Summary of the book The Art of Seduction : With the help of Robert Greene (author among others of Power, the 48 laws of power and Strategy, the 33 laws of war), the biggest seducers from literature and the history of the world offer us some concrete and universal lessons in seduction.
Note: this is a guest chronicle written by Fabrice Julien, a French Pick-Up Artist, youtuber and author of the blog Diary of a French PUA.
Chronicle and Summary of the book The art of seduction:
In The art of seduction, Robert Greene (who is a big fan of both literature and France) takes a look at some famous seducers such as Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe, Casanova, Don Juan, Josephine Bonaparte, Errol Flynn, etc. He talks about “seducers” in the literal and diabolical sense of the term: those who take people off the right path. The author has a number of stories about these seducers, and he uses them as examples to illustrate his advice.
Some of the lessons that the author takes from stories about these seducers are clearly examples of manipulation. Some readers could find The art of seduction somewhat shocking and amoral. According to Greene, the seducer is a hunter and their target is their future victim…
But the victim often gives consent. Let’s not forget that seduction is a game of bluff. If it is played intelligently, it becomes an art and brings genuine pleasure to both parties. The relationship between the seducer and their often consenting “victim” is not always what it seems. Our eyes are clouded by the prejudice of our time.
I invite you to read this chronicle with an open mind so that you don’t miss out on the richness of The art of seduction because of anachronistic analysis or principles that are too rigid. I am living proof that you can have ethics when it comes to seduction and that it is not, in contrast with its reputation, an “amoral science”.
The art of seduction was inspired by the greatest pick up artists in the world. It is mentioned in The Game, which I also wrote about. It is said that this book already contained everything you needed to know about seduction (old pipes produce the sweetest smoke, I guess).
Part 1: The seductive character
In the first part of The art of seduction, Robert Greene asks readers to consider which category of seducer they fall under. By positioning yourself as a seducer, these profiles can help you work on your strengths. In this part, each chapter tackles a seductive profile.
Note that you can very easily fall under more than one category of seducer. He separates them into Sirens, Rakes, Ideal Lovers, Dandys, Naturals, Coquettes, Charmers, Charismatics and Stars…
Profile 1: The Siren
The Siren is an individual who possesses exuberant virility or femininity. It is not so much the beauty of the Siren that goes to people’s heads, but the theatrical sense of fantasy that they embody (the profile is most often female).
Profile 2: The Rake
The Rake is the embodiment of a female fantasy (the profile is most often male). I personally decided to focus on this profile and it has paid off (which does not mean that I spend all my time in licentious clubs). The lesson to take from the ardent rake is that he expresses intense desire that leads a woman astray, much in the same way that the siren leads the man astray. One example of this profile is the character played by Javier Bardem in Vicky Christina Barcelona. I write in more detail about this character on my blog in French. I really like this character because the author demonstrates that you don’t have to be handsome to become a figure of fantasy in the eyes of some women.
Profile 3: The ideal lover
The ideal lover is an artist who creates the illusion that his or her target requires. As a man, he attends to every desire of his mistress(es). This is a demanding profile because you have to focus exclusively on the other person to find out what they need. Most people are too self-obsessed to take on a role like this. They are not even capable of “active listening”. But it really pays off for people who can do it!
Profile 4: The Dandy
The Dandy offers a glimpse of the kind of freedom that most people would like to experience for themselves. The key to his or her power is ambiguity. Society is essentially made up of people who play their part at face value. Those who refuse to bend to the will of society are bound to arouse interest. Take Lady Gaga for example!
Profile 5: The Natural
The natural embodies qualities for which we are nostalgic: spontaneity, sincerity, lack of pretension, etc. A little like Patrick Jane in The Mentalist. This natural display of weakness disarms other people and makes the natural an appealing figure.
Profile 6: The Coquette
The Coquette wavers between hope and frustration (in the seduction community, we call this “push and pull”). Their beautiful promises are not often kept, but this does not prevent their prey from getting in deeper.
Profile 7: The Charmer
The Charmer uses the ultimate weapon in seduction and manipulation: comfort. This empathetic figure adapts to the target’s mood to make them feel at ease. They don’t cause trouble, they don’t get angry. Their indulgence acts like a drug. They like to make others look good to turn the greatest human defect against them: vanity.
