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My interview with a pickup artist

Ramit Sethi

About 18 months ago, I was in a strategy meeting with my publisher. There were about 7 people around the table — all women. (Most of publishing is women.) We were discussing which markets to promote my book to, and we’d discussed all the obvious ones: Men 24-35, women, moms, parents, etc.

Then I spoke up. “I want to talk to the pickup artists.”

The room got quiet. “Who?” somebody asked.

“There’s a huge sub-culture of guys who help other guys learn how to be more confident and get a girlfriend,” I said. “They’re all interested in self-development and psychology — which is exactly what my book is about.”

“Ugh,” somebody else said. “Is this like those guys who ‘neg’ women to try to take them home from bars?”

I was not surprised to hear the skepticism. Pickup artists (PUA) have gotten a terrible name — and rightfully so. They first become famous through the fascinating book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, and have gone on to create a multi-million-dollar market.

The main idea was to help men learn how to approach and engage women. It could be used for short-term gain or to help men become more confident and get into long-term relationships. Personally, I have many friends who could benefit from some coaching.

Predictably, many people saw only the surface applications and were angry. Common complaints include “How dare they use tricks on women,” “Only certain kinds of girls fall for this crap,” and “This is only for weirdos who have no social life.”

However, I was hearing dozens and dozens of stories from guys who’d had success from using the principles. Notice I said principles — not tactics. Principles underlie everything you do and are critically important to long-term behavioral change.

For example, I can teach you a cool negotiation script — a tactic — and it will probably work. But once you use it, have you changed anything long-term? No. That comes with automating the behavior and changing your overall mindset.

So I got interested. I investigated the field. I examined the principles and tactics. I made friends with some people in the field.

And I became simultaneously fascinated and disgusted.

I was fascinated because pickup artists employ extremely sophisticated applied persuasion techniques, including inoculation, commitment, and social influence. They rigorously test their ideas to find out which works. And they are committed to deeply understanding their approach.

However, pickup artists quickly became ethically questionable. The first players in this game kept it to themselves and a small group of people, who all shared techniques to encourage self-development. Once The Game launched, the market exploded — and where there are young guys with money, there is a rich market.

To many, pickup artists became less about self-development and more about extremely expensive seminars and bootcamps.

Now, I have nothing against expensive educational material. In fact, I sell some of the most expensive material you can buy on earning more money. And it is extremely good. But I can only sell it for such a high price because my free material works — and my premium material works even better. Slowly, steadily, I’ve built up trust with my readers over the last 6 years.

Some of the PUA guys are very, very good. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. But many are bad and sleazy, and the field is now filled with a combination of excellent instructors and disenchanted customers who were promised a quick fix but failed to see it — even after spending thousands of dollars.

The importance of being interdisciplinary

It’s controversial to talk about pickup on this site. Women get angry, men scoff publicly (but secretly go Google “PUA forum”), and nobody likes thinking that we’re susceptible to scripts and techniques to get us to go to bed with someone else.

But I’m going to talk about PUA anyway.

Do you know why?

Because you need to be more interdisciplinary.

Enough reading 50 blogs about the same topic.

For example, I’m honestly bored by most personal-finance sites. With a few excellent exceptions, most of it is trite, conformist, and reveals very few new insights about money. Instead, I read books and blogs on psychology, persuasion, deception, biology, health and fitness, entrepreneurship, and gender relations.

And that is why I like to think this site keeps you engaged.

This is why I bring you exclusive material like my interview with BJ Fogg, a Stanford psychologist who is one of the foremost experts on persuasion.

It’s why I did an interview with my friend Derek Sivers, a successful entrepreneur who’s a keen observer of human behavior that’s systematically studied how to get disproportionate results.

It’s why I emphasize negotiation and testing and the psychology of money, not just saving money on cat food.

And that’s why I did an interview with a group of pickup artists.

I hope this doesn’t offend you. There are critical insights to be gained here, even if the topic is controversial. And I think you’ll find that I presented my argument respectfully.

If you are offended, let me remind you that skepticism is not a strategy.

If you’re open to the ideas, I invite you to listen. I covered some material that will challenge the way you think — specifically about the similarities between the personal finance and pickup.

How are personal finance and pickup similar?

  • We all think we “should” know about money — and meeting women (or men) — but nobody really teaches us
  • Friends give us random “tips” and “tricks” (say this! invest in that!) but we never have a holistic, systematic understanding of the process
  • It’s taboo to talk about money — and it’s taboo to talk about how you’re failing with women
  • Quick wins are important, but BIG WINS — attitudinal and behavioral changes — provide the best long-term benefits
  • We can read book after book about investing…but it means nothing until we implement
  • Testing is critical
  • 99% of people will stop at the surface of both topics — PUA and personal finance — but the very few, the very best, will see them as deeply connected in the area of self-development. This is why so many people who succeed in automating their finances go on to improve themselves in health & fitness, public speaking, and relationships
  • Many more

Making connections between fields is so important. For instance, in undergrad and grad school, I took courses on negotiation, deception, cults, magic, minority influence, organizational development, group dynamics, arbitration, personality/social psychology, persuasive technology, and social systems.

Some were controversial. But every one contributed to my views on human behavior.

And I hope to bring that to you through this site and my premium products.

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  1. avatar
    Casey Friday

    This is extremely fascinating. I think one of the traits of extremely successful people is their uncanny ability to achieve effectiveness through unorthodox measures. Great article, Ramit.

