Dark Psychology 202: Summary & Review

dark psychology 202

Dark Psychology 202 is an overview of the disciplines and techniques of manipulation.
It doesn’t go deep and doesn’t have any eye-opening wisdom on dark psychology, but it could serve as an overview.

Full Summary

Here are a few good ideas:

Anchor Yourself With Positive Associations

Reward someone handsomely for doing something for you. You may need to offer this reward a few times to make the conditioning stick. Then, you can basically set this on autopilot. Once a person associates you with a reward, they will have a pleasant association with you.

Make it Seem Easy

Make something seem easy when it really isn’t. Using a casual tone will often set people at ease and make them think that something is not a big deal.

Hurt People With Confirmation Bias

How can you use this confirmation bias to your advantage? One way is in psychological warfare. If you know that someone believes something ugly or disparaging about himself, you can keep showing him evidence that confirms his belief to hurt him.

Self-Serving Bias

Self-Serving Bias Self-serving bias causes people to attribute their successes to their own internal skills and talents, and then blame their failures on outside circumstances.

You can use self-serving bias to get people to turn against each other and convince a person that someone else is a terrible person.

Be Liked

As simple as it sounds, this might be one of the deepest and most powerful tools of influencing.

Cialdini, author of Influence, popularized as one of is six key principles of influencing.

Build a Following

Among many “just OK” and “meh” paragraphs, there were a few great nuggets of wisdom.
Here is one:

The modern world of social media can also help you spread trends more easily. You can influence people to fit your ideas and to do what you want if you appear to have enough followers.

Act As An Authority to Be An Authority

You can become an authority figure just by acting like one. If you act like you know what you are doing and you are in the right, people will listen. Being assertive and even aggressive can get you a lot of respect. Then, people will obey you and do what you want.

Approach Wars Like You’re Right

It’s funny, I am just done reviewing “The Dichotomy of Leadership” where I scathingly criticized the authors for believing they were in the right against “the bad guys”, and now I gotta nod at what Dark Psychology 202 writes:

Approach this war as if you are in the right. Whether you really are or not does not matter. Who is really judging?

For more on manipulations see:

Stir Doubts

For instance, if you are trying to make someone think more negatively and hurt her self-esteem, you might hear her say, “I feel really good about this! I think it might go well.” Ask her, “What makes you think that this will go well? Have you entertained the possibility that it might go wrong? Are you prepared for things going poorly?” You chip away at her self-esteem while appearing like you are simply caring and trying to keep her from getting crushed. Beautiful.

Start Rumors

Quoting The Art of WarThe 48 Laws of Power and recommending Machiavelli, the author says that reputation is everything.

And one way of destroying reputation is by starting rumors:

Spreading rumors is one of the best ways to get others to do your dirty work for you. You can start a rumor but claim that you heard it from someone else. Rumors spread like wild fire with little help. Everyone will participate in the gossip mill.

Tell Elements of Truths When Lying

The more truth you put in a lie, the easier it is to seem honest (and to keep track of your own lies).

… And More

Many more of the suggestions were techniques that psychopaths and abusive men use in their relationships.

They weren’t as detailed as other texts and, most of all, I abhor these men and “techniques”.

They are a high way to becoming a low-quality man (or low-quality woman): avoid at all costs!


  • Not Detailed

Dark Psychology 202 covers a lot of ground but is not detailed in any of it.

  • Some Advice is Bad

Some of the advice is generic and thrown out there without any context can easily 

For example, the author explains how to lie on a date to seem like you’re rich. But that’s not necessarily good neither to start a relationship nor to get laid (also read lovers and providers).

Some other advice makes you look like an obvious frenemy, a backstabber or a social climber.

  • Some Bad Psychology

The author writes:

In order to motivate a person, you must offer them some sort of reward. That reward needs to be something that they really want or need.

That’s generic and, often, not even true. A reward crowds out intrinsic motivation (read Drive and The Social Animal for more details).


Dark Psychology 202 is a huge step forward on the author’s previous Dark Psychology 101.

There is some good stuff here, and even some great reflection.
But you have to wade through a lot of diluted content, bad generalizations, basic stuff, and even some bad advice.

The uninitiated might find more revelations and ideas, but there are probably better texts out there to learn psychology.

Check the:

And, of course:

Scroll to Top