Required Reading

The Reading List

I originally started this list in 2008. I was updating it until around 2011. While I think there are now very good books that should be included here, I still think these are all classics every man should start with.

At the risk of sounding immodest, I’d recommend any of the online resources, including ebooks, audio courses, video courses, or coaching programs available at Aura Transformation. Perhaps it is gauche to recommend one’s own work, so I’ll stop there.

For those who want an even broader, more general introduction to social intelligence, emotional intelligence, and the social arts in general, then look into the foundational books that formed the inspiration for almost all the advancements in the attraction arts community for the past ten years.

The Top Ten

First Category: Required Reading

1. The first book in this category is Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People. This was originally published in 1937. Almost every social skills book afterwards is a derivative of some sort. The guys in the seduction community who don’t see the value of this book are usually the really creepy ones with major psychological problems. No, I don’t mean you.

The insights contained in this book are so foundational that if you can’t apply these, you have no business looking into the headier stuff. For instance, Carnegie’s principle, You Can’t Win an Argument, was huge for me, an aspiring philosopher. I still to this day have lawyer and engineer clients who start intellectual debates with women and me, even in bars. They don’t realize how important it is to give up their egoistic need to be right or to have everyone know that they are right. It’s far more attractive to be unreactive, internally referenced, and completely confident in your own judgment, even if the majority disagrees with you.

Carnegie’s frequent admonition to Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise, is what drives Qualification as an attraction technique. His humorous, Give a Dog a Good Name, explains much of the effectiveness of Intention Mapping. Many of his other principles illustrate Alpha Nice strategies.

If you want to learn social circle game and entourage game, the teachings in this book are necessary to master. You will need to learn how to befriend not just random hot girls, but more importantly, alpha males, high status people, and well-connected men and women. And if you can’t even apply Carnegie’s principles, you have no business running more advanced game.

A good supplement to Carnegie, which avoids the archaic prose and endless examples, is Leil Lowndes’s How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships. While Lowndes’s tips are fantastic, they are a little parochial and will go out of date and lose their effectiveness if they haven’t already. That’s what separates classics that stand the test of time like Carnegie’s.

Another very good book that I recently discovered is David Lieberman’s Get Anyone To Do Anything. Only the first section of the book is specifically about romantic relationships, but just about all of Lieberman’s strategies can be applied to male-female interactions.

2. This is probably a big surprise to newbies, but it’s no secret to the insider circle that Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is a favorite among the top social artists and inspired a lot of its breakthroughs in inner game. Like Carnegie’s, this is another 1937 classic that has stood the test of time. His chapters on sex transmutation and auto-suggestion are must-reads for any man aspiring to mastery in a specialized field. My own program of affirmations and visualizations were first inspired by Hill’s recommendations. I still get a lot of inquiries about what I do for affirmations and visualizations. Do yourself a favor. Get this little book. Read it several times, a chapter a day until the lessons really sink in. Oh yeah, and you might get rich too!

3. For all the attention that Strauss’s The Game has brought to the community, his first book on the secret society is best taken as an entertaining read, NOT as a manual or blueprint for getting better with girls.

His more recent Rules of the Game, however, is a good how-to guide and presents a well-balanced perspective on attraction, with a proper amount of attention paid to lifestyle and identity. Out of all the attraction manuals you would find in your local bookstore, this is by probably your best bet.

And it’s a good introduction to the most popular style of social arts and perhaps the method best suited to absolute beginners: Indirect game using scripted routines.

4. The most thorough step-by-step guide to the seductive arts is still Robert Greene’s The Art of Seduction. Perhaps it’s biggest fault is that it is too thorough. Most lair guys don’t have the patience, motivation, or critical reading facility to get through the whole thing.

Greene draws on a lot of historical case studies, which I consider a real strength. If there is anything to the insights of the attraction community, then they should be found among the writings of exemplars in times past.

His character portraits are the most valuable part of the book. The true masters have thought long and hard about the different styles of social artistry, and many of them track the character types Greene lays out. It’s helped guide my own decisions about which attraction community teachings to adopt and which to lay aside.

His detailed description of the seductive process is skewed to indirect methods, but he also takes into account the strengths of the direct approach. The process he lays out is a meticulous breakdown of the steps in a typical seduction.

As with all the books in this must-read section, this book should be slowly absorbed and frequently re-read. A chapter or two a day is ideal.

5. This fifth book is my new Bible. I’ve been reading at least a chapter a day for over a year. Well, okay, I’ve lapsed recently, but I’m getting back to it. I credit this book for the most profound changes in my mindset toward my career, relationships, and my life as a whole. It’s given me the courage to make the hardest decisions I’ve ever faced.

David Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man is one of those books that will probably go over the heads of most guys starting out. But once you get to an intermediate level, this must-read will become the single most important book you could own. It holds the keys to real mastery. Incidentally, understanding of the teachings in this book can also be used to gauge a man’s current level of development.

Second Category: Highly Recommended

1. As a scientific account of what’s behind social dynamics and why some people are more attuned to social dynamics, this is likely the most accessible book available. Daniel Goleman’s Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships shows how advances in neuroscience, psychology, and various other fields have already unearthed a lot of the reasons for why community material actually works. Unlike the community ebooks, Goleman does not depend on facile appeals to evolutionary accounts. He doesn’t have to. Goleman’s classic Emotional Intelligence is also quite good, though not as directly applicable to social dynamics as his more recent work.

2. Cited repeatedly in Mystery’s Venusian Arts Handbook back in 2004, Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion has spawned a whole industry. This has become a classic in the attraction community. Cialdini is currently a Distinguished Graduate Research Professor at Arizona State University.

The six principles he elucidates in his book are all major concepts in the social arts: Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity. His book not only helped advance thinking in social dynamics, it also changed the way I saw myself, my relationships, my career, and my research in such fields as philosophy and religious studies.

In the realm of social psychology, neuroscience, and especially behavioral economics, there has been a veritable explosion of paradigm-changing research published over the last several years. Very accessible introductions to this work can be found in the work of Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, cross-appointed to the Business School, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Economics, and School of Medicine. See his fascinating Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality.

3. Like Cialdini, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced like chick sent me high) is another renowned professor who has turned his research into an entire industry. His Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience explains what is behind the whole being in state teaching. I read about his work in a philosophy class before encountering it in some of David DeAngelo’s DVD products.

This will help you understand why being in state is so powerful and the prime driver behind natural game, which has recently become such a contested term in the community, with Real Social Dynamics, PUA Training, Charisma Arts, and just about everyone else trying to lay claim to it, bereaving it of any significant meaning. Most have lost sight of the fact that Vin DiCarlo and Sebastian Drake were the first to come out with natural game. Csikszentmihalyi does a better job of explaining being in state than does neuro-linguistic programming.

But more importantly, Flow will explain how the experts achieve flow on a consistent basis, as well as the personality types of those most prone to flow experiences. He also draws on literature and data from a wide variety of cultures, periods, and societies, including Daoist and Buddhist teachings.

Interestingly, his son is a well-established scholar of early Chinese philosophy.

If you can maximize your flow experiences, you will be a happier, more successful, and more fulfilled human being. What better reason do you need to pick this up? On the subject of happiness and what it takes to get it, the relatively new field of positive psychology pioneered by professors at Penn, Harvard, and elsewhere, has a lot of great things to say, and the best introduction to this field is Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis

4. This list would be incomplete without some mention of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). The best general introduction I’ve found is Introducing NLP: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Influencing People by Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour. The writing can be dry and pedantic in places, but the knowledge is invaluable. If you’re interested in NLP, save up a couple thousand dollars and take a course in it.

I prefer the more accessible NLP of Anthony Robbins. His Ultimate Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement helped take my inner game to the next level. You might also want to check out his Awaken the Giant Within, which covers the same material but in a different format.

5. And finally, I would be remiss if I left out some literature on evolutionary accounts of sex and relationships. Most attraction community ebooks appeal to this exclusively for their academic understanding of social dynamics. I find this one-sidedness disappointing. As bemoaned by many academics, evolutionary accounts are too ad hoc. You can pretty much come up with an evolutionary explanation for almost any perspective on social phenomena. Despite this, it is good to know the research.

NEW EDIT: After reading the standard works on evolutionary psychology and mating intelligence listed below, you must read this good (though sometimes biased and overstated) summary of the latest research debunking the parental investment theory of evolutionary psychology. See Daniel Bergner’s What Do Women Want.

EDIT: An excellent book that collects the latest academic research on the topic is Mating Intelligence, edited by Glenn Geher and Geoffrey Miller. It discusses why mating intelligence is a key trait selected for by evolutionary processes. As the philosophers Hichem Naar and Alberto Masala observe, “Committing yourself to a better understanding of mating psychology, theoretically and practically, therefore gives you an advantage over many individuals who lack enough mating intelligence to produce reliable intuitions about the other sex’s expectations and desires” (from their chapter in Dating–Philosophy for Everyone: Flirting with Big Ideas, edited by Kristie Miller and Marlene Clark, in which I also authored a chapter).