  2. avatar
    Paul Rubillo

    Hi Ramit,

    The problem I see with many when it comes to money is that either one ignores all there is they need to know (maybe some basic knowledge – putting one’s check in the bank doesn’t count), or when it comes to investing anyway – skip the simplicity of buying stocks and go right for options trading. I cringe every time I meet new investors that tell me they have blown hundreds of dollars learning the basics of options trading. The words, “Basic” and “Options Trading” don’t belong in the same sentence! This is a results-now society we live in, and when it comes to investing, it can often lead to a bad first taste when it comes to investing. People tend to take their first stock tip from their friends, relatives, or someone that they have no business listening to when it comes to a successful investing track record. Trust me, some of the gurus you see on business television aren’t that much better. Personal finance is a fairly routine subject that most gurus tend to spin ever so slightly to make it sound as if they have discovered any hidden secrets. Investing and trading successfully (something I did for 15 years before launching is all about leaving your emotions at the door and finding a successful strategy that does not have you biting your fingernails every time the market has a down day. Confidence in your ability to adjust to any situation is also key, as I’m sure any PUA with a good track record can attest. I often find street smarts is more essential to book smarts when it comes to better investing. Thinking you are smarter than the markets will only get you in trouble. I’m sure a good PUA can tell you that having amazing looks is not as important either, when it comes to landing your prey. As you said above, without testing or implementing, you will never get to taste the big wins that could be sitting there for you, whether it is your career, money, finding a spouse/girlfriend, etc. I am always urging my readers to automatically get some of their hard-earned money into a brokerage account, so there are no excuses to not being in a position to build wealth. Whether you like investing in index funds, dividend stocks (which is what I do/teach), mutual funds, ETFS, or whatever, the key is getting yourself and your money in position to do so. Great topic Ramit!

  3. avatar
    Rick L.


    I deleted this comment. It was left by a troll who has been using multiple names and email addresses and has left only negative comments — over 10 of them, in fact — with no constructive feedback.

  4. avatar
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  5. avatar
    Casey Friday

    This is interesting. I haven’t been following Ramit long enough to get this impression of him, but this is almost the EXACT impression from many other bloggers who make their income solely from their blogs, such as Everett Bogue, Tammy Strobel, and Karol Gajda. The products I bought from them didn’t seem to help me achieve anything extraordinary that I wasn’t already achieving in my life.

    I guess the point of a service like this is to conglomerate information into an easily digestible format for people who don’t want to figure things out on their own. Once again, I haven’t been through Earn1K, so I’m not judging Ramit – I’m judging all the other similar programs on the web.

    Sorry to hear you didn’t get what you wanted out of the course, but I’m glad to hear a critical review.

  6. avatar
    Sachit Gupta

    Interesting choice of image – I guess you’re referring to the ‘peacocking’ technique? A lot of PUAs are actually moving away from using scripts so interesting choice :P. From the ones I’ve talked to, its more about concentrating on things like ‘inner game’ and actually improving yourself. Can’t wait to check out the interview!

  7. avatar

    Ramit, most finance blogs cover the same topics as your book did. Seeing as how you consider yourself an expert in personal finance, it’s pretty logical that you would not want to read more about something you already know well.

    Similarly, I purchased your book, but I’d say about 90% of it was information I already knew and did. I did get some value out of a handful of chapters as well as reading it from another person’s viewpoint rather than a mixture of financial websites.

    As a result of my experience with your book and the name of your blog, I mostly dismissed it as “another finance blog.” Still, I gave it another shot recently and it has surprised me. Some of your stuff is great (e.g. your interview with BJ Fogg) and some of it is lacking (e.g. your interview with Noah Keagan, no offense, felt very unfocused and overall forgettable).

    Anyway, the topics you tend to cover fall into the same topics I enjoy reading about, and I recently resubscribed to the RSS and the mailing list.

  8. avatar
    David Weisberger

    Interesting, I thought that the step-by-step worksheets, like the scripts and other practical tools, were what set 1K apart for me. I definitely didn’t work through everything, but have been able to apply it to my existing business. What was your experience with the *activities* as opposed to the passive *content*?

  9. avatar

    Hi guys, I’m looking for some feedback that is indirectly related to personal finance. I use the term indirectly because if the project works, I can negotiate a raise out of it. Instead of asking people to pay me for a service, I want to pay them for their time. Yet, I’m at a loss for how to build a rapport that get the results I want.
    I work for a company that conducts clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies. Often, we rely on word of mouth and purchased databases to recruit people to participate in trials. The other half of recruiting involves spending a few office hours per week leaving fliers at local businesses. It’s awkward and inefficient. However, the company does not want to put out alot of money for advertising/recruiting.
    I think I can take our current strategy and turn it into a more efficient and effective recruiting model. Specifically, I want to do the following:
    1) Build a rapport with local managers of retail stores, groceries, restaurants/fast food joints so that I can gain access to their employees.
    2) Sign up the employees for our clinical trials interest list.

    The first barrier for me is gaining an audience with the manager. They are busy people, they are the gatekeepers of their store. What can I tell them in a few minutes on the phone that doesn’t make me sound like I’m some weirdo who wants to do medical experiments on their employees?

    I have some friends who are retail managers, they each told me to emphasize the referral fee system we offer. My concern is that requires they (the managers) get someone to come in and enroll in a study. There is no immediate pay off and it would require them to do something.
    I’ve also considered working the health care angle. People who enroll get free physical exams, free study medication and we pay them.

    I’m not asking them to pay for a product, but I am asking for their time and eventually the time of their employees.

    I’ve already selected about 20 local businesses I want to target, estimating a 50% failure rate.

    What does a busy manager want, that I can offer so that I can have an opportunity to present this to his employees?

  10. avatar

    Busy managers probably have a lot of employees, and the ones that would be most interested in doing a clinical trial would be the ones that need more hours.

    Perhaps you can suggest to the managers that you can work with some of the employees’ who are requesting additional hours and rather than having them work overtime or changing from part-time to full-time. Assuming it’s not a dangerous trial, it’s a win/win for everyone, because those employees are also the most likely to need more money.

    Also, some of the employees might have problems getting too and from the test center. Most likely a number of them use public transport to get to their workplace. That might be another incentive you can consider offering.

