The Game -Penetrating the Society of Pickup Artists, is the New York Times bestseller By Neil Strauss.
During his time with the pickup artists, Neil Strauss does far more than just infiltrate and observe this subculture and report on its doings. He actually becomes a PUA, In fact, he becomes one of the most well-known and successful PUAs in the world. He sleeps with hundreds of women, moves into Project Hollywood with Courtney Love; number closes Britney Spears and goes on a European tour with a magician called Mystery.
The Game is at heart a cautionary tale, the sort told by rock stars in ghost written biographies. Strauss, a writer for Rolling Stone and other publications, has himself co-written books with such characters as; Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue, and Jane’s Addiction band member Dave Navarro. The characters in the game seem to be as outrageous, volatile and unbelievable as any the aforementioned rock stars.
The pick-up artists featured in The Game come across as nerdy, emotionally repressed men, mostly young, who have chosen to reinvent themselves as sexually irresistible predators by analyzing the behaviour and social traits of ‘ naturals’ and rock stars. Some PUA’s go even further than this: Ross Jeffries, one of the first people to run lectures on PUA techniques (and supposedly the model for Tom Cruise’s character in the film Magnolia), promotes a technique called Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) that combines hypnosis with a language of gestures and verbal cues to entice women to have sex.
Other PUAs employ other techniques, including the “Mystery Method,” a technique based on the concept of an “indirect approach,” befriending the companions of a target while ignoring her in order to make the user more attractive. In the book Strauss befriends Mystery, a profoundly damaged professional magician, with a violent temper, who through many years developed this technique, Strauss is schooled by Mystery and learns his secrets. After learning from numerous PickUp Artists in the seduction community, and with some in-field practice, Strauss shaves his head, gets a fake tan, trades in his clothes and becomes “Style.” Style successfully hits on dozens of women, possibly hundreds, and at one point is declared “the worlds greatest PUA.”
This however, is a cautionary tale. For all the money, women and parties…things eventually go south. Mystery is commited. Arguments over money, women and status eventually destroy project Hollywood and the insular world Strauss had called home for two years.
Througout the book References to the film Fight Club are abound: one PUA goes by the name Tyler Durden; another turns Project Hollywood into a factory for aspiring PUAs. At one point, consciously or unconsciously echoing Fight Club Strauss writes: “Every time we left a city, a lair sprung up if one didn’t exist already, bringing together students eager to practice their new skills.”
At times, The Game is truly unbelievable. The book reads like a movie or an adultfrienedfinder app. Style’s exploits seem so implausible, so cinematic, that it’s hard to be sure that the story is true, despite Strauss’ assurances on the first page that it is. Whether or not the book was ’sexed’ up is not important. The Game is one of the best books in recent memory, Strauss seduces the reader using the program of the cautionary tale so perfectly that the reader must wonder if he or she is the one being ‘gamed.’