The Art of Seduction Summary
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An Examination of the Amoral Game and Techniques of Seducers
If happiness can be some sort of an art, why shouldn’t seduction be an art as well? True, this means that mastering it is a lengthy learning process. But, there’s no better place to start than Robert Greene’s account on the subject, “The Art of Seduction.”
Who Should Read “The Art of Seduction”? And Why?
Are you kidding us? It’s there in the title: those who want to learn the art of seduction! But, that’s merely the beginning of the story: psychology students may be surprised by the wealth of psychological information this book offers. History buffs will certainly revel at finding one or two more anecdotes about some of history’s greatest seducers.
Last but not least: victims of seduction can use this book to learn how not to be seduced anymore!
About Robert Greene
Robert Greene is a popular and widely read American author. He has a degree in classical studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and is mostly interested in topics related to power and dominance.
He has written five well-received bestsellers: “The Art of Seduction,” “The 48 Laws of Power,” “The 50th Law” (with 50 Cent), “The 33 Strategies of War” and “Mastery.”
“The Art of Seduction PDF Summary”
As far as the game of seduction is concerned, there are few players better than Neil Strauss. Even so, the best person to learn the theoretical framework from is certainly Robert Greene.
Well, because, first of all, he is brilliant at structuring. He gave us the 48 laws of power, and then the 33 strategies of war… In “The Art of Seduction” he introduces us to 9 types of seducers, and 18 types of victims.
And even 24 phases of the seductive process! (Though, the seducers that we are, we’ll make you wait for the “Key Lessons” section before you hear them… Making your victim wait is Seducing 101, according to Greene.)
So – let’s go.
First of all, the seductive character and the 9 possible types of it. Full descriptions packed neatly with relevant examples from history!
#1. The Siren
The Sirens need no introduction: they are the femme fatales who can lure anyone through their very image and craftiness. They are highly sexual and they know it – and their confidence radiates erotic energy wherever they go. The Siren is the ultimate male sexual fantasy. Because they tease – and they please.
You need historical examples?
Marilyn Monroe and Cleopatra. These two women had a devastating effect on their male partners – all of which were great men. But, as Odysseus taught us once, no man is capable of resisting a Siren unless all tied up!
Just take Monroe for example: the world swooned over her, Kennedy had the birthday of his life, DiMaggio never got over her, Arthur Miller wasn’t able to write for years… And, yet, they all went back to her.
There are two downsides to being a Siren, though: first of all you may make yourself too vulnerable; and secondly, almost every other woman will hate – nay, despise – you!
#2. The Rake
The Rakes for women, are, basically, what Sirens are for men. The ultimate fantasy.
Rakes say that they will do anything for the opposite sex – and they usually do during the first few months. They live in the moment, so they are unrestrained with just the right amount of wild. Above all – they are great talkers. So, just like politicians, they can promise worlds – and be loved still even if they deliver nothing.
Because, if physical attraction does it for men, language is the female’s aphrodisiac. And the love language of a Rake is the language of poetry and trust, but also of darkness and mystery.
No wonder that writers are Greene’s examples here: Gabriele D’Annunzio and Lord Byron. The latter was lame – but, by all accounts, extremely handsome as well; the former was “short, bald, ugly” and a Fascist. It didn’t matter to women: just read their poems and you’ll see why.
Of course, just like Sirens, Rakes are hated by the members of their own sex.
#3. The Ideal Lover
The Ideal Lovers understand love in a much more aesthetic manner than others. To them, the reality is nothing but an excuse for sorrow; and fantasy is the high road to happiness.
You need no better explanation than a single word: Casanova. The Master Seducer. His method simple, hist tactic the one of the ultimate sales rep. First, observe your victim; next, discover exactly what he needs or fantasizes about; and, finally, reveal that that’s exactly what you’re selling.
No need to explain what’s at stake: ultimately, reality will come to take what’s hers. And then, Casanova’s love empire comes crumbling down.
#4. The Dandy
Dandies are usually androgynous and seduce both sexually and socially. They are men with effeminate traits, or women with masculine ones. And they look as if they’ve come to your bedroom straight from another century.
However, all dandies know that their sex appeal rests on the balance. Too much masculinity by women – or femininity by men destroys the image of the dandy. For example, a Rudolph Valentino movie in which he was a bit more feminine than usual ended up a blockbuster flop!
#5. The Natural
Naturals are playful and child-like. They have boyish or girlish charms and take us back to the golden age of carelessness: our childhood.
“The Natural,” writes Greene, “embodies the longed-for qualities of childhood – spontaneity, sincerity, unpretentiousness.” And that’s why, in their presence, “we feel at ease, caught up in their playful spirit, transported back to that golden age.”
Think… well, think Aladdin in the eponymous Disney’s cartoon. Or, for an even more literal version, Audrey Hepburn in “Green Mansions” (…or, well, anything: she’s Audrey!)
Naturals are great at making a virtue out of weakness. They act as if they want to be protected at all times. And you want to care for them.