  11. avatar

    Oh, additionally, if you need to pitch it to your sponsor, offering transportation should increase participation rates, increase overall attendance rates, and decrease the number of dropouts.

    Best option would be to pick up the normal bus route that they take to get to work and drop them off at their workplace at the end *or* pick them up from their workplaces and drive the normal bus route they use to get back home, saving them bus fare and not greatly interrupting their normal travel routine.

  12. avatar

    I purchased your book exactly oneyear ago. I never cracked it. I stumbled across it a week ago in my I pad library. I can not get enough. Your street sense attitude towards improving so many areas of life is a breath of fresh air. And the pua email is brilliant.

  13. avatar

    It’s pretty unfortunate that this is my first comment, since usually I love Ramit’s stuff and I just used his advice about overpreparing for interviews to land my dream internship. But I still have to say that the reason people react so negatively to the pickup artist community is that the vast majority of websites/books are written by scum who have an open contempt for women and explicitly assume that their readers will manipulate women into having sex by lying about their willingness to develop a long-term relationship. Yes, there’s probably a few books out there that emphasize respect and honesty while helping men become more confident socially, but that’s not what people think of when they hear the phrase ‘pickup artist.’ It would be like Ramit marketing himself as a con artist and then complaining people didn’t interpret that to mean ‘an ethical hustler.’ I love Ramit’s point about applying the psychological methods he teaches to multiple areas of your life, I like the parallels he drawing between dating and personal finance, and based on the rest of his blog I’m pretty sure he’s not endorsing lying to or emotionally abusing women. Still, it seems like someone who’s usually so savvy about marketing and emotional reactions would have chosen a less loaded term to describe some very intersting ideas.

  14. avatar

    cool, it was kind of obvious you were into pickup

  15. avatar

    “having sex by lying about their willingness to develop a long-term relationship.”

    its actually the opposite, you should clear your data

  16. avatar

    Tai, thanks for the suggestions. It’s clear you have some familiarity with the industry as you used the term sponsor.
    I think you are right concerning the bit about employees who need extra cash. I will definitely consider that because it makes sense.

    Do you think these 3 key points will help me get my foot in the door?
    Helps employees who might lack health care (i.e. less sick days)
    Provides supplemental income to employees (less pressure to provide staff extra hours or OT)
    Referral fee (they get paid everytime someone from their place enrolls)

    While I agree with providing some method of transportation there is no way my company will go for it -liability insurance, company car, staff time spent transporting patients or hiring someone else to do that.

  17. avatar

    Hey I havent heard the podcast as im not on the computer but my mobile. I laughed at your comment about the troll, yet least he leaves a comment. Personally I really enjoyed the game, that was for relationships, taught me a lot about myself aswell and this game you bring is the relationship with business. Impressed how you mix the both. Heard my mom negotiating over the phone, she got an expired gift certificate to be renewed. What id like to know is what do to with 1k to make it 10k? by investing?

  18. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Maybe the most sophisticated question to ever be asked on this site

  19. avatar

    This sounds absolutely fascinating and I’d love to read it, but 69 minutes is a long time. Is there a transcript or summary?

  20. avatar

    Of course I mean “I’d love to listen to it” but in fact if it was readable that would be better!

  21. avatar

    I’ve observed one key point that seperates Ramit, Tim Ferriss, and the PUA material I’ve digested from the guys at Charisma Arts (Wayne Elise), from all the “scum” in the personal finance, business, and PUA world.

    They advocated full-scope self-improvement.

    Every one of these guys doesn’t set off my sleeze alarm, because they all tell me to be myself. It’s not that their material is groundbreaking or new. These guys are not the researchers. They take research that’s already been done, and assimilate it into easy-to-digest material, and apply it to everyday life. I mean, at the foundation, here are the principles for all three:

    Ramit: Don’t spend more than you earn, dummy.
    Tim: Start a business that doesn’t depend on your personal time.
    Wayne: Be friendly. Shoot for overly-so.

    All three: DO IT. ACT. Stop thinking about it and just GO OUT THERE AND GET IT DONE.

    The interesting thing about telling someone to act, above all things, is that by it’s very nature, acting is a much better education than months and months of research. For one, it guides you to research the most relevent topics, and then gives immediate experience. The other thing is that you never are going to get it right anyways, and by acting sooner you have more experience “self starting” and how to correct along the way.

    The higher level of what they do, and the actual key that makes them successful, rather than just another dote saying “just do it, man” is that they give you pretty good scripts to get you started. Ramit gives you a script to negotiate a lower APR. Tim gives you a comprehensive list of resources to launch a business, withouth having to spend hours and hours tracking them down on google. Wayne tells you to ask the pretty girl for the time, rather than for her number.

    All of these things are the *baby steps* to get you moving. Small, quick wins. “If I can approach her for the time, maybe I can defer a little bit and comment on the Star Wars t-shirt she’s wearing” “If I can get a lower APR this easy, maybe I can get a raise at work…” “If I can have a professional business setup for $1,000/yr with these techniques, I only need to make $84/month to break even.”
    Once these things are in place and up and running, it’s all about fine tuning the system. Not only does it get easier, but you get better. You confidently approach more attractive girls (or guys.) Once your money is working for you, and you have automated savings, you can diversify, refine, and put more where it works best for you. Once your business is self-sustaining, you can tweak the advertising, prices, and negotiate manufacturing to achieve a higher and higher ROI, with more and more [repeat] customers.

    Baby steps. I love it. All these guys get you to improve yourself through baby steps, and in return, many people happily give them money for it. After all; aren’t we all richer for it?


    Pursue what makes you happy. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Live life to the fullest. Avoid boredom. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.


