The Game by Neil Strauss: Summary and Notes

the game book

“The man never chooses the woman. All he can do is give her an opportunity to choose him.”

Rating: 8/10

Related: Rules of the Game, The Truth, Models

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The Game Short Summary

Great story and addictive to read. The Game by Neil Strauss is a step-by-step guide to picking up women told in story form. The biggest aha moment for me was that pickup is actually about men, not women. You’ll learn a lot about seduction but its value lies more in the mindset.

The Game Lessons

Pickup is a linear process: capture the imagination first and the heart next.

Interest + attraction + seduction = sex.

To get a woman, you have to be willing to risk losing her.

Neg: an ambiguous statement or seemingly accidental insult delivered to a beautiful woman you just met, with the intent of actively demonstrating to her (or her friends) a lack of interest in her.

Example: “Those are nice nails; are they real?”

IOI (an indicator of interest): a sign a woman gives a man that indirectly reveals she is attracted to him. E.g. leaning towards a man when he speaks, asking mundane questions to keep a conversation going, or squeezing his hand when he takes her hand in his

Peacock: to dress in a flashy and colorful way in order to draw attention from women. Examples: bright shiny shirts, light-up jewelry, or colorful cowboy hats

Step 1: Select a Target

Group Theory: beautiful women are usually accompanied by friends. After approaching the group, you must simultaneously win the approval of her friends — especially the men — while actively demonstrating a lack of interest in her.

The 3-Second Rule: a woman should be approached within three seconds of first seeing her. If you take longer, you’ll get nervous and she will think you’re a creep

“The number one characteristic of an alpha male is the smile. Smile when you enter a room. As soon as you walk in a club, the game is on. And by smiling, you look like you’re together, you’re fun, and you’re somebody.”

Besides confidence and a smile, the other characteristics of an alpha male are being well-groomed, possessing a sense of humor, connecting with people, and being seen as the social center of a room.

Step 2: Approach and Open

Never approach a woman from behind. Always come in from the front, but at a slight angle so it’s not too direct and confrontational. Speak over your shoulder so it looks like you might walk away at any minute.

“Don’t approach a woman with a sexual come-on. Learn about her first and let her earn the right to be hit on. An amateur hits on a woman right away. A pro waits eight to ten minutes.”

The basic format to all approaches:

  1. Smile when you walk into a room. See the group with the target and follow the three-second rule
  2. Recite a memorized opener, if not two or three in a row
  3. The opener should open the group, not just the target. When talking, ignore the target for the most part and focus on the men
  4. Neg the target. “It’s so cute. Your nose wiggles when you laugh.” Get her friends to notice and laugh about it
  5. Convey personality to the entire group by using stories, magic, anecdotes, and humor. Pay attention to the men and the less attractive women
  6. Neg the target again if appropriate
  7. Ask the group, “So, how does everyone know each other?” Find if the target is with one of the guys and for how long. If it’s a serious relationship, leave politely
  8. If she is not spoken for, say to the group, “I’ve sort of been alienating your friend. Is it all right if I speak to her for a couple of minutes?” They always say, “Uh, sure. If it’s okay with her.” If you’ve executed the preceding steps correctly, she will agree
  9. Isolate. Tell her you want to show her something cool and take her to sit with you nearby. As you lead her through the crowd, do a touch test by holding her hand. If she squeezes back, it’s on. Start looking for other lOls
  10. Sit with her and do something that will fascinate and intrigue her
  11. Tell her, “Beauty is common but what’s rare is great energy and outlook on life. Tell me, what do you have inside that would make me want to know you as more than a mere face in the crowd?” If she begins to list qualities, this is a positive IOI
  12. Stop talking. Does she reinitiate the chat with a question that begins with the word “So?” If yes, you have seen three lOls and can…
  13. Kiss close (“Would you like to kiss me?” routine). If the setting or circumstances aren’t conducive to physical intimacy, give yourself a time constraint: “I have to go, but we should continue this.” Get her number and leave

Step 3: Demonstrate Value

One of the most important things to do with an attractive woman is to demonstrate value. What makes you any different from the last twenty guys who approached her?

“A pickup artist never gives a girl his phone number, because she might not call. A PUA must make a woman comfortable enough to give him her number.”

To get a woman, you have to be willing to risk losing her.

Phase-Shift: to make the transition, during a one-on-one conversation with a woman, from ordinary calk to slower, sexually-charged talk, touch, or body language; intended to precede an attempt to kiss.

“As soon as you ask yourself whether you should or shouldn’t kiss a girl, that means you should.”

To kiss-close, ask her: “Would you like to kiss me?”. One of three things will happen:

  1. She says “Yes” and you kiss her. This is rare
  2. She says “Maybe” or hesitates, and you say “Let’s find out,” and kiss her
  3. You get a “No” and reply “I didn’t say you could. It just looked like you had something on your mind.”

Routines to kiss a girl:

  1. The Photo Routine: first take a photo of yourself and a girl smiling, then another one striking a serious pose, and, finally, one kissing (on the cheek or lips). Afterward, look through the photos with her. At the final photo, say, ”We make a good couple, don’t we?“ If she agrees, you’re in.
  2. The Tic-Tac Routine: put two Tic Tacs in your hand. Eat one very slowly. Then feed the second one to her. If she accepts it, say, ”There’s something I forgot to tell you. I’m an Indian giver. I want my Tic Tac back.“ Then kiss her.

