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Neil straus pua
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Content Preview
ALSO BY NEIL STRAUSS
The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
THE GAME
WITH MARILYN MANSON
PENETRATING THE SECRET
The Dirt
SOCIETY OF PICKUP ARTISTS
WITH MOTLEY CRUE
How to Make Love Like a Porn Star
WITH JENNA JAMESON
Don't Try This at Home
WITH DAVE NAVARRO
Neil Strauss
ReganBooks
An Imprint ofHarperCollinsPublishers

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), Norp Icons 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
Dedicated to the thousands of people I talked to in
COPYRIGHT © 2 0 0 5 BY N E I L STRAUSS.
bars, clubs, malls, airports, grocery stores, subways,
and elevators over the last two vears.
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
If you are reading this, I want you to know that I
embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, address
HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.
wasn't running game on you. I was being sincere.
Really. You were different.
HarperCollins books may be purchased for educational,
business, or sales promotional use. For information please write:
Special Markets Department, HarperCollins Publishers Inc.,
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.
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

"I COULD NOT BECOME ANYTHING:
NEITHER BAD NOR GOOD, NEITHER
A SCOUNDREL NOR AN HONEST MAN,
NEITHER A HERO NOR AN INSECT.
AND NOW I AM EKING OUT MY DAYS
IN MY CORNER, TAUNTING MYSELF
WITH THE BITTER AND ENTIRELY
USELESS CONSOLATION THAT AN
INTELLIGENT MAN CANNOT SERIOUSLY
BECOME ANYTHING; THAT ONLY
A FOOL CAN BECOME SOMETHING."
FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY,
Notes from Underground

THE
FOLLOWING
Those who have read early drafts of this book
have all asked the same questions:
IS A TRUE
IS THIS TRUE?
STORY.
DID IT REALLY HAPPEN ?
IT REALLY HAPPENED.
ARE THESE GUYS
Men will deny it,
FOR REAL?
Women will doubt it.
But I present it to you here,
Naked, vulnerable, and
disturbingly real.
Thus, I find it necessary to employ
I beg you for your forgiveness in advance.
an old literary device . . .
DON'T HATE THE PLAYER . . .
HATE THE GAME.

CONTENTS
STEP 1
STEP 7
SELECT A TARGET 1
EXTRACT TO A SEDUCTION
LOCATION 243
STEP 2
APPROACH AND OPEN 13
STEP 8
PUMP BUYING TEMPERATURE 265
STEP 3
DEMONSTRATE VALUE 51
STEP 9
MAKE A PHYSICAL CONNECTION 319
STEP 4
DISARM THE OBSTACLES 107
STEP 10
BLAST LAST-MINUTE RESISTANCE 345
STEP 5
ISOLATE THE TARGET 147
STEP 1 1
MANAGE EXPECTATIONS 387
STEP 6
CREATE AN EMOTIONAL
GLOSSARY 439
CONNECTION 207
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 451

