Thursday, 25 February 2016

Review: The Game by Neil Strauss

Title: The Game: Undercover in the Secret Society of Pickup Artists
Author: Neil Strauss
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 512
Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir
The Game

The Game recounts the incredible adventures of an everyday man who transforms himself from a shy, awkward writer into the quick-witted, smooth-talking Style, a character irresistible to women.

But just when life is better than he could have ever dreamed (he uses his techniques on Britney Spears, receives life coaching from Tom Cruise, moves into a mansion with Courtney Love and is officially voted the World's Number One Pickup Artist) he falls head over heels for a woman who can beat him at his own game.
This book is the most unbelievable book I've ever read. I had no idea the seedy underground world of 'pick-up artists' was as big and far reaching as described in this book. The horrible nature of those groups of men make me want to give up on humanity. Seriously. I can get behind teaching men self-confidence in order to approach women and have more success BUT, using that knowledge to to manipulate vast numbers of women is wrong.

It's almost like all the worst bits of consumerist culture applied to women. Where women are dehumanised and judged instantly by a number ranking between 1-10. Women deemed fat or ugly are only worthy of attention when being used to get to the true target. These 'pick-up artists' use multiple scripted 'routines' to get women to give out their number, kiss them and ultimately have sex. Perhaps unsurprisingly, by the end of the book the author and many of the other characters are realising that being part of the 'pick-up artist' world doesn't necessarily make you any happier in the long run. 

Based purely on entertainment value though, The Game is brilliant. I could not stop reading it because it really was very funny in parts. I was fascinated by Strauss's encounters with celebrities and his personal transformation journey. It was hard not to get carried into the crazy world of the 'pick-up artists', it was like falling into Wonderland. A disturbing and compelling read.

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