The Game: Summary of Pick-Up Bible (Neil Strauss)

the game book

The Game is a mix of Neil Strauss’ autobiographical descent into the pick-up and a dating advice book for guys.
It’s the story of how the author learned to pick up women, going from an almost virgin to, allegedly, a ladies’ man.
During his evolution, Strauss also chronicles the birth of the
(then) budding community of pick-up artists.

Bullet Summary

  • Lower her self-esteem with “negging”
  • Show your high value (with stories, magic tricks, social skills, etc.)
  • Move her somewhere private

The Game Summary

About The Author: Neil Strauss was a journalist and Rolling Stone writer at the time he wrote the book.
With “The Game” he became (relatively) famous and later wrote a few sequels as well.

Chapter 1: Select a Target

The main idea is that you approach within 3 seconds of seeing the girl you like.

Girls standing physically near you or dressed in bright colors or skimpy clothing make for good targets.

Also, read:

Does She Like Me? 35 Proven Signs of Attraction (W/ Pictures)

Chapter 2: Approach and Open

The type of approach depends on the situation, says Strauss.

But the book relies a lot on Mystery, author of The Mystery Method. The mystery was all about “owning” the group and showing your alpha male qualities by entering a group and becoming the center of attention.

Some of the most popular openers on 1:1 situations are about asking an opinion, such as what gift a guy should make to a woman or “who lies more, men or women”.

My Note:
This does not seem like a good technique to me as it’s more about friendship than seduction.
Approaching a random girl to ask for an opinion when you’re actually interested in the girl herself gives off major alarm bells in her head that you’re interested but don’t have the balls to be more direct.
And if she actually believes you’re not interested… Then it’s even worse and you become her friend.

Another famous technique is that of “negging” the target, which means giving a back-handed compliment or a slightly offensive remark.

The idea is to lower her self-esteem so that she will be easier to get and more dependent on your approval.

Also, read:

How to Approach a Girl: 9 Science-Based Steps

Chapter 3: Demonstrate Value

Demonstrating value means showing off your qualities.

Mystery was a magician and he’d use to perform tricks, so the whole community started getting into tricks to impress women at the bars.

Neil Strauss also describes going around with a bag will all the tools of the trade to perform magic.
He also had a pack of pictures in his bag to show women. Those pictures showed him doing cool activities and being social, all aimed at “showing high value”.

My Note:
Of course, this is BS.
The tricks are at high, high risk of making you look like a jester who’s there to entertain her instead of, say, the guy who’s there to make her horny and take her to bed.
Also, there’s a big imbalance of power as you spend lots of effort while she is the judge of your performance (also read “Soft Power“).

Chapter 4: Disarm the Obstacles

Disarming the obstacles refer to dealing with friends who want to take her away from you.

It can be alpha females who don’t like you, or it could be other men who cockblock or try to tool you.

Check this article for men hitting on your girlfriend.

Chapter 5: Isolate the Target

Once you’re in the group and everyone thinks you’re cool you will want to move the girl you like away from her group.

If you have a wingman he can help you by taking her of her friend for example

Chapter 6: Create an Emotional Connection

Once you are alone with the target it’s time to create an emotional connection.
“The Game” is actually rather poor when it comes to bonding and connecting with people.

Chapter 7: Extract to a Seductive Location

You will want to eventually move the girl to a more secluded location where you can escalate physically.

Chapter 8: Pump the Temperature

Once you’re alone with the woman, you want to make her excited.

Check this article for a guide on text flirting.

Chapter 9: Make a Physical Connection

A physical connection is when you start to get touchy-feely with the girl.

The Game had many stories of guys who tried to hypnotize girls and then slowly touched them more and more intimately.

Chapter 10: Blast Last-Minute Resistance

Last-minute resistance is what happens when you go home and are possibly kissing, but she is resisting or delaying sex.

One of the most popular methods to address last-minute resistance was that of “freezing her out”, such as completely ignoring her and doing your own thing in the house.

My Note:
Freezing out can work and, if she was interested, it will get her to re-initiate and try to get your attention.
You have to be careful though that she was into you and does not see you are stepping back as a final refusal, because if that’s the case she will close off, and write you off… And hate you for it too :).

Chapter 11: Manage Expectations

Managing expectations is the phase happening after you slept with her.

It sometimes also means handling her attempts to lock you up in a relationship.

