Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: Confessions of an Online Hustler

In "Confessions of an Online Hustler," Matt Forney lays out a systematic plan for starting a blog with the goal of making money. The book is is honest, to-the-point, and irreverent. In other words, it represents everything I've come to appreciate in a manosphere-borne publication and Matt's writing in particular.

The book has hundreds of well-organized tips for creating, maintaining, and optimizing writing on the internet. Forney provides general principles and specific resources for hosting, anonymity, posting practices, advertising, visual structure, and many other aspects of operating a blog. The information in "Confessions Of An Online Hustler" is probably accessible in piecemeal form across the far corners of the internet, but for 8 measly dollars you can spare yourself hours of scouring terrible snippets and jumpstart your venture with a dose of concentrated wisdom from a guy who has been there. 

I should be clear that the book does not promote a get-rich-quick mentality. Matt is honest about the amount of work required to turn a profit and upfront about his past failures. If anything, he is overly cautious that the time and effort necessary to create a thriving online presence rarely ends up being cost-effective as a moneymaking tool. If you decide to start writing online, however, Forney arms you with the knowledge necessary to optimize your strategy and give your blog the best chance of success.

The book is still useful if you're not looking to monetize your writing, since it contains several useful tips about building a readership and getting exposure within your chosen niche. It is a cheap and illuminating read that will, at the very least, give you an appreciation for how hard your favorite content-providers work to bring their writing to your eyes. I wish I'd been able to draw on Matt's years of experience three months ago before starting Man Ex Machina. 

Click here to buy Confessions of an Online Hustler

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I Am Broken

I don't want to hear about your kids 
I don't want to chat about your home improvement projects
I don't want to buy things to make myself feel more complete
I don't want to pretend that I envy your luxury car
I don't want to spend valuable time making smalltalk about the weather
I don't want to eat the mass-produced, low-fat, corn-infused swill that everyone insists is healthy
I don't want to invest in my 401k
I don't want to spend my entire life in the same town, city, or country
I don't want to take you on a date and feign interest in the banalities spewing from your mouth
I don't want to spend precious free hours taking you to dinner, meeting your friends, or shopping
I don't want to marry you
I don't want to work at the same job for 40 years and get the gold-watch sendoff
I don't want to simply trust that "everything will be okay"

I don't want what society tells me to want. Therefore I am broken.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review: A Generation of Men

Jonathan Frost is one of the manosphere's foremost player-philosophers. His Freedom 25 Lifestyle Guide and Thumotic blog have consistently thought-provoking writing that amalgamates lifestyle design, philosophy, self-improvement, and game. His writing was part of my inspiration to start this blog.

Frost recently released his debut full-length novel, entitled "A Generation of Men." The book chronicles the lives of three boys, who Red Pill-aware readers will immediately recognize as the stereotypes of Alpha, Beta, and Omega males. I'll start by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed the book -- it's not often that one reads raw and entertaining modern fiction, and the occasional hat-tips to the Red Pill community helped punctuate the story of college guys trying to get laid and thrive in a society that attempts to control them.

Over the course of the novel, I often found myself wondering how the characters had become the way they were. How did Jason, the alpha player, get so good with women? He is described as handsome/athletic/confident, but we all know people with these characteristics who never approach or have much success with women. Likewise, the omega character Nick undergoes an amazing amount of self-motivated transformation throughout the novel, only to self-destruct spectacularly after experiencing a single hiccup to his plan. Frost could have added additional material to aid in developing these characters, and I don't think anyone would have begrudged the author additional pages in the novel.

There was also something too-good-to-be-true about the "read a few books on game --> get tons of girls" progression showcased in the book. At least in my college experience, there was much more to getting truckloads of ass than just acting like kind of an aloof jerk. Ian in particular goes from beta dinner ATM to uncaring poonslayer in the span of just a few pages, which dramatically undersells the work and dedication required to make such a real-life transformation. I would hate for someone to read this as an introduction to game principles, fail in the early going of implementing them, and give up because things didn't unfold like in the novel. Frost knows this better than anyone, and I was disappointed that he omitted the potentially interesting details of Ian's metamorphosis.

Matt Forney's review touched on the wackiness of the book's ending, and I agree with him so I shall not repeat it here. However, I really enjoyed the final pages of the denouement, the cautionary tale about the divergent paths of those who peak in college compared to those who peak later in life. This might be the strongest few pages of the novel, where Frost previews his vision of our future technocratic dystopia and the necessity for men to improve themselves and achieve in preparation for its arrival. I hope he expands on this concept in his next novel.

