article-2172661-1409C2F1000005DC-388_306x465I should preface this article by saying that I owe Neil Strauss’ book quite a bit. If it weren’t for “The Game,” I wouldn’t have even considered a lot of the joys of my daily life today even possible. If nothing else, Neil’s book exposed me to the idea that any man can improve his ability with women, and was the first step in a long journey that led me to where I am today. So for that, I have nothing but appreciation.

But with that, let’s get real.

Brilliant Piece of Marketing

I went back and re-read “The Game” for fun last year. This was over four years after it came out. Since reading it the first time, I had become a world-class professional Pick Up Artist in my own right, started my own pick up business and coached hundreds of men myself. So I was coming to it from a completely different perspective than I did when I was a poor sexless neophyte back in 2005.

A few things struck me, but what struck me most was that it was written like a brilliant piece of marketing.

Because of my business, I had been studying sales, marketing and promotion for the better part of a year and a half, and it blew me away how everything seemed to fit perfectly as a sales-piece.

You have the unlikely hero, an Everyman with a problem that almost every man can relate to. And here he is exposed to a perfect solution that seems so outrageously unbelievable. Then the book spends 400 pages showing how, in fact, the solution not only worked, but our hero grew as a person as well.

Also, I can tell you from my own experience and from working with hundreds of other guys who went through the same process as Neil: it is not nearly as cut and dry as it is for him in the book. For him, it’s like he hangs out with Mystery, learns a bunch of magic and cool routines, dresses kind of funny, and AMAZING, he’s the best Pick Up Artist on earth! That’s not how it works in real life at all. But that IS how a great piece of marketing works.

Now you may be saying, “Come on, Mark, so he cut some corners, so what?” But consider this. At the end of the book, Neil encourages you to go to his website and get on his email list.

From there, he launched THE single biggest product launch in internet marketing history at the time, bringing in over $11 million dollars. He then launched his business StyleLife which has over 40,000 members each paying $40 per month.

You sure it wasn’t a sales job?

The Book Isn’t Completely True

Now, I would still be skeptical, except for the fact that from 2007-2009, I met and hung out with a lot of other PUA coaches in the industry. Many of these guys were either students or lived at Project Hollywood with Neil (described in detail in the book).

Every single one of them said that there were many things that happened that Neil left out, many things that didn’t happen that Neil wrote about, and actions wrongfully attributed to various characters.

Now, I’m not here to start a smear campaign. But everyone I’ve met who lived in that house has come away with a bad taste in their mouth, and many of them openly don’t like the guy. You be the judge.

In Hindsight, the Advice is Horribly Outdated

Pick Up Artist advice, up until about 2007 or so, was — and I’m being brutally honest here — horrible. Completely ineffective at best and outright manipulative and misleading at worst.

Looking back at the book, it’s amazing that so many thousands of people actually believed that this crap worked. Opinion openers? Do you believe in Spells? Fuzzy top hats? Really?

On the other hand, millions of people read the book and DIDN’T believe it (many of my personal friends included), so I suppose that’s a testament to their common sense and not mine.

Here’s the thing, for the most part, the advice in the book is lousy. There is no formula to seduce women. There is no “best” or “worst” pick up artist in the world. Really it’s just one big underground movement of super nerds who desperately try to look cool in LA night clubs.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good things to take from the book. “Don’t be yourself, be your best self,” the 3-second rule, the idea that the game is played in comfort (i.e. that connections are what really matter), the realization that the only way to win “The Game” is to leave it — these are all great ideas.

But wow, there’s a lot of crap and fluff too. Negs, DHV’ing, 7-hour rule, LMR, Patterns… it’s all garbage and can actually be harmful to guys.

More Damage than Good?

In hindsight, we’re able to look back at the book’s legacy. As a major part of the PUA community for five years, I felt that as time went on, the overall average of Style and Mystery’s advice did more harm to guys than good. It fucked my social life up and didn’t work for me for the six months that I tried it.