Of course, until they go totally childish. Now, that’s a “no-no” in this case!
#6. The Coquette
Coquettes are self-absorbed and vain – and you want to have them exactly because they don’t need you. There’s something masochistic in being seduced by a coquette. Namely, she is self-sufficient and can do just as great without you. But, you want to make her crave for something, anything… you!
Napoleon’s Josephine is a great example. Napoleon controlled half of the world at his peak, but she never managed to control Josephine. And that’s what made her even more attracting.
Coquettes are born seducers – but they have to be careful of going overboard in their vanity. Because even masochism may become tiresome after a while. That’s what happened in the case of Mao Zedong and his fourth wife Jiang Qing.
Though, it didn’t last long – the next traumatic experience and Mao was back on his knees begging Madame Mao to come back to him.
And he was a ruthless dictator!
#7. The Charmer
Charmers are, well, charming. They don’t argue and they don’t complain. Instead, they listen and are lightheartedly helpful. And, obviously, they know how to flatter well – while working on their own agenda.
Back to JIang Qing, obviously the glorious seductress Madame Mao. You see, when China’s relationship with Russia went a bit sour, Mao Zedong sent her to negotiate with Stalin and the Russians. And she did – mightily well. She charmed them away drinking vodka and understanding their culture. And, soon enough, they didn’t know what it hit them!
But, let’s face it: there’s often a dark side to the charm. After all, it’s usually based on some form of lying. So, charming a person you obviously don’t like – is a bad decision. Everyone will start doubting everything else you do.
#8. The Charismatic
Charismatic lovers ooze self-confidence and magnetism. They are mysterious and saintly, eloquent and theatrical; they have a purpose and are uninhibited. And when they believe in something, they are hellishly fervent and adventurous to the max. And even vulnerable when necessary. Not to mention present, powerful, and warm.
Charismatic people may change the course of history simply because of their charisma. Joan of Arc and Rasputin testify to this. You don’t get to lead an army as a teenager or be Tsar Nichola’s personal doctor based on your qualities alone.
However, be careful with your charisma. You can’t always be the savior. Because once someone feels secure, the charismatic seducer is the first one to go. Robespierre found out the hard way.
#9. The Star
Finally, stars. They are dreamlike, glittering, elusive. They are our one-way ticket out of our boring reality.
Well, simply, because, as Greene says, “daily life is harsh, and most of us constantly seek escape from it in fantasies and dreams. Stars feed on this weakness; standing out from others through a distinctive and appealing style, they make us want to watch them.” However, they don’t reveal everything straight away: “they are vague and ethereal, keeping their distance, and letting us imagine more than is there.”
Of course, you can’t be a star seducer unless you are already famous. But, being famous is not enough. There has to be some mystery and some vagueness to your presence.
The list of star seducers is boringly long. And that’s the danger for them: there’s always a new – usually, younger and trendier – star to move to!
Now that we’re done with all these seducers…
OK, we guess that we’re never actually done with seducers! They always seem to be able to pop out of nowhere! And have their ways with us and our imagination…
So, let’s have a look at the 18 types of victims seducers are usually on the lookout for. Maybe it’s something we can change?
#1. Reformed Rakes/Sirens
First of all, Reformed Rake/Sirens; they want to be rake/sirens once again: make them feel as if they’re the ones who are seducing.
#2. Disappointed Dreamers
Secondly, the Disappointed Dreamers: earn their trust and make them fantasize once again.
#3. Pampered Royals
Pampered Royal want variety and distractions. Offer them as often as possible: travels, spectacles, excitements!
#4. New Prudes
The New Prude is the fourth type of seducing victim. These are the Victorians of the new age: stuffed shirts on the outside, but guilty-pleasure lovers on the inside. Win them by showing the wild side of life.
#5. Crushed Stars
The Crushed Stars want to be the center of the attention once again – they were once, but are not anymore. Play the Charmer. And talk about the old days.
Novices are all about romance and expect to hear all of love’s 5 languages. Be the Rake or the Ideal Lover: you want to be as eloquent and as romantic as a movie star.
The Conquerors love power and want to be chased for a while. Don’t be an easy pray: make them chase you for a while.
#8. Exotic Fetishists
The Exotic Fetishist would want to hear none of you unless you present yourself as someone exceptional and different. So, be something very few people can be – or, actually, are.
#9. Drama Queens
The Drama Queen thinks that reality is boring: she wants a more theatrical life. Act your heart out – as if you’re in a soap opera.
The Professor wants to be mentally superior at all times – but is unable to resist physical stimulation because he feels physically inferior. Sex and compliments should do just about enough – for a long period of time.
The Beauty constantly worries that her powers are diminishing; appease her worries – but go cold from time to time to stir the romance back to life.
#12. Aging Babies
The Aging Baby dislikes responsibilities. Wants a parent – but an authoritative one, and not an authoritarian.
Rescuers want to be saviors. You can’t win them if you don’t have a problem. You can only seduce them if you show them your weaknesses.
