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4.2 out of 5 stars
The Game
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2011
Strippers. Liquid lounge womanizers. It has you hooked in seconds. With each page turned, the alluring to creepy Casanova villains and victims come alive. Drinks are shaken not stirred. Jacuzzis overflowing with blondes. Miniskirts and thongs slice the heated air, hanging from the ceiling fan. The Game is a fast-paced, mesmerizing tale of a underground secret society. A study in social psychology, transformations from nerd to stud, emotional self-destruction, evolving into the creation of the seduction industry.

Investigative journalist Neil Strauss of Rolling Stone/NY Times fame provides an exhilarating memoir as he submerses himself in the shadowy lair of pickup artists. Bizarre. Alluring. It`s a cult-like subculture of hipsters who've cracked the persuasion code. Lives dedicated to seducing as many women as possible. Unpredictable story lines. A flurry of celebs. Replete with a stunningly bizarre cast of narcissistic and yet colorful characters.

But this is not a tale of the skills he obtains, or the women he seduces.

It's a journey of self discovery. It's the tale of the men he befriends, lives with and works with in his quest of becoming a master pickup artist. It's about male bonding and relationships. It's about the emotional trauma the men experience by devoting their lives to the pick up artist endeavor.

Neil's assignment is ironic. He was born a nerdish, unconfident geek. Despite having two bestsellers under his belt, he was a self-described chick repellant. Short, bald, skinny, with a big schnoz. Painfully shy, Neil is as miles away from a world-class womanizer. He schooled for 3 years at a womens college (Vassar) and never had a girlfriend.

He dives in headfirst, burns the midnight oil reading three boxes of persuasion books. He studies aura, handwriting analysis, palm reading, magic tricks, and posts online all day in the seduction message boards. Taken under the wings of the self-proclaimed greatest pickup artists, he researches techniques, obsessively testing gaming theories in clubs seven days a week.

His professional wingman is a charismatic diminutive figure, one Erick Von Markovick, aka Mystery. Mystery is king of the PUAs, with a worldwide following of disciples and students. An outlandish dresser and swashbuckling self-promoter, Mystery single-handedly invents an entire language of acronyms and jargon and field techniques for speed seduction. He adapts group dynamics, reverse psychology and neurolinguistic programming into conversation to subconsciously seduce, in a sleight of hand fashion. Under his tutoring, PUAs perfect a slavish dependency on routines and patterns until they become successful social marketing robots.

In a scant two years, Neil transforms from journalist loner into "Style", a legendary seducer. The seduction community evolves from merely an anonymous online forum into an overnight lucrative business. Soon Mystery and Strauss are world known as the pre-eminent social scientists of attraction. Neil has them set up shop at Project Hollywood - holding court in Dean Martin's old Hollywood Hills mansion. The snake oil characters who frequent the sex frat include a bizarre cast of characters. Mystery, and various luminaries with handles like Juggler and Papa, Sweater, Matador, Juggler and J Dog. It becomes a revolving door for parties, celebs, and loose women. Home to an unknown number of roommates. Even Courtney Love moves in. Tom Cruise lectures Neil about their methods; Neil reminds him he did a movie glamorizing Neil's new lifestyle. (Magnolia). Heidi Fleiss gets in a competition to pick up women, and ends up losing, so she c*blocks Neil at every turn. Paris Hilton and Britney Spears get number closed for dates.

But in the end, Neil discovers "The Game" is a dangerous obsessive Pandora's box. The players are fiercely competitive, full of Machiavellian tactics. The seductive power can corrupt, and bedding babes by the dozens may not lead to self satisfaction. And he loses himself in the insatiable elixir of seduction and lust.

Spellbinding, can only describe the trials and tribulations inside the secret fraternity. Neil gets his bestseller, which has been optioned by a Hollywood studio. Despite the creepy environment, you sense he is a genuine decent human being. He is self-deprecating, and shares his failings and frustrations. He manages to retain sight in the bizarre nature of his surrounding in which he is now embedded. But in the end, he suffers dark reflections on who and what he has become. He feels hollow at the dehumanization of women...and of himself. He loses the respect of women the more successful he is at seducing them. He is passionate about women, but comes to hate being Style.