Since I've never written a book, I have a lot of respect for the thousands of hours Frost put into honing this creation. Despite the quibbles with the accuracy of message and some of the character development, the novel was certainly entertaining and would have unquestionably helped me a lot in my blue pill days. I am looking forward to watching Frost progress as a novelist, but in the meantime I would certainly recommend that you pick up a copy of this fun and quick read. 

Click here to buy A Generation of Men.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Game is Counting Cards

In the movie "21," Kevin Spacey leads a team of MIT students using a card-counting system to win big at the Las Vegas blackjack tables. Though the movie falls prey to a some typical Hollywood banalities, it's a solid flick that showcases how a small band of outsiders can influence the results of a much larger infrastructure. 

Counting cards has many similarities to game. In both pursuits, practitioners take an inherently losing proposition and employ a set of principles to turn the odds in their favor. Both game and counting cards are a grind. They require unshakeable commitment to proven tactics and an outcome-independent mindset in the face of sometimes significant short-term failures. Both pursuits have a few simple heuristics that can be applied to bring the odds close to breaking even, but capturing sustained value requires a level of introspection, innovation, and discipline uncommon to most people.

Game denialists fail to understand that using game to improve one's chances rarely returns immediate results. "Why doesn't it help me get XYZ girl", they complain. Just like card counters must sit out certain hands in until the deck is hot, game's strategy and tactics will not help get you a particular girl. In fact, if you're trying to get one girl, you've already lost to the casino.  

In the climax of the movie, Spacey excoriates the main character for going on tilt and continuing to play after the deck became unfavorable and his team signaled him to stop. He was no longer playing the system -- he was gambling. When you abandon your commitment to game principles by getting too drunk, reverting to beta habits, or pedestalizing a single girl, you immediately tip the odds in favor of the house.  

Of course there are isolated geniuses with photographic memories who can win effortlessly at the blackjack table, but there is a reason that all flights from Vegas are filled with an air of sad despondency. Likewise, everyone goes out thinking they can pull, but most guys leave the bar alone at 2am clutching a greasy pizza slice. Suboptimal tactics will occasionally have rogue positive outcomes, but unless you are an extreme exception the house will always win.

Weathering the ups and downs of game can be an exhausting task, but given the alternatives the solution is clear: pay your dues, play the system, and over the long run you will reap the rewards.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Do Not Consume; Create

This is an excellent short article. Some gems:

"We are so good at tricking ourselves that we even consider some sources of distraction to be essential consumption. Would-be writers try to hold off writing that novel until they finish just one more book on story structure. Wannabe web entrepreneurs never get past the domain registration stage, always looking for more tips and shortcuts that will magically protect them from failure."


"There is a magic to creating anything at all. To launch something into the world that had never before existed. Something you can call your own. As you build and create, you will wonder why you wasted so much time on pointless distractions. You will become even more confident in your own abilities, and uncover talents you did not know you had."

Humans are driven to create things. We invented the wheel, conceptualized the theory of relativity, unlocked the mechanism of our own evolution, and devised the internet. Our species invented calculus and the atomic bomb. We have the ability to contemplate our own mortality and introspect about the nature of our existence. 

The human brain is evolution's crowning accomplishment, and it's being utterly wasted staring at iPhone screens all day.

The role of such technology in our lives is to leave us perpetually unhappy and unfulfilled. It is no coincidence that it also facilitates buying things we don't need, encourages us to form only the most superficial of relationships, and distracts us from asking difficult questions about our society's future.

The solution is simple: kill your TV, put down your phone, and use the unparalleled power of your mind to create things. Until you do, you are just another gear in society's machine.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Use the Pareto Principle to Hack Your Life

Tim Ferris is a polarizing figure on the blogosphere. Some see him as a creative visionary, while others accuse him of being a snake oil salesman. Regardless of your opinion on the man, he sure knows his hustle; he's made a boatload of money and influenced countless people to make positive changes in their lives.

One idea that dominates Ferris's work is that time is our most valuable resource. In Four Hour Workweek, he writes about the Pareto Principle, which states the following:

"For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes"

This law has been observed in numerous real-world examples from biology, economics, and business. I've been thinking about this principle quite a bit recently, specifically how I can use it to improve my work and personal life. If I can identify the 20% of causes that produce 80% of the effects, I should be able to advance my aims without increasing my overall effort level.

