The Rational Male is one of the manosphere most important books.
It mixes some good advice and potentially eye opening content with some over-generalization and not-as-good advice.
- Bullet Summary
- The Rational Male Summary
- The Rational Male Criticism
- Some Unsubstantiated Claims (Or Simply Wrong)
- Conspiracist Theories
- The Feminine Imperative Governing the World
- “Us VS Them” Framework Leading to Reality Distortions (& Poor Relationships)
- Failure to Recognize A Provider Strategy As Sexually Valid
- Female Preying on Men?
- Too One-Sided to Provide A Good Understand of Dating
- Slight Misogynist Bias
- Women Cannot Love?
- Sociologically Simplistic
- Generalization of Women Leads to Poor Understanding of Gender Dynamics
- Personal Conjectures Presented as Facts
- Disagree on Some Advice
- Bad Advice for Relationships
- A Dangerous Mindset Which Might Lead to Domestic Violence and Abuse
- Bad For Seducers Who Love Women
- Real Life Applications
- The Rational Male Video Review
- There is no “the one”: there are countless partners with whom you can have a great relationship
- To control the relationship: need her less than she needs you
- Entertain several different women at once: it gives you abundance mindset
The Rational Male Summary
The Rational Male is a collage and summary of all of Rollo Tomassi philosophy and blog posts.
Oneitis: There’s No “The One”
Oneitis is an old concept harking back to the very beginning of pick-up and manosphere (check The Game, The Mystery Method and David DeAngelo).
In short, oneitis refers to men who obsess over a single, specific woman.
Rollo suggests that this is in part due to the mistaken belief of “The One”, such as there is a woman (or a man) out there who is just right for you.
And you “just” need to find her.
I completely agree with Tomassi here: this idea makes no sense whatsoever and it should be so obvious that we don’t need to discuss it any further :).
I don’t think there is much connection though between oneitis and “the one” mindset. Oneitis relates more to chemical reactions and lacks of options than to beliefs.
The Secret to Relationship Power: Don’t Need Her
The Rational Male makes the point that whether or not you want to see relationships with the lenses of power dynamics or not, it doesn’t matter: the power dynamics will be at play anyway.
And, well, you just need to check this page URL to see that I couldn’t agree more :).
Tomassi says that power in a relationship goes to the individual who needs the other the least.
There are many elements that determine power in a relationship, and who needs whom the most is indeed a key component.
However, I’d urge guys who want a relationship not to become too obsessed on needing her less lest they handicap their relationship (Gottman clearly shows how men who don’t accept her influence, for example, end up with very poor relationships).
Don’t Just Be Yourself: Grow
Tomassi criticizes the popular recommendation of “just being yourself” and invites the readers of The Rational Male to focus on growth and self-development to become a high quality man.
He uses his own example, ranging from “worst, bottom scraping beta” to rockstar to alpha father to explain that what you do with your life and who you become in your life is up to you.
That’s true indeed.
Plate Theory, at its essence, equates plates with women and says that men should not commit to a single woman and keep their options open (ie.: spinning several plates at once).
Tomassi doesn’t say a man should never commit, but he does recommend not doing so before 30 or before he fully understands the lifetime value of men and women, what he really wants from life and the dynamics of the sexual marketplace.
To understand the dynamics of the sexual marketplace I can recommend one book and one article:
A man is as confident and valuable as his options. This is the essence of abundance mindset – confidence is derived from options.
Spinning Plate for Abundance Mentality
Spinning different plates doesn’t mean that he must be sexual with all of them, or that he must keep spinning them all.
The idea is to have several different leads to help you internalize the idea that there are many women out there, that many could suit you, and that you don’t have to take cr@p from any of them because you can easily next her.
Spinning Plate for Best Girlfriend Choice
Indeed, I would add that quantity is not antithetic to quality. Quantity is an enabler for quality.
And when you want to stop with a woman, you can be safer that it was a choice you have done based on options not knowledge, and not on desperation.
Quantity enable quality
Be The Prize
Rollo Tomassi also says that the attitude that you are the prize of the relationship must underpin your plate spinning
When you are the prize, women will also accept non-exclusivity more, because, says Tomassi:
Women would rather share a successful man than be sadddled with a faithful loser
Which is a quote he attributes to Pook (read The Book of Pook).