Also, read:

the game book cover

Practical Applications

Go For It
The drive to self-improvement and going for it even when you’re uncomfortable is one of the main positive lessons from The Game

Be a Challenge 
The idea of being a challenge is something many men could do more of.
Turning the tables on women trying to be the prize of the relationship is what differentiates men who chase women from those who get social dynamics (albeit in “The Game” the guys often overdo it and then it’s not effective anymore).


  • Kid-like attitude

I always felt “The Game” is all about shallow candy pills for these guys’ egos than actual results.

Even the night that Neil Strauss says consecrated him as the best Pick Up Artist it’s about him kissing the -supposedly- hottest girl of the club.

Now albeit that was an interesting story and he did use some interesting techniques, “making out with her” is not a real result to me.
Unless you’re a teenager, making out means little (and even then, there are plenty of teenagers who actually get laid).

  • No great seducers in this book, potentially counterproductive 

Some techniques in The Game are great.

Some others, not so much.

And some are not just bad but counterproductive when it comes to both seduction and even appearing like a “high-value man”.

Most of these guys weren’t getting laid, including the “masters”.

If you can read between the lines, it’s pretty clear.
For example, Mystery says that “you need 8 hours to sleep with a woman and everything less is a fluke” (sure).

Mystery also one day announced that phone numbers were “wood” -such as useless-.
Why would he say that? It’s because they were useless for them.
They couldn’t get girls to see them again, which tells you a lot about their success.

Says Bel in our Discord server:

Neil Strauss did not grasp what was going on with her, oscillating between some hunches that she had planned some of what she did to Mystery, and believing she was just angry at Mystery for him “neglecting her”.

But the facts are:

1. she found a place to live (Katya was interested in finding a free place to stay at, and she chose Mystery’s mansion; she used her dog, initially leaving it there for days, to establish a sense of emotional connection with the guys);

2. she made sure to paint herself from the start as the innocent “victim” (there is an initial dialogue with Neil Strauss where she “confided” in him that she was “worried” because she was “falling” for Mystery, which Neil Struss – fully under triangulation – later recounted to Mystery himself as “proof” that Katya was the wronged party);

3. she provoked Mystery to first isolate socially – possibly through sleep deprivation- and then later to blow up in front of everyone repeated times (thus reinforcing the idea that she was the “victim”);

4. then, later again, provoked him to show up with another woman, thus gaining the “social allowability” to sleep with one of his friends and rub it in his face (“provoking someone to behave badly so as to gain the social allowability to do the same to him”).

That Mystery had a mental breakdown and oscillated between “love” (trauma bond) and “hate” (for being abused) is fully in line with what happens when one is abused by someone and doesn’t realize it. Everybody thought Mystery was the sole problem

I don’t fully agree with Bel’s analysis, but it still shows great intuition and power awareness.

And I do 100% agree Katya was a terrible woman who harmed Mystery and ruined the harmony in that house.
She sought seeds of hatred in that house, while also staying there free on everyone’s dime.

Also read:


  • Entertaining 

Albeit some have called into question the veracity of some parts of the book, Neil Strauss writes well and The Game is a whole interesting and entertaining read.

  • The Real Man Behind The Mask Shines Through

What I liked most was that Neil, albeit at times a bit self-promotional, is also oftentimes honest and sincere.
He shares with the readers the real feelings he had, including his fears and insecurities about not being strong or cool enough.

That’s the courage of vulnerability, and that’s something that not many authors can do.

Neil Strauss Interview

I have an analysis of Neil Strauss interview against a very aggressive host.
Check it out here:

Note: Please note this video is NOT a critic of Neil Strauss.
This is a social dynamics analysis, and that was a very difficult situation to manage.

The Game Review

Strauss, in art “Style”, writes with beautiful prose in an overall very entertaining book.

If you are interested in how some big names of the pick-up industry were born, such as Mystery or DeAngelo, this is a great read.

But it’s not nearly as good as an actual dating resource.
The advice is often plainly bad and at times even counterproductive.

Neil Strauss, the author, had much better people’s skills than Mystery and other people in the book and you can see he’s a charmer type of guy (check The Art of Seduction).
Albeit he still wasn’t very socially powerful when facing strong challenges as you can see in this interview review I’ve done.

What Neil Strauss was certainly good at though, is writing.
I would give the book 2-2.5 stars for seduction value and 5 stars for entertainment value.
If you’re interested in seduction, check my many summaries on the subject here or go straight to the:

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