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The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

4.2 113
by Neil Strauss

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Tony Parsons
“The funniest book I have read all year.”
“The book everyone’s talking about.”
Sunday Sport
“Probably the most important self-help book you’ll ever read.”
The Observer
“The first time the alphabet of male seduction has been painstakingly translated and written down.”
The Daily Express
“The single guy’s bible.”
Calgary Herald
“a fascinating window into a world that Strauss has brought up from the underground. It’s impossible to put down.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“Neil Strauss has it all figured out. When it comes to the mating dance, Strauss knows how to lead.”
The Times (London)
“Strauss is a superstar…a stunningly explicit book.”
The Sunday Mercury
“To call it a book would be an understatement. I prefer to think of it as the Bible.”
Pop Matters
“an engaging and hilarious read...empowering.”
Time Out New York
“Touching and witty, four stars.”
Irish Times
“Compulsive reading.”
Publishers Weekly
I never dated Neil Strauss, but I dated guys like him. Like many New York women, I have always gone for balding, pale guys because they're grateful and good in bed. But a few years ago, a distraught Strauss decided he was a loser with women and set about transforming himself into the world's greatest pick-up artist. The Game is his long, often tedious but hilarious account of how he did it. This ugly-duckling tale will affect different readers in different ways, depending on their degree of cynicism: some will be awed by Strauss's menage-a-trois snowball scene, while others will suspect it was cribbed from a third-rate porno Strauss watched in his pre-macking days. When his story begins Strauss is, well, a Neil: an unconfident, self-described AFC (average frustrated chump). He is also, it should be noted, a well-known rock critic who penned porn star Jenna Jameson's autobiography, leaving one wondering just how pathetic women really found him. After paying $500 to join a workshop for aspiring PUAs (pick-up artists) led by a magician named Mystery at Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel, Strauss becomes addicted to pick-up technique. He trains with several PUA gurus, including Ross Jeffries, a hypnotist rumored to be the basis for the Tom Cruise character in Magnolia. With his brains and dedication, Strauss renames himself Style and soon becomes a master of the game-able to get sex from beautiful women who once would have run the other way. But The Game doesn't get really interesting until Strauss deviates from his NC-17 Horatio Alger story and tells what happens when he moves into a Sunset Strip mansion with a group of other PUAs. He starts to see the misogyny of the sport and realizes that most of its leaders had miserable childhoods. The AFC who became a PUA to understand women ultimately becomes an expert on men. As Strauss grows restless to talk about things other than number closes and phase shifts (the book's glossary is a juicy read of its own), the mansion loses its appeal and he reluctantly grows up. When he meets a tough-talking band mate of Courtney Love's named Lisa and they bond over music, we can guess where the narrative is headed. In the book's final pages, he dumps onto his bed all the phone numbers he's collected and tells Lisa, "I've spent two years meeting every girl in L.A. And out of them all, I chose you," which is like telling your mother-in-law that the Thanksgiving dinner you had last year at Applebee's was nothing compared to the one she just prepared. But for some reason, Lisa doesn't flee. I can only hope that in the inevitable 2007 movie version, starring Jack Black and Kate Hudson, Lisa throws the numbers in his face and leaves him for a guy who knows how to pay a girl a compliment. (Sept. 1) Amy Sohn is the author of My Old Man, which was just released in paperback by Simon & Schuster, and she writes the "Mating" column for New York magazine. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.41(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Game

Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists
By Neil Strauss


Copyright © 2006 Neil Strauss
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061240164

Meet Mystery

The house was a disaster.

Doors were split and smashed off their hinges; walls were dented in the shape of fists, phones, and flowerpots; Herbal was hiding in a hotel room scared for his life; and Mystery was collapsed on the living room carpet crying. He'd been crying for two days straight.

This wasn't a normal kind of crying. Ordinary tears are understandable. But Mystery was beyond understanding. He was out of control. For a week, he'd been vacillating between periods of extreme anger and violence, and jags of fitful, cathartic sobbing. And now he was threatening to kill himself.

