The Game Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

by Neil Strauss

Author Neil Strauss Isbn 9780060554736 File size 2MB Year 2005 Pages 452 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship 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

Publisher :

Author : Neil Strauss

ISBN : 9780060554736

Year : 2005

Language: English

File Size : 2MB

Category : Family and Friendship

ALSO BY NEIL STRAUSS

The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
WITH MARILYN MANSON

The Dirt
WITH MOTLEY CRUE

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star
WITH JENNA JAMESON

Don't Try This at Home
WITH DAVE NAVARRO

THE GAME
PENETRATING THE SECRET
SOCIETY OF PICKUP ARTISTS

Neil Strauss
Regan Books
An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers

Cover silhouettes are from the following fonts :Darrian's Sexy Silhouettes by © Darrian
(http://westwood.fortunecity.com/cerruti/445/), Subeve by © Sub Communications
(http://www.subtitude.com),NorpIcons 1 and Norp Icons 2 by © DJ Monkeyboy
(http://www.djmonkeyboy.com).
"The Randall Knife": Words and Music by Guy Clark © 1983 EMI APRIL MUSIC INC. and
GSC MUSIC. All Rights Controlled and Administered by EMI APRIL MUSIC INC. All Rights
Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.
In order to protect the identity of some women and members of the community,
the names and identifying characteristics of a small number of incidental
characters in this book have been changed, and three minor characters are composites.

THE GAME
COPYRIGHT © 200 5 BY N E I L STRAUSS.

All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever
without written permission except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address
HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.
HarperCollins books may be purchased for educational,
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FIRST EDITION
Art direction and design by Michelle Ishay / Richard Ljoenes
Cover design by Richard Ljoenes
Interior design by Kris Tobiassen / Richard Ljoenes
Interior illustrations by Bernard Chang

Printed on acid-free paper
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been applied for.

ISBN 0-06-055473-8
05 06 07 08 09 QWK 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Dedicated to the thousands of people I talked to in
bars, clubs, malls, airports, grocery stores, subways,
and elevators over the last two years.
If you are reading this, I want you to know that I
wasn't running game on you. I was being sincere.
Really. You were different.

"I COULD NOT BECOME ANYTHING:
N E I T H E R BAD NOR G O O D , N E I T H E R
A SCOUNDREL NOR AN HONEST MAN,
N E I T H E R A HERO NOR AN INSECT.
AND NOW I AM EKING OUT MY DAYS
IN MY CORNER, TAUNTING MYSELF
W I T H THE B I T T E R AND ENTIRELY
USELESS CONSOLATION THAT AN
INTELLIGENT MAN CANNOT SERIOUSLY
BECOME A N Y T H I N G ; THAT ONLY
A FOOL CAN BECOME S O M E T H I N G . "

FYODOR

DOSTOEVSKY,

Notes from Underground

Those who have read early drafts of this book
have all asked the same questions:

IS THIS TRUE?
DID IT REALLY HAPPEN ?
ARE THESE GUYS
FOR REAL?
Thus, I find it necessary to employ
an old literary device. . .

THE
FOLLOWING
IS A TRUE
STORY.
IT REALLY HAPPENED.
Men will deny it,
Women will doubt it.
But I present it to you here,
Naked, vulnerable, and
disturbingly real.
I beg you for your forgiveness in advance.

D O N ' T HATE T H E PLAYER . . .
HATE T H E G A M E .

CONT
STEP 1

SELECT A TARGET 1
STEP 2

APPROACH AND OPEN 13
STEP 3

DEMONSTRATE VALUE 51
STEP 4

DISARM THE OBSTACLES
STEP 5

ISOLATE THE TARGET 147
STEP 6

CREATE AN EMOTIONAL
CONNECTION 207

107

ENTS
STEP 7

EXTRACT TO A SEDUCTION
LOCATION 243
STEP 8

PUMP BUYING TEMPERATURE 265
STEP 9

MAKE A PHYSICAL CONNECTION 319
STEP 10

BLAST LAST-MINUTE RESISTANCE 345
STEP 1 1

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS 387

GLOSSARY

439

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

451

STEP 1

SELECT

A TARGET

MEN WEREN'T REALLY THE ENEMY—
THEY WERE FELLOW V I C T I M S
SUFFERING FROM AN O U T M O D E D
MASCULINE MYSTIQUE THAT MADE
THEM FEEL UNNECESSARILY
INADEQUATE WHEN THERE WERE
NO BEARS TO KILL.

— BETTY F R I E D A N
The Feminine Mystique

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 of men 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."

