68 pages 2 hours read

Robert Greene

The Art of Seduction: An Indispensible Primer on the Ultimate Form of Power

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2001

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Summary and Study Guide


The Art of Seduction (2001) is a work of pop psychology/self-help by Robert Greene. The book, a New York Times bestseller, outlines a process of seduction using 24 techniques and details nine seducer types and 18 “victim” types, addressing the themes of how Seduction Is About Power, how Seduction Is Adversarial, and how Seduction Is Psychological.

This study guide uses the paperback edition published by Penguin Group in 2001.

Content Warning: The source material includes references to suicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, and incest.


The Art of Seduction examines a seduction process through specific techniques, quotations, and historical and fictional anecdotes. The first section describes nine seducer types—the Siren, Rake, Ideal Lover, Dandy, Natural, Coquette, Charmer, Charismatic, and Star, as well as the Anti-Seducer—and 18 victim types—the Reformed Rake or Siren, Disappointed Dreamer, Pampered Royal, New Prude, Crushed Star, Novice, Conqueror, Exotic Fetishist, Drama Queen, Professor, Beauty, Aging Baby, Rescuer, Roué, Idol Worshipper, Sensualist, Lonely Leader, and Floating Gender.

The second section uses anecdotes about historical and fictional figures to enumerate 24 seduction techniques. The first of four phases focuses on making the object of seduction think about the seducer, as well as finding the right “victim,” inducing a false sense of security, sending mixed signals, becoming desirable, creating a need that the seducer can fulfill, making insinuations that imply seductive pleasure, pretending to share the person’s values and moods, and creating temptation.

The second phase focuses on affecting a person’s emotions by generating enjoyment and confusion, as well as making the interest desire more by keeping them in suspense, using language to create confusion, focusing on details, keeping up the mystery, showing one’s own fragilities, creating an illusion of fantasy, and isolating them.

The third phase explains how to deepen the seduction’s impact on a person’s unconscious by proving oneself through grand gestures, accessing repressed desires, creating danger, using spiritual tactics, and combining pleasure and pain.

The final phase discusses how to make a person give in physically. It covers the techniques of making a person pursue the seducer, using their senses, making a “bold move,” and continuing to seduce them after the physical encounter, if a long-term relationship is desired.

The book concentrates on the psychology of seduction and techniques of manipulation and power. It draws on gender stereotypes in its discussion of seduction techniques and types, adopts a historical perspective (and thus uses outdated terms), compares seduction to warfare, and presents one-sided views about resistance to seduction, as it is written from the perspective of the seducer rather than the seduced. It focuses on exploiting a person’s vulnerabilities and creating an illusion that contradicts reality, including techniques that challenge moral boundaries and societal limits.