Step 4: Disarm the Obstacles

Power is retained by attracting loyalty, and subjugation is guaranteed by giving it.

“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.”

Interrogation is not seduction. Seduction is the art of setting the stage for two people to choose to reveal themselves to each other. Talking in statement form is the way old friends speak to each other. Statements are the mode of the intimate, the confident, and the giving.

To make someone want something, you need to give value. You show that others like it. You make it scarce. And you make them work for it.

Never give a woman a straight answer to a question. If a woman asks what you do for a living, keep her guessing: tell her you’re a cigarette lighter repairman or a white slave trader or a professional hopscotch player.

Step 5: Isolate the Target

The key to physical escalation is always two steps forward, one step back.

Chick-crack: most women respond to routines involving tests, psychological games, fortune-telling, and cold-reading

The Best-Friends Test: ask two friends a question, such as “Do you use the same shampoo?” If they look at each other before answering, they’re best friends. Otherwise, they will keep their attention on you

The Lying Game: a woman thinks of four true statements and one lie about her house or her car. Then she says them out loud one by one. You can spot the lie by looking for a variation in her eye movements. People look in different directions when they lie than when they’re telling the truth

“There are certain bad habits we’ve groomed our whole life-from personality flaws to fashion faux pas. And it has been the role of parents and friends, outside of some minor tweaking, to reinforce the belief that we’re okay just as we are. But it’s not enough to just be yourself. You have to be your best self. And that’s a tall order if you haven’t found your best self yet.”

Laughter is often the best seduction. Everything that was funny at age ten is funny all over again.

Step 6: Create an Emotional Connection

The goal of the PUA is simply not to trigger a woman’s shutdown or flight responses. As such, every part of the pickup is designed simply to anticipate and disarm objections.

When you start talking to a group of people, their first concern is, “Are we going to be stuck with this guy all night? How do we get rid of him?” So you give yourself a false time constraint such as “I can only stay for a minute because I need to get back to my friends.”

As you interact, pay attention to the people who seem most likely to shut you out-the jealous men and overprotective friends. Make them feel good about themselves as you challenge, tease, and neg the target.

If she interrupts you, for example, say, “Wow. Is she always like that? How do you deal with her?” If she looks shocked, you reel her back in with a light compliment. This is called a push-pull.

Push-Pull: a technique used to create or increase attraction, in which a man gives a woman indications that he is not interested in her followed by indications that he is. This sequence can take place in a few seconds-such as taking a woman’s hands and then dropping them as if you don’t trust her yet-or over time, such as being very nice during one phone conversation but then very distant and abrupt during the next one

After the opening interaction, demonstrate value. Then pretend like you have to get back to your friends. Now they don’t want you to leave. You are in. You’ve shown them that you’re the most interesting, fun person in the room.

This is the hook point: You can now relax and enjoy their company. Now you’re part of the group.

Step 7: Extract to a Seduction Location

When it comes time to leave, tell the group you lost your friends and need a ride home. This will give the woman an opportunity to be alone with you without letting her friends know she plans to sleep with you.

If the logistics are too difficult, get her number and make a plan to hang out later in the week.

When she pulls up to your house, give her another false time constraint: tell her you have to get to sleep early because you have a lot of work tomorrow. By this point, you both may know you’re going to have sex, but you still have to play a solid game so she can tell herself later that it just happened.

Continue using a combination of time constraints and push-pull to amp her attraction. Keep telling her she has to leave soon.

Then use the evolution phase-shift routine: smell her, bite her arm, let her bite your neck, bite her neck, and then kiss. You should always be the first one to object. This is called stealing her frame.

The goal now is simply to arouse her without making her feel pressured, used, or uneasy.

Step 8: Pump Buying Temperature

Pickup is a linear process: capture the imagination first and the heart next.

Interest plus attraction plus seduction equals sex.

If you describe anything with enthusiasm and congruence, people will want to try it – especially if you don’t give them the opportunity to say no.

“The less you appear to be trying, the better you do.”

Yes-Ladder: capturing her attention by asking questions that require an obvious affirmative answer.

Step 9: Make Physical Connection

Rocks vs Gold: women in a relationship want rocks — wonderful nights out, romantic attention, and emotional connection — while men seek gold — sex. If you give a woman only gold or a man just rocks, neither will be satisfied. There must be an exchange. Learn how to take a compliment. The only response a confident person can make is “Thank you.”

Step 10: Blast Last-Minute Resistance

Simply finding out that you have a passion for something another person also likes and respects is enough to fire chemistry.

When two people discover they have things in common, pheromones are released and attraction begins.

The great lie of modern dating is that in order to sleep with a woman, a man must pretend initially as if he doesn’t want to.

“But the truth is that the fantasy is often better than the reality. I had just learned that lesson. Most men eventually learn that lesson.”

Step 11: Manage Expectations

There is a downside to casual sex: Sometimes it stops being casual. People develop a desire for something more. And when one person’s expectations don’t match the other person’s, then whoever holds the highest expectations suffers.

There is no such thing as cheap sex. It always comes with a price.

Flattery will get you everywhere.

“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.”

We were all searching outside ourselves for our missing pieces, and we were all looking in the wrong direction. The answers were to be found within. To win the game was to leave it.