I’ll never forget the night I was talking to three cute girls at a bar, trying desperately to do a sleight-of-hand magic trick with a coin. I was extremely nervous and overly-excited. The girls had been extremely warm when I approached them, but now they seemed to be just being polite. I dropped the quarter and fucked the magic trick up a third time. Two of the girls got annoyed and walked away. Before the third one could leave — the one who had been most interested in me — I yelled, “Wait!” and immediately segued into a “Jealous Girlfriend” routine.

She interrupted me, looked me dead in the eye, and said, “You were kind of cute. You should try being normal next time.”

Those two sentences knocked me on my ass. For the rest of the night and days afterward, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. So I did. I did go out, and tried to be normal. And I started from there.

But I have to be fair to Neil and the book, it DID show me that there’s a whole world of social opportunities out there that I was unaware of, it DID teach me that women are open to being picked up and seduced far more than the average man believes, and it DID put me on a road of self-improvement and social mastery.

So on the whole, was it worth it? For me it was. Unfortunately, I’ve talked to too many guys who feel like the whole PUA thing just screwed them up. In the end, it’s impossible to say. But we do know one thing for sure… Neil’s bank account is doing fine.

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6 Responses to Thoughts on “The Game” by Neil Strauss

  1. Will says:

    “The Game” did pretty much screw me up but I was screwed up before(lack of female lovin) in completely different ways(limiting beliefs, fear, low self-esteem and confidence)

    Overall it lead me to path of Introspection, Self-Discovery, Self-Love and Self-Acceptance. So in the end I guess it was worth it.

  2. Chris says:

    Man, I’m going to have to buy your product now.

    I believe the majority of PUA promotes a bad attitude in general towards socializing.
    As if it’s a technical, mechanistic thing rather then a spontaneous and organic process.

    It’s less mathematic, and more martial art.

    Also it seems to epitomize a glorified ego, rather than a more healthy, integrated perspective.

    There is a satisfaction to ‘neging’ girls, taking the power away from them. The whole DHV thing ties into this as well. It’s all about your ego. (which doesn’t even really exist, any more then the number 4 exists).

    I guess the idea is, once you have the massive ego, you’ll naturally act more attractive and confident…

    An indirect route, which may work for some, but not for me.

    I’ll look forward to building up my skill with guided, incremental + high repetition steps.

    The DISCIPLINE of becoming one with the process… that’s the key to it all.

  3. Skyrace says:

    Hey Entropy,

    I like your practical View of PickUp. And yes a lot of the things in this articel are true. I am living in a country in Europe, where the people would laugh at this routines like “Look how many words I can remember !”
    But the theory behind it is true.
    The main part behind Pick up is to stimulate the emotions of a women, to make her feel good by being instead of a gay friend a cocky and funny men.

    One thing are the 3 Parts: Attraction, Qualification and Comfort:
    Every good relationship is build on having fun with each other for example the cocky part (Attraction), the knowing that he not ownly likes me for looking good (Qualification) and the part of trust. Remember the perfect relationships, they are built on exactly that.

    And it is also true that there is something like a Value theory behind it.
    It is a fucking fact, that a Women is proud of her boyfriend when he has a huge social circle and gives every fucking man high 5. She likes him to have a cool hobby and she also likes him being able to protect his loved ones.
    These are all DHVs. And for example a women usually would never like to talk with a guy who is shy and is the uncoolest person she ever met.
    But the thing behind is that showing some DHVs isnt all, there must be also the stimulating part (If you think exactly stimulating is a DHV).
    The problem about mystery is that he gives his routines. A lot of them are shit. They work for him, they are his style. But in the most cultures they are DLV. And thats why your try with the routines didnt work, and thats why my try didnt work.If we are using them they are DLV.
    But if you have a normal little bit stimulating conversation and you tell about how you had a funny situation the day before when you where at a cool party, then the DHV part work. It is not allowed to be to extreme, because then it isnt believeable and you should better not do it to oft cause this could seem as if you want to impress her, but you know what I mean.

