The Art of Seduction (2001) is the second book by American author Robert Greene.The book examines social power through the lens of seduction and was an international bestseller.
“Seduction is a game of psychology, not beauty, and it is within the grasp of any person to become a master at the game. All that is required is that you look at the world differently, through the eyes of a seducer.”
“What will seduce a person is the effort we expend on their behalf, showing how much we care, how much they are worth.”
“Seducers take pleasure in performing and are not weighed down by their identity, or by some need to be themselves, or to be natural.”
“Every seduction has two elements that you must analyze and understand: first, yourself and what is seductive about you; and second, your target and the actions that will penetrate their defenses and create surrender.
The Seductive Character
Successful seduction starts with who you are and the type of seductive energy you express. It requires creating yourself, or refining yourself, in one of the seducer categories.
- Sirens have an abundance of sexual energy and know how to use it.
- They lure in their targets, like the sirens of Odysseus, through their image and teases. Crafting the perfect seductive pose for their target.
- Rakes insatiably adore the opposite sex, and their desire is infectious.
- Unlike the normal, cautious male, the Rake is delightfully unrestrained, a slave to his love of women. There is the added lure of his reputation: so many women have succumbed to him, there has to be a reason.
- Remember: it is the form that matters, not the content. The less your targets focus on what you say, and the more on how it makes them feel, the more seductive your effect. Give your words a lofty, spiritual, literary flavor the better to insinuate desire in your unwitting victims.
- To play the Rake, the most obvious requirement is the ability to let yourself go, to draw a woman into the kind of purely sensual moment in which past and future lose meaning. You must be able to abandon yourself to the moment.
- If no obstacles face you, you must create them. Seduction requires obstacle.
- Ideal Lovers have an aesthetic sensibility that they apply to romance.
- Casanova was perhaps the most successful seducer in history; few women could resist him. His method was simple: on meeting a woman, he would study her, go along with her moods, find out what was missing in her life, and provide it. He made himself the Ideal Lover.
- But appeal to their better selves, to a higher standard of beauty, and they will hardly notice that they have been seduced. Make them feel elevated, lofty, spiritual, and your power over them will be limitless.
- Talleyrand simply held up a mirror to Napoleon and let him glimpse that possibility. People are always vulnerable to insinuations like this, which stroke their vanity almost everyone’s weak spot. Hint at something for them to aspire to, reveal your faith in some untapped potential you see in them, and you will soon have them eating out of your hand.
- Dandies like to play with their image, creating a striking and androgynous allure.
- Most of us feel trapped within the limited roles that the world expects us to play. We are instantly attracted to those who are more fluid, more ambiguous, than we are— those who create their own persona. Dandies excite us because they cannot be categorized, and hint at a freedom we want for ourselves.
- Dandies seduce socially as well as sexually; groups form around them, their style is wildly imitated, an entire court or crowd will fall in love with them. In adapting the Dandy character for your own purposes, remember that the Dandy is by nature a rare and beautiful flower. Be different in ways that are both striking and aesthetic, never vulgar; poke fun at current trends and styles, go in a novel direction, and be supremely uninterested in what anyone else is doing. Most people are insecure; they will wonder what you are up to, and slowly they will come to admire and imitate you, because you express yourself with total confidence.
- Naturals are spontaneous and open.
- Coquettes are self-sufficient, with a fascinating cool at their core.
- Coquettes seem totally self-sufficient: they do not need you, they seem to say, and their narcissism proves devilishly attractive.
- People are inherently perverse. An easy conquest has a lower value than a difficult one; we are only really excited by what is denied us, by what we cannot possess in full. Your greatest power in seduction is your ability to turn away, to make others come after you, delaying their satisfaction.
- To understand the peculiar power of the Coquette, you must first understand a critical property of love and desire: the more obviously you pursue a person, the more likely you are to chase them away.
- Self-esteem is critical in seduction. (Your attitude toward yourself is read by the other person in subtle and unconscious ways.) Low self-esteem repels, confidence and self-sufficiency attract. The less you seem to need other people, the more likely others will be drawn to you.
- Charmers want and know how to please— they are social creatures.
- Charmers do not argue or fight, complain, or pester— what could be more seductive?
- First, they don’t talk much about themselves, which heightens their mystery and disguises their limitations. Second, they seem to be interested in us, and their interest is so delightfully focused that we relax and open up to them. Finally Charmers are pleasant to be around. They have none of most people’s ugly qualities— nagging, complaining, self-assertion.
- Charismatics have an unusual confidence in themselves.
- Learn to create the charismatic illusion by radiating intensity while remaining detached.
- Creating the air of charisma:
- Purpose. If people believe you have a plan, that you know where you are going, they will follow you instinctively The direction does not matter: pick a cause, an ideal, a vision and show that you will not sway from your goal.Mystery. Mystery lies at charisma’s heart, but it is a particular kind of mystery— a mystery expressed by contradiction, by having conflicting traits.Saintliness. Most of us must compromise constantly to survive; saints do not. They must live out their ideals without caring about the consequences. The saintly effect bestows charisma.Eloquence. A Charismatic relies on the power of words.Theatricality. A Charismatic is larger than life, has extra presence.Uninhibitedness. Most people are repressed, and have little access to their unconscious— a problem that creates opportunities for the Charismatic, who can become a kind of screen on which others project their secret fantasies and longings.Fervency. You need to believe in something, and to believe in it strongly enough for it to animate all your gestures and make your eyes light up.Vulnerability. Charismatics display a need for love and affection.Adventurousness. Charismatics are unconventional.Magnetism. If any physical attribute is crucial in seduction, it is the eyes. They reveal excitement, tension, detachment, without a word being spoken.
- People do not want to hear that your power comes from years of effort or discipline. They prefer to think that it comes from your personality, your character, something you were born with.
- Stars are ethereal and envelop themselves in mystery.
- People are hopelessly susceptible to myth, so make yourself the hero of a great drama. And keep your distance— let people identify with you without being able to touch you. They can only watch and dream.
- First, you must have such a large presence that you can fill your target’s mind the way a close-up fills the screen.
- Second, cultivate a blank, mysterious face, the center that radiates Starness.
- The Anti-Seducer: those who repel
- Anti-Seducers come in many shapes and kinds, but almost all of them share a single attribute, the source of their repellence: insecurity.
- It is critical to recognize anti-seductive qualities not only in others but also in ourselves. Almost all of us have one or two of the Anti-Seducer’s qualities latent in our character, and to the extent that we can consciously root them out, we become more seductive.
- The Brute: Who has no patience, who wants to skip the seduction, who offends with egotism.
- The Suffocator: Those who cling incessantly to you, love you before you know who they are, or who make themselves a doormat to you in their obsession.
- The Moralizer: Who wants you to bend to their standard.
- The Tightwad: Cheapness displays more insecurity beyond money.
- The Bumbler: The awkward speaker, who makes others feel awkward too.
- The Windbag: Who won’t shut up.
- The Reactor: Who is terrified to have their ego damaged.
- The Vulgarian: Who ignores the rules of the game, presents a garrish image, does not play the game and yet expects to win.
- It is rather because wordless communication (through clothes, gestures, actions) is the most pleasurable, exciting, and seductive form of language.