Unplugging & Taking The Red Pill
Unplugging or “taking the red pill” is common red pill parlance for “coming to see things as they really are”.
In this case, it would be men dropping the mistaken assumption from society and embracing the manosphere theories and tenets.
Rollo Tomassi says there are typical stages of the red pill awakening:
- Denial – refusing to let go of previous beliefs
- Anger – awareness the pill makes sense, anger at society for feeding wrong ideas
- Bargaining – trying to keep some old beliefs
- Depression – the red pill can be a tough one to swallow
- Acceptance – becoming a knowledgeable, healthy rational male
Men’s Market Value Increase, Women’s Decrease
Our current culture pretends that men and women are the same.
And nowhere is this more visible than in the sexual marketplace value.
Women reach their peak at around 23 YO, when men are just starting their ascension, peaking at 36. Tomassi says:
At age 23, while a girl is enjoying her prime value, a man is just beginning to make his own gradual ascent. By age 36, the average man has reached his own relative apex. It’s at this phase that his sexual/social/professional appeal has reached maturity.
And while women’s market value is mostly a consequence of her physical attractiveness, male attractiveness is only one factor.
Thus a rich 50YO will be more valuables than an average, run of the mill 30YO. That can hardly be the case for women.
Women Are Duped Into Losing Strategy
Tomasi also seem to suggest that the current cultural climate of women being the same as men leads them into the mistaken assumption that “they have time”.
But when they reach their 30s after they spent their early 20s partying they eventually realize, sometimes too late, that their value is dropping fast.
I couldn’t agree more with Rollo’s point of view here.
How to Keep a Woman’s Interest
Tomassi says you should never say it outright you are seeing other women or you will not commit. I couldn’t agree more with the former.
You should make it clear though if you’re not ready for commitment or you are stealing her time. And lying to get pussy is what low quality men do.
- Let her glean from your behavior you have options
- Don’t be too available
- Don’t be there for her during the weekends
Women test men to determine one or more of these factors:
- Confidence – first and foremost
- Options – is he into me or am I his only option?
- Security – is he able to provide long term?
The Alpha Buddha
Listening to The Rational Male I was super curious of watching Corey Worthington’s interview, which for Tomassi exemplifies “alpha male behavior”.
It’s awesome funny indeed:
It’s a piss funny interview, and he comes across as super solid.
But I think there are better example of top male behavior: he is never in charge and never even tries.
For example when he says he won’t remove his glasses because they’re famous, that sounds like an excuse to deflect social pressure. A good and funny one, but an excuse nonetheless. I’d recommend people in similar situations to stop the buck simply saying “because I don’t want to“. Or to push her on the defensive with something like: “I’m not telling you to remove your shirt am I, so why are you telling me what I should or should not wear“.
Rollo Tomassi Iron Rules
Tomassi lists 9 iron rules:
#1 Frame is everything
Control the frame, but don’t give the impression you are consciously doing so.
# 2 Never share your sexual partner’s count
Albeit Tomassi does so in the book, and it’s 40 :).
#3 Don’t wait for women who make you wait
Any woman who makes you wait for sex, is not worth.
I couldn’t agree more, except for fringe cases like very religious or virgins until late in life.
#4 Don’t ever live with a woman you’re not marrying
Either you’re married or you’re going to within six months
I disagree with this one. Living together can be a good test ride.
#5 Never allow a woman to be in control of birth control
LOL this one had me smiling. Use a condom guys :).
#6 Women are incapable of loving a man the way he expects to
I wouldn’t blame women for this and I would put it on men’s lack of understanding.
#7 Develop new relationships: don’t fix broken ones
Your time and effort are better spent looking for new ones than fixing the unfixable.
#8 Let a woman a woman figure out why she won’t f*ck you, never do it for her
This rule says that in the current paradigm women are the sexual selectors but you shouldn’t allow to be the case or they end up being the prize of the relationship (honestly I missed the connection between the title of this rule and its content)
#9 Never self-deprecate
Don’t self-deprecate or try to appeal to her sympathy or sense of guilt.
