Well, that curiosity led me to explore the most popular and probably the most definitive text about the world of the pickup artist or PUA.
The Game by Neil Strauss explores that world more succinctly that any other book in existence.
Strauss, who is an accomplished journalist, did more than any journalist was probably willing to do. He not only immersed himself in the pickup artist world, he became one of the best in the world. That some deep research.
He did this by “penetrating” the society of pickup artists. A small niche’ of “seduction psychologists” that were testing and using methods to attract and ultimately have sex with as many girls as possible. They used all of the most available and effective tactics and techniques; behavioral psychology, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), over dressing (peacocking), magic tricks, card tricks, mind games, jokes, rehearsed conversations with alternate scenarios, etc.
A trick for every situation. A method for every possible outcome.
It was by most accounts very effective. It was also manipulative and wrong but the guys that practiced pickup always felt that it was just a way to level the playing the field. A way to talk to girls that wouldn’t talk to them otherwise. It was also a call to action, a way to move guys towards conversations and away from the back corner of the bar where they would normally sit in pitiful isolation.
This was all fine and interesting to me and I read the story for its entertainment value. However, as the tone of the story evolved, its entertainment value started to drop off for me. Everything that was practiced only produced a temporary effect and towards the end of his reign, Strauss started to point out how it was all falling apart. Turns out guys with emotional problems shouldn’t be instructed on manipulative techniques for seducing women. Who would have guessed.
The part I found most interesting was Strauss’s complete and unending goal of becoming the best. The way he systematically approached that goal was worth noting.
5 Ways to Master the Game
1. Seek out a mentor (or another crazy master pickup artist). He sought out mentors from the get-go. He recognized the importance of real world influences. He sought out every single mentor he could find and learned as much as possible from each of those people. As you can imagine, some of the mentors he found only had a few pieces of real valuable information. He noted the best stuff and discarded the rest.
2. He read, practiced, refined and repeated. He kept honing his skills until it he moved through each line, each trick and each girl with unmatched precision. He read every single book that he could find on the topic of behavioral psychology. Most other PUAs just wanted to know one-liners and what to do if there is more than one girl. His insight was above and beyond all others, which is why he became the best.
3. He always self evaluated. Even after being successful and gaining his own little Army of wannabe pickup artist, he still maintained the position of a learner; one that was always open to improvement.
4. He never lost focus of his goal. Too many early pioneers of the pickup world started to hold seminars, while creating their own “methods” to sell to newbies. Strauss kept focused on his goal of learning and applying his knowledge. By doing so he became an authority. He didn’t become an authority by declaring himself as an authority.
5. He never became an expert. He maintained his ability to be personable and infused “real-world” points of interest into his pickup lines. This became the reason for his unmatched success. In essence, he created a method that was genuine and impossible to fully replicate.
It’s also worthy to note that Strauss, at some point, recognized the importance of action. He studied and studied and studied, but at some point, he realized that you had to get out there and just talk to girls. “So simply by approaching and saying something, no matter how badly you may bumble, you’ve dramatically increased your odds of being with her.”
You can replace the context of the quote. Just by trying, no matter how badly you may fail, you’ve dramatically increased your odds of success.