A few weeks ago Sharon borrowed The Game from the library, and when she was done, lent it to me to read. I planned to write a review after reading it, but never found the time. As a result, the book has been overdue twice now (she renewed it once). I figured I should get to writing the review after all, or these 25 cents/day fees are going to add up.
If you walk into a bookstore or library and pick up the book from the shelf, try to do it without smirking. You won’t be able to! The cover of the book is black leather, the text on the cover and the edges of the paper are gold, and it has a red bookmark ribbon too. If you ignore the little woman stripper icons on the front, you could glance at the book and mistake it for The Bible. Excellent design for a book like this!
The Game: Penetrating The Secret Society of Pickup Artists chronicles the two year journey of author Neil Strauss who, while researching for the book, became the world’s best pickup artist. Strauss becomes “Style” and he quickly devotes himself to learning from all the pickup artists he can find, in order to become the best. Along the way, he encounters people like Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and even lives with Courtney Love for a while. To some in the pickup artist community he’s a god, to others he is an enemy to be feared. Eventually he gets out of the game, but I’ll leave it up to you to find out how and why.
At times the book is funny, while others its sad. Some sections are quite instructive, while others are better read as a warning. On the whole, I felt what Strauss was try to say with the book is that if you think becoming a pickup artist will solve all your problems, you’re wrong. He tells of numerous individuals who devote themselves to sarging (as picking up a woman is called) and subsequently ignore the rest of their lives. That said, Strauss himself clearly benefited from becoming a pickup artist. I think different readers will draw different messages from the book.
The best section of the book as far as I am concerned is the glossary, which contains dozens of terms used by people in the pickup artist community and throughout the book itself. Things like sarging, IOI (indicator of interest), neg (a backhanded compliment or seemingly accidental insult delivered to a beautiful woman, such as “nice nails, are they real?”), AFC (average frustrated chump), AMOG (alpha male of group), and many more. I found the lexicon to be quite entertaining. It reminded me of my days as a clan member in the computer game TFC.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was a fairly quick read, and Strauss keeps it entertaining from start to finish. The subtitle of the book is very telling – this is not a guide or handbook for wannabe pickup artists. Instead, it’s a journey that Strauss is willing to take you along on. Despite having time to reflect on the story (and checking online to see if things Strauss mentions actually exist – they do) I still find it hard to believe there are pickup artists out there. This book tells a pretty incredible tale, and I’m sure some people will be offended. Others, such as myself, will most certainly be entertained.