There were five of us living in the house: Herbal, Mystery, Papa, Playboy, and me. Boys and men came from every corner of the globe to shake our hands, take photos with us, learn from us, be us. They called me Style. It was a name I had earned.

We never used our real names -- only our aliases. Even our mansion, like the others we had spawned everywhere from San Francisco to Sydney, had a nickname. It was Project Hollywood. And Project Hollywood was in shambles.

The sofas and dozens of throw pillows lining the floor of the sunken living room were fetid and discolored with the sweat ofmen and the juices of women. The white carpet had gone gray from the constant traffic of young, perfumed humanity herded in off Sunset Boulevard every night. Cigarette butts and used condoms floated grimly in the Jacuzzi. And Mystery's rampage during the last few days had left the rest of the place totaled and the residents petrified. He was six foot five and hysterical.

"I can't tell you what this feels like," he choked out between sobs. His whole body spasmed. "I don't know what I'm going to do, but it will not be rational."

He reached up from the floor and punched the stained red upholstery of the sofa as the siren-wail of his despondency grew louder, filling the room with the sound of a grown male who has lost every characteristic that separates man from infant from animal.

He wore a gold silk robe that was several sizes too small, exposing his scabbed knees. The ends of the sash just barely met to form a knot and the curtains of the robe hung half a foot apart, revealing a pale, hairless chest and, below it, saggy gray Calvin Klein boxer shorts. The only other item of clothing on his trembling body was a winter cap pulled tight over his skull.

It was June in Los Angeles.

"This living thing." He was speaking again. "It's so pointless."

He turned and looked at me through wet, red eyes. "It's Tic Tac Toe. There's no way you can win. So the best thing to do is not to play it."

There was no one else in the house. I would have to deal with this. He needed to be sedated before he snapped out of tears and back into anger. Each cycle of emotions grew worse, and this time I was afraid he'd do something that couldn't be undone.

I couldn't let Mystery die on my watch. He was more than just a friend; he was a mentor. He'd changed my life, as he had the lives of thousands of others just like me. I needed to get him Valium, Xanax, Vicodin, anything. I grabbed my phone book and scanned the pages for people most likely to have pills -- people like guys in rock bands, women who'd just had plastic surgery, former child actors. But everyone I called wasn't home, didn't have any drugs, or claimed not to have any drugs because they didn't want to share.

There was only one person left to call: the woman who had triggered Mystery's downward spiral. She was a party girl; she must have something.

Katya, a petite Russian blonde with a Smurfette voice and the energy of a Pomeranian puppy, was at the front door in ten minutes with a Xanax and a worried look on her face.

"Do not come in," I warned her. "He'll probably kill you." Not that she didn't entirely deserve it, of course. Or so I thought at the time.

I gave Mystery the pill and a glass of water, and waited until the sobs slowed to a sniffle. Then I helped him into a pair of black boots, jeans, and a gray T-shirt. He was docile now, like a big baby.

"I'm taking you to get some help," I told him.

I walked him outside to my old rusty Corvette and stuffed him into the tiny front seat. Every now and then, I'd see a tremor of anger flash across his face or tears roll out of his eyes. I hoped he'd remain calm long enough for me to help him.

"I want to learn martial arts," he said docilely, "so when I want to kill someone, I can do something about it."

I stepped on the accelerator.

Our destination was the Hollywood Mental Health Center on Vine Street. It was an ugly slab of concrete surrounded day and night by homeless men who screamed at lampposts, transvestites who lived out of shopping carts, and other remaindered human beings who set up camp where free social services could be found.

Mystery, I realized, was one of them. He just happened to have charisma and talent, which drew others to him and prevented him from ever being left alone in the world. He possessed two traits I'd noticed in nearly every rock star I'd ever interviewed: a crazy, driven gleam in his eyes and an absolute inability to do anything for himself.