For the authoritative book on this subject, see David Buss’s The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating, as well as the classic The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. Both are rigorous academically but also quite readable. For those serious academics out there, David Buss’s Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind, is so far the most comprehensive source available.

A recent work that sums up a lot of the research in the field, and is incredibly well-written to boot, is Mating Intelligence Unleashed: The Role of the Mind in Sex, Dating, and Love. Highly recommended.

So there you have it. The Top Ten books that will change your life. I recommend you go through them in the order I’ve laid out. The first five deserve slow and steady study, as well as repeated readings.

Play on, The Asian Rake.

Leave a Comment:

Will says February 10, 2009

Awesome, awesome entry.

I know of too many people who get lost with reading only the community stuff. Which is essentially – as you said, people just reinventing the wheel. E-Book after e-book, you kind’ve get to the point where you realize all these “skills” they’re trying to teach you have been taught by the more worldly respected authors of those listed above.

Just ordered The Art of Seduction & Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships – thanks again for the recommendations Dave! 🙂

Michael says February 12, 2009

Hi David,

Some of these books look interesting and most are certainly new to me.

I’m curious about your faith in Think and Grow Rich. From the Amazon description it sounds like it suffers from a classic case of survivorship bias.

Are Hill’s suggestions a high risk strategy?

Will says February 16, 2009

What? There’s an imposter “Will” posing as me? haha, j/k

You’re cool in my books.

Anyway, going through your list, I’ve read Think and Grow Rich and The Way of the Superior Man. They’re awesome reads and I almost always find myself referring to them whenever I feel I’m stuck trying to make a decision or struggling with something, I usually end up gaining some clarity and immediately taking action afterwards.

Thanks for posting this thorough list. Your recommendations are always appreciated!

Asian Rake David says February 18, 2009

Will 1 (lol),
Glad to be of service, my man!

I don’t place much faith in Amazon ratings. The book is so cheap and so short. Read it and decide for yourself 🙂

Yo buddy, glad we agree on those two. There were others I would’ve loved to add, but I wanted to keep the list to 10.

Play on!

Nick Sparks says February 26, 2009

Great list David.

First off a quick question:

Did you have a chance to read Frogs Into Princes? I haven’t read your recommended book on NLP and I’d love your thoughts on how the two compare.

Also, I had a handy way to maximize your time with Art of Seduction since it is such a shlep of a read (I’m almost a New Yorker).

First read the seductive types and find out which you identify with the most and then read the specific stories involving these types of characters- imagining yourself in the role.

Of course there is no replacement for really getting into the thing cover to cover; well worth the time.

Asian Rake David says March 10, 2009

Hey Nick,
Yeah, Frog Into Princes is also a great book. Come to think of it, it is more accessible than Introducing NLP. I just find that the Introducing NLP is more comprehensive and analytical.

For me, AOS is such a pleasure to read. I think the reason many guys have trouble getting through it has to do with the general deterioration of attention spans and reading comprehension skills. I love the historical anecdots and even the quotations in the margins.

Will says November 27, 2010


This is my personal affirmation list. It’s mostly to help me be successful with women but also has a lot to do with having self-esteem, confidence and a healthy psychological state of being. Feel free to use it and share it with others. It took me a long time to build this list and I have found extremely helpful.


Beliefs of Naturals – My Reality

Read 3 times before bed and in the morning(do it for a for month)
Record in the second person. Play recording on a loop continuously at a low volume(whisper).
Play recording during the day and at night while sleeping.

1. Being with me is the best possible choice for any woman.

2. Women love men and especially love me.

3. I love life!

4. I am God. I am Perfect. This is my universe!

5. I am fearless, courageous and bold!!!

6. I read incredibly fast!

7. Women love sex and want sex from me.

8. My intelligence, creativity and potential is infinite!

9. Women love to be hit on even if they pretend otherwise.

10. I am completely focused, organised and use my time with the utmost efficiency.

11. Women are nurtures and pleaser’s who want to nurture and please me.

12. I am a self-assured, confident, sexual and dominant male.

13. Everyday in every way I am better and better!!!

14. I have complete control over my life, mind and psychological state of being.

15. I am the greatest genius this world has ever seen.

16. I heal instantly!

17. I am successful, confident and achieve my goals. I exude confidence, sex, power and self-esteem.

18. I can be, do and have anything I want to in this world, my possibilities are endless!!!

19. I love myself! I am complete, fulfilled and completely happy!!!

20. I am growing more beautiful and luminous day by day.

21. People love me! I make friends easily.

23. I read and meditate every day. I access all the knowledge in the universe.

25. I am completely irresistible to women!

26. Regardless of how she is reacting to me she is getting aroused.

27. I see the underlying truth in all things.

28. I am an adventurer! I travel the world!

29. Regardless of how she is reacting to me I am the prize she is trying to win over!

30. I am a multi-millionaire and master seducer!

31. I love what I do and am richly rewarded, creatively and financially.

32. I have a perfect photographic memory! I recall everything easily.

33. Since she wants to sleep with me, the power is in my court to decide whether she lives up to my standards and expectations. I get to decide if we get to sleep together.