The Rational Male Criticism
I loved The Rational Male and I think there is a lot of good stuff.
And the more I find a book has great ideas in it, the more I hold it against a high standard.
Here is all my criticism against The Rational Male:
Some Unsubstantiated Claims (Or Simply Wrong)
If I had to go down every single part that is not scientific or factually accurate it would take a while.
But here are a few that stood out to me:
- Women obey imperative of fuckign alpha, marrying nice guy (?)
That’s not true, there is no such “imperative” of fucking an alpha and marrying a nice guy.
Women, like men, want the best they can get. Sometimes that means emplying a mixed strategy of genes from one man and resources from another, but there is no stand alone urge saying “fuck the alpha, lock down the nice guy guy”.
Non-paternity rates also show that Rollo’s “imperative” is not nearly as ubiquitous as he implies.
Data on this topic is of course hard to find, but a few studies show that if you take a DNA test because you are not sure you’re the father, then your chances of being cuckolded are slightly higher 1 in 3 (meaning 2 times out of 3 they are the actual father).
That means that 98+% of women father children from their “official” partners.
Still, be watchful.
- Poor understanding of scientific principles
I Completely disagree with idea that women will only fuck (or want to fuck) one guy at a time. I could outline several women I know from experience in this (…)
This is called inductive reasoning, such as looking at a few cases and generalizing to the whole population.
Inductive reasoning is prone to all kinds of mistakes and biases, including confirmation biases, small sample size, belief bias (to learn more on mental biases and to improve your critical thinking also read: How to Lie With Statistics, Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan).
For the record, I don’t necessarily think that all women will or want to fuck one guy at a time only, but some do. And, in any case, on average, women want to sleep around much less than men (source: The Red Queen).
- Unscientific “Evidence” 2: increasing sex partners not a risk for VDs (?)
To make the point more sex does not mean higher risk, Rollo says:
In my lifetime I’ve had sex with over 40 women and I never once caught a venereal disease (..) I can also point to men I know who contracted Herpes from the only women they’d ever had sex with. (..) you can equally be a rock star and tap hundreds of women without any consequence and you can be a virgin saint and contract a disease on your wedding night
I actually agree with what Rollo says: the fear of VD might be overblown and VDs should not be your (main) reason to decide for monogamy. But that quote above is the equivalent of the “95 YO who smokes two pack cigarettes a day, hence cigarettes are not bad” fallacy.
- Monogamy serving women’s interest (?)
Monogamy as a goal is a tool of the feminine imperative
I felt that saying that monogamy serves women’s interest is a gross misunderstanding of sexual dynamics.
Monogamy can serve an individual interest, but it does not serve any gender interest at large.
A high status man suffers with monogamy because he could more easily get more women.
But a lower status male gains with monogamy because the cultural expectation helps him get a woman (see Kanazawa, 2007).
Also, as Rollo himself suggests, a beautiful woman who could be the third wife of a king might gain as compared to being the first wife of an average man.
That means that monogamy, serial monogamy or polyamory, per se, are gender neutral.
Finally, I’d be willing to bet, very few men who want and can get lots of women have in mind “monogamy as a goal” because “the feminine imperative” dictates it.
- Made up evolutionary biology
It seems like almost any book on dating advice has to make up some rules based on some made up evolutionary psychology.
In The Rational Male it was women who fall in love with the new alpha males because they had to adapt to invading tribes.
This sounds like it might be a good explanation, but what sounds like a good theory rarely fits reality. It’s not science and, in this case, it seems quite a bit random to me.
Tomassi says there is no complot in the sense there are no people sitting in a room and deciding where to nudge civilization.
Yet by reading The Rational Male at times it sounds like there is a feminist complot out there. I didn’t get the “female mystique” as a tool to increase women’s value for example.
Or the biggest theme in the whole book, the “feminine imperative”:
The Feminine Imperative Governing the World
I do believe many current legal systems, in many Western countries, favor women in divorces.
But the “feminine imperative” shaping cultures and “feminine indoctrination” making men puppets is something I don’t agree with.
