Book Summaries Psychology

Part 2: Appear to be an Object of Desire – Create Love Triangles (The Art of Seduction)

Create love triangles to seduce. Lou Andreas- Salomé was the androgynous Dandy that Greene discussed before. She managed to attract the attention of the likes of Freud and Nietzsche by constantly hinting that others were after her. Intellectuals of all types were all competing for her attention, they all wanted to possess her, and she played the same trick each time. She would feign exclusivity with one of them, and then when it seemed that someone had finally possessed her, she would leave him for someone else.

Most of the time we prefer one thing to another because that is what our friends already prefer or because that object has marked social significance. Adults, when they are hungry, are just like children in that they seek out the foods that others take. In their love affairs, they seek out the man or woman whom others find attractive and abandon those who are not sought after. When we say of a man or woman that he or she is desirable, what we really mean is that others desire them. It is not that they have some particular quality, but because they conform to some currently modish model.


We might think that people desire us because they conduct an objective analysis of our personality, physical attractiveness, or career accomplishments, but what happens is much simpler. There is a social consensus that is followed. If someone is desirable by several people, then there must be a good reason. People fall for these mental shortcuts with regards to everything in life, it is no different here. It is not just a beautiful face or perfect body that makes people obsessive, it is competition – it is what appeals to their vanity.  

We can endure feeling that another person has more talent, or more money, but the sense that a rival is more desirable than we are—that is unbearable.

Robert Greene, The Art of Seduction

But remember to not let your targets see you too often. Keep your distance and always seem unattainable. An object that is rare is usually more prized.

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