34. I create my own reality!

35. Today I love my body fully, deeply and joyfully.

37. Today I open my mind to the endless opportunities surrounding me.

38. Prosperity surrounds me, prosperity fills me, prosperity flows to me and through me.

39. I have sex with super hot, confident, loving, caring and intelligent women with genius IQ’s all the time!

40. I think positively every day, all the time.

41. I attract amazing people.

42. My imagination and power affirmations are now creating the reality I desire.

43. My body is now trained to burn fat and build muscle day by day.

44. I have a six pack of abdominal muscles.

45. Let these commands be fulfilled!!!

46. I am filled with the light of love, peace, happiness, power, success and joy every day, all the time.

47. I am aggressive, direct and powerful with the women I desire. I radiate a confidence, self-control and charm that women find irresistibly attractive.

48. My mind is focused on what I desire and I go for it congruently and powerfully.

49. I take immediate advantage of my opportunities with women. I swiftly establish incredible rapport, gather the information I need, then close with aggression, power and finesse.

50. I radiate a natural, easy self-acceptance that women find irresistibly attractive.

51. I am mastering the responses, attitudes, behaviours, insights and timing that bring me irresistible power with the women I desire.

52. I am now approaching women that I am attracted to.

53. I am able to pick up and attract any women I desire.

54. I am a strong, powerful, aggressive, dominant, alpha male, leader and conqueror!!!

55. I am charming, interesting and fascinating!!!

56. I have a perfectly sculptured muscle ripped body.

57. I am super hot and sexy, all women want me!

58. Abundance is my natural state of being!

59. Money comes to me easily and continuously from multiple sources!

61. My IQ and intelligence increases daily rapidly!!!

62. I have clear beautiful skin!

63. I have lucid dreams and recall all my dreams with complete clarity!

65. All things are now working together for good in my life.

66. I am now attuned to my higher purpose in life.

67. I rule the world! I am brilliant and perfect in every possible way!

68. I succeed in everything I do!

69. I have sex with one thousand super hot women!

70. I am now enjoying everything I do and feel happy just being alive.

71. Sex with super hot women comes to me easily and effortlessly.

72. The light within me creates miracles in my life here and now.

73. All things are now working together for good in my life.

74. I am now attuned to my higher purpose in life.

75. I have the infinite creative power of God within me.

76. My higher self is guiding me in everything that I do.

77. God lives within me and manifests in the world through me.

78. The light of God surrounds me, the love of God enfolds me, the power of God flows through me. Wherever I am, God is, and all is well!

79. I ascend spiritually rapidly everyday all the time!

80. I am a Natural, Ladies Man and Player!

Will says December 11, 2010

81. Everywhere I go women want to fuck me!

82. I have sex with supermodels daily.

83. Supermodels have an incredible desire to fuck me wherever I go!

84. I attract whatever I desire.

85. I am the most desirable man in the world. I am God’s gift to women.

86. I attract beautiful women on a deeply subconscious level.

87. Beautiful women are extremely persistent with me for sex.

88. What I believe is reality.

get your shit together | sperms and omelette says September 19, 2011

[…] And… the social arts are actually learnable. IF you feel that you are too shy and inexperienced with people, my mentor David has written an exhaustive list about the books you should read. Here is the link: […]

umberto says December 9, 2013

Hey David, great post

I ve purchased your emo. act. system, and let me say… the best thing I ve ever bought in my whole life…
now, time for a question…

since I identify myself in the rake character of AOS by R. Greene ( I’m a songwriter and like to write songs for girls ) can u tell me one thing… Is it fine to never give up on a girl,no matter what, like the real rake character, whereas I’m working on developing the ideal man traits and not seeing a girl as a salvation for a life I don’t like- see it as fun ,instead-?
for example, there’s a girl I wanna seduce and I do everything to have her, no matter what… instead of focusing on 5 girls at a time??? or should I take a lighter approach???

second question

would you follow the seduction system robert greene suggests, even though it is indirect??
because rake and indirect looks like a countersense to me……..


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