Profile 8: The Charismatic
The Charismatic fascinates because of inner energy, self-confidence and determination that gives them an almost supernatural god-like stature that is infectious. We like to be guided, especially be those who promise adventure and fortune. This figure is therefore a kind of leader.
Profile 9: The Star
The Star attracts everyone’s eye and remains out of reach. A dream creature, they act in a subliminal way (in the seduction community we call this being “social proof”). Stars create a pleasant vision that is just an illusion. The danger is that the people who adore them will get bored and that the illusion will stop hypnotising them.
Profile 10: The Anti-Seducer
The Anti-Seducer: someone you do not want to be. To find out about what kind of terrible characteristics will make the opposite sex run away, you can read my article in French about Robert Greene’s Anti-Seducers. I saw a little of myself in this uncouth figure, and I didn’t like it one bit. I wasn’t like that before I got into the “game”, but by releasing myself from much social pressure, I became too “natural”. It’s fun as far as it goes. I think I have fixed it now, thanks the The art of seduction.
The Seducer’s Victims The 18 Types
Robert Greene goes on to describe the eighteen victim profiles that can be seduced because of their weaknesses. His theory is that every profile offers a line of attack, a breach into which the seducer-manipulator can step. According to Greene, only an ideal victim can lead to a good hunt.
But I should point out that I don’t agree with his choice of words. I believe that seduction should be a “win-win” activity. A woman loses nothing when she gives in to a man; in fact she gains a few orgasms (and so does he). But that’s just my opinion.
Of course, it is obvious that psychology is the most important thing when it comes to seduction. If we can give somebody the thing they are missing, then they are going to like us (unless what they are missing is a best friend). When you make a move on someone in a nightclub or in the street, it is difficult to know which category the person belongs to in just a few minutes. If it was easy to calibrate that quickly, then everyone would be an expert in seduction.
That is why, in the end, I advise against using the “manipulative” side of The art of seduction. I prefer to advise focusing on the seductive profile that you want to have and to work on improving it. You have a certain seductive profile that attracts a certain kind of girl. Accept it. It is always good to know this because you can know yourself better and know what kind of girls to focus on. Don’t forget that this is not an exact science.
Part 2: The seduction process
In the second and final part of The art of seduction, Robert Greene breaks down the seduction process into four sub-stages. Each sub-stage is divided into chapters.
Phase 1: Separation – stirring interest and desire
1. Choose the right victim
In other words, focus on the right customers (it’s like marketing advice, in fact seduction and marketing are closely related disciplines and many pick up artists go on to work in sales). Avoid career-oriented people who are too busy and people in a hurry with little availability. The best targets have an unquenched thirst for adventure.
2. Create a false sense of security – Approach indirectly
If your target notices that you are manipulating them, or that they are obeying your will, they will turn against you. Being indirect is a terrific tool when it comes to seduction.
3. Send mixed signals:
Cultivate ambiguous feelings. Be simultaneously tough and tender, mystic and gregarious, naive and smart. An enigmatic approach fascinates and makes people want more.
4. Appear to be an object of desire – Create triangles
People often covet what someone else has. We go after what belongs to someone else. If you are attractive to other women, it only makes you more interesting. This is what is known as “pre-selection”. Just as a reminder, competition has more impact when it is suggested rather than explicit.
5. Create a need – stir anxiety and discontent
Arouse tensions (feelings of loss or desire) and create frustration in your targets.
6. Master the art of insinuation
This is the art of instilling ideas in the other person’s mind that will only come to fruition later on, without their knowledge (as in the film Inception). A combination of sudden announcements followed by excuses and withdrawals and your words will only have genuine meaning in the subconscious of your victim. To sow the seed of an idea of seduction, call on the other person’s imagination, fantasies and secret dreams. Their mind will waver when it hears what they want to hear. Insinuation is effective because it short-circuits natural forms of resistance and also because it is the language of pleasure.