Culture and society are shaped by a multitude of forces. Forces which, even within genders, often push towards opposing directions.
And they do so on thousands of different topics, and all at once.
Believing there can be a single overarching theme that governs the world is to underestimate the complexities of said world.
“Us VS Them” Framework Leading to Reality Distortions (& Poor Relationships)
The whole theme seems to be one of men VS women and their feminine society.
Rollo himself says that “men who pass shit-tests are those who see the sexes as complementary and not as adversary“.
I couldn’t agree more, but the book doesn’t seem to walk that talk.
This can become an issue because, as social psychologist Roy Baumeister points out:
The more people become sensitive to the differences, the more easily they will fall into the us-against-them mentality.
In the history of the world, increased recognition of differences between groups has led more often to conflict and violence than to peaceful cooperation and sharing.
And that is especially the case when the “us” is positive and the “them” negative, which seems to be the case for “The Rational Male”.
This is true for a big chunk of Rollo Tomassi’s theory and much of the Red Pill.
Which is ironic, considering that human kindness and altruism have been most likely selected through sexual selection (first proposed by Boone, 1998, and see “The Mating Mind” for an overview).
Rollo Tomassi’s work seems based on the idea that if one gender wins, the other must lose.
This is something that he more clearly states in “Preventive Medicine“.
In Game Theory, this is called “defection strategy”.
And defection strategy is a rather poor strategy for long term relationships (read more in Ridley, 1996)
In negotiation instead this is called “fixed-pie mindset”, and it’s exactly the mindset of the least effective negotiators (see Malhotra, 2007).
Now this is not naive idealism telling you that all is good and if you are nice things will go well.
This is not the website for that BS.
But it is to say that if all you do is focusing on the war between the genders, then don’t be surprised if all you get are the fruits of war.
My invite to you is to be a different type of a man.
A man who knows the game and can play the war game.
But ultimately, I invite you to be a man who seeks to enlarge the pie, not one who fights over the scraps.
Failure to Recognize A Provider Strategy As Sexually Valid
The author doesn’t seem to consider that being a provider in a monogamy can be good for (some) men as well.
A focus on nesting up with a woman and providing for that nest is akin to choosing a quality reproductive strategy VS a quantity one.
And nobody says that quality cannot be superior to quantity.
Even stepping out of a calculative reproductive strategy, some men might just be happy settling down early and in a monogamous relationship.
Also, there are some benefits of securing a wife early and sticking with her, including more time to focus on other life endeavors and emotional stability.
Think of Warren Buffet, John Paulson, Jeff Bezos etc.: these guys had the time to build their empires also because they had the “security” of a woman at a home.
And Amir Levin, author of Attached, makes the point that having a secure emotional attachment with one partner allows us to feel more secure and confident in life.
Again, I am NOT saying monogamy is good and you should go for it: I am happily single and not considering marriage at all.
But I do am saying that not all men are stupid, not all of them have been “duped” into monogamy and that monogamy provides some men with both happiness and material advantages -a path which, again, I have not chosen-.
Female Preying on Men?
The Rational Male feels like there are women, who prey and tool men from on side; and gullible men who gulp what women say.
Now, I do believe that women play more games than men (read: games women play to get relationships). All social research indeed point to women as having more developed social skills and brain studies even confirm women allocate more resources to human relationships (The Female Brain).
Too One-Sided to Provide A Good Understand of Dating
Albeit ther are good analysis in “The Rational Male”, I believe it fails to provide a good overview of dating and dating poewr dynamics.
Because it’s extremely one-sided.
For example Rollo Tomassi describes the dualistic female dating strategy of seeking genes from strong men and resources from weak men (a bad oversimplification, as we saw).
But he fails to see -or mention- that men use the exact same dual strategy (see Wright, 1994).
The male dual strategy is this:
Marry the pious girl and fuck the floozy
This dual strategy results in the Madonna-whore complex.
Slight Misogynist Bias
Women are painted like machiavellian creatures trying to game and enslave men. Trying
I don’t say this gladly, but I could sense some misogynist bias.