  22. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Martin, you have some of the best comments on this site in recent history

  23. avatar

    Forget about the transport issues. Just give them all free bus tickets. I can’t think of anything outside of those 3 points. Increase employee morale and productivity (healthier, more money), but that’s a stretch.

    Rehearse a lot. Have points prepared for common objections. Try to keep it natural.

    Ask those you referred what their primary motivation for signing up was.

    Start your own call list or email list. Possibly refer them to surveys/focus groups, as well? Don’t go overboard, ensure it will be one e-mail/call a month, tops, and they can be dropped whenever, keep the offers HQ.

    Lastly, I wouldn’t want to mislead you: I’m not sure why I pulled the word sponsor out; my advice is from a layman’s perspective.

  24. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Guys, please take the Q&A on your business idea elsewhere

  25. avatar


    Thanks, man! I could say the same for you! 😉

  26. avatar

    There is indeed a transcript.

  27. avatar
    Leif David

    I’m a professional magician and an amateur PUA student.

    Studying pickup techniques have defiantly impacted the way I perform my close-up magic because it exists with the same social context. In both situations you’re approaching a group who doesn’t know who you are, or what you want, and your job is to rapidly build rapport with them.

    Ramit you like specific examples so I’ll give you one. In pickup its said over and over again that when you approach a group they don’t care who you are, and they certainly don’t care what your name is. The “Hi I’m Ramit, whats your name?” is a trip down suicide lane. Instead its better to build rapport with the group first, THEN introduce yourself later on. Now when I approach a group and perform magic, I can begin with a quick effect, then later on in the conversation I can ask for their name first, then I can say my name. By the time this name-exchange comes up, it seems almost strange that we didn’t exchange names earlier because we’ve been talking for several minutes- We’re already “friends”.

    My name is somewhat unusual as well. It’s pronounced “Layf” and not “Leaf”. Using the above technique also has the nice bonus side effect of not having me correct them as our first interaction. If I approach a group and say “Hi my name is Leif” and say “Leaf?” and I go “No, Leif”, right away I’m making them feel wrong and that I’m correcting them. Not a good opener for a social situation where you want to build rapport. This same exchange left until later on in a conversation becomes fun and playful instead.

    PS: Magic trick do work in the bar, but no, it isn’t a fast track to getting laid. *sad face* Ironically, its always the guys that say “That shit must get you laid all the time”

  28. avatar

    I was really looking forward to the interview because I was under the impression that you were interviewing them, but it’s actually the other way around; they were interviewing you about money. That’d be great except I’m on the last chapter of your book anyway. A little misleading advertising, Ramit? I would still be interested in reading your “boiled-down” explanation of PUA & psychology if you ever decide to do it.

  29. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    SUPER fascinating. Everybody read this. There is a ton of non-obvious insight in this comment.

    Great comment.

  30. avatar
    Leif David

    @Ramit: If you ever have any questions about magic, just drop me an email and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

  31. avatar

    I have to agree with this. One of the most awkward encounters I’ve ever had involved a man coming up to me in a grocery store, saying “Hi, I’m Bill”, offering his hand, then looking very nervous and walking off even after I shook his hand and gave my name in return. I’m for PUA tactics that cut down on this kind of thing that’s just awkward for everyone involved.

  32. avatar


    I was thinking about interaction lately. Most people are not wired to make links between things that do not seem interrelated at first. I don’t know if it is possible to learn. But every major invention came from such an interaction. Think about Morse, who forced himself to make a link between horses relay stations and signal.

    A few months ago, I thought I had spotted the field I would study all my life. But I few weeks passed… and I was bored. I need to dig one field really deep for a month ore two, and then go to the next thing. That’s my nature. It’s a strength because I can make more links between all sort of things. But it’s also a weekness, because I might never become an expert in any field (jack of all trades, …). At least, not the way “normal” people do.

  33. avatar
    Richard H Lawson

    A 69 minute interview, how apt.

    I like the way you use positive reinforcement via your comments.

    Keep up the good work 😉

  34. avatar

    Just finished listening to the podcast. I didn’t expect it to be mostly about personal finance. Good if you haven’t read I Will Teach You To Be Rich or if you need a refresher on the concepts. Would love if you did a case interview on them and about what their goals for personal development are, and how they set about achieving them.

    Also, to clarify, I am not bashing Ramit’s book. Ramit’s book is a sound primer to personal finance. Even if you already have experience with personal finance, it’s still worth it to have all the information presented in a single voice.

  35. avatar

    I am fascinated with the idea of the T-Shaped mind – like what John was talking about where your specialist area of inquiry intersects with your wide general knowledge.

    Good stuff.

  36. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    I’ve been reading your site for almost a year now, and have been following through the “hustle” series although I haven’t commented yet. I just wanted to say that this past month or so, I’ve loved how your articles are basically just a tons of different ways to get people to act and simply act on what they have always said they would do (whether to themselves or others).

    A little over a year ago, I left a super-secure government job, packed all my belongings into a storage space, found renters to live in my house and move across the world (from Canada to Australia) to follow my heart and to try all the odd jobs I always wondered about. I ended up working as a baker/barista, I helped out at two major festivals, I sold wine, I did freelance writing, I tutored/taught French. The last two, inspired by you.

    In the months prior to my departure, a lot of people would come up to me and tell me how “lucky” I was. It made me cringe. I understand that being childless and under 30 made things easier, but it’s not as if it all happened by magic. It was a whole lot of work. It took months to plan and as far as the love story goes, years to figure it out. But I did it – all of it. I saved money, I bought a plane ticket. I got a working visa. I got on the plane. I avoided cubicles at all costs for a year. And a whole lot more.

    I’m now back in Canada, but in a new city because I wasn’t ready to go back to my old life. Reading the hustling series has been a great reminder and a great boost in helping me find an awesome apartment in a new city where I know no one, move all my things with only one girl friend (to a third floor with no elevators or movers), get it all set-up nicely and get myself into already 3 interviews and 2 more to come. Oh! And I’ve only been back in the country for 3 weeks.