I brought him into the lobby, signed him in, and together we waited for a turn with one of the counselors. He sat in a cheap black plastic chair, staring catatonically at the institutional blue walls.

An hour passed. He began to fidget.

Two hours passed. His brow furrowed; his face clouded ...

Three hours passed. The tears started ...


Excerpted from The Game by Neil Strauss Copyright © 2006 by Neil Strauss. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Tony Parsons
“The funniest book I have read all year.”

Meet the Author

Neil Strauss is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Game, Rules of the Game, Emergency, and Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead. 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. A writer for Rolling Stone, Strauss lives in Los Angeles.

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Game 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 113 reviews.
Derek_J More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating journey by an author with marginal skills with the ladies (despite fame), who sets out on a life changing mission to master picking up women using the Mystery Method. The characters are philanderers, gigolos, wannabes, braggarts, and every dysfunctional category in between. Their quest is obvious, and thrust in your face; to sleep with as many beautiful women as possible. The author Strauss has written several best sellers, as well as for Rolling Stone, and literally has no competition when it comes to spinning tales of this type. The other thought provoking mindbender that catapults your hooking up skills is The Professional Bachelor Dating Guide - How to Exploit Her Inner Psycho. This is a devious sexual persuasion guide for hooking up, written by a psych doc who cruised the nightclubs with great success for a decade. It also contains an asset protection guide to set up pre-marriage to shield you from divorce. Get these three, and get ready to laugh and learn. Really interesting books.
JosephCopeli More than 1 year ago
There's a good chance I wouldn't have believed some of the extreme claims made in this book if I hadn't seen VH1's reality show, The Pickup Artist, first. Whether you believe it or not, Neil Strauss' The Game is a fun and hilarious book that will suck you in and keep you reading until you hit the back cover. The gist of the book is as follows: Neil Strauss is asked by an editor to investigate the underground PUA (pick-up artist) community. Like most people, Strauss doubted that he would find anything legitimate, but decided to look into the assignment, partly out of self-interest. After learning some PUA techniques from Mystery, creator of the Mystery Method of seduction and perhaps the greatest PUA, and finding some success, Strauss takes on the alias "Style" and totally immerses himself in the lifestyle. Style uses the skills honed by years of writing and journalism to study the many schools of seduction and eventually emerges as one of the world's greatest pick-up artists, rivaling and perhaps even surpassing Mystery. Strauss packs in plenty of hilarious details about the encounters of various PUA's in many different situations, various episodes concerning Mystery and his emotional and mental disturbances, and the events leading up to the collapse of Mystery's ambitious Project Hollywood. Most importantly, Strauss provides his own insightful commentary on all the things the PUA community has completely wrong, namely the misogynistic tendencies of many PUA's, the lack of originality and individual thought amongst PUA's and the complete absence of any "techniques" for staying in healthy, long-term relationships. Despite Mystery's self-defeating personality, the lawlessness of Project Hollywood and having a large number of PUA's turn against him, Style manages to keep his head on straight and even lands himself the girl of his dreams-without using any seduction techniques (they have quite the opposite effect, actually)! Even if you don't believe in the powers of the pick-up artist, this book is worth checking out if only for Strauss' wonderful story of developing confidence in himself and finding happiness. And if you do think there is something to this seduction thing, then this book is a good starting point for learning some things and how to not let yourself get carried away. [Disclosure: This review also appears on FingerFlow.com, a site for review and discussion of creative works.]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Game is more of a memorie than a how to guide. The author joins a PUA club led my Mystery and becomes addicted to the lifestyle. It was a good read in that it describes what really goes on in situations like these.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an intersting read for me. It's about these pick up artists and sort of a memoir. I liked the writer's voice and found it personable but not grating. The book for me wasn't so much about the advice as it was reading how these guys operate.
Howard_C More than 1 year ago