And his posse of clandestine lady killers experience hedonistic highs, and devastating lows in the aftermath of their endeavors. The emotional toll on the crew is sobering. Project Hollywood becomes a commune infested with inter-community rivalries, dysfunctional neurotic behavior, and complete nervous breakdowns. It all eventually implodes. Neil meets his now steady girlfriend Lisa (the drummer in Courtney Love's band), and decides to retire Style.

The Game is a raunchy expose of epic proportions of a seriously twisted subculture. Strauss pens it in an addictive seductive style. Magnificently crafted with characters and emotions. You share his inner journalist voice as if it's your own. Damn near impossible to put this book down.

Others in the pick up genre you should pick up;
The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed

Written by the guru of the seduction community. His encyclopedia-like book reads like a PHD college course on seduction. It is the template for what Strauss uses in the Game. It lays out the techniques, terminology, and methodology for anyone to learn.

The Professional Bachelor Dating Guide - How to Exploit Her Inner Psycho
A hilarious, devious sexual persuasion guide for hooking up, written by a psych doc lounge lizard who conquered the nightclubs for decades. It includes a world bachelor party vacation guide, and an asset protection guide to set up pre-marriage to shield you from divorce.

I'd recommend you get all three. Prepare to get shocked, to laugh and to learn.
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very entertaining gonzo story of one man's effort to infiltrate the geeky murky world of seduction web forums. the deep cover journalist inadvertently becomes the leader of the cult. and an interesting subtext that could be called the madness of courtney love.
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on 14 August 2015
don't get me wrong the info is very solid in here, but it kind of made me felt like you were made treat women like they're just meat. Watch some of his stuff on youtube first then buy it so you have an idea of what you will be reading
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2012
So this book has it all:
1) Ugly duckling
2) Sex (lots of it)
3) the villian
4) the girl
5) intrige and suspense
6) drama
7) self-help
8) a potential happy ending

all rolled into one nice neat literature burrito for your reading pleasure. Stuff Hollywood movies are made of...

The story both captivated and disgusted me. I found these totally insecure men feel the need to constantly validate themselves by picking up women by playing on their own (the women's) insecurities.

Anyway I'll let you make up your mind about how you feel about the content of the book, but basically its exceptionally well written, easy to follow and brutally honest.

I do recommend this book, but its not for the sensitive reader.
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on 1 February 2015
Good stuff from a psychology point of view. Affirms what a lot of guys already know. Good funny read. Author seems like a nice guy, though some of the other charactors are slimy. Can mess with your head a bit so be careful.
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on 17 August 2015
such a great read. a really interesting story and also very helpful in getting people to become a little more confident. Not for someone who wants to become a "pick up artist", this book has a lot more to teach.
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on 27 June 2015
I've not found a book that's a substitute for proper training and practice, but if you want a good introduction to influencing the people around you, this is a pretty good place to start. Interesting story too.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A work that quickly acquired a legendary status, Johann Strauss' "The Game" is the real life tale of a nerdy journalist who makes the transition to being one of the world's most prolific pickup artists. Not technically a handbook, there are nevertheless countless things to be learned about how the fairer sex can be manipulated into a state of attraction. My own favourite always used to be to purchase a massive pitcher of house wine, from which I would incessantly refill my date's glass up to the brim, at each and any opportunity. I stand by this as being an excellent means to loosen up not only tongues but also moral standards (especially if you've remembered to spray on some powerful male pheromones beforehand). However, I learned here that there are plenty of more sophisticated alternatives- some of which might initially seem surprisingly counterintuitive.

In short, the effective pickup artist appreciates the disparity between what women would consciously like to be attracted to (ie what they say they want) and what years of evolution have actually hard-wired their subconscious to be attracted to. Beautiful women quickly get bored by a man who fixates upon them alone, offers them all of his time and showers them with gifts etc- and rapidly relegate him to the 'friend zone' (before immediately going on to complain that they "can't find any nice guys"). Surprisingly, they are far more excited by having to compete for the time of a busy man who openly dates a large number of other women. Much as women will protest otherwise, what is known as "pre-selection" has been widely scientifically evidenced. The female psyche is naturally envious- making it powerfully drawn towards men who display success and social standing (and who are too mentally strong to pander to a lady's every whim, simply because she is physically attractive). Yes, at the core, the intrinsic female blueprint for desire is every bit as shallow as that of us males- even if it is rooted in such issues as jealous one-upmanship and competitiveness, rather than in such issues as buttocks and breasts. Anyway, a chap doesn't necessarily have to file for outright moral bankruptcy, in order to capitalise upon such knowledge- but he can still have a hell of a time by exploring his overdraft limit!

