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Publisher's Summary

No more games; it's time for the truth. I am not the hero in this tale. I am the villain.

Do you believe in monogamy? Neil Strauss didn't. The New York Times journalist made a name for himself advocating freedom, sex and opportunity as author of The Game - with intimacy and long-term commitment taking a backseat.

That is until he met the woman who forced him to ask the questions that men and women are asking themselves every day: Is it natural to be faithful to one person for life? Do alternatives to monogamy lead to better relationships and greater happiness? Can you keep passion and romance from fading over time?

Strauss set out on a quest for answers. It took him from Viagra-laden free-love orgies to sex addiction clinics, from cutting-edge science labs to modern-day harems and, most terrifying of all, to his own mother and his family's secrets. What he discovered changed everything he knew about love, sex, relationships and, ultimately, himself. The Truth may have the same effect on you.

©2015 Neil Strauss (P)2015 Canongate Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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It's all about his issues

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The book just spoke about Neil's personal issues that he went through. There was nothing to gain from a readers perspective on how to manage their relationships.

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  • James
  • 03-31-16

Powerful

Neil taught me a lot about picking up women in my twenties. The tactics worked very well. These techniques allowed me to successfully 'open' and court my now wife. Like Neil, probably most people, our intimacy/love issues, likely result of childhood trauma have led to a very rocky marriage. Now I'm my thirties, married, I think the knowledge and Wisdom and 'The Truth' will be more effective on a deeper level for my personal development than 'The Game' was. Thanks again Neil!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 11-11-15

Surprisingly powerful

This is the first review I have done. I bought this after enjoying the game. Whilst expecting an exciting narrative, I was floored by the honesty of the author and his journey. It is equal parts entertaining, titillating and awesome in scale(relatively!) The truth will change your life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • inbr1ghtestday
  • 12-28-16

Fantastic and uncomfortable listening

Listening to this just after a break up was just what I needed to restore a little faith but also take a good hard look at myself - recommended, highly!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Connie
  • 03-26-16

AMAZING

I'm so so pleased Neil has written this book. I wrote my thesis on polyamory and made a film about monogamy and was thinking of writing a book, but I feel Neil has done it for me. THANK YOU. I urge everyone to read this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nathalie Nahai
  • 03-22-16

Unexpectedly rich and thought-provoking

I rarely review books, but this proved to be an exceptionally provocative piece - an enthralling, insightful and emotional roller coaster, both intimate and candid.

Strauss' journey from pickup artist, through a spectrum of relationship styles, towards intimacy (and where this finally takes him) is gripping from the get-go, and I found myself plugging in to hear more of the story at every opportunity.

The fact that it's narrated by the author lends it even greater warmth, and there are psychological insights that I can imagine would prove useful for any reader/listener.

If you're curious about relationships, sexuality and identity in any way, then this is for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lance Johnson
  • 11-05-17

The search for the perfect relationship

Let me introduce you to the common reader of this book, lets call him Bill. Bill is likely to be in a monogamous heterosexual relationship, and may have a few relations before that. Often he walks down the street and sees/fantasise about beautiful women he encounters and wonders what could be, but doesn't have the ability and/or motivation to take the steps to achieve this desire, including a possible moral/religious code.

Enter Neil Strauss, author of this book. He is not like 99% of the readers of this book. He has claimed to slept with 100s of women, and has written a fantastic book on meeting women, entitled "The Game". Unlike Bill, Neil has the ability to seduce women, complimented by a lack of moral compass to undertake and explore the desires that Bill/most men has.

The book begins with Neil, stuck in a relationship with his girlfriend/future wife Ingrid. Ingrid is a lady who has extremely poor male role models - her father tried to murder her mother, her step father treated her badly, etc . Ingrid is not like 90% of the female population. She is the door mat to Neil's back door to the outside garbage dumpster. Neil can't understand why apparently being with an attractive woman like Ingrid, he still desires other women/watches porn. He then leaves her to go explore many different avenues available to the heterosexual/famous writer male.

He explores polyamoury, Bliss, commune, sex orgi parties, and open relationships. He undertakes sex therapy, all in his to seek the ultimate heterosexual sexual relationship.

Now I would be lying, if I did not find Neil's journey, enlightening. In fact, I found that his book gave me an appreciation for my own monogomaus relationship, but more importantly my ethical code. I appreciated his discussions with his friend and his psychologist, which helped me to open doors or help explain some of my own behaviour, not related to sex, which I hope to correct.

The most important thing I learnt, is that it is a blessing from God, that most men like Bill are deficient at certain skills in their lives. It is a blessing that men like Bill do not have the ability of Neil, to be able to seduce low self-esteem women easily. Because if one has easy access to any power, it is certainly at high risk of abuse. Such is the way of dictators, with their absolute power, or the expert male pick up artist.


I recommend listening/reading this book, with the certain intellectual caveats.

1. Neil is extremely powerful at justifying his claims/beliefs. If you are easily swayed/influenced, please stop. Think and create an argument against it when presented by him. You will find that when Neil comes back to refute his original beliefs, that you may already found that you had come to that conclusion long ago.

2. Neil fails to realise or acknowledge certain truths of man – man will continue to desire things no matter how much he has – e.g. if he had a valley of gold, he would want two valleys of gold. That is his nature and that is a constant battle to restrain himself, he must prepare and undertake for the rest of his life.