The mystery method in action. The Game is one of the most fascinating tales I've ever read. Neil sets out to study the pick up artistry like a socialogist to improve his own skills with women. Along the way, he spends two years inside the community, transforms himself, and ends up with yet another bestseller accidentally during the process. Read the whole book in one sitting. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Men still use this book. It was used on me. That's how I found out about this book.
DilT-B7 More than 1 year ago
The book overall i thought was great. I like the description "style" would go into. I recommond this book for all men because it is just interesting what these men do to the women in this book. I like how they discribe there game plans the pick up rules of what their going to do next. If you dont like playing games with girls than dont get this book! its not for you! I didnt have many dislikes about the book occasionally there would be people in it that shouldnt because they were a waste of paper and did nothing. I think Neil Strauss is an excellent writer. I am looking into more books he has writen, if you like this book i would check out I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. A breif discription would be a man goes around the world with many different pick up artist and he uses all there techniques to be a successful womanizer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading the slew of hate reviews one has to wonder about the validity of this book. Sorry guys, to the best of my knowledge (which is quite extensive in this field)it is true. yes, it did happen, and yes there is a secret society of pick up artists out there-and yes they really do 'get laid' like rock stars. i understand that women who are posting here resent this book, and this is logic. I resent it too, because as much as they ive always wanted to believe that being nice, buying a girl flowers and going after a meaningful relationship worked. Sorry, only in disney movies and convinience marriages-both of which ive grown out of. You all want to know what women want? they want an alpha male. they want a man who can make them feel like a woman, who can take her in one long bout off her feet into the fantasies they've always had-and never thought would be fulfilled. and this book shows Neil's journey into this entity shift. nothing more. nothing less. i for one enjoyed reading it. and wether you... believe it or not accept it or not. it is as it is. i wish you all good luck, and hope that one day you see the world as i have come to see it.
Derek1977 More than 1 year ago
Life Changing book. Neil could write about horse manure and still sell books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, perhaps one of the best writers in today's world. It was a bit longer than I would've liked, but overall just an amazing book!
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Bliokh More than 1 year ago
I bought a book by Neil Strauss as a present to my twenty-something relative. I cannot claim much experience in this department—but the advice, which I got from “natural” PUAs in my late twenties-early thirties—albeit, too late for me to use it, suggests that the material in his book is sound. Furthermore, it is a novel, a work of fiction and should not be viewed as completely documentary. Neil Strauss has been labeled a misogynist, a fraud and a bevy of other names. My problem with his narrative is more literary and philosophical. Let me first refer to another, much more famous work of fiction, namely Casanova’s “memoirs.” Namely, what I read there, rarely qualifies as seduction. This is a story of a wealthy gentleman (fake, in Casanova’s case) who simply procured underage girls for money or the glitter of it. This had been a little problem in 18th Century Europe with its agrarian overpopulation, incessant wars and beginning urbanization. Mothers and fathers peddled their surplus daughters to rich travelers as a way to assure some semblance of prosperity for other members of their family or simply to stave hunger. When I read “The Secret Society of Pickup Artists”, I had the same feeling, especially because I remembered PTA’s “Magnolia” loosely based on some characters in his book and because looked up him being educated in Vassar College on Wikipedia. I would not be surprised if he came from the stock of banker and diplomat Lewis Strauss, who headed Atomic Energy Commission in its golden years and stripped Oppenheimer of his security clearance, or any other illustrious Strauss. O’K registered I, he describes the case of the fraternity of upper-middle class Hollywood guys—syndicated columnists, screenwriters, etc.¿preying on poor and vulnerable trailer trash girls (a.k.a. strippers and centerfolds) and maladjusted Eastern European exports. Boring, and old as the world itself. But he is a decent writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MYsteryMEthod More than 1 year ago
This book changed my life! What's most strange is while I was reading it I felt more confident. I love Neil Strauss's writing and guidance. I'm definitely better with women now!
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