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The Game: Undercover in the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. Neil Strauss

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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  11,844 ratings  ·  1,138 reviews
Strauss delves into the bizarre underworld of men who have devoted their lives to different techniques of seducing women. These are men with their own vernacular & codes of honour, who operate on-line & in person, who are so committed to honing their strategies that they give each other seminars & live together in shared houses.
Paperback, 494 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Canongate Books (first published 2005)
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Amitai
Jun 07, 2007 Amitai rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those (men) who chase phantoms instead of dreams.
I know I'm taking a risk by even acknowledging its existence and my familiarity with its contents. It may not be interpreted kindly that an Orthodox rabbi (in training) reads *this* widely. But this book tells a story of ethical tension that is, hands down, the most powerful treatise on morals and group dynamics I have ever read. Period.

I found it at once the modern man's sefer mussar of choice, and the endgame of every single Reality TV show every made. But it is not for everyone.

You'll know if...more
christy
Although well-written, this book is appalling and sad. 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. And I can't help but feel a writerly disappointment in Neil Strauss for having embraced something that brazenly revels in its own misogyny.

Don't be fooled; Mystery--who is a classic example of what happens when one is deprived of love and validation as a child-- tries to spin his technique as...more
Kirsty
I spent the first 100 pages utterly confused. Was the point of The Game to meet lots of girls, get a girlfriend, or just have lots of sex? One wannabe-PUA crows about losing his virginity - it's a horrible, painful experience which he can't wait to end. But afterwards, he says that he's excited because this will take the pressure off, and allow him to approach more women, presumably to have even more painful, awful sex with women he doesn't like.

After a few hundred pages I realised that The Game...more
Chance
This book was fucking terrible. I'm ashamed to have read it.
Leajk
Aug 25, 2014 Leajk rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women who need help spotting a-holes at night clubs
Recommended to Leajk by: male acquaintances of the past
Know thy enemy.

One extra star for pure entertainment value, especially the very first scene where 'the hero' of the book, Mystery, lies curled up crying on the floor of the communal pickup mansion dressed in the bathrobe previously belonging to his stripper ex-girlfriend.

Apparently he misses her, like a lot, which is quite sweet I suppose.

That is for a man who reinvented himself from a living-in-his-parents-basement type of guy, to the cons-insecure-wannabe-starlets-in-LA type of guy.

And the...more
Derek
Impossible to put down. This is a fascinating tale of a guy with marginal skills with the ladies (despite fame), who sets out on a life changing mission to master picking up women. I dare you to try and not get hooked in the first few pages. The characters are philanderers, gigolos, wannabes, braggarts, and every dysfunctional category in between.

Their quest is obvious, and thrust in your face; to hook up with as many beautiful women as possible. Strauss becomes prolific at the social marketing...more
Marrick
I learned that I am what, in pick up artist ("PUA") parlance, is called a "natural." I've never had problems meeting women. So I didn't pick this book up for its instructional content. Rather, I was intrigued into reading this book by curiosity. I wanted to see how my life experience stacked up with my preconceived notion of a true PUA. I envisioned a PUA as being a highly confident, suave, cool operator that women swoon over without being able to control themselves. I learned that my concept of...more
Jenny
Dec 01, 2008 Jenny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: Pete's book club
Oh wow, hard to say if I'm horrified or fascinated or what. I guess some of both. Good thing I'm reading this for book club cuz I can't wait to discuss. I can't believe this is for real. And then what I'm wondering is, what are girls supposed to do? Just sit there and look pretty? Hmm. But here's some quotes I liked:

"In life, people tend to wait for good things to come to them. And by waiting, they miss out. Usually, what you wish for doesn't fall in your lap; it falls somewhere nearby, and you...more
Isa K.
I'll start with the Cliff Notes for those of you who don't like long reviews: This book would be five stars if it was about 200 pages shorter. And if you're one of those people who takes things way too literal, confuses the opinions and attitudes of the subject for the opinions and attitudes of the author, or needs every report of observed misogyny to be prefaced with twelve paragraphs of either apology or condemnation ... this is probably not the book for you.

At the same time this book makes a...more
Polly Trout
There are some very valid reasons to skim through this controversial, pornographic, poorly written, and often obnoxious anthropological tour of the "seduction community," a network of men who use social psychology and hypnosis to pick up women. First, women should know that this exists and defend themselves accordingly -- if you don't want to wade through a whole book on the subject, here's a synopsis:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seductio...

