Robert Greene’s masterpiece the Art of Seduction has to be one of the best strategic self-help books you will ever read. Based primarily on philosophy, Greene’s mode of explaining the seduction ‘game’ right from choosing your victims to embodying their every fantasy gives the Art of Seduction a classical touch and you will not want to look away once you start reading.
I find power in reading Greene’s books. There is a sense in which his thought processes are simply priceless. He has a way of making you glued on his pieces for prolonged periods by brilliantly combining suspense and a lovely sense of literal articulation. His other books besides The Art of Seduction are; The 33 strategies of Power, Mastery and the 48 Laws of Power have been best sellers and I would recommend them to anyone willing to discover oneself as well as understand the world from a historical context.
Greene is passionate in his assertion that the whole process of the art of seduction has no rules and that the seducer needs only to know what the victim longs to have and provide it. He also explains the potential dangers of trying out worn-out seduction methods that are only meant to be effective for a short period of time. Greene explains that there are ten types of seductive characters, all with different characteristics and with different requirements. The Siren, the Rake, the Ideal Lover, the Dandy, the Natural, the Coquette, the Charmer, the Charismatic, the Star and the anti-seducer are the different characters that Greene explains vividly and his book is built around them. These are sexually alive characters and conform to the ideals of seduction happening in, according to Greene, all levels of societal settings. I can’t agree with him more about it.
In the second chapter of The Art of Seduction, Greene explains the seduction ‘Process.’ He calls it a process because he implies, through the various examples of seduction processes that patience is the most critical aspect in seduction. He writes: Seduction is a process that happens over time- the longer you take and the slower you go, the deeper you will penetrate into the mind of your victim. It is an art that requires patience, focus and strategic thinking.
I find it perfectly true when he writes that seduction is an ‘art.’ It sure is because you will need a lot of thinking and prior planning to execute your seductive manoeuvres. You have to study your ‘victim,’ as he writes, and make sure you completely embody their every fantasy for your seduction to work effectively. The whole process is only complete when the other person is willing to be ‘trapped’ or enter the entanglement.
Greene writes that there are reversals to every move and that, just like a game, you either win or lose once you decide to ‘play the seduction game.’
Another interesting aspect of the book is the historical context with which he bases his explanations. It is the well outlaid past cultural intercourses that make The Art of Seduction a lot more interesting. He explains how seductions worked in the past and transitions it so well into the present. Along the course of the book, famous seducers including Cleopatra, Richelieu, Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Rodolpho Guglielmi, Vicomte de Valmont, Marilyn Monroe, and Errol Flynn live at different ages and play the seduction game very differently.
I would say Cleopatra and Marilyn Monroe were the best seducers of their time. Cleopatra managed to get married to two emperors through seduction and always stayed relevant in the Egyptian and Roman courts while Marilyn Monroe stayed at the top of the entertainment industry and controlled her directors through well planned and executed seductions. All this is well explained in The Art of Seduction.
What stands out in the novel is that Greene wants you to understand your seductive qualities and use them accordingly. In Chapter one of The Art of Seduction, Marilyn Monroe does not understand why the crowds cheer her so much and want her to take part in every play. The plays she was involved in got the loudest cheers. She is a young lady and does not know that the crowd is, in some sense, naturally seduced by her looks and sexually seductive body. She gets to know this later on and channels her natural qualities to gain a much bigger following in the film industry. In the same way, you cannot exert any meaningful seduction processes if you do not know your seductive qualities.
The Art of Seduction covers a wide range of topics in modern life even though it is primarily based on seduction. I feel the moral question is well taken care of as the writer fully explains the dangers of all the seduction processes and characters at the end of every chapter. The book delves into the reality of what happens in modern social settings and the book is definitely worth reading at any point in one’s life.
You can find this book in local bookshops or buy it online here.