3. Neil talks about the ultimate goal - being true to himself – he does not realise that man is ultimately flawed, and his self is in constant flux – it will change from week to week.

4. The women Neil actually dates, are for most men, one nightstand you might want, but ultimately are poor wives/partners. Ingrid takes Neil back after dumping her, undertaking this sexual journey. Rather than be strong, and telling him to get lost, she incredulously takes him back. One wonders if this relationship is going to last.

5. Neil blames his parents for the origin of most of his problems. Don’t get me wrong, it may contribute, but perhaps the fact that he ends up hanging around nutcases like actors/singers/pick up artist who a large proportion are drug addicts/mentally unstable may have something to do with it.

6. Neil blames looking after your mother need when they are older as being the cause of certain peoples’ relationship tensions. I disagree, looking after your mother when she is older is one of the great privileges of being a man. We would hope our children would do the same for our wives when we get old. Of course, this should not be at the expense of the relationship with your dependent family, but I found the idea put forward by Neil a little distasteful.

7. Sex is part of intimacy/developing deep relations with a female one has chosen. What he does by sleeping and dumping women, is hurting them, and ultimately hurting himself. Sex is not the ultimate goal of a relationship, it is a benefit of having a strong emotional connection with a female human being.

8. You don’t need to stick your finger in the electric socket to know it is dangerous. You don’t go around “trying” every relationship model to see if you like it, it could ultimately be deadly for your health/spirit. I am sorry to say, but I think Neil’s experiences have damaged him so much, I fear more than being a prisoner in a concentration camp. A concentration camp, one can blame his captors. Neil’s is his own prison guard.

I did enjoy the book, but I was able to intellectually combat, many of Neil’s idea. At times, it became difficult to listen to the book for the amount of sex Neil was having. Neil is an excellent writer, with strong memorable writing, entertaining, and comedic at times. I have also read/listened the Game, and will listen to another book he has done. I am sort of glad that someone like Neil has explored this, and it has thankfully increased my dislike of this lifestyle.

All in all, if you are not offended by graphic writing about sex, if you are like Bill who wants to glance at the dark side of sleeping with many women, than this book may give Bill and others, a deeper appreciation for who they are.

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  • M. G. Riley
  • 09-28-17

where style went next

a bit too long ( for me it drags near the end) but a worthwhile exploration of relationships. makes me wonder about childhood wounds and our coping mechanisms. a follow up with some depth after 'The Game's entertaining but potentially corrupting influence.

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  • Zoot
  • 08-14-17

Beautifully awkward

Neil Strauss is a wonderfully cognisant writer. I haven’t read any of his other books before but I certainly plan to now because this was a really interesting journey and story to have him take me through. I took a lot of his descriptions and events with a grain of salt because memory is fallible and things can be twisted and reworked to suit a writers needs as appropriate – and nobody has a perfect memory that enables them to sit down and write word for word the events that have passed, particularly those describing nights accompanied by memory-inhibiting substances. Nevertheless the story felt in-the-main genuine. The few criticisms I have are minor and really only personal details.

In the beginning he gives the over-spiritualist alternative scene a satisfyingly critical eye but towards the end I was a little put off by his unquestioning acceptance of “alternative medicines” – it’s not a major part of the story but it’s a pet peeve of mine when people mention such things without an ounce of questioning to the possibility of their illegitimacy.

Throughout the book I couldn’t help thinking he places a lot of weight on a very narrow aspect of psychoanalysis and that seemed a little unusual to me. Especially as he initially comes across as so positively skeptic, eager to critically examine.

His narration had a distinct rhythm that I can only really describe as a bit “choppy.” It’s clear he’s not a dramatic reader like many others on Audible. I do really like that he read it himself but unfortunately the reading style prevented me from becoming “fully immersed” in his story, not unlike a fishing line tugging me back to the real world every time I was in danger of slipping away.

Lastly, it’s hard to escape the reality that his journey inevitably concludes in a relationship that ultimately shapes a bias to the whole story. I mean, it can’t not affect it. So, again, pinches of salt.

These are really all minor points though, to what was really a well presented and clear representation of a storyline that is presumably very messy, confusing and difficult to describe. Strauss pulls it all together in a way that makes it flow and seem very easy to digest, freeing me to comprehend the truckloads of awkwardness that ensues. Hats of to the guy for his fearless and somewhat honest expression of emotions but I find it hard to believe there wasn’t a little more in there that was left unsaid.

Strauss is a thinker and questioner, a skill and attribute that very much compliment his writing. Furthermore, he’s clearly an ardent note taker and vehement diarist. Where I am sure some details were missing, events reinterpreted, emotions altered (all of which actually turning out to be good things), his knowledge of the past, regardless of how accurately it was presented, enabled him to write a very compelling book that was comparatively quite tidy.

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  • cristiano sanches
  • 07-25-17

really loved this book! thank you Neil!

Loved it! made me dream, smile and nearly cry!
So true how our feelings can lead us the wrong way....

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  • d t
  • 07-01-17

The perfect sequel

For those of us who grew up with The Game and many of the experiences described in this book too, this book is a relief and a completion of a journey in relationships many of us are still making.