When author Robert Greene wrote a book in 1998, The 48 Laws of Power, probably nobody expected there to be a sequel. After one of the most comprehensive books on power ever written, what was there to write about? “The Next 48 Laws of Power?”
When word came out of the sequel to this book, people wondered what it would be about. At the unveiling of his next book, Robert Greene surprised and astonished his expectant fans, because his second book was not quite about power.
His second book was titled The Art of Seduction.
Seduction, according to the book, is a sophisticated means of gaining, and holding, power. In the power-obsessed world which forms the backdrop to The 48 Laws of Power, all too often that power is established at the point of sword, spear, dagger or gun. Muscle and might rule over the weak; strength and brutality prevail by force, regardless of whether they are just.
Initially the exclusive invention of women, seduction was the most pragmatic strategy for gaining power in an unequal world ruled by strength and violence – the sustained offering and withholding of pleasure until the male, dizzy at the spectacle of pleasure on offer, became enslaved – addicted – to this softer, more insidious strength.
“Much more genius is needed to make love than to command armies.”
—Ninon De L’Enclos
Unlike The 48 Laws of Power, which is a straight read-through of one Law after the other, The Art of Seduction takes a more modular approach. Two main sections fill the book – the first being a detailed examination of The Seductive Character; the second, a look at the process of seduction itself.
Needless to say, even these are not a straight read-through. Part One, The Seductive Character, looks first at each of the nine main seducer archetypes. These are:-
The Siren, the seducers who charm with their voice or dazzle in other ways
The Rake, those who climb trellises for their pleasure
The Dandy, those who dress for success
The Ideal Lover, the Adonises and Helens of Troy who dazzle by being, well, perfect
The Natural, the innocents and waifs
The Coquette, the teasers running hot and cold
The Charmer, the smooth talkers with easy grins and calculated levels of politeness
The Charismatic, the Kennedys and Evas Peron
The Star, specialising in being worshipped from afar
There is a small section on their opposite – the repugnant vulgarians, moralists, windbags and brutes collectively known as Anti-Seducers for their despicable attitudes.
Following the section on the seducer archetypes, the book looks at their victims, the targets of seduction, as well as what the book calls “victim theory.” There are eighteen types, ranging from disappointed dreamers, crushed stars and the various wistful souls dreaming of being seduced.
The book then moves on to Part 2, the Seductive Process. This is not like a pickup artists’ book like The Game. The Art of Seduction, like its predecessor The 48 Laws of Power, goes through several historical or fictional examples in each chapter, ranging from Cleopatra’s seduction of Julius Caesar to seductresses such as Madame de Recamier and Ninon de L’Enclos, and powerfully seductive figures such as Marlene Dietrich, Soren Kierkegaard and Oscar Wilde, as well as the more obvious seducers such as Casanova.
Each chapter covers one or more historical or fictional examples, followed by an Interpretation of what actually went on during the encounter, and a Key to Seduction outlining how to apply the lessons of each chapter to your seductive repertoire. As always, the chapter ends with a symbol of the chapter such as the Theatre Curtain and a circumstance where the reversal could apply – and the chapters are replete with side notes in the margins.
There are four phases to the seductive process, and these are:-
Separation: Stir interest and desire (Chapters 1 through 8)
Lead Astray: Create pleasure and sow confusion (Chapters 9 through 15)
The Precipice: Deepen the effect through extreme measures (Chapters 16 through 20)
Moving In For The Kill: The seduction itself, and its aftermath (Chapters 21 through 24)
Here are the 24 chapters, in order. Note: All these presume a male seducing a female. These chapters apply whether it’s a straight woman chasing after a man, a gay man pursuing another guy or a lesbian after another woman.
1- Choose The Right Victim (be more discriminating, that is)
2- Create A False Sense Of Security – Approach Indirectly (Work on slowly moving from friend to lover)
3- Send Mixed Signals (Make ambiguity work for you)
4- Appear To Be An Object Of Desire – Create Triangles (Make them feel that they should have to fight for your affections)
5- Create A Need – Stir Anxiety And Discontent (Throw a little fantasy at her)
6- Master The Art Of Insinuation (Plant little seeds and let them grow of their own accord)
7- Enter Their Spirit (Play by her rules, and let her feel like she’s got the home advantage)
8- Create Temptation (Offer her something that she wants, and let her teeter on the edge of falling)
9- Create Suspense – What Comes Next? (Never let her have fixed expectations of you; when she expects little, surprise her)
10- Use The Demonic Power Of Words To Sow Confusion (Keep your language vague)
11- Pay Attention To Detail (Because it looks as if you are paying attention to her)
12- Poeticize Your Presence (Anchor good feelings to your presence; when you’re absent, those good feelings are, too)
13- Disarm Through Strategic Weakness And Vulnerability (Give her a reason to get close to you)
14- Confuse Desire And Reality – The Perfect Illusion (Give her more or what she wants, right out of her dreams)
15- Isolate The Victim (Take control of her time and give her so little to spend with those who may spoil things for you)
16- Prove Yourself (Show her that she can trust you)
17- Effect A Regression (Revive childhood memories, bring out her vulnerable side)
18- Stir Up The Transgressive And Taboo (Show her real temptation)
19- Use Spiritual Lures (Show her that you have this amazing capacity for philosophy and high concept thinking)
20- Mix Pleasure With Pain (But not too much)
21- Give Them The Space To Fall – The Pursuer Is Pursued (Let her do the chasing; get her to pursue you and make her want to use her wiles on you)
22- Use Physical Lures (Create a charged sexual atmosphere through long meaningful glances and other examples to show off your physical presence)
23- Master The Art Of The Bold Move (When it’s time to make your move, make it gracefully)
24- Beware Of The Altereffects (Remember what happens to male spiders and praying mantises. Don’t be like them … unless you want to get your head bitten off)
Using This Book In Earnest
Reading this book will make you a better class of seducer. Whether or not it will also make you a better class of human being is entirely up to you.
However, this is a truly useful book for those among us who are interested in, vested in, chasing down leads, closing sales and getting in customers old and new in the door. Modern business relies so much on soft sells, hard sells, pursuit of opportunities, gaining the customers’ interest and their custom, and securing not only one-time visits to your website or store, but regulars.
Every business person who owns and runs a business; every person seeking to establish a group of some sort, whether it be chess or knitting, or something esoteric, is always looking for ways of making the customer experience as sticky as possible both for established customers and new fresh first-times faces straight in the front door.
The Art of Seduction can be used by every adult who wants to make people want what they have; who wants the comfort of large amounts of good quality sales; who wants to make the customers come to them. The Art of Seduction can be used as is – a book of seduction techniques – or it can be used as the ultimate user guide for turning you, the reader, into a sales magnet, an opportunity magnet, whatever kind of magnet you want to be that draws in your customers in flocks.
How you use The Art of Seduction, then, is up to you.
Next time will be The 33 Strategies of War, on the 3rd of January 2017.