The blueprint of seduction

“The Art of Seduction” by Robert Greene

Sexual desire is a big part of human emotion. It can also be a tool, which was first used by powerless women in history as a power play that does not need physical strength but only psychological strength. And this, is what seduction is all about.

As Robert Greene remarks, “[i]n the face of violence and brutality, these women made seduction a sophisticated art, the ultimate form of power and persuasion. They learned to work on the mind first, stimulating fantasies, keeping a man wanting more, creating patterns of hope and despair—the essence of seduction.”

These techniques were then slowly adopted by men who saw the potentials in this so-called soft power. Starting from the likes of Duke de Lauzun, the Spaniards who inspired the Don Juan legend, Casanova, and Ninon de l’Enclos. Seduction techniques also began to be implemented within the ranks of the military, by men like Napoleon who saw the techniques valuable for diplomacy and political edge, until today in our lifetime where seduction has become a common tool for persuasion for men and women alike, in politics and business.

“But even if much has changed in degree and scope,” Greene commented, “the essence of seduction is constant: never be forceful or direct; instead, use pleasure as bait, playing on people’s emotions, stirring desire and confusion, inducing psychological surrender. In seduction as it is practiced today, the methods of Cleopatra still hold.”

Seduction also works by filling a void inside, fulfilling a dream or fantasy, enhancing some part of them that they wanted to be recognised, helping them to achieve something, creating a festive environment where everything goes, or sometimes become the risk that they are craving in their steady and boring life.

And this is where Robert Greene brings out his Midas Touch once again and lives up to his reputation for being a modern-day Machiavelli, as he dissected the anatomy of seduction and dives deep into the archive of history to illustrate the key points in action, using stories and their interpretations.

The stories varies widely from Cleopatra, to Bill Clinton, JFK, Cora Pearl, Queen Elizabeth I, Krishnamurti, Mao Zedong, his Mrs Mao, Lenin, Moses, Sigmund Freud, Charles De Gaulle, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Chiang Kaishek, Fidel Castro, Napoleon Bonaparte, his Josephine, Benjamin Disraeli, Rasputin, Elvis Presley, Joan of Arc, Malcolm X, Duke Ellington, Henry Kissinger, Evita Peron, Oscar Wilde, my boy Soekarno, even Charlie Chaplin, which amounts to 10 types of seducers and 18 types of seducers’ victims.

In a way, the book feels like a sequel to Greene’s first masterpiece, the 48 Laws of Power, where in the first book he describes the 1st type of power and in this second book he describes how to use the 2nd type of power (or what Greene refer as “the ultimate form of power.”)

But as usual with all Robert Greene books, I’m reluctant to spill any more “cheat code” in life. So, if you want to know more you just have to read the book. Or not. You know what, it’s not really that good, I only gave it 5 stars and tagged it under the “favourite” folder.