The Game by Neil Strauss: Summary, Notes, and Lessons

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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.


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

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.

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.

  1. Recite a memorized opener, if not two or three in a row
  2. The opener should open the group, not just the target. When talking, ignore the target for the most part and focus on the men
  3. Neg the target. “It’s so cute. Your nose wiggles when you laugh.” Get her friends to notice and laugh about it
  4. Convey personality to the entire group by using stories, magic, anecdotes, and humor. Pay attention to the men and the less attractive women
  5. Neg the target again if appropriate
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Sit with her and do something that will fascinate and intrigue her
  10. 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
  11. 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…
  12. 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?

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

Step 5: Isolate the Target

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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