I have been a big fan of Robert Greene and his books ever since I read his book Mastery and it had changed my life. I have been fascinated by the research and depth of content his books have given me. The Art of Seduction is one of his masterpieces that discusses a rather controversial topic of using pleasure, love and enchantment as a means to achieve power and influence. It talks about the ways of love, of seduction, and of developing the ability to persuade others, more so those of the opposite sex. The book is well organised and provides a lot of historical examples which makes the reading more practical and relatable. Seduction is a social phenomenon. All of us are caught up in the trivialities of life, the banal and boring routines that we go through everyday to make ends meet. All of us seek escape from the rut, pleasure, enchantment and a chance to live out our fantasies for which we all need to be seduced. In this context, this book serves as a how to guide with sufficient anecdotes and case studies from historical seducers.
The book is divided into two parts – the first one talks about the nine types of seducers- the siren, the rake, the ideal lover, the dandy, the natural, the coquette, the charmer, the charismatic and the star. Each type is a chapter that dives into details of the personality of a particular type of seducer. Each chapter has stories from history and examples from everyday life. The book is full of anacdotes and side notes which make the reading very reflective and slow. There is a chapter on the anti-seducer as well, what not to do if you want to seduce someone. One can relate to the writing very well and learn the art of influence and persuation in the first part. The second part of the book talks about the process of seduction. It consists of twenty four chapters that are a step by step process to seduction. It starts out with identifying the right target for seduction and then to proceeds to the next steps. The read is long and slow, but very relateable and enjoyable.
Seduction does not necessarily mean to seduce a man or a woman in a sexual context. It could also mean to get other peoples favour into your cause in a mass scale, such as getting the electrorade to vote for you. The book has examples from Cleopatra to John F Kennedy about the process of mass persuation. It draws parallels between the man and woman seduction and the leader and masses type of seduction.
What most people seem to lack in their lives is not the everyday banal realities, it is the illusion, the space and comfort to be themselves, to lower their guard and to relax. Courtship should provide that illusion. A good seducer should provide enchantment, an escape from the everyday trivialities. He should create grand spectacles and drama to keep the interest and desire going. In everyone of us, there is always a child hiding inside. One should use non- verbal cues to reach out to that inner child and then use bold actions to generate feelings of excitement and adventure. The book talks us through the story of Benjamin Disreli seducing Queen Victoria in this context. One should make the other person feel important and superior, appeal to the emotional voids and use words and actions to cast a spell. One who provides a non defensive, open and non judgement environment for the other person to open up makes for a successful seducer. The truth is everyone wants to be seduced, all of us want a bit of pampering, a whole lot of attention from our mates, however, we hesitate to admit it.
The book goes into explaining why seduction fails and what we should do about it. It cautions us as to be aware of the pitfalls and common mistakes one can make while seducing their target. A relationship where there is no more magic, no more surprize or sparkle, no mystery will eventually die out as the desire to be along the other person would have vanished. One should never take his target for granted, he should consiously keep putting in the effort to rekindle the sparkle and keep the drama going. We tend to think more of what we want from others rather than looking for what they want from us. We should catch ourselves in the internal monologue, shut it out and show empathy towards the other person. We should get outside of our skin and understand the other person, get what makes them tick. We should make them feel like they are the one seducing us. We should pay attention to the details.
You must learn to distract your targets with a myriad of pleasant little rituals – thoughtful gifts tailered just for them, clothes and adornments designed to please them, gestures that show the time and attention you are paying them. Mesmerised by what they see, they will not notice what you are really up to. Learn to suggest the proper feelings and moods through details.Robert Greene in the Art of Seduction
An element of risk and danger adds temptation to the seduction. We all have regressive desires towards our primal insticts that we do not get to practise due to the taboos that society puts us through. A good seducer is a master at getting his targets to express the transgressive with a hint of risk and danger. People will always want more than they have and more than they are allowed. A good seducer provides that. He is good at the art of planting seeds, getting people to think about what they said and what they did. They realise the exhilaration that a surpize can provide and use it to their advantage. A good seducer is a master of using the emotional effects to get people to open up about their insecurities and show empathy and understanding. The book has detailed discussions about each of these topics and makes for a very informative read.
We all want to have a certain degree of influence and power in the world. The least of all, we want our closest circle, our family, friends and spouse in particular to listen to us. If we were to enjoy this privilage of influence over other people, then we should master the art of persuation. We should learn the art of seduction. History is full of powerful characters that have played and won this game, from Cleopatra to Napoleon to John F Kennedy. We should learn from such great seducers. We should now get such form of power to ourselves. Warfare, business and seduction are all the same, they are all pursuits of power. This book is remarkable in this context. Read this book if you want to learn the art of seduction, influence, persuation from the characters in history, though the lens of modern times.
Happy Reading !