3 Pickup Artist Techniques in The Game

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The Game" by Neil Strauss. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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What are the pickup artist techniques featured in The Game? Which of these pickup artist techniques does Style use?

In The Game, Neil Strauss outlines several pickup artist techniques. These pickup artist techniques are commonly used in the PUA community. Strauss learns all the methods, and uses bits and pieces from each one.

Neil Meets Mystery and Learns Pickup Artist Techniques

The irony was that the purpose of the The Game book techniques were to make men appear interesting, but their obsession with the game prevented them from being interesting, which was the most effective way of attracting women.  Keep this in mind when you’re reading about Neil Strauss’s techniques and other PUA techniques in general.

The seduction community’s leaders were a handful of PUAs who were considered gurus. Each guru taught disciples his distinct set of rules and techniques—including psychology, magic tricks, and hypnosis—to seduce women. 

Neil wanted to meet all the gurus, and he planned to integrate pickup artist techniques from each. The first guru he met was a Canadian magician named Mystery, who had just started offering workshops for PUAs-in-training. 

The workshop consisted of three nights of lessons and in-the-field practice in bars and clubs. As students practiced the The Game book techniques, Mystery and his wing (aka wingman) critiqued and coached them. 

Neil somewhat stumbled through pickups during the workshop, but Mystery saw huge potential in Neil as a PUA. 

1. The Mystery Method

When Mystery was 21 and still a virgin, he began studying how women reacted when he hit on them. Over 10 years, Mystery pieced together the principles of social interaction and the patterns of male-female dynamics, which he called the Mystery Method. Neil Strauss’s techniques would later include many of these methods.

The Mystery Method was designed to be a subtle, indirect approach. If Mystery’s technique was executed correctly, a woman wouldn’t know that she was being hit on, but she would want to be. 

The keys to the Mystery Method were: 

  • Make yourself seem like the most fun and interesting person in the room. 
  • Confuse your target (the woman you’re trying to hit on) with negs, which are backhanded compliments or vague insults.
  • Use gimmicks, such as magic tricks and ESP tests, to impress and intrigue her. 
  • Maintain a push-pull balance, in order to keep her engaged and wanting more. For example, if your conversation with a woman is going well and you show that you’re interested in her, then look around the club for a moment, as if you’re distracted or looking for someone else. 
  • Never be the aggressor. For example, lead the woman into offering her phone number—but never explicitly ask for it.  

2. Ross Jeffries and NLP

Jeffries’s Speed Seduction method was based on a technique called neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), which blended psychology and hypnosis. NLP was based on the concept that words, movements, and suggestions could tap into a person’s subconscious to affect her thoughts, emotions, and actions. 

Using NLP, a PUA would steer his conversations with a woman toward the subjects of attraction and arousal. Then, he would use questions and suggestions to connect those feelings of attraction with a physical sensation, in order to make the woman subconsciously associate the PUA with those feelings and sensations. 

3. Rasputin, Steve P. and Hypnosis

Steve P. got women to pay him up to a thousand dollars to have sex with him because he claimed he could: 

  • Teach them how to orgasm when they heard a particular voice command
  • Make their breasts grow up to two cup sizes via hypnosis
  • Teach them deep throat techniques for oral sex

Rasputin performed hypnotic sexual engineering, in which he framed sex as a privilege for the woman. For example, if a woman gave him oral sex, he might limit her to three sucks the first time, and then grant her five sucks the next time. 

According to Rasputin and Steve P., nerves and emotions only hindered PUAs. To be successful, they said, you had to live in your own reality, making you impervious to rejection and humiliation. 

Style got a taste of the duo’s hypnosis powers when he first met them: Rasputin saw that Style was nervous, so Steve P. did a quick hypnosis to get rid of Style’s anxiety. 

Style Develops His Own Pickup Artist Techniques

Style had mastered how to pick up women, but he struggled to go any further; he was too nervous to attempt a kiss. So Neil Strauss’s techniques didn’t include this method.

He posted to the seduction message boards, asking for advice—and he received an array of tips, from holding the woman’s gaze for three seconds to instructing her to take her pants off in order to give her a leg massage. Style took pieces of the advice and developed his own strategy; it worked flawlessly every time. 

Style had cleared another seduction hurdle, and his confidence was growing. However, he began to realize that he was increasingly objectifying women. Men in the seduction community constantly rated women’s attractiveness, and each man’s status in the community was measured by the quantity and the attractiveness of the women they could pick up. 

Style had begun to view women as benchmarks of his pickup ability, and his interactions with women had become scripted and strategic, substituting for genuine connection. 

Since he was so successful, Style found out that another PUA aamed Tyler Durden had developed a techniques using Style’s mixed methods. Tyler had invented a technique called Stylemogging, in which he imitated Style’s phrases, mannerisms, and habits. Since Style was a top PUA, Tyler studied him incessantly in order to understand what made Style so successful. Tyler then broke down everything Style did into a formula and taught it to workshop students. 

Style saw Stylemogging as a symptom of a larger problem within the community: Men were becoming robotic pickup clones who were obsessed with the game. They developed no real interests or hobbies outside the community, and, as a result, they had no real substance beneath the rote pickup lines and routines. 

Exercise: Compare Pickup Techniques

Pickup tactics range from arrogant humor to hypnosis, and the effectiveness of each one depends on the conviction of the person using it. 

Which of the strategies sounds most effective? Why?

Which strategy would you consider using? 

If applicable, describe a time when you or someone you know used—or were on the receiving end of—one of these strategies, or something similar. Did the strategy work? Why or why not?

Which strategy would you absolutely never use, and why not?

The pickup artist techniques above are commonly used in the PUA community. While Style aka Neil Strauss was successful using these pickup artist techniques, later in the book he confesses that The Game book techniques and lifestyle led to further dysfunction in his life.

3 Pickup Artist Techniques in The Game

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Neil Strauss's "The Game" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Game summary :

  • The secrets of the Pickup Artist community in seducing women
  • How key Pickup Artist leaders fought with each other and split the group apart
  • What author Neil Strauss took away about women from his years of training

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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