7. Enter their spirit:
Give your victim the illusion that they are the one doing the seducing. Everyone is focused on their own taste, experience and opinions. We hide inside a shell and the best way to coax someone out of their shell and be as one with them is to project their own image. That way, their vanity is not threatened by something that is different. To become a mirror for other people, focus your full attention upon them. They will sense the effort you are making and this will flatter them.
8. Create temptation
Just as the serpent tempted Eve by promising forbidden knowledge, you must awaken desires inside your victim that they cannot control. Discover the dream that they did not achieve and let them think that you can take them to it. The world is full of temptations. It is hard to remain virtuous and upright, to keep pushing back your most powerful desires. It takes a lot less energy to give in to temptation, as Oscar Wilde might have said (and he was a dandy, after all).
Phase 2: Lead astray, creating pleasure and confusion
9. Keep them in suspense – what comes next?
Arrange for calculated surprises and give your “victim” a thrill by abruptly changing direction.
10. Use the demonic power of words to sow confusion:
It is not easy to be heard. Other people always seem to have their own concerns and desires and are not interested in yours. Cause a sensation with emotionally charged comments, flatter, reassure, and create an illusion using promises and sweet words. The key to the language of seduction does not lie in the words you say, or the cajoling tone of voice or even the sound of ordinary language. Speak to others about what they like; what concerns them, what flatters their vanity. The most anti-seduction form of language is polemic.
11. Pay attention to detail:
The most seductive thing of all is not what you say, but what you communicate without saying anything. Words fly away; they are not binding and they are soon forgotten. On the other hand, gestures, well-chosen gifts and personal details all have a more real existence. They speak for themselves and they mean more than what they are.
12. Poeticize your presence
Add a little poetry to your presence or some exotic attributes. Every time the other person is alone with their memories of you, he or she will picture you crowned with all the pleasure that you promise. This aura will make you stand out. Only mediocrity is impossible to idealise and is totally lacking in seductive power. You can only seduce by arousing dreams.
13. Disarm through strategic weakness and vulnerability
Draw attention away from what you are up to by keeping a low profile. That way, the other person will feel superior to you. Worry leads to suspicion, but if your target feels superior to you, there will be no worry. You will appear too weak, too prone to emotion to be up to anything. Admit to some misdeed, play the victim of circumstances, the power the other person holds over you. Do not go overboard fighting your fragility. Be both sincere and coy.
14. Confuse desire and reality – the perfect illusion:
To escape from the harsh reality of existence, people like to daydream. They picture a future filled with success, adventure and love. Bring your victim to a state of confusion that prevents them from telling the difference between what is real and what is an illusion. People want to believe in extraordinary things. With a little mental preparation, they will be taken in by the illusion. Let the other person believe that they are achieving their deepest desires. Everyone has had disappointment in their lives. The prospect of recovering something that was lost or correcting a form of injustice is incredibly attractive. No desire is as strong as that of correcting the past or erasing a disappointment.
15. Isolate the victim
Isolation weakens, so get the victim out of their usual habitat. Everyone has their own life, with their own crushing responsibilities. We are impervious to the influence of others because we have too many problems. The more you isolate your target from their past, the more they will be rooted in the present. The principle of isolation can be taken literally. Islands have long had a reputation for being conducive to the pleasures of the senses. Be careful. If you move too fast, your target may panic and run.
Phase 3: The precipice: Deepening the effect through extreme measures
16. Prove yourself:
If actions do not prove your words, the other person will have doubts about your sincerity. You should offer tangible proof of what you are saying. This is a little like the concept of the “shit test”. The opportunity to prove that you are not acting out of self-interest can often be improvised: saving someone, a gift, a favour… Being effective is not what counts here, but throwing yourself into action without care for your own welfare. There is one important piece of advice in this chapter – Don’t be afraid to look ridiculous or make a mistake.
17. Effect a regression
People who have experienced moments of great pleasure want to relive them. Offer others a feeling of protection and safety similar to that of a child. Without wanting to recognise it, we all desire to go back, to take off the mask of adulthood and give free rein to childish emotions that are hiding in the depths of our unconscious selves. To make use of this, play the part of the therapist and encourage the other person to talk about their childhood. Over the course of the confession, they will reveal some little secrets. Be attentive but discreet when the other person is talking. Add a comment from time to time, without ever judging.