I've also reflected upon how the Pareto Principle applies to Red Pill awareness, and how I would advise someone to make maximally benefiical changes to jumpstart improvement in their lifestyle. The following list lays out my findings of best practices that produce maximum results with minimal changes to one's behavior. These few alterations allow a person to reap a proportionally huge share of the benefit, effectively getting 80% of self improvement with only 20% effort:

Saving Money:
  • Cancel cable
  • Stop eating out and learn to cook
  • Bring a flask out with you to bars, or simply don't drink as much
  • Stop drinking anything with added sugar (soda, apple juice, sweetened tea, etc.)
  • Give up grains and legumes, especially soy
  • Make your own juice, even if you have to store it
  • Follow Starting Strength and lift heavy weights 3x a week
  • Do interval training 2-3 times a week
  • Walk places when possible
Time management:
  • Don't pedestalize women 
  • Stop going on dinner dates
  • Do 10 approaches a week
There exist many nuanced methods for capturing the last 20% of value in any aspect of your life. Depending on your priorities, it may fit into your personal value equation to max out proficiency in one or more of these categories. If you want to maximize your overall ROI for changing habits, however, these three simple steps in each area will produce immediate and significant results.

How Myers Briggs Can Elevate Your Game

(Note: this post originally appeared on Return of Kings)

During my night approaches, I tend to shy away from scripted routines after the first couple of minutes. I respect guys who can put together engaging stories and deploy them with surgical precision, but my style tends to be a bit more conversational and extemporaneous.

Among an educated crowd in venues that promote conversation, one subject I often bring up is psychology, specifically personality types and their idiosyncrasies. Girls love to talk about their personalities, since it taps into their deep-rooted need to be part of a larger identity group, yet allows them enough leeway to show they are special snowflakes.

If I get a favorable initial reaction, I often bring up the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality test. The Myers-Briggs scale presents four different dimensions with two options for each, describing how a person creates energy, gathers information, makes decisions, and interacts with the world.

Myers-Briggs is a popular topic in undergraduate intro psych classes, and it may surprise you how many girls are familiar with the concept. I’ve found that about 20% of 22-28 year old girls know their type, and at least another 20% have heard of the test or are very interested in taking it. Ever notice how girls love to talk about astrology and their horoscopes? This subject touches the same interests and desires. Unlike astrology, however, it can provide valuable and actionable information to help your game.

If you know a girl’s type, you have a blueprint of what motivates them, how they are predisposed to spend their time, and how they view the world. For example, if you discover a girl is an “E” you may engage her about going out with her friends, involvement in group activities, and demonstrate that you are open to new experiences. If she’s an “I”, you will likely be able to have a deeper conversation where you emphasize your more introverted hobbies (traveling alone, playing a music instrument, writing) to build comfort and attraction.

The next level of incorporating MBTI comes when you can tailor your short and long-term game based on specific personality types. These are just a few examples:

INTJ / INTP - Their brains are wired more like men. You can have rational and often insightful conversations with them, and drama will be minimal compared with other types. Sex often has wild/rough elements. They may lack the feminine “spark” that immediately endears them to you, but you can spend a peaceful day with this type without wanting to tear your hair out. They are likely to be shy at the beginning. Challenge them with wit and show physical/intellectual dominance. A rare type for girls.

ENFJ - Many nurses and teachers fall into this category. These girls are sweet and will respond positively to small bits of “beta game”. ENFJs care about others, and they can be more engaging because they actually want to hear about your ideas and feelings. One of the best types to date in my experience.

ENFP - Prom queens. ENFPs are used to getting attention, and their egos are validated almost solely by the adoration of others. To capture her interest you need to push-pull as much as possible. Give her slight interest and then withdraw mercilessly. The script-flipping of making her search for your approval will bond her to you even more than with the average girl. If you’re an introvert, you’ll have to resist her pressure to go out more, meet people, and engage in social obligations in which you have little interest.

ESTP - These girls have a constant need for novelty and are keen manipulators. If you want to keep them in your rotation, switch things up and keep her guessing. ESTPs can range from absolute pleasures to used car salesmen, depending on your awareness of their subtle manipulation and how much you let them get away with.

INFJ - Ultimately you will get tired of dealing with their feelings. More than any other type, these girls have solid intuitions that they will follow blindly, even in the face of incontrovertible rational discourse. Their depth and number of feelings can be overwhelming to a repeated interaction, since they live in their heads more than ENFJs. May be more prone to depression and anxiety.

You can take the test for yourself, and familiarize yourself with the categories and the 16 types here.

As game continues to evolve from furry hats and magic tricks to a