The Roué is cynical and pines for his beautiful youth; only a young man/woman can seduce him/her. No point in trying otherwise.
#15. Idol Worshippers
The Idol Worshippers need to adore someone. You must try to become their idol – otherwise, you’ll always be an afterthought.
Sensualists are sensitive and delicate. They are also usually shy, but can be seduced with fashion, art, style – or seductive art.
#17. Lonely Leaders
The Lonely Leaders are powerful and don’t really care about seduction – because everybody courts them all the time. You need to be on par with them: be not only honest, but blunt. So that, unlike the others, you can look natural.
#18. Floating Genders
And, finally, the Floating Genders. They want a counterpart – someone to be everything that they’re not. So, together, they can be complete.
Key Lessons from “The Art of Seduction”
1. There Are 9 Types of Seducers – See Which Type Are You
2. A Bonus 10th Type: Don’t Be this Guy!
3. You Can Fall Victim to Seducing – If You’re One of These 18 People
4. The Seductive Process in 24 Simple Steps
There Are 9 Types of Seducers – See Which Type Are You
There are 9 types of seducers.
First of all, the sirens – they are the lurers. Next, the rakes: they are the male counterparts. The ideal lovers are the Casanovas. The Dandies are the Byrons of the world. Naturals are childlike seducers. Coquettes are narcissistic. Charmers are charming and charismatic lovers are magnetic.
Finally, stars are dreamlike.
A Bonus 10th Type: Don’t Be this Guy!
Don’t be the 10th type of seducer – because he’s, in fact, no seducer at all. Robert Greene calls him: the Anti-Seducer. These people come in nine different packages, but all share one common characteristic: insecurity.
#1. The Brutes don’t even know what seduction is: they want to skip it altogether.
#2. The Suffocators show signs of adoration even before they learn who you are; consequently, they are in danger of becoming Doormats – so you can walk over them.
#3. The Moralizers want you for the person you can become: them.
#4. The Tightwads are cheap – even though seduction, just like love, is mostly about giving.
#5. The Bumblers are self-conscious – and make everybody feel the same; or, at least, awkward;
#6. The Windbags are the non-stop talkers and not-once listeners;
#7. The Reactors constantly complain and whine about minor problems;
#8. The Vulgarians: for them, seduction, just like social conventions, are a myth;
#9. The Greedy: they want more than anyone can offer them.
You Can Fall Victim to Seducing – If You’re One of These 18 People
Each type of seducer has its own natural type of pray. Find out which type of seducer you are above – and locate your victim among these 18 types of seducees (yes, that’s a word)!
Here they are:
Reformed sirens/rakes, disappointed dreamers, pampered royals, new prudes, crushed starts, novices, conquerors, exotic fetishists, drama queens, professors, beauties, aging babies, rescuers, roués, idol worshippers, sensualists, lonely leaders, and floating genders.
You can read the descriptions about each of them in our summary.
The Seductive Process in 24 Simple Steps
Now that you know all types of seducers and seduction victims – it’s time to learn the whole process.
In a nutshell:
First – choose the right victim. Then – create a false sense of security. Next, start the seduction process by sending mixed signals; become the object of desire by creating a false love triangle. Work even more to create the need. Don’t say things out loud: insinuate.
Time to enter the spirit of your victim. Create temptation. But – don’t act upon it: keep your victim in suspense. Confuse him/her, by paying attention to the details and poeticizing your presence.
Develop a weakness/vulnerability strategy so as to disarm your love interest. Back that up with a fantastical story or two. Now, isolate the victim and prove your worth. With the right victim, you can even “effect a regression”– i.e. start playing the victim yourself. The pursuer – pursued.
Now, it’s time to break the taboos – everybody loves to explore his/her dark side. When the time comes, start using spiritual and physical lures and mix pleasure with pain. Master the art of the bold move. But – beware of the aftereffects.
In the end, you may end up alone and hurt.
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“The Art of Seduction” QuotesWhen our emotions are engaged, we often have trouble seeing things as they are. Click To Tweet People are more complicated than the masks they wear in society. Click To Tweet In reality, Cleopatra was physically unexceptional and had no political power, yet both Caesar and Antony, brave and clever men, saw none of this. What they saw was… a one-woman spectacle. Click To Tweet Desire is both imitative (we like what others like) and competitive (we want to take away from others what they have). Click To Tweet if no resistances or obstacles face you, you must create them. No seduction can proceed without them. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
Contrary to popular opinion, “The Art of Seduction” is not merely a good book to get someone in your bed tonight. It’s much more: a psychological investigation of what it means to be a seducer and a seducee. The strategies are actually the afterthought.
A Daily Mail review states it best: “What Greene does so masterfully takes us on a fascinating trip into the psyches of the great seducers and offer a wealth of strategies for those who might like to dabble in the murky waters of manipulation themselves.
One by one he exposes the techniques of behavior control used by and against all of us in every area of our lives from business to bedroom. But it is when he explores the scheming psyche of the sexual predator that he is at his most compelling.”
Compelling alright! You won’t put this book down until you finish it!
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