    I’m a bit sad that the “hustling” series will be over soon, but so glad of its timing.


  37. avatar

    This is interesting – two subcultures I’ve been following for awhile seem to have intersected! I’m referring of course to people who want to ‘hack’ the methods of getting rich, and the methods of courting women.

    I guess the reason I’m fascinated by both your blog and the methods of the PUAs (the non-sleazy ones) is because I subscribe to the notion that sustained disciplined effort can cause incredible change. Like a scatterbrain pulling his act together and saving much more money than his friends. Or a nervous, awkward never-spoken-to-a-girl-before finally getting to 2nd base.

    I can’t honestly say I’ve gotten anywhere near the pinnacle in either of these fields (yet). But it’s not the pinnacle that matters, it’s the effort that goes into getting there. The notion that you can discipline yourself, tame your mind and crush your limiting beliefs.

    That’s what keeps me checking back to your site.

  38. avatar

    I get an error trying to download the mp3:
    “AccessDeniedAccess DeniedF03269B5CCCC65EDMBVaUGV6n94udLc7kMjeQl8v+NbSXX1CB7CBrKsy4xYUB6C74faROYBT0lcx8+AT”
    And like Tom, I can’t find the transcript. Mr Ferriss taught me how to speed read. I prefer that cuz my mp3 player doesn’t have a fast-forward-play.
    Have a great weekend!
    PS: I emailed you too.

  39. avatar
    Frank T. - Shiyaning

    Yo Jae!

    In fact there is a program called F4. It is quite useful since it is made for writing transcripts. You can speed up any mp3 if you are interested to do so;)

    I do use it for my interviews, otherwise they would take about 20-30% longer to write down.

  40. avatar

    its not the effort, its the results what matter. You need to put a lot of hard work to learn the skills that get you the results, but this is never about ”how hard you work” on its own. Pinnacle is 99% what matters.

  41. avatar
    Joseph Dantes

    I thought this interview would be YOU interviewing a PUA guy to get psychological insights applicable to personal finance.

    Instead it’s a PUA guy interviewing you about finance, with almost nothing about PUA.

    Pretty disappointing.

    Here’s the big win you COULD have had if you’d actually been interviewing a PUA about PUA knowledge applicable to personal finance:

    What guys really want can cost next to nothing, as far as personal fulfillment. Yet because they don’t understand Game, they wind up spending tons of money to try to fill that hole. (lol.)

    A basic knowledge of personal finance automation PLUS a knowledge of how to leverage your money properly to achieve personal fulfillment with Game and Lifestyle Design gives you FORCE MULTIPLICATION.

    THAT’S the synergy you could’ve discovered for your audience… but didn’t.

    You say you understand your target market deeply and know that they want to spend e.g. $20k per year going out… Game is the #1 best way to cut down on that number, make going out nearly free and yet way more fulfilling. This would free your clientele to build up TRUE wealth in the numerical sense AND the lifestyle satisfaction sense.

    I think you talked a big game about pushing the controversy envelope and yet completely failed to deliver.

  42. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    If you want to reach more young men interested in self improvement and PUA, I would highly recommend checking out The 21 Convention. I attended last year and besides the usual pickup coaches, they had high quality speakers in health, exercise, and other fields. It’s also run by a great, young guy named Anthony who started it during college.

  43. avatar
    Jordan Harbinger

    Great post. Glad it’s sparked discussion here.

    We’d be happy to do another interview about the crossover between PUA and your concepts. There’s great overlap in how what you teach here and in your book can be applied to personal growth in general, even with respect to social dynamics as we apply it at The Art of Charm.


  44. avatar
    Stephanie Taylor Christensen

    First of all, I kind of chuckle at the thought of you mentioning the “market segment” of pick-up artists. I was a marketer for ten years, and have worked in publishing, and can only imagine what was going through their minds. With all due respect, they definitely talked about your behind your back afterwards at happy hour that evening. 🙂 Secondly, I truly do appreciate your out of the box mentality, but honestly, I don’t think it even necessitates an interview to support the connection. A successful PUA understands the importance of information gathering, human motivation and is confident. Those are the basic traits a person who will be successful in money and business possess too. So I guess I’m left wondering…what’s to explain?

  45. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Nice comment.

    Why don’t you put together a guest post outline and send it over? I’m always open to extraordinary outside contributions.

  46. avatar
    Joseph Dantes


    Here are a few ideas I just brainstormed, I’ll make the proper guest post outline when I get the chance.

    minimizing cost of going out
    LSS posts on dominating different types of clubs, getting most everything comped, costs of going out
    leveraging PUA for access to rich guys
    pimp game, lifestyle application, reversing the flow of money & value
    reversing the value paradigms, no longer being the provider
    avoiding the “buy me a drink” trap
    lifestyle design, going overseas, geoarbitraging girls
    not drinking when out
    skittles man
    narciso 3/5 alpha/beta strategy as applied to gifts
    appearing wealthy on a budget – g manifesto tips
    how girls evaluate money – not golddiggers really
    wealth didn’t exist in paleo societies
    just act like money isn’t a big deal
    effect of spending big in a club, g manifesto style. locking it down, tipping
    roosh getting laid while living in the basement, or living in hostels
    ozzie getting laid in his dirty car
    generally advised to avoid bottle service

  47. avatar

    Um, yikes. Can you maybe not talk about Roosh? He definitely falls into the “sleazy dirtbag” category. Looking up “narciso 3/5 alpha/beta strategy as applied to gifts,” first post is a blog post on being “cruel” to women, by a guy who describes himself as a misogynist and a racist. Stuff like this is why everybody hates pick-up artists.

  48. avatar
    Joseph Dantes


    Another comment deleted — this time for being needlessly offensive.

