The Art of Seduction
|Subject||Strategy, self-help, philosophy|
|Preceded by||The 48 Laws of Power|
|Followed by||The 33 Strategies of War|
The book profiles nine types of seducers (with an additional profile for an "anti-seducer") and eighteen types of victims. Greene uses examples from historical figures such as Cleopatra, Giacomo Casanova, Duke Ellington and John F. Kennedy to support the psychology behind seduction. The book contains 24 seduction techniques. Greene saw The Art of Seduction as the logical follow-up to The 48 Laws of Power since seduction is "about power and manipulation as much as it is about romance, about how to make someone fall under your spell."
The 9 types of seducers
The siren is the kind of woman who represents adventure and change. She develops her persona and charm on the premise that man is always looking for a variety of experiences and she presents those experiences to him. Her charm lies in an almost theatrical and sensually pleasing visual experience which she creates through elaborate attire and an air of seduction all around her. She is feminine, a bit coy, glamorous, regal, and lives a life of leisure and comfort. She has an instant effect on the man due to her sex appeal which lies in her calm, unhurried demeanour combined with a dazzling appearance. She has an almost dangerous quality. She makes a man pursue her and always seems a bit out of his reach.
The Rake is male seducer who catches the female fancy by incessantly pursuing her. Just like the siren has an effect on men due to her physical presence, a rake has an effect on women due to his ability to show an ardent devotion to her. She is attracted to him because he seems to be madly in love with her. He shows no hesitation or reluctance, and unabashedly admits his weakness when in her presence, hence making himself every woman's dream come true. He is an expert at using words and language to show his devotion. Like the Siren, the Rake also keeps a part of his personality hidden, creating a sense of danger and thrill. He also has a reputation for being a ladies's man and being reckless in love, but he never downplays or hides his notoriety. Instead he uses it to his advantage to generate interest among women.
The Ideal Lover
The ideal lover, as the name suggests, represents a fantasy lover who makes the beloved feel lofty and great. Greene uses the examples of Casanova and Madame de Pompadour to describe an ideal lover. According to Greene, Casanova is historically considered the most successful seducer. He made himself irresistible to women by giving them what seemed missing in their lives. He used careful observation to determine a woman's needs and presented himself as the epitome of what she desired. Madame de Pompadour employed the same strategy with King Louis XV who needed a change and adventure in his life. Madame de Pompadour became the adventure he so desired. Through her costumes, innovative activities and projects she won his heart and gained great power.
A dandy is the kind of seducer who offers the kind of forbidden freedom that most people can only dream of but never hope to achieve. A dandy is essentially a radical who doesn't conform to tradition and often rely on insolence to attract the opposite sex. Dandies can be both male and female. A male dandy is not an aggressive male seducer but rather a sophisticated and graceful one. Where a male dandy dresses with an almost feminine appeal and attention to detail, a woman dandy has masculine qualities in her appearance and attire. Greene uses examples of Rudolph Valentino, Marlene Dietrich and Lou von Salome as prototypical examples of male and female dandies. Rudolph Valentino was a male dancer and film actor who had graceful body movements, a trim body and beautiful clean cut facial features. He had a masculine persona but he wore jewelry and tight fitted clothes to create an aura of sophistication. He also played up his physicality in his movies with scenes of stripping and undressing. Female dandies Marlene Dietrich and Lou von Salome were both non-conformists in their attire and attitude. Marlene dressed up like a man while Salome was domineering and calculating. All these historical figures seduced large number of people due to their ability to break conventions and represent an almost forbidden freedom.
Many people consider childhood as the golden age because we have a sense of having lost that time of our lives making it all the more precious and desired. The Natural seducer is the one who has somehow retained the childhood traits. They have an innocent quality about them which makes them irresistible. Like a child they are impish, vulnerable and defenceless, open and spontaneous. They make their audience lower their guards because they appear so guileless and fresh. People are attracted to them because they represent a refreshing experience in contrast to the daily seriousness of adult life. Though the Naturals present a child like quality, they also bring the wisdom of adulthood and combine these two together to create an irresistible charm. Greene uses Charlie Chaplin's example to personify the idea of a Natural.
The Coquette is the kind of seducer who leads a person on without offering instant gratification. Their modus operandi is to delay satisfaction alternating between unexplained warmth and coldness so that the victim stays in a state of anticipation not knowing what is coming next. They play on the human psychology knowing that anything that is easily available to humans is not necessarily valued. Hence, they create a persona of being unavailable and this generates excitement in their audience. Coquettes are somewhat narcissistic as well and have no qualms in making their victims pursue them relentlessly. They create a sense of insecurity in their targets and when they reach the brink, they pull them back with show of warmth and attention. They play with emotions swinging between love and hate.
Charmers are those who seduce by making their targets the centre of attention. They don't highlight their own selves, but rather their entire focus is on bringing comfort and pleasure to their victims. They avoid all sorts of conflict and appeal to a person's vanity by making them talk about themselves. They watch and observe allowing their targets to open up completely. Once they know their weaknesses, they use that information to give them what they want. This allows them to have a complete hold on their targets. Greene gives the example of Benjamin Disraeli and Queen Victoria's relationship. Disraeli knew that Queen Victoria longed for a man's attention and used this insight to gain her confidence and proximity in court.
Charismatic seducers are inherently exciting because they come across as self sufficient and self driven. They represent the kind of personality that most people want to see themselves as. They might be great orators, public figures, visionaries or leaders. People might look towards them to alleviate their sufferings or to save them. They use their powerful personalities and their way with words to sway emotions and to stir up change. Some charismatic figures are able to seduce by creating contradictions within their personalities e.g. cruelty and kindness, power and vulnerability etc.
The Star has a glamorous and dramatic presence and they present themselves as objects of fascination. Kennedy, for instance, was a star who won over his opponents through his star quality and eloquence. Stars seduce the subconscious mind by appealing to human fascination with the strange and the mythical. They create a larger than life persona and then contrast it with playing up human qualities which make them amenable to the targets. People are attracted towards the Star because they are fascinated by them and can relate to them at the same time.
It is mentioned in Neil Strauss' book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists as a recommended book in the seduction community. American Apparel founder and CEO Dov Charney found the book to be a fascinating study in human behavior. The Art of Seduction and Greene have been featured in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, The New York Post, Esquire, and Wired.
Greene considers himself a Reformed Rake, one of the types of seducers mentioned in the book, and states that he used the book's techniques to attract his current girlfriend, Anna Biller. He is working to develop a television series based on the book.
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