One of the most interesting aspects of 'game' is the necessity of becoming detached from the outcome. If a man seems like he might be bothered by failure, it suggests social weakness and a lack of options with other women- which can make rejection almost certain. However, misses necessarily occur some of the time, even to the best of us. If a girl slips by, it's essential to be able to jump back on the horse, or preferably even to go out to stud with an entire stableful of fillies (within the realms of metaphor, that is). Many years ago this happened to me- after I had a (heavily vodka-laced) babycham thrown back in my face by the nine-fingered girl who worked in the local fishmongers. Quick as a flash, I got back in the saddle with her slightly dumpy best friend. Soon enough, jealousy kicked in and the girl who had formerly rejected me came knocking at my door! Unfortunately, by then I'd made the mistake of getting married to the particular 'horse' that I'd gone and leapt on (a proper old 'mare' of the night)- although I didn't let that stop me from collecting a satisfying return on my investment!

Another surprising aspect that can be learned here is quite how well women will often respond to unapologetically extreme directness about intent. The ability to speak openly (from a place of profound inner confidence) can lead to remarkably good results, when your intentions are delivered without embarrassment. Only the other day, I suggested to a girl that we recreate a rather famous scene from the film "Last Tango in Paris", on our very first date! Admittedly, she did slap me across the face and storm out, but I realise now exactly where my mistake had occurred. I should have remembered that she was a vegan! Next time I end up dating one of them lot, I'll have to make a point of clarifying that we can substitute the butter for a non-dairy based olive oil spread!
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2011
Just when men couldn't get anymore desperate, along comes Neil Strauss and his magical wand. No, not the one in his pants. This magical wand comes in the form of a system that appears to guarantee success with women. The Game describes his transformation from a shy, nervous, serial masturbator to a confident, smartly dressed, woman magnet. Well-done Neil. We're all so proud.

Strauss writes simply and intelligibly. Because of this it's an easy read. It's not a complicated story. Just a story revolving around complicated people, namely women and man's apparent innate desire to sleep with every one of them - barring family members. Somewhere in amongst the lipstick, broken hearts and used condoms, there is a storyline - something along the lines of one man's ascent through the shady underworld of male pick-up artists, right to the top. Does he, over the last few pages, meet someone who can beat him at his own game? Does he hang up his gaming hat in the name of love? Surely not? No way! Not our Neil?! You'll have to buy it I guess.

It's a funny read, or was for me anyway. I'm not sure if I was laughing at the desperation of the characters, the situations they get into, or the sheer ridiculousness of what Mr Strauss is saying. Entertaining from start to finish.

Yes, it is a form of escapism - a crude one if that - but what's not? Films and soaps all take our minds off the trivialities of existence for a brief period of time - The Game will do the same thing. It's just that it might leave you feeling a bit empty and bitter. While the buzz of 6am blares in your dreary face and you're waking the kids up for school, pick-up artists all over the world are getting dirty in `the club' and manipulating women into sleeping with them. They can have whomever they want, whenever they want, while you're running late for work with not even enough time to iron your new shirt. The one your wife bought from M&S because she thought it went with your shoes. You log onto your computer while cursing Neil Strauss and his fantastical lifestyle. "Why am I not in `the club', partying hard with Japanese twins, drowning in Cristal?" "WHY? WHY? WHY?" You staple your hand to the weekly office newsletter in anger. Because you live in the real world! You have a mortgage the size of the deficit to pay and Emmerdale on Sky Plus to watch. You aren't in a sleazy story and if you appreciate this then you will hopefully be able to enjoy the book. I know I did.
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on 5 May 2015
Amazingly addictive .For single openminded guys who want a boost of self confidence .Great true story .A book that messages guys to appreciate them selfs and do the best they can with what they were given .
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