- Vulnerability, such as embracing shame and your emotions is key to successful dating
- Key to dating are: honesty, communication skills and a good lifestyle
- Learn to deal with your sexual and social anxieties
Mark Manson says that a lot of Pick Up Artist advice makes you look and act like a phony. It hit him the hardest when an ex girlfriend of him told him to “act normal”.
He is indeed often quite caustic towards Pick Up Artists, like for example when he says there’s a striking lack of solid relationships among PUAs because they’re all about gimmicks and not about deeper human connections.
Chapter 1: What Attracts Women
Mark Manson says it’s not so straightforward telling what women are attracted to. There are many variables (cycle, relationships status etc.), high diversity and, even, a mismatch between body arousal and perceived arousal.
It seems clear though women want men with status and power. The author says that social status is shown by how you treat other people, how they treat you and how you treat yourself.
Chapter 2: Emotional Neediness
Mark Manson says that your attraction is inversely proportional to your level of neediness. His definition of neediness is to be more invested in what people think of you than of what you think of yourself.
In dating it means that you should be less willing to alter your thoughts, feeling and motivations compared to the woman. He calls the three of them “investment”.
Mark Manson uses evolutionary psychology quite a bit to explain his stance. But personalliy, like Nassim Taleb I’m skeptical about “ad hoc” evolutionary explanations.
More importantly, the author says that we often reveal neediness in seemingly innocuous ways but women perceive it at an unconscious level.
He says it’s impossible to be completely un-invested, but you should be less invested than she is.
Chapter 3: Vulnerability
Manson says that vulnerability is the opposite of Neediness.
If neediness is caring more about the perceptions of others, vulnerability forces you to prioritize and reckon with your own feelings and perceptions.
You’ll feel vulnerable any time you do something that makes you feel uncomfortable and ashamed. Saying hi to a girl, going for a first kiss. The author says that as you keep making yourself vulnerable you’ll develop more that “not a give a f*ck attitude“.
Manson says vulnerability is the path to true and deep human connection.
He says that to become more vulnerable you need to become more attuned to your emotions and learn to express them without inhibition and without being afraid people will like you less.
He says starting to become vulnerable can be difficult for some, and especially for those who avoided it for many years. He mentions overcompensation is an issue for some. Like for those guys who’ve been trampled by women their whole life and then swing on the opposite, to what he calls “fake alphas”.
Desire and Neediness
The author says it’s a paradox that men showing their desire are showing vulnerability but also some neediness that lowers their status. He says PUA (pick up artists) look for tactics and tricks to pursue her without showing attraction. But that only works in the short term, he says.
The author then says vulnerability “short-circuit” that issue as men comfortable with being vulnerable don’t behave in a needy way. And desire shown without neediness is attractive.
Chapter 4: The Gift Of Truth
Mark Manson suggests the pick up idea of pursuing without letting her know you’re interested is bogus. He says the camp proposing to be honest and upfront about your intention is right.
The pick up community is also overly concerned about playing games, he says. PUAs always think of “what kind of game she’s playing”. And with that attitude they end up attracting game players.
The vulnerable man instead, being honest and upfront, also encourages women to do the same. Manson says that instead of worrying about which text a woman replied or non replied to, he’d tell her that if she’s not interested she’d better not show up at all and save both of their time.
The vulnerable man indeed is not afraid of speaking his mind, drawing boundaries and telling her when she’s being out of line. And that’s very attractive.
Chapter 5: Polarization
Mark Manson says that full honesty is polarizing. Some girls will like it a lot, some will hate it. And that’s a great thing. With the girls you like and who like you too, you will have a great time. All the others will not be wasting your time.
I found particularly insightful when the author explaining that many rejections you will get as a honest man are from women who are actually attracted.
But they’re scared of a man who isn’t afraid of honesty, and they’ll reject you -and lash out maybe- out of fear.
Many men do the opposite though. They make the mistake of trying to appeal to all women and never saying anything “racy”or honest out of fear of upsetting the woman they’re speaking to.
That’s the best way to try to give her what she wants, to hide the truth and to being non vulnerable and needy. Ultimately, that’s being non-attractive.
Ultimately, when you polarize, you use rejection to work for you as a quick screening tool.
Chapter 6: Rejection And Success
Mark Manson says once you’ve been rejected a lot of times you realize how insignificant it is. People are afraid of rejection because they are operating on other people’s truths, he says, otherwise what’s there to fear?
Chapter 7: The Three Fundamentals
Mark Manson says the three fundamentals of attractions are:
- Attractive lifestyle (honest living)
- Overcoming fears and anxieties about women (honest action)
- Expression of emotions and communication (honest communication)
The author says it’s important to do what you love in life or you are living by other people’s values. And you’re investing your identity in what other people want. And you’ll always be a needy man like that.
Honest action means that if you’re attracted to a woman the most honest action you can do is talk to her. Otherwise you’re being dishonest to yourself.
Honest communication means communicating your true intentions and communicating them well.