4
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

5

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.
Four hours passed. He bolted out of his chair and ran out of the waiting room and through the front door of the building.
He walked briskly, like a man who knew where he was going, although
Project Hollywood was three miles away. I chased him across the street and
caught up to him outside a mini-mall. I took his arm and turned him
around, baby talking him back into the waiting room.
Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty. He was up and out
again.
I ran after him. Two social workers stood uselessly in the lobby.
"Stop him! "I yelled.
"We can't," one of them said. "He's left the premises."
"So you're just going to let a suicidal man walk out of here?" I couldn't
waste time arguing. "Just have a therapist ready to see him if I get him back
here."
I ran out the door and looked to my right. He wasn't there. I looked

6

left. Nothing. I ran north to Fountain Avenue, spotted him around the corner, and dragged him back again.
When we arrived, the social workers led him down a long, dark hallway
and into a claustrophobic cubicle with a sheet-vinyl floor. The therapist sat
behind a desk, running a finger through a black tangle in her hair. She was
a slim Asian woman in her late twenties, with high cheekbones, dark red lipstick, and a pinstriped pantsuit.
Mystery slumped in a chair across from her.
"So how are you feeling today?" she asked, forcing a smile.
"I'm feeling," Mystery said, "like there's no point to anything." He burst
into tears.
"I'm listening," she said, scrawling a note on her pad. The case was
probably already closed for her.
"So I'm removing myself from the gene pool," he sobbed.
She looked at him with feigned sympathy as he continued. To her, he
was just one of a dozen nutjobs she saw a day. All she needed to figure out
was whether he required medication or institutionalization.
"I can't go on," Mystery went on. "It's futile."
With a rote gesture, she reached into a drawer, pulled out a small package of tissues, and handed it to him. As Mystery reached for the package, he
looked up and met her eyes for the first time. He froze and stared at her
silently. She was surprisingly cute for a clinic like this.
A flicker of animation flashed across Mystery's face, then died. "If I had
met you in another time and another place," he said, crumpling a tissue in
his hands, "things would have been different."
His body, normally proud and erect, curved like soggy macaroni in his
chair. He stared glumly at the floor as he spoke. "I know exactly what to say
and what to do to make you attracted to me," he continued. "It's all in my
head. Every rule. Every step. Every word. I just can't... do it right now."
She nodded mechanically.
"You should see me when I'm not like this," he continued slowly, sniffling. "I've dated some of the most beautiful women in the world. Another
place, another time, and I would have made you mine."
"Yes," she said, patronizing him. "I'm sure you would have."
She didn't know. How could she? But this sobbing giant with the
crumpled tissue in his hands was the greatest pickup artist in the world.
That was not a matter of opinion, but fact. I'd met scores of the self-

7

proclaimed best in the previous two years, and Mystery could out-game
them all. It was his hobby, his passion, his calling.
There was only one person alive who could possibly compete with him.
And that man was sitting in front of her also. From a formless lump of
nerd, Mystery had molded me into a superstar. Together, we had ruled the
world of seduction. We had pulled off spectacular pickups before the disbelieving eyes of our students and disciples in Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, London, Melbourne, Belgrade, Odessa, and beyond.
And now we were in a madhouse.

MEET STYLE
I am far from attractive. My nose is too large for my face and, while not
hooked, has a bump in the ridge. Though I am not bald, to say that my hair
is thinning would be an understatement. There are just wispy Rogaineenhanced growths covering the top of my head like tumbleweeds. In my
opinion, my eyes are small and beady, though they do have a lively glimmer,
which is doomed to remain my secret because no one can see it behind my
glasses. I have indentations on either side of my forehead, which I like and
believe add character to my face, though I've never actually been complimented on them.
I am shorter than I'd like to be and so skinny that I look malnourished
to most people, no matter how much I eat. When I look down at my pale,
slouched body, I wonder why any woman would want to sleep next to it, let
alone embrace it. So, for me, meeting girls takes work. I'm not the kind of
guy women giggle over at a bar or want to take home when they're feeling
drunk and crazy. I can't offer them a piece of my fame and bragging rights
like a rock star or cocaine and a mansion like so many other men in Los Angeles. All I have is my mind, and nobody can see that.
You may notice that I haven't mentioned my personality. This is because my personality has completely changed. Or, to put it more accurately,
I completely changed my personality. I invented Style, my alter ego. And in
the course of two years, Style became more popular than I ever was—
especially with women.
It was never my intention to change my personality or walk through the
world under an assumed identity. In fact, I was happy with myself and my
life. That is, until an innocent phone call (it always starts with an innocent
phone call) led me on a journey into one of the oddest and most exciting underground communities that, in more than a dozen years of journalism, I
have ever come across. The call was from Jeremie Ruby-Strauss (no relation),
a book editor who had stumbled across a document on the Internet called

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