    Joseph, the misogyny is not cool. Take it elsewhere.

  49. avatar
    Joseph Dantes

    Alcibiades, name 5 pickup artists who recommend lying about your willingness for long term relationships.

    Naming 5 should be no problem since it’s the “vast majority.”

    As for manipulating women, that’s a laugh. Women’s social skills are at least 1 standard deviation more advanced than men’s, whether visual, auditory or multi-channel. And it shows in relationship outcomes.

    It’s like accusing 3rd world sweat shop workers of exploiting MNCs.

  50. avatar

    I’m actually fascinated with pickup artists, and I’m about to listen to the interview. VH1 had a show that aired for two seasons called, appropiately, The Pickup Artist. I love that it teaches men with no confidence, some who have NEVER even kissed a woman, how to flirt and be engaging! I love watching it and seeing it work. Yes, some of the men on the show have become pompous a-holes, but for the most part, you can see how grateful they are to have learned some basic social skills. I love it.

  51. avatar


    Food for thought (if you’ve 20 minutes):

    That coming from a man who coached UCLA to 86 consecutive wins.

  52. avatar
    Best Art Blog » My interview with a pickup artist | I Will Teach You To Be Rich

    […] My interview with a pickup artist | I Will Teach You To Be Rich Categories: Uncategorized Tags: certain-kinds, famous-through, fascinating, first-become, […]

  53. avatar
    Joseph Dantes

    Ok, your thread, your rules.

    Anyway, I’d misremembered the stat.

    I calculated the statistics from the study from scratch (nobody had done it) and emailed you the correction.

  54. avatar

    I don’t know; I kind of think these two topics are inter-related (PUA and finance) but I think there is something more to it. I mean, look at Tony Robbins and his x-wife situation. I admired the guy, who doesn’t – for years he talked about his amazing wife and then one day – gone. Here is a super successful guy that mastered one (finance) but couldn’t do the other. Obviously “getting out” worked for him, but not without facing destruction first…I guess one might say that the parallels exist in finance, you lose one investment – learning in the process, then you go and apply your learnings to another and make a profit to make up for all your losses, but still think the emotions part are different…

  55. avatar


    good stuff

  56. avatar
    Zoe Lindsey


    I always enjoy your blog, because whether I agree with any specific piece of advice you give, it is always a) honest and unassuming, without fear of offending people’s sensibilities, and b) actionable. And really, it doesn’t matter whether -I- agree with what you say – what doesn’t do it for me may well inspire action in someone else, and that’s what really matters. Your blog didn’t help me start improving my financial situation, but it DOES help me continue to do so when every other part of me wants to take a day off. Starting has never been my problem. I keep IWTYTBR in my queue because every couple days, it’s a solid reminder that success is in putting in the hours every day, rain or shine, whether you want to or not. Your blog isn’t why I write mine – it’s why I set aside 30 minutes each morning to do so, and commit a half hour each Sunday to outlining the next week’s goals for building. Your blog is the reason why my first instinct when reading a reddit thread interviewing a entrepreneur wasn’t to daydream about what I’d do when I was that rich – it was to recognize that I had inroads on a local market he hadn’t yet reached, and to begin a dialogue with him about doing so. I’m not even close to reaching the finish line on my goals yet… but instead of intermittently throwing up my hands at the cruel fancies of fate and throwing myself into a recovery plan until the initial burst of motivation fizzles out, your blog brings me one measurable small step closer each day to living a life on my own terms. Thank you for that.

    All that being said, I was very nervous about this post. I abhor PUA, because in most cases I’ve seen it reduces the interaction between two people courting into “man = hunter, woman = sex-objectified prize… use these cheat codes to hack dating!” It astounds me how many people held The Game as their bible, and apparently missed the last part where Neil realized all the tricks in the world didn’t matter if there wasn’t a real connection behind it all. As Martin said above, when PUA is worthwhile is when it focuses inwards; one ethically becomes more successful at dating by becoming more successful at living and relating, not by treating romantic prospects like social bank vaults waiting for the right safecracker.

    To sum up – apologies on my wordiness, thank you for being a reliable fire under my ass, and thank you for managing to talk about subjects I dislike without marring a stellar reputation. I don’t suppose you have any magazines you’ve been hoping for a subscription to? 😉

  57. avatar

    As a junior high dropout atheist,
    frothing at the mouth to become self employed and location independent,
    this Blog is now my “Bible” and I read it “religiously”.

    PUA (Soft skills) on the other hand,
    is something I think I was born a master in, it’s a gift,
    and I was blessed with it.
    Tim Ferriss says “Blessings become curses” and so they do.
    Wanting to create an income from an Internet based business,
    especially at this point
    (I barely dipped my toes in the water),
    is not about being charming and having charisma,
    as the computer screen can’t care less,
    it’s about cultivating an unshakable character – my weak spot.

    Long story short,
    I briefly read the post the day it was posted, and surfed away…

    Today I signed in to check Ramit’s replays on comments,
    as they are the comments I read, and I see this:
    “Instead it’s a PUA guy interviewing you about finance,
    with almost nothing about PUA”. I was stoked!!!

    The podcast was AWESOME!!! I highly recommend it.

  58. avatar

    A couple years ago I was suddenly dumped after 7 years of a relationship. Sitting home saddened for a week I stumbled upon a PUA site and made the decision (action) right then to take an infield bootcamp they offered in NYC. Spent a 3-day weekend with 3 others guys and two “coaches” – one of the best investments of my life.

    Without going into details, in a nutshell what we were told was to “take action” – first night (after a 4 hour day seminar on behavior etc.) our “goal” was to go up (either voluntarily or forced by our coached) to every good looking group of girls or girl and start talking by just introducing ourselves and being fun with no expectations of outcome. This was to get over our fear of being rejected and just have fun talking to people and BE social and realize that people will like us for be us – no special tricks, clothes, pickup-lines or whatnot.