It's fascinating and queasy at the same time.

The seco...more
Davidshackelford
A fast-paced, very well-penned, fun, intriguing story of social psychology, nobodies becoming superstars, emotional self-destruction, and the birth of the seduction industry. Neil studies the art of the pickup from ground zero, starting under the wing of the famous Mystery, and then hopping from guru to guru, building a name for himself as a master of women while simultaneously reflecting on how absurd, magical, and ultimately destructive the whole thing is.

Oddly enough, this book's narrative a...more
smetchie
I hate this book. I hate myself for reading it. (I tried not to.) I hate Neil Strauss and I hate every idiotgirl who slept with him or gave him her number. It's true that I love to hate and that would be reason enough not to drop kick this book into the nearest dumpster. (Also, I got it from the library so that would be rude and I'd have to pay for it anyway.) But I actually enjoyed it, God help me. The author put an astronomical amount of time and energy into bamboozling people and dammit it wo...more
Debbie
Aug 25, 2008 Debbie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by: Elizabeth
This is a surprisingly good book that I would never have read if it hadn't been strongly recommended by a friend who was reading it and was totally fascinated by the gender politics. The author, Neil Strauss, has ghost written some celebrity memoirs, and writes for Rolling Stone and the New York Times. In other words, this man can write. The thing that makes this book so interesting is the author's running monologue about gender, specifically masculinity and the ways that boys and men are taught...more
John
For a book that targets (and caters very well to) young males, "The Game" truly belongs in the hands of a twenty-something cynic.
Parts of the story read like a self-help book, which was very funny in and of itself. But what I found to be interesting (on some level, perhaps) was that Strauss has taken his version of "rags-to-riches" and turned it into colorful, sexual, hopeful prose that reveals a protagonist traveling down a highway of mayhem to a destination of confusion. Fun. I imagine this is...more
Jim Reaugh
I think The Game straddles the line between comedy and tragedy. If, as I truly would like to believe, Strauss is joking, then the book is a comic masterpiece. If the book is an attempt at non-fiction, then the number of devotees is nothing short of tragic.

Some of the recommended pick-up techniques are sinister. One involves discreetly undermining a woman's self-esteem by paying her a backhanded compliment in the hope that she will hang around to seek your approval!!?? Really?

Honestly, sinister...more
Jafar
This was an easy and mindless train/tube read, but I had to keep the book flat on my lap to hide the title after I saw a few women rolling their eyes. Since I've moved to London I've noticed that I'm not the only one who likes to take a sneak peek at what others are reading and then give them a meaningful look.

So, here’s Neil Strauss’s story as he claims. He had written books and articles about rock stars and porn stars. He had access to a lot of backstage parties and glamorous Hollywood galas,...more
Kelsea Dawn Hume
I read this to learn how to write manipulative characters more convincingly. It was slightly helpful, but I was mostly struck by the pathetic nature of literally everyone in the book. For people who devoted themselves to getting women they sure didn't have much sex.

I suspect Strauss may have meant this book to be an object lesson about how pathetic you become if you are unable to think of half of the population as people. If so, his message was utterly confused by the pseudo-dating guide struct...more
Raisa
The Game tells the story of a much-maligned subculture- one which sees keyboard warriors don feather boas, light-up tshirts, and platform shoes, while delivering corny lines, all in order to seduce a woman.

Meet Style, a journalist who goes undercover into the pick-up artist community, ending up so immersed in the subculture that it becomes his identity. He changes everything from his hairstyle to his walk and even his conversation, all just so he could get some action.

The funny thing is, I kno...more
Robin (Bridge Four)
“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.”

This is not a normal book read for me. I got it for my husband after he heard the author on the Howard Stern show. I will say that this is definitely a book geared for men but if you are an open minded female it is an interesting enough story that of one man’s journey from a total average boy next door struggling to get a date, into a super mac daddy to a man wh...more
Nicholas Karpuk
There's an interesting article I found before I read this book that really gives some insight into the pick up world as it stands now, years after The Game came out. ANTI-PUAS

When I first noticed that title, on a site like Jezebel, I just naturally assumed it was a place devoted to dissecting what's so broken and wrong about pick up artist culture. But nope, it's basically the equivalent of an anti-scam artist page. These guys are all furious and filled with misogynistic rage because the canned...more
Kater Cheek
I've been fascinated about the idea of a pickup artist community ever since I heard about its existence last year. What do these people do? Does it work? Why? This was the book seen as the essential guide to this underground lair of secret lotharios, written by seminal pickup artist guru "Style" who published an article about the scene in the NYT a few years ago. However, this book was wasn't available from the library, so I read THE MYSTERY METHOD first.