(…) women have their own game. Since we live in a feminine defined reality, women’s game is not considered subterfuge, it’s simply how women are, or the feminine mystique
Women are utterly incapable of loving a man in the way that a man expects to be loved by a woman. (…) Men believe that love matters for the sake of it. Women love opportunistically.
It feels at times as if The Rational Male paints women as machiavellian and conniving, and if as if men couldn’t be the same.
Women Cannot Love?
This idea of women being incapable of loving is very popular inthe red pill.
But where do these guys take it from?
The red pill purports to also help men to get laid.
But of all those lays, has no woman ever fallen in love?
Because my experience differs.
I have been in love, some women fell in love with me and, at times, we both were in love at the same time.
Sure, men are more romantic indeed and more idealistic and women are more practical.
I also believe women can be meaner and more ruthless when it comes to moving on and cutting exes off (that’s because they operate on a smaller reproductive window).
But I can’t help but wonder here: are some of these guys expecting a woman to love them like thier mothers would?
Like unconditional love, no matter how naughty -or useless- he is?
Then wake up man, it’s not women’s fault if you had nonsensical expectations.
The Rational Male contains a typical self-help ideal of “childhood rediscovery”. Basically, it suggests that “back when you were a kid you were the best, now you suck”.
When a boy is unencumbered with an adult capacity for abstract thinking (ages 3-21 progressively) he is as Alpha as he will ever be (…) it takes a lifetime, and an entire world of feminized social conditioning to repress and/or crush that Alpha vigor and turn him into the pliable Beta the feminine imperative needs to insure its social primacy
The process of socialization is a necessary one to become a functioning -and successful- member of society. And while it’s by no means perfect and there are many reasons why you’d want to regain some childhood qualities, the way The Rational Male puts is rather simplistic.
Generalization of Women Leads to Poor Understanding of Gender Dynamics
Tomassi talks about “alpha”, “alpha providers”, “beta who don’t know the rules”, “red pill men who opened their eyes” etc.
It looks likes there are different types of successful and unsuccessful men.
And yet… Women all seem to be the same.
All driven by their biology the exact same way.
All playing games and all looking for an alpha to inseminate them and a beta to take care of them.
I found this over-generalizations one of the major drawbacks of “The Rational Male”.
It’s also not very informative, because not all women are created equals and different women have different tendencies for cheating.
Personal Conjectures Presented as Facts
A supposed strategy of women is to tell men that “looks don’t matter” so that men won’t take care of themselves.
That allows women to keep having sex with the alpha males they are attracted to while still being able to rely on the resources of their less attractive partners.
This doesn’t make much sense to me: it’s way too convoluted.
The opposite seems truer to me: women would gain if there were more attractive men.
With more attractive men, men would have to compete more, women would have more to choose from and men who could previously negotiate only with looks, now they might have to throw looks + resources since everyone else already has the looks.
Disagree on Some Advice
I didn’t agree with some of the advice, including:
- Refusing the “LJBF”
The idea behind not being her friend is sound, but I believe that rejecting the “let’s just be friends” sends the wrong message.
Telling her you don’t want to be friends makes you sound butthurt and like you really wanted her as GF.
Instead, I recommend men they say: “sure, we are friends and we should stay friends“. Then never contact her again and be too busy to hangout if she contacts you.
- Taking rejections on the chin
Rollo asks the readers:
Are you alpha enough to take rejection on the chin and come back for more?
I don’t disagree with the idea, but I don’t think it’s the best way you can build your ego.
A mindset of “strength” is still defined by its breaking point. You want to develop a more resilient system instead. Read The Antifragile Ego and Ultimate Power.
- Be as mannish as you can be
Tomassi makes the case that men must be masculine to attract women because women want manly men.
And seems to exhort the readers to be their most masculine selves.
That’s true… Up to a point.
Studies suggest women do have an upper limit and there is such a ting as “too masculine” in attraction.
Indeed, men with certain feminine traits can be very attractive to women.
I’m surprised Rollo misses such a basic truth since he speaks highly of The Art of Seduction and Greene explains this concept rather well there.
Bad Advice for Relationships
Rollo seems too hung up on being “alpha”, “winning” and “showing” it to her who’s boss.
I agree with developing options and being the leader of the relationship, of course.