    After 3 days of about 30 rejections,about 100 fun interactions (this was key), multiple phone #’s that I didn’t ask for, I was having fun just going out and talking to girls and flirting. Couple of us did get multiple make-outs and had sex over the weekend yes, but that was the bonus on top of having fun and learning to just be confident with ourselves. I actually ended up in a really enjoyable year relationship with a girl I met on that bootcamp (wasn’t looking for this, but it just happened!)

    But, my whole personality changed after that weekend – I was more confident at work and shortly after got a raise by being proactive instead of just waiting for it to happen because I was confident in the work I had done and presented it as such; friends were commenting how I changed and was more fun and confident too (they didnt know I went to a bootcamp)

    How this relates to Ramit’s posts is that you dont receive results unless you take action, experience failures, and keep going. It’s better to have 20 failures from action that you can learn from, readjust and then try again, then no results from continuous inaction.

    It’s all about action and not being afraid to fail – failure is just more data that can be used to help you succeed next time!

  59. avatar

    It’s fine to want to improve your “skills” with the ladies. But it is another to scam people into believing you can teach them anything, while you got nothing to show for it..

    BY FAR, it would be cheaper to just copy a friend of yours who is good with people and girls. PUA companies offer no true value.

  60. avatar

    It must have been a thought that struck almost anyone who has tried anything entrepreneurial when they first read The Game – the applicability of the principles and techniques in that book to life in general. Even to things not involving people directly. Good to see it being expanded on. Of course, as pointed out in many of the comments, it has to be taken with a grain of salt for what it is. I especially liked the observation in The Game that the techniques worked better the more intelligent the girl was…

  61. avatar

    PUA stuff, when from the right providers, is a wonderful tool to help men lacking in social skills to finally learn how to successfully interact with women.

    The show “The Pickup Artist” on VH1 was based on Mystery, and his Venusian Arts company. They focus on self-improvement and teaching about sociology, psychology, dating, and mating. They reference many books, including “The Anatomy of Love”, by Helen Fisher, and many others that teach about why we are the way we are. Also, I want to point out that these guys teach that if you are just going out with the intent to hook up or just meet women, then you will fail. They teach that when you go out, its with the intent of showing each woman or group of women a great time, and just having a blast with them. This creates more attraction than anything a guy can do, and then most likely one of the women will make a move on him. It’s about learning how to be confident and have a fun time.

    Women just have no idea how hard it is for some guys to interact with women. We are always given the wrong advice, but other people that don’t know what they are doing, but every once in awhile they get lucky. Like one lady above said, walking up to a woman saying hi, and introducing yourself is extremely awkward, and makes the woman very uncomfortable, and sets her shields to maximum. She knows right away what the guy wants. If that guy followed the teaches of Mystery and the gang, then she would be very happy that someone interesting and fun was talking to her, and not trying to get in her pants.

    Courting a woman is a like a dance or even a puzzle. Some people can stand in the crowd, watch the dance, and pick it up like a pro. Others might need to have their hand held and shown each step one step at a time, and then still struggle to get it right. PUA stuff is for the latter, the guys that just don’t get it and don’t have a clue about how to interact with women.

    Also, meeting women and building rapport can be like a puzzle. Most guys are missing some or all of the pieces, and some guys have pieces, but have no idea what the puzzle is even supposed to look like. This is where the pickup artist stuff comes in. We need coaches to teach us what to do. No, its not natural and common sense, if it was, then life would be much easier.

    Women hold all the cards when it comes to dating and mating. Why do women love the bad boys? Why do women claim they want a nice guy, but when they get one, they get bored and cheat on him or dump him for a, wait for it, a bad boy? My mom even agrees with that.

    Women are much more evolved when it comes to reading body language too. Women are most emotional being and men are more logical by nature. Without help from these PUA masters that took the time to study, research, and test, many men would be extremely lonely, which could lead to much more negative behaviors.

    The fear, disgust, bashing, etc towards PUA stuff is from women that are afraid that they are losing their main advantage to holding some form of power over men. Women should be shouting from the roof tops to guys about learning about this stuff. Their lives would be so much more interesting. It’s a shame that so many women are afraid of men being on an equal playing field.

    I know I didn’t address anything involved with finance, but I really felt in my heart that PUA needed to be explained and defended.

  62. avatar

    There are always good products and bad products and scams. It just takes research and some logic to weed them out. As for PUA stuff, it works, as long as you are learning from the right teachers. Neil, Mystery and his crew are very good at what they do, and have the right attitudes. If you read their stuff, they hardly ever take women home that night. They even say to take her out once or twice after meeting before trying to have sex. Many of them want relationships, and what they have learned has allowed them to have relationships with some of the hottest single women out there. Any guy who bashes it just makes himself look jealous, scared, and a little self-righteous, IMHO.

  63. avatar

    “The fear, disgust, bashing, etc towards PUA stuff is from women that are afraid that they are losing their main advantage to holding some form of power over men”

    I don’t think so, Richard. It’s more a worry that most PUAs are like the worst PUAs – manipulative and misogynistic. I’ve read some stuff that literally says women are trash and should be taken advantage of. I’ve also read The Game and know they’re not all like that. It has nothing to do with “losing power,” it’s just that we’ve heard more noise from the PUAs who call women trash than the ones who promote self-confidence and inner game – the latter being something I’m all for. I’ve actually gone out of my way to introduce some guys I thought needed help to The Game, because I thought it was a fantastic book. There just happen to be some PUAs I wouldn’t introduce to my worst enemy, and unfortunately, they’re the ones that stand out the most – at least to women.