Then a friend got a copy of this book bac...more
Glenn
This book details a journalist who went undercover to explore the underground community of a few guys that run seminars for transforming themselves from AFCs (average frustrated chumps) to master PUAs (pick-up artists). I picked this book up mainly to see what psychological aspects would be revealed about meeting women. The author states that everything in the book is true and it actually happend, but I have serious doubts that most or any of it is true. Many of the recountings are unbelieveable...more
James
With a subtitle like “Penetrating The Secret Society of Pickup Artists,” I was expecting more of a how-to or an expose. Luckily I was wrong.

Strauss’ The Game is a fascinating look at an American subculture’s moment in time. It is a captivating story that rivals Hell’s Angels and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in its engrossing tale of American hubris, endeavor, success, and failure.

The book itself is beautiful, packaged like a bible with gold embossing and a red ribbon bookmark. But it is TOO L...more
Djm Meltzer
This book is primarily about this dude Mystery, who is the host of a VH1 show The Pickup Artist, where he shows really socially inept guys how to pick up girls. This is the FUNNIEST BOOK in the history of mankind. If you are a computer geek of any kind, you will die laughing while reading this book.

Mystery is a young computer nerd living with his parents in Toronto. He spends all day online posting to message boards about how he is awesome picking up girls, but when he's not posting online, he i...more
Minxycampbellstein
This book addicted me even before I owned it. I found it on the floor of a friend's house and devoured two chapters before I ran to Borders to get it for myself. Then I found myself staying up till all hours to finish it, taking notes, chatting with friends about it, and reading everything the author put out. And I'm a woman.

I didn't find it offensive, ridiculous, or prurient, I found it a nice tasty behavioral anthropological meal. At the same time, I didn't pity or laugh at the guys pictured i...more
Todd Nemet
Who knew that a book ostensibly on dating would be such a wonderful meditation on existential despair and what it means to be a man.

NYT writer and erstwhile nerd Neil Strauss joins the "pickup artist community" either as a writing assignment or as a means of escaping the friend zone. (I wasn't reading that carefully at the beginning.)

He finds a group of social outcasts who have analyzed, dissected, and labeled each stage and possible outcome of a social encounter with the goal of meeting and att...more
Heather
I don't usually say I've read a book when I haven't finished it. But I simply can't read the second half of this book without losing little parts of my soul on every page, and I damn well want recognition for those parts of my soul I have already lost. So here I am, reviewing a book I haven't really read.
Let's start with something important - Neil Strauss is a very talented writer, His style is not only engaging but often even literary, and I didn't just enjoy turning pages quickly but was quite...more
Sarah
Oi vey. This was also read for work research, and after reading one section of it, where he's *literally writing the book while having sex with some anonymous lady*, I put it aside and hoped it would go away. But it didn't, and reading the whole thing through turned out to be much more entertaining and interesting than I would have thought. I'll give him credit - it's a page turner, though at times it's both gross and offensive. But then again, so can be men and male culture, and that's exactly...more
Erin Noble
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Neil Strauss is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Game, Rules of the Game, and Emergency. He is also the co-author of three other New York Times bestsellers: Jenna Jameson's How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Mötley Crüe's The Dirt, and Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out of Hell—as well as Dave Navarro's Don't Try This at Home, a Los Angeles Times bestseller. His latest book, E...more
More about Neil Strauss...
Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys into Fame and Madness Rules of the Game The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band The Game and Rules of the Game

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“In life, people tend to wait for good things to come to them. And by waiting, they miss out. Usually, what you wish for doesn't fall in your lap; it falls somewhere nearby, and you have to recognize it, stand up, and put in the time and work it takes to get to it. This isn't because the universe is cruel. It's because the universe is smart. It has its own cat-string theory and knows we don't appreciate things that fall into our laps.” 96 likes
“Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything, whether it's a relationship, a business or a hobby.” 66 likes
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