STEP 1
SELECT
A TARGET

MEET MYSTERY
MEN WEREN'T REALLY THE ENEMY—
The house was a disaster.
Doors were split and smashed off their hinges; walls were dented in the
THEY WERE FELLOW VICTIMS
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 cry¬
SUFFERING FROM AN OUTMODED
ing. He'd been crying for two days straight.
This wasn't a normal kind of crying. Ordinary tears are understand¬
MASCULINE MYSTIQUE THAT MADE
able. But Mystery was beyond understanding. He was out of control. For a
week, he'd been vacillating between periods of extreme anger and violence,
THEM FEEL UNNECESSARILY
and jags of fitful, cathartic sobbing. And now he was threatening to kill
himself.
INADEQUATE WHEN THERE WERE
There were five of us living in the house: Herbal, Mystery, Papa, Play¬
boy, 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
NO BEARS TO KILL.
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.
— BETTY FRIEDAN
The sofas and dozens of throw pillows lining the floor of the sunken
The Feminine Mystique
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 Mys¬
tery'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
5
He reached up from the floor and punched the stained red upholstery
tiny front seat. Every now and then, I'd see a tremor of anger flash across his
of the sofa as the siren-wail of his despondency grew louder, filling the
face or tears roll out of his eyes. I hoped he'd remain calm long enough for
room with the sound of a grown male who has lost every characteristic that
me to help him.
separates man from infant from animal.
"I want to learn martial arts," he said docilely, "so when I want to kill
He wore a gold silk robe that was several sizes too small, exposing his
someone, I can do something about it."
scabbed knees. The ends of the sash just barely met to form a knot and the
I stepped on the accelerator.
curtains of the robe hung half a foot apart, revealing a pale, hairless chest
Our destination was the Hollywood Mental Health Center on Vine
and, below it, saggy gray Calvin Klein boxer shorts. The only other item of
Street. It was an ugly slab of concrete surrounded day and night by home¬
clothing on his trembling body was a winter cap pulled tight over his skull.
less men who screamed at lampposts, transvestites who lived out of shop¬
It was June in Los Angeles.
ping carts, and other remaindered human beings who set up camp where
"This living thing." He was speaking again. "It's so pointless."
free social services could be found.
He turned and looked at me through wet, red eyes. "It's Tic Tac Toe.
Mystery, I realized, was one of them. He just happened to have
There's no way you can win. So the best thing to do is not to play it."
charisma and talent, which drew others to him and prevented him from
There was no one else in the house. I would have to deal with this. He
ever being left alone in the world. He possessed two traits I'd noticed in
needed to be sedated before he snapped out of tears and back into anger.
nearly every rock star I'd ever interviewed: a crazy, driven gleam in his eyes
Each cycle of emotions grew worse, and this time I was afraid he'd do some¬
and an absolute inability to do anything for himself.
thing that couldn't be undone.
I brought him into the lobby, signed him in, and together we waited for
I couldn't let Mystery die on my watch. He was more than just a friend;
a turn with one of the counselors. He sat in a cheap black plastic chair, star¬
he was a mentor. He'd changed my life, as he had the lives of thousands of
ing catatonically at the institutional blue walls.
others just like me. I needed to get him Valium, Xanax, Vicodin, anything. I
An hour passed. He began to fidget.
grabbed my phone book and scanned the pages for people most likely to
Two hours passed. His brow furrowed; his face clouded.
have pills—people like guys in rock bands, women who'd just had plastic
Three hours passed. The tears started.
surgery, former child actors. But everyone I called wasn't home, didn't have
Four hours passed. He bolted out of his chair and ran out of the wait¬
any drugs, or claimed not to have any drugs because they didn't want to
ing room and through the front door of the building.
share.
He walked briskly, like a man who knew where he was going, although
There was only one person left to call: the woman who had triggered
Project Hollywood was three miles away. I chased him across the street and
Mystery's downward spiral. She was a party girl; she must have something.
caught up to him outside a mini-mall. I took his arm and turned him
Katya, a petite Russian blonde with a Smurfette voice and the energy of
around, baby talking him back into the waiting room.
a Pomeranian puppy, was at the front door in ten minutes with a Xanax and
Five minutes. Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty. He was up and out
a worried look on her face.
again.
"Do not come in," I warned her. "He'll probably kill you." Not that she
I ran after him. Two social workers stood uselessly in the lobby.
didn't entirely deserve it, of course. Or so I thought at the time.
"Stop him!" I yelled.
I gave Mystery the pill and a glass of water, and waited until the sobs
"We can't," one of them said. "He's left the premises."
slowed to a sniffle. Then I helped him into a pair of black boots, jeans, and
"So you're just going to let a suicidal man walk out of here?" I couldn't
a gray T-shirt. He was docile now, like a big baby.
waste time arguing. "Just have a therapist ready to see him if I get him back
"I'm taking you to get some help," I told him.
here."
I walked him outside to my old rusty Corvette and stuffed him into the
I ran out the door and looked to my right. He wasn't there. I looked

7
6
proclaimed best in the previous two years, and Mystery could out-game
left. Nothing. I ran north to Fountain Avenue, spotted him around the cor¬
them all. It was his hobby, his passion, his calling.
ner, and dragged him back again.
There was only one person alive who could possibly compete with him.
When we arrived, the social workers led him down a long, dark hallway
And that man was sitting in front of her also. From a formless lump of
and into a claustrophobic cubicle with a sheet-vinyl floor. The therapist sat
nerd, Mystery had molded me into a superstar. Together, we had ruled the
behind a desk, running a finger through a black tangle in her hair. She was
world of seduction. We had pulled off spectacular pickups before the disbe¬
a slim Asian woman in her late twenties, with high cheekbones, dark red lip¬
lieving eyes of our students and disciples in Los Angeles, New York, Mon¬
stick, and a pinstriped pantsuit.
treal, London, Melbourne, Belgrade, Odessa, and beyond.
Mystery slumped in a chair across from her.
And now we were in a madhouse.
"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 pack¬
age 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 c a n ' t . . . do it right now."
She nodded mechanically.
"You should see me when I'm not like this," he continued slowly, snif¬
fling. "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-