  64. avatar

    You say that “Any guy who bashes it just makes himself look jealous, scared, and a little self-righteous” – that’s demagoguery, but nice try. I think you are the one that is scared. The fact is that in the PU “industry”, there is absolutely no way of telling if a person is actually good. Moreover, for beginners, they have no way of judging that anyway since they haven’t got the tools themselves. It is scam heaven. ALL PU companies make OUTRAGEOUS claims about the things they can provide to their students (hang out with models, etc..) . All I am saying is to take a more critical view towards these companies, not self improvement.
    Take care

  65. avatar
    Joseph Dantes

    “The fact is that in the PU “industry”, there is absolutely no way of telling if a person is actually good.”

    That’s not true. There’s plenty of in-field footage available online. Check out Krauser, for example. And you can watch them in person, for a price. And there’s plenty of forum chatter about who’s good and who’s not. And once you trust one of them, he’ll tell you who else is real and who’s not.

    That’s assuming you aren’t discerning enough to simply know from reading who’s real and who’s not.

    Basically, your claim is only true if you set an empirical bar for knowledge so high that nothing can be known. It’s not as if we’re talking about obscure events of ancient history or things done in secret. These guys are going out every night, very publicly. As are their students. And talking about it, recording it, and videotaping it publicly.

  66. avatar

    Hey Joseph,

    I have seen the in-field footage and I have actually met the “big names” in the industry, believe it or not. I still claim that even in-field footage can’t be judged by beginners. Note the distinction I make. It would be pretty easy for me to come to high school pupils and convince them I am a mathematician by showing them how I can do multiple integration. But you say now, so what? beginners would be satisfied with doing just that. But that is not what they promise. They promise you will be a mathematician while they are themselves clearly not.
    I just think a lot of the companies are being dishonest in what they promise. And if my comments will make somebody out there think twice (whether he ends up taking a “workshop” or paying to see somebody do a thing his friends do all the time but he is not aware off) before he spends money on something like that, I did my job.
    Best wishes,

  67. avatar
    Joseph Dantes

    You are now backing wayyy off your initial claim:

    “The fact is that in the PU “industry”, there is absolutely no way of telling if a person is actually good.”

    And rightly so. It was indefensible.

    I don’t care to argue further. I’m satisfied with the amount I’ve already made you backtrack, for very little effort.

    Others can judge your credibility accordingly.

  68. avatar

    I am not backing, just misunderstood. At least quote me entirely: “The fact is that in the PU “industry”, there is absolutely no way of telling if a person is actually good. Moreover, for beginners”..

    What credibility are you talking of? I am not selling anything in here and I don’t have a website I am promoting. Your response reeks of immaturity.

    Best wishes, Daniel

  69. avatar
    Joseph Dantes

    Now you’re just insulting everyone’s reading comprehension.

  70. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Do you guys not have anything better to do than insult each other on some random blog? Get a life and take it offline or you’re both banned.

  71. avatar

    Hey Ramit,

    As one of members of your Earn1K group, I’m still greatful for all these posts about finance and hustling.

    Not all PUA are the same, and some of them don’t even call themselves that.

    One person that I highly admire and look up to is David Wygant.

    He’s the kinda of guy just like you actually.

  72. avatar

    “the vast majority of websites/books are written by scum who have an open contempt for women and explicitly assume that their readers will manipulate women into having sex by lying”

    This is the heart of the comment, not the bits the above two commenters nitpicked. And Alcibiades, you are exactly right. I was stunned that Ramit’s “disgust” with the PUAs comes entirely from scams they may run on clients, and not the gross way they objectify and dehumanize women.

  73. avatar

    FYI, Richard, many men “have no idea how hard it is for some” women to interact with men.

    And “Women hold all the cards when it comes to dating and mating”? Give me a break, what decade are you living in? I didn’t think people still said things like that. No one holds all the cards in dating or mating, and if women did, we’d be living in a very different world.

    Sorry this is so far off-topic from PF, but I think there should be another POV to balance out Richard’s foolish remarks.

  74. avatar

    So interesting when two completely unrelated areas are actually very related. Stresses the fact that everything matters.

    And besides, we all love to be surprised.

  75. avatar

    Should we really refer to “guys who help other guys learn how to be more confident and get a girlfriend” as “pick up ARTISTS”?

    Most great painters (those for whom their art actually pays their rent) don’t have much time to teach others how to paint. Similarly, most, if not all, art TEACHERS are teachers precisely because they weren’t successful enough as artists to be able to pay their rent with their art.

    Those who can’t DO… TEACH.

  76. avatar

    Normally I agree with this point of view, but I find it off here

    According to this Ramit must be a failure at saving money because he teaches it

  77. avatar

    I’ve never commented on your site before, but I’ve got to say this article struck a cord with me. I am a 22-year-old female college student from the Midwest. I have conservative values, attend church frequently, and think kissing on the first date is too soon.

    I’ve also been using pick up artist material as my primary business education for the past six months.

    How’d I get started? Long story short; I was the “subject.” Met him at a bar. Went on a double date with him and a friend following night-dinner and drinks. Liked him initially, then noticed idiosyncrasies. Asked his last name; discovered secret PUA identity on internet T-minus 15 minutes later.

    Did I immediately cut-off communication? Hell no. This guy was hands down the most persuasive person I had ever met, and you can bet I read all of his articles and field studies. His motives=vomit inducing. His principles=inspired, tested, and workable.

    There is some real psychology behind true PUA methods and ideas, and they are applicable in personal and professional aspects. Reading the articles always puts me in a conflicted state. They are not coming from a dignified source, and their end goal is against everything I believe.

    But ignoring them cripples me. Using them for a greater means empowers me.

    In truth, the PUA world is what led me to this website. I am not a techie, blogger, marketing master, or social networking extraordinaire. But after reading some of the PUA articles I searched the web for other useful blogs, and of yet, this is the only one I read regularly.

    I’m learning, and implementing, a lot.

    Especially because I connect nearly every article I read to something from those dang PUAs.