fighting the lack of good ideas

the art of seduction by robert greene


This book contains, in places, intense terminology, and is directed at mentally-mature audiences

Now back to our regularly-scheduled bog post

After having read The 48 Laws of Power (and enjoying it), I decided to read some of Robert Greene’s other popular works. So, I read Mastery.

And then I read The Art of Seduction.

(I haven’t read his work The 33 Strategies of War – but it’s in my queue. I anticipate, perhaps wrongly, that it will be very similar to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War (which I reviewed then reprinted hereon); but I’ll have to wait until I’ve read it to know for sure.)

This book strays quite a bit from Greene’s core strengths, in my opinion, ranging into an arena of thought and action that feels far more “reported upon” than “acted upon”. Maybe it’s just how I had gotten used to his previous style (or, at least, his style in the books of his I read previously), but I liked this book the least.

  1. Part One – The Seductive Character
    1. The Siren
    2. The Rake
    3. The Ideal Lover
    4. The Dandy
    5. The Natural
    6. The Coquette
    7. The Charmer
    8. The Charismatic
    9. The Star
    10. The Anti-Seducer
    11. The Seducer’s Victims – The Eighteen Types
  2. Part Two – The Seductive Process
    1. Phase One: Separation – Stirring Interest and Desire
      1. Choose the Right Victim
      2. Create a False Sense of Security – Approach Indirectly
      3. Send Mixed Signals
      4. Appear to be an Object of Desire – Create Triangles
      5. Create a Need – Stir Anxiety and Discontent
      6. Master the Art of Insinuation
      7. Enter Their Spirit
      8. Create Temptations
    2. Phase Two: Lead Astray – Creating Pleasure and Confusion
      1. Keep Them in Suspense – What Comes Next?
      2. Use the Demonic Power of Words to Sow Confusion
      3. Pay Attention to Detail
      4. Poeticize Your Presence
      5. Disarm Through Strategic Weakness and Vulnerability
      6. Confuse Desire and Reality – The Perfect Illusion
      7. Isolate the Victim
    3. Phase Three: The Precipice – Deepening the Effect Through Extreme Measures
      1. Prove Yourself
      2. Effect a Regression
      3. Stir up the Transgressive and Taboo
      4. Use Spiritual Lures
      5. Mix Pleasure with Pain
    4. Phase Four: Moving in for the Kill
      1. Give Them Space to Fail – The Pursuer is Pursued
      2. Use Physical Lures
      3. Master the Art of the Bold Move
      4. Beware the Aftereffects
  3. Appendix A: Seductive Environment / Seductive Time
  4. Appendix B: Soft Seduction: How to Sell Anything to the Masses

Skip all of the sketchy, individually manipulative material – and there’s nothing left to the book except some dry reporting … and an acknowledgements page that includes two cats and his parents.

I do still love the layout used in all of Robert Greene’s books (maybe it’s a “Joost Elffers Book” thing?) – with abstracts under each chapter title in the table of contents, callouts/sidebars in the margins and funkified* typesetting for emphasis in many places.

  • Is this a book worth reading? I believe that answer is a cautious “yes”.
  • Is this a book worth owning? I cannot answer that for you – borrow it from your library first, and then decide.

Come back tomorrow for chapter abstracts.

* defines this term in many negative ways – I definitely intend to convey a positive one here, eg entry 4 on UD