Chapter 8: Demographics
Mark Manson says that age, money and looks matter. Sometimes a lot, sometimes not as much, but they do matter.
He says money also highlight other attractive traits, but its importance is often overblown. Usually, the less money she has and the less things going on she has, the more important material wealth is for her.
Similarly, women who are overly interested in good looks often don’t have much going on for them other than good looks.
But ultimately money, looks and success do matter as they are all indicator of status, says the author. And women are attracted to status.
Behavior is also an indicator of status. So the more money and looks you have, the less attractive behavior you need.
Most Beautiful Women
Mark Manson reckons the top 1% of women have 99% of men chasing them. Except of that, they’re normal girls. But because they’re so used to needy men hounding them for their looks those women will not settle for any men with any shred of neediness on his part.
The author says most men approaching these women indeed do so because they want to show her off and are hunting for status. That’s a very needy behavior. That means that most guys approach these women very insincerely. They want the bling, the looks, but few care about the personality.
Hence Manson suggests to look at something you like about her beyond the looks.
Chapter 9: How To Be Attractive
Mark Manson recommends that you take responsibility positions in your field of interests. If you want to be engaged in charitable events, don’t just show up, but help organize.
In this section he talks about:
- Body Language
- Vocal Tonality
They’re all primer so I suggest you to delve deeper on that stuff separately. Here’s some resources on body languages:
Chapter 10: What Are Your Stories?
The stories Manson talks about are the stories we all tell ourselves when we want to avoid something. That’s the resistance that Seth Godin talks about in Linchpin. I invite you to read that book for a deeper understanding of our unconscious resistance.
Chapter 11: How To Overcome Your Anxiety
Stories could be something like “I’ve been with prettier girls”, “I need to be dressed better to meet women”. We tell those stories to get out of our anxiety and tell ourselves it’s OK not to act. The author says that the needier you are, the more anxiety you have. Anxiety stem from our unwillingness to be vulnerable.
The first step to overcoming our anxieties is to understand the pattern we fall into.
Chapter 12: How To Take Action
Mark Manson recommends you do not try to suppress your fear but embrace it. He says top athletes and great speakers are also nervous before going on stage. But they channel that anxiety into a great performance. “make those butterflies fly all in the same direction”, said Tim Grover to Michael Jordan who was also nervous before big games.
He says a common way to address people’s fears is to expose them to extreme scenarios so that anything from there will seem easier. But Manson says while that’s helpful it’s not optimal. People will try to avoid those extreme scenarios in the future because they’re just too big to tackle again. And they’d wake up a week after and be back to square one.
He says that incremental high volume exposures is much better than extreme exposures.
You should start small with something you can bear. Than do a lot of it and build up from there.
He says the fear doesn’t go away, it just changes shape.
He says ‘s he still has some fear of approaching today but it’s different because it’s not tied to his self image.
Chapter 13: How To Be Charming
Mark Manson stresses the importance of developing an emotional connection with the woman. He says that all women’s novels share the same story, which involves meeting a troubled but strong man who opens up and shares his feelings and vulnerability. She supports / rescue him and they live happily ever after.
He says that connecting deeply is more powerful than any technique you could ever use. Most dating literature obsesses about attraction, but she’s attracted to many men she sees and meets. Building an emotional connection is what makes the difference.
And he gives us a blueprint on how to do it:
- Become aware of your emotions and motivations
- Share them (will create trust)
- She will share in return
The author suggests also you don’t simply tell something like “oh I like that too”. But tell why you like it and relate it to your life in a way that builds emotional trust and connection.
Chapter 14: How To Be Charming
Mark Manson talks here about conversation skills and how to use humor.
A part I particularly liked is that he recommends you avoid questions. Taking a leaf out of Leil Lowndes book Mark says that friends speak in statements, not questions. Questions create the feeling you want something from her and she must oblige. Instead of questions, use statements.
For example, instead of saying “how long have you been knowing each other” you can say “you guys look like you are old friends”.
Mark Manson says that men discuss things outside of themselves while women enjoy talking about themselves. Men should then speak to women about things relating to the two of them. Their stories, their dreams, their feelings.
Mark Manson recommends you never approach from behind and that you smile and give good eye contact. It won’t matter what you say, he says. He usually just blurts “Hi I’m Mark”.
Chapter 15: The Dating Process
Mark Manson talks about a bit about calling vs texting strategies. I loved his attitude of not over gaming and over thinking and focusing on those who wanted to meet you.
His dating process consists of doing lots of interactive activities and changing venues several times during the date. And you should organize the date and lead it.
Chapter 16: Physicality And Sex
The rule of thumb when you’re not sure when to escalate is to go for it. It’s better being rejected than doing nothing and not knowing what could have been.
Mark Manson recommends to grunt and give her some dirty talk once you’re getting down to it. Tell her that she’s sexy and you enjoy screwing her. Just be convinced and into it yourself when you do it.
Shout out to thepowermoves.com for doing this written summary