The Game by Neil Strauss is, for many men, the book that started it all. It’s not just about Strauss, it’s about a time in our lives when we were looking to get more out of dating, when we yearned to master the game. Strauss, a pale, balding, short man showed us through his own experience that you could date top-shelf women no matter what you look like.
It’s just a matter of learning how to play “The Game.”
The Game lent its name to an entire movement. Less clunky than “PUA,” less embarrassing than “seduction community,” “The Game” was a catchall phrase Neil Strauss gave to the world in his book about his own experience cultivating charisma. To this day, when you talk about Game with a capital “G,” you’re talking about a very specific thing: The art and science of charming women, yes, but also men, your boss and the girl ringing you up at the grocery store.
The Game is to be sold, not told; And The Game is for everyone.
The Game is where we first met “Style,” the pickup artist alter ego Neil Strauss crafted under the tutelage of another titan of The Game, Mystery. In the book, we get to see Strauss run game on such celebrities as Britney Spears, Tom Cruise and Courtney Love.
In The Game, Many Men Identified with Neil Strauss
The thing about The Game is that when you read it, you realize that Neil Strauss is just like you: He’s not satisfied with who he is. He wants to get more out of life. He’s not sure how to go about it. Like a lot of other men, this lands him in the seduction community, where he meets Mystery and learns his methods.
A lot of what Neil learns throughout The Game is nothing that isn’t easily accessible on the Internet to anyone who knows how to use a search engine the right way. At the time, however, there was something secret about the whole thing, hence The Game’s subtitle, “Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.”
The one-liner that disarms her and gives you the in. The infamous “neg,” the technique perhaps most associated with The Game than any other, for better or for worse (mostly worse). The three-second rule. The Game is the book that made all of this common knowledge, that penetrated the “secret society,” making it accessible to any man.
It’s also the book where Neil Strauss learns the limitations of the community. He moves into a Sunset Strip mansion with a bunch of other PUAs. What results is an insight into what The Game can do for you (have you full closing with women well out of your “league”) and what it can’t (find you the right girl for a long-term relationship). Indeed, it is the experiences that Strauss has during his time writing The Game that led him to seek something more than just mere seduction.
By the end of the book, we have a changed man. He dramatically dumps out all the numbers that he’s acquired onto a bed when professing love to his one and only, a woman repelled by certain aspects of what the seduction community has taught Neil Strauss’ gambit worked. She doesn’t run away. She doesn’t scream and carry on. She realizes that of all the women that Neil could be with, he has chosen her and that counts for a lot.
This is why Style ultimately had to be laid to rest: While The Game can be applied to any and all aspects of life, the PUA thing has a number of limitations, limitations that men will ultimately want to transcend. This is something that Neil Strauss learned when he spent a lot of time around the community, when he was fully immersed in it. Ultimately, there has to be more to life — and The Game — than the simple misdirection of a stage magician’s tricks.
The proof is in the pudding: When Neil Strauss laid his alter ego from The Game, Style, to rest, he wasn’t just lauded by his friends and men from the PUA community. He was surrounded by women that he had dated in the interim. These were women who were somewhat glad to see Style go, but also held a number of fond memories of him.
At the end of the day, however, while there were a number of people at the funeral who loved Style, there were even more that loved Neil Strauss. If there’s one thing to take away from The Game, it’s that there’s nothing in the world that beats being yourself.