18. Stir up the transgressive and taboo:
The attraction of taboos is such that we immediately invite them. Humans are strange animals. Once we set physical or psychological limits, we become curious to explore the forbidden.
19. Use spiritual lures:
Religion is the most elaborate system of seduction ever invented by humans. It promises immortality, making it the major remedy, elevating us towards something greater than ourselves. We all have to have faith, whatever it may be. What about you? What is your aura made of?
20. Mix pleasure with pain:
Being nice can be charming at first, but it soon becomes monotonous. Create moments of sadness, despair and anxiety. Maintain a form of tension that can go on to become a great release. Arouse jealousy, worry. The balm you can provide for their wounded vanity will just be twice as soothing. You have more to lose by boring people than by giving them a hard time. Create tension and go on to dissipate it.
Phase 4: Moving in for the kill
21. Give them space to fall – the pursuer is pursued:
Give the impression that the seducer wants to be seduced. Keep a certain distance, without becoming anonymous. Cultivate mystery. Behave in an inexplicably distant manner and arouse anxiety. In order to avoid spontaneous rejection, your target will wonder: “Is this my fault?” “What did I do wrong?” They will then take the initiative to win you back. A person’s will is directly related to their libido.
22. Use physical lures:
You have to get the message across without using words, but through your body and your senses. They should read desire in your eyes, hear it in the tremor of your voice. I have written an article in French on my blog about How to enhance your body language.
23. Master the art of the bold move:
When the time is right, do not make the mistake of holding back or waiting politely for the other person to make the first move. Seal the deal! This is a chapter that a lot of guys I know should read because they are so uncomfortable with the idea.
24. Beware the aftereffects:
Do not make a long goodbye. Most of the time, disillusionment is inevitable. The sexual tension decreases, the excitement fades. There can even be a form of disgust.
Conclusion about the book The art of seduction:
This is very educational reading. For both the initiated and the uninitiated who will read this book with an amused eye, The art of seduction is a real treasure trove. Advanced seducers and history enthusiasts in particular will be delighted.
I have read The art of seduction three times and I still take it out to refresh my memory and establish links to my own experiences. It is essential reading for anyone who takes seduction seriously.
Strong points of The art of seduction:
- It is particularly deep (perhaps even too rich), stuffed with anecdotes and literary and historical references. You get your money’s worth and you cultivate your mind.
- I loved reading the quotes, proverbs and maxims, the fables and the excerpts from novels that they author uses to illustrate his words in the margins.
- This is a book that makes you think. It has a philosophical side.
- The art of seduction has clearly inspired the seduction community to become a reference work.
- This is a book shows that seduction is not just about “pulling on a Saturday night”.
- The art of seduction shows that there is not one right way to do things, that there can be many approaches.
- The author talks about seduction in the romantic sense, but it can also apply to professional life or everyday life. The art of seduction is not just about seducing with a sexual goal.
- It is very interesting when it comes to understanding human psychology in general. If you are interested in human relationships and influence, you will find this book extraordinary.
- It is as interesting for women as for men.
- It has an original format. Greene is the only author to offer a comprehensive historical background about the History of seduction.
- The edition I have is very attractive and the pages are very pleasant to the touch.
Weak points of The art of seduction:
- If you are looking for a ready-to-use method, this is not the book for you. The art of seduction offers a more overall understanding of the process. If you are looking for methods, you can count on my blog! In fact, the problem is that seduction from several decades ago does not really apply to our modern society. So, as I say, it is more a book about the art of seduction in an overall way than about concrete means to seduce someone today.
- It’s a 500 page tome, and the writing is small and close. This could scare off people who are not sufficiently motivated because it is pretty long. Thankfully, you can choose to read certain chapters or parts of the book and don’t have to read everything. For example, I often re-read the chapters about the Ardent Rake and the Anti-Seducer, because I recognise myself in them and it helps me to hone my very own art of seduction.
- Unfortunately it can demonise seduction through its questionable vocabulary. I don’t like the fact that it talks about the seducer and his or her “victim”. In any case, this does not correspond to my state of mind. Seduction does not have to be amoral…
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