But, as for everything: balance.
Gottman’s research clearly shows that men who resist women;s end up with terrible relationships (also read: accepting influence).
My recommendation is to be the leader of your relationship, but a benevolent, enlightened leader who cares for the team.
This is opposed to Rollo’s view of “my leadership against you” (also see power over VS power through).
“Needing her less” can also be a double-edged sword.
If you mean it as a man who has the ability of finding women he likes easily, that’s awesome.
If you approach it like having one foot out as soon as you put your first foot in, then… That’s also a great way to make your relationships unstable. And you should wonder why are you even in a relationship in the first place :).
A Dangerous Mindset Which Might Lead to Domestic Violence and Abuse
One of the main reasons why I maintain a certain distance from “male pride” and “red pill” groups is because of the potential toxicity they entail.
There is a certain overlap between men who buy into male superiority, men who seek power and abusive men.
These type of men feel less of a man when they are not in control and/or when their wives outclasses them in some meaningful way (ie.: earn more, speak better, higher education etc.).
This is also called “status incosistency” in psychology, see the original landmark research here.
These men perceive the woman as a potential threat to their male ego whenever she is not fully “under” him.
And to protect their ego they can lash out to “re-assert” their dominance.
I am NOT saying this is the case for the author.
But the mindset behind “The Rational Male” series makes abusive relationship dynamics more likely.
Bad For Seducers Who Love Women
Part of Rollo Tomassi should hlep men get laid.
Yet, Rollo Tomassi’s philosophy is toxic for men who love women, including men who like to sleep with lots of women.
Because seducers who like women, do like women, and they consider them as partners in crime, not enemies!
These types of seducers, and Casanova would have been one of them, will also likely find Rollo’s writing misogynistic.
Also read “psychological breakdown of womanizers“.
Real Life Applications
Learn Your Sexual Market Value
Women might want to move quicker, men slower. This is highly applicable and relevant stuff.
Don’t Let Society Decide For You
It’s true that society does put pressure on people to behave a certain way, like taking care of a woman or
To read my criticism to the content of The Rational Male check “The Rational Male Criticism” section.
This cons section is more general.
Pompous Words (Out of Place)
The Rational Male uses a lot of big words which feel forced and unneeded.
Long & Disjointed
Some concepts repeat, some topics bear little connection to their chapters and overall it feels like a collection of assembled posts.
The Rational Male would have gained hugely from better organization, structure, and better editing.
Too Much Under “Hypergamy”
Hypergamy means “marrying up” basically. It’s a simple concept and most women indeed want men who are “better” than them.
But in The Rational Male hypegamy ends up being a a bit too many different things and a bit too much of an obsession. Also read: why you shouldn’t worry about hypergamy.
Can Be Eye Opening
Rollo Tomassi can be eye-opening for men who settled down too early, look at monogamy as the only option or never realize how much they might be giving for little in return.
Good Analysis of SMV
Good analysis of the sexual market value and how it changes depending on gender and age.
Some Great Reflection on Feminism & Femininity
I quote here with some smaller omission for brevity:
The characteristics that define masculinity (..) are now the aspirations of women to the point that ridicule of the feminine female is the order. In expecting women to be just as masculine as men, while simultaneously expecting them to still embody a feminine ideal, not only does this put undue, unrealistic ideals upon them, but also devalues the merits of their own femininity.
Well said Rollo, I just couldn’t agree more.
Very Good to Understand Games
The Rational Male is a very good text to understand a bit more on what are the games that women and, to a lesser extent, men play when it comes to dating.
Great Busting of Some Myths
I applaud Rollo for bashing and destroying sp,e myths out there, both in “mainstream society” and in the manosphere. A couple of there aer that looks matter little for men and that women are as sexual as men, if not more so. Neither of which are really true -albeit it is true that status matters more than looks in men-.
The Rational Male Video Review
If you are more of the visual type of person, here is a video review of The Rational Male:
The Rational Male is a remarkable book.
It’s one of those texts that is not easy to evaluate because it mixes great content and potentially eye-opening wisdom with some poor assumptions.
Do I recommend you read The Rationale Male?
But I also recommend you do so with a critical mind.