    Its the same about negs, the theory behind it is true but the routines are nothing but shit.
    For example the sniper negs, the theory is theirl find out that she shows lower value and you act as if you skip it.
    For example,she must go because she has to spent the Saturday evening with her grandpa. Maybe my examples wont work when you use them. You don’t have my kind of Delivery and you have not my culture. But the theory is the same.
    Sniper Negs are advanced Stuff.They need calibration and a fucking good Delivery, which is the importantest part.
    You see, its the theory not the routines.
    Another thing are the 3 Parts: Attraction, Qualification and Comfort:
    Every good relationship is build on having fun with each other for example the cocky part (Attraction), the knowing that he not ownly likes me for looking good (Qualification) and the part of trust. Remember the perfect relationships, they are built on exactly that.
    There are a lot of truths in the theory.
    But all in all, the things you said in the article are my opinion. This stuff would never work for me, but for others. But the theory is related with everyone. following:
    Imagine you are next to a hot girl, and your mom calls you to come home. It would be embarrassing. You would try to change the thought of the girl about you. You see the theory is right.
    Lets think of it with a common routine.
    Pua: ” Hey, you have a lot of boogers in your nose.”
    Girl:”Err, Fuck off.”
    That would each normal girl say. Has he no social intelligence ? Is he such an idiot -> DLV !
    The best kind to do a sniper neg is to let the girl find out that she shows lower value and you act as if you skip it.
    For example,she must go because she has to spent the Saturday evening with her grandpa. Maybe my examples wont work when you use them. You don’t have my kind of Delivery and you have not my culture. But the theory is the same.
    Sniper Negs are advanced Stuff.They need calibration and a fucking good Delivery, which is the importantest part.
    You see, its the theory not the routines.
    Another thing are the 3 Parts: Attraction, Qualification and Comfort:
    Every good relationship is build on having fun with each other for example the cocky part (Attraction), the knowing that he not ownly likes me for looking good (Qualification) and the part of trust. Remember the perfect relationships, they are built on exactly that.
    There are a lot of truths in the theory.
    But all in all, the things you said in the article are my opinion. This stuff would never work for me, but for others. But the theory is related with everyone.

    PS: Im sorry for my bad kind of writing but english isnt my first language, so I hope you can understand what I mean.

  4. 8_ball says:

    You said that LMR is bullshit. But how do you deal with a woman´s resistence to have sex although she is clearly attracted?

    Do you think, it´s always bad to use opinion openers? Some worked good for me very good, specially if i really care about her opinion.

  5. Boris says:

    Well,
    obviously, I will have to be the only one in opposition here, but that’s fine. Now, I have to agree with what you are saying about the game – of course not everything is real there. No writer in the world has written a successful book in which he describes everything the way it was..such a man with such a perfect life simply doesn’t exist. I myself am writing a book about my life and it is far from honest. But it’s my book and my right it is to decide what’s in there. I won’t ask anyone to read it, I am writing it for myself, but of course, it a million people buy it and make me rich, the why not. The hell yeah!
    And, another confession, I may be one of the few people that didn’t actually complete reading the game… I found it useless.
    However, I am convinced that the methods of Neil and Mystery do work and are by far the best that exists on the market. I have read many other books and find that not a single one of them can compare. Now, eventually, every one of us will become (or like Entropy, has already become) a natural and will create his own rules of the game, but for starters, people that are a complete 0 (as I was), I could say I would have paid a million if I had it, for only two books: Mystery Method and Rules of the Game. Now, I am aware that no one shares my opinion, but that’s fine with me. I don’t ask anyone to share my opinion, just as Style didn’t ask anyone to read his book

  6. james_and_giant_peach says:

    The irony is that people reading and needing “The Game”, practice to profess themselves as players, in the game, but miss that Neil was gaming the whole way. Maybe at the end of the day, the desire for a fix to a problem that you are not entirely sure exists or not, is stronger than the rational sense to not buy something you don`t entirely need in the first place. I`m only half making sense here probably, but I can`t help but feel like I can grasp what I am trying to say, but not clearly enough to express it succinctly.

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