“The Game” Book Review: By Neil Strauss…. The Book That Started It All!

The Game Book Review

The book that kicked off the PUA community.

What starts as a simple “how to get more girls into your bed” book turns out to have profound underlying meanings. Neil Strauss masterfully sets up the stage for his story as he delves deeper into the PUA (pick-up artist) community and learns the game’s tricks from the seasoned seduction gurus.

The premise of a mysterious community lurking from the shadows and guarding some valuable knowledge that can change the very fabric of our society is as intriguing as I made it sound. Get ready for a thrilling ride with Strauss as he introduces you to another world you didn’t know exists.

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Quick Summary

Neil Strauss delivers a social commentary on some of our society’s most pressing issues, disguised under a straightforward message that all guys can relate to. Don’t get me wrong, though; there’s still tons of sex, seduction, and straight-up effective techniques on how to get there.

The great thing about “The Game” is that you never feel that any of its messages are intrusive to how you’d like to enjoy the book. The subtle commentary is there, and believe me; you’ll wrap your head around what you read and come up with your own conclusions, without ever feeling that Strauss is screaming right into your face and stirring you in one direction or the other.

The protagonist encounters many interesting side characters in his search for the ultimate “game.” You’ll come across both the obscure and well-known supporting cast, and each has their own fleshed-out backstory to keep you intrigued and interested to learn more about their past and how it impacted who they are today.

Once the protagonist gets closer than ever to realizing his goal, a turn of events stirs him into a circle of deception, betrayal, and violence. “The Game” is quite the journey that you need to experience for yourself, and any attempt to strip it down into a concise summary is a disservice.

My In-Depth “The Game” Review

The Author - Neil Strauss

This is the man that wrote the book.

Tone of Voice

This might not be evident at first, but after you read through the entire book, you’ll notice how Strauss’s tone of voice shifted as he got deeper and deeper into the PUA community.
What started as an excited kid in a candy shop subtly shifted with each page you turn till Strauss ends up second-guessing himself and analyzing whether the knowledge that his PUA mentors possess is the cause of their demise and misery.

Remember how many times you focused all your attention on that one thing and kept convincing yourself that once you attain it, you’d be the happiest man on earth? Once you actually achieve your goal and realize it doesn’t live up to the high expectations you’ve been building over time, you get a feeling of emptiness.

This is exactly what the protagonist goes through, and a simple feat as the tone of voice is enough to convey his broad spectrum of emotions as he journeys closer to his goal. I appreciate how Strauss chose to approach his message this way, instead of ranting for pages and pages about how we lose ourselves in the journey to our presumed ultimatum.

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Smart Build-Up Chapters

The first half of the book promotes the idea that attraction isn’t physical; it’s more physiological. I know you might’ve heard this argument already countless times, but the way Strauss presents it here is different from any take I’ve read before.

Instead of trying to convince his audience, the writer proposes this concept as a fact and starts rolling with it. This might sound like a cheap sell to some readers; however, the execution is far from that.

You start to grasp the concepts about attraction through the words of the PUA mentors that our protagonist encounters. The mystery and authority surrounding these figures are the catalysts that get you engaged with their stories and techniques.

For instance, the most prominent of the PUA mentors is fittingly called Mystery. He cements how the physiological aspect plays a significant role in attraction by teaching his students to be patient and go after the hot girl’s friends instead of going straight up to her.

If you build up good vibes with them, your target will start noticing you. It’s more about how girls feel when you’re around, rather than the mere physical attraction based on your appearance and physique.


Many readers were first introduced to “The Game” because of the controversy surrounding it. As humans, we’re always intrigued to learn more about that one thing that people keep developing strong, opposing opinions about, and this worked pretty well for the book’s favor.

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re easily offended and take everything in a literal manner, there’s a chance you might not enjoy your experience with “The Game” that much.

In fact, many of the talking points and controversy surrounding “The Game” don’t even align with Strauss’ view on life. The writer managed to remain in character throughout the entire journey and delivered some convincing performance that brought him some backlash.

For example, the concept of “neg” is regarded by some as misogyny. It aims at creating a disconnection between what you say and the way you deliver it to make your target confused whether you like her or not. Such a feeling of uncertainty paints you as unattainable in her eyes, which ends up making you even more desirable.

Strauss is just commenting on human psychology, and he’s not encouraging his readers to act like inconsiderate guys. That’s why I encourage you to take what you read with a grain of salt and only be critical after you finish the entire book.

Strong Final Act

The book ends on a high note. You get to see how the protagonist loses everything once he masters the art of seduction. The non-ending quest for validation from others makes him desperate to jump from one relationship to the next. Once the girl he hooked up with sees past the image he’s been painting for himself; her attraction quickly turns to disdain.

So, you get to see how Strauss’s protagonist is getting to sleep with whoever girl he dreams of, but at the cost of losing all the other beauties of life. He lost his friends who actually care about him to a pretend group of people who make him look more successful and desirable.

This whole tragedy shows us the importance of balance in our life. What you have right now can be easily overlooked for a distant goal. However, it would be best if you always considered what your dreams would cost you because the moment you start sacrificing what you have, you’ll quickly realize how valuable it was.

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Pros (What I Like)

  • The intriguing setting is perfect for capturing the audience’s attention
  • The book’s messages are never shoved in your face, and you get subtle cues throughout your journey to help you formulate your take on what you read
  • The change in tone of voice signifies Strauss’ attention to detail
  • In-depth commentary on society and human psychology

Cons (What I Didn’t Like)

  • The book is too long, making it a chore to read through for some
  • The middle arc needed more polish, as you can easily get lost in the tons of PUA stories thrown right and left

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s Unique About Neil Strauss’s Writing?

The fascinating thing about Strauss’s writing is that everyone who reads the book might end up with a different take-home message. This might be considered a fatal flaw in other genres of books; however, such an aspect translates brilliantly in this book, allowing us, as readers, to live the writer’s journey and reach conclusions that relate to us the most.

For this reason, I highly encourage you to start looking deeper into “The Game” once you wrap the final page, as your mileage might vary from mine.

Other Than the Controversy, What Common Complaint Do People Have About “the Game”?

The book staggered a lot in the middle section and ended up being longer than it should have been. I hope we got a more polished middle arc to fit nicely with the excellent intro and conclusion. This would’ve also helped with keeping the book’s overall length in check to make it more accessible to more people, as “The Game” is too long for its own good.

Conclusion: Would I recommend it?

“The Game” is a thrilling ride that aims at broadening your horizons and introducing you to several psychology concepts and seduction techniques that you may never knew existed. It encourages you to pick what suits you the most, instead of just blindly copying what you read and forcing it into your lifestyle.

Aside from the seduction techniques, the social commentary aspect is fascinating, and it’ll surely keep me thinking for a long time to come. It’ll probably leave the same impact on you, too!

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