Review of "The Game" and "Rules of the Game" by Neil Strauss
The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists and Rules of the Game are two books by author and journalist Neil Strauss, based on his experience with the pick-up artist community. The Game is his story as he explored the community falling head first into the deep end, while Rules of the Game is more of the how-to manual written after he went from novice to expert.
The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists is a true story of the "pick-up artist" community, written by a journalist who found himself immersed in the community. He wanted to learn how to approach women, so he explored this society meeting various "experts" within it and learning all he could about each of their styles. Each "expert" had their own unique way of "picking up" women and Neil's goal became to learn as much as he could and take what he felt applied to him and apply it to himself. In doing so, he became an expert himself, going on to co-teach seminars in the subject, as well as to write this book.
The Game is not a how-to manual, but there is plenty of advice that can be gleaned from it. The Game is more of a biography of his experiences within this society and those that he met while exploring it. Reading it, as a swinger, you can't help but think about how some of the same ideas that are being used in the "pick-up" community can be applied to swinging. You also realize as you read it that it's not nearly so much about "hey baby wanna fuck?" as it is about the simple art of communication, and building your confidence so that you can approach and talk to strangers, anywhere, anytime for any reason.
Rules of the Game is the "how-to" manual that Strauss wrote as a follow-up. It takes the whole process and breaks it down into a thirty day program, from the basics of taking control of your appearance in order to improve confidence to baby steps of talking to strangers in various situations, and moving onto more advanced concepts like reading and giving IOIs (Indicators of Interest), how to "open" groups of two or more people, and so on. The idea is to do follow this manual on a daily basis, doing each day in order and not doing the next until you've completed the previous. Interspersed throughout the book are "homework" readings on various topics like psychology, body language, confidence, etc all that apply to the individual assignments for that day.
Overall, both of these books contain a great amount of real information that can be applied to the swinger lifestyle and to moving yourself from the situation of being unconfident and uncomfortable, hugging the walls in social settings, to the ability to approach anyone anywhere. These are real steps, that are valid and relevant. It's not a "game" that you read through and think that it's too silly to bother with. Reading The Game actually gives you a very different outlook on the "pick-up artist" subculture than you likely had prior to picking up the book, much in the same way that your opinion about swinging likely changed after you started exploring it. Reading Rules of the Game gives you the guidance to take the next steps so that you can confidently approach people, even if you aren't interested in hooking up with them.
Both books are well worth the read for anyone who swings, and even more so for anyone trying to get a better idea of how to comfortably talk to strangers, in a swinging environment or not. The books are entertaining, and informative and well worth the price.