9
the layguide, short for The How-to-Lay-Girls Guide. Compressed into 150 siz¬
zling pages, he said, was the collected wisdom of dozens of pickup artists
who have been exchanging their knowledge in newsgroups for nearly a de¬
cade, secretly working to turn the art of seduction into an exact science. The
information needed to be rewritten and organized into a coherent how-to
book, and he thought I was the man to do it.
MEET STYLE
I wasn't so sure. I want to write literature, not give advice to horny ado¬
lescents. But, of course, I told him it wouldn't hurt to take a look at it.
The moment I started reading, my life changed. More than any other
I am far from attractive. My nose is too large for my face and, while not
book or document—be it the Bible, Crime and Punishment, or The Joy of
hooked, has a bump in the ridge. Though I am not bald, to say that my hair
Cooking—the layguide opened my eyes. And not necessarily because of the
is thinning would be an understatement. There are just wispy Rogaine-
information in it, but because of the path it sent me hurtling down.
enhanced growths covering the top of my head like tumbleweeds. In my
When I look back on my teenage years, I have one major regret, and it
opinion, my eyes are small and beady, though they do have a lively glimmer,
has nothing to do with not studying hard enough, not being nice to my
which is doomed to remain my secret because no one can see it behind my
mother, or crashing my father's car into a public bus. It is simply that I
glasses. I have indentations on either side of my forehead, which I like and
didn't fool around with enough girls. I am a deep man—I reread James
believe add character to my face, though I've never actually been compli¬
Joyce's Ulysses every three years for fun. I consider myself reasonably intu¬
mented on them.
itive. I am at the core a good person, and I try to avoid hurting others. But I
I am shorter than I'd like to be and so skinny that I look malnourished
can't seem to evolve to the next state of being because I spend far too much
to most people, no matter how much I eat. When I look down at my pale,
time thinking about women.
slouched body, I wonder why any woman would want to sleep next to it, let
And I know I'm not alone. When I first met Hugh Hefner, he was
alone embrace it. So, for me, meeting girls takes work. I'm not the kind of
seventy-three. He had slept with over a thousand of the most beautiful
guy women giggle over at a bar or want to take home when they're feeling
women in the world, by his own account, but all he wanted to talk about
drunk and crazy. I can't offer them a piece of my fame and bragging rights
were his three girlfriends—Mandy, Brandy, and Sandy. And how, thanks to
like a rock star or cocaine and a mansion like so many other men in Los An¬
Viagra, he could keep them all satisfied (though his money probably satis¬
geles. All I have is my mind, and nobody can see that.
fied them enough). If he ever wanted to sleep with somebody else, he said,
You may notice that I haven't mentioned my personality. This is be¬
the rule was that they'd all do it together. So what I gathered from the con¬
cause my personality has completely changed. Or, to put it more accurately,
versation was that here was a guy who's had all the sex he wanted his whole
I completely changed my personality. I invented Style, my alter ego. And in
life and, at seventy-three, he's still chasing tail. When does it stop? If Hugh
the course of two years, Style became more popular than I ever was—
Hefner isn't over it yet, when am I going to be?
especially with women.
If the layguide had never crossed my path, I, like most men, would never
It was never my intention to change my personality or walk through the
have evolved in my thinking about the opposite sex. In fact, I probably started
world under an assumed identity. In fact, I was happy with myself and my
off worse than most men. In my preteen years, there were no games of doctor,
life. That is, until an innocent phone call (it always starts with an innocent
no girls who charged a dollar to look up their skirts, no tickling classmates in
phone call) led me on a journey into one of the oddest and most exciting un¬
places I wasn't supposed to touch. I spent most of teenage life grounded, so
derground communities that, in more than a dozen years of journalism, I
when my sole adolescent sexual opportunity arose—a drunken freshman girl
have ever come across. The call was from Jeremie Ruby-Strauss (no relation),
called and offered me a blow job—I was forced to decline, or else suffer my
a book editor who had stumbled across a document on the Internet called
mother's wrath. In college I began to find myself: the things I was interested

Document Outline

  • The Game - Neil Strauss
  • Contents
  • Step 01: Select a Target
    • Meet Mystery
    • Meet Style
  • Step 02: Approach & Open
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
    • Chapter 07
    • Chapter 08
    • Chapter 09
  • Step 03: Demonstrate Value
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
    • Chapter 07
    • Chapter 08
    • Chapter 09
    • Chapter 10
    • Chapter 11
  • Step 04: Disarm the Obstacles
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
    • Chapter 07
    • Chapter 08
    • Chapter 09
  • Step 05: Isolate the Target
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
    • Chapter 07
    • Chapter 08
    • Chapter 09
    • Chapter 10
    • Chapter 11
    • Chapter 12
    • Chapter 13
    • Chapter 14
    • Chapter 15
    • Chpater 16
    • Chapter 17
  • Step 06: Create an Emotional Connection
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
    • Chapter 07
    • Chapter 08
    • Chapter 09
    • Chapter 10
    • Chapter 11
    • Chapter 12
  • Step 07: Extract to a Seduction Location
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
  • Step 08: Pump Buying Temperature
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
    • Chapter 07
    • Chapter 08
    • Chapter 09
    • Chapter 10
    • Chapter 11
    • Chapter 12
    • Chapter 13
    • Chapter 14
  • Step 09: Make a Physical Connection
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
  • Step 10: Blast Last-Minute Resistance
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
    • Chapter 07
    • Chapter 08
    • Chapter 09
    • Chapter 10
  • Step 11: Manage Expectations
    • Chapter 01
    • Chapter 02
    • Chapter 03
    • Chapter 04
    • Chapter 05
    • Chapter 06
    • Chapter 07
    • Chapter 08
    • Chapter 09
    • Chapter 10
    • Chapter 11
    • Chapter 12
    • Chapter 13
    • Chapter 14
    • Chapter 15
  • Glossary
  • Acknowledgments

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