confidence issues.

  29. Mike says:

    Have anyone taken a Love System Bootcamp/ Day Game Workshop?

    What can you say about it?

  30. So far, this is the only article I’ve found in the community that dabbles in the topic of the hype behind working in the business, as well as that involved with the products/services marketed. I knew I smelled something a little fishy when I was offered multiple jobs. I just didn’t feel like pledging allegiance to what was a flawed dating method at best.

    Very well written.

  31. mild7 says:

    It`s pretty funny that nobody put 2 and 2 together and realized that this article is promotion for Mark`s ONLINE programs. He`s basically saying that bootcamp students are sheep who will believe whatever they`re told by someone in authority – but look what`s happening on this page. You`re all like WHOA HE`S SO HONEST and don`t even question the fact that he himself taught bootcamps and then as soon as he stopped teaching bootcamps he started pushing an online alternative. This article is promoting the alternative – from which he now makes money. Maybe it`s subtle, but take a look at his products – and remember that he taught bootcamps until quite recently.

    • Mark Manson says:

      It’s pretty funny that you didn’t put 2 and 2 together and realized that the reason I stopped teaching bootcamps and created online programs is because people get far better results for less money out of online programs.

    • Zac says:

      I also think it’s funny if you go to almost any company that sells boot camps (RSD is a perfect example) they will delete this article on site but your comment seems to still be here.

  32. […] articles of PUA ideas that used to be mainstays around here, but they were solid and expansive: Limitations of a Bootcamp and How “Inner Game” Can Make You […]

  33. KingTaymazov says:

    One of the handful of articles I’ve read that critically analyses PUA boot camps.

    I once unfortunately was heavily involved in pick up and its sub-culture. Truth be told at the time, I already had my life together pretty good, at the surface level at least. I had a job I enjoyed, just bought my own place, was fit, and had other passions in life. The one thing that was lacking though, was my dating/love life.

    I got involved with a bunch of guys online who were totally enamoured with pick up. Eventually their cult like worship of RSD and its instructors rubbed off (it’s really sad when I think about it now, how we worshipped them). Now when I think about it, a lot of what I followed blindly from the PUA community and how I interacted with women, makes me want to hide my head in shame.

    One of the guys I went out with regularly decided to bite the bullet and attend an RSD boot camp with Alexander. He basically paid him for a trip overseas, and to just watch him hit on girls and totally neglect teaching him anything meaningful. It was a waste of his time and money! Seeing that, definitely woke me up about just how shady the industry can be. Think about it, the seduction business is not a regulated business. Do you really want to fork over your hard earn cash on a service that has no recourse for reimbursement when you get a crappy boot camp?

    I suggest guys who are just getting started in the community and who really want to get this part of their life sorted, to cultivate an interest in some type of physical activity and have a life beyond your work, studies and pick up. Take a good look at yourself physically, if you’re significantly over-weight, get that sorted. If you’re dull and have no passion in life, find something. Bad sense of fashion, well fork out some cash and buy a decent pair of jeans, a few shirts, a nice pair of shoes and maybe a decent jacket or two. If you’re socially inept, approach a lot of girls, and eventually you’ll become more social and well-adjusted when interacting with them, and guess what, it doesn’t cost anything to go out there and hit on women. It’s totally free! You can pay some guru 2000 dollars to teach you, or you can just go out with a friend and get him to watch and honestly critique you. The advice you get from boot camps isn’t particularly mind-blowing or esoteric. Just commonsense that any well adjusted individual should be able to figure out.

    I don’t agree with everything written in Mark’s book “Models”, I will say though it’s one of the more honest and no nonsense books I’ve read about seduction, and whole heartedly recommended it. It definitely helped me realise the arbitrariness of the whole PUA industry and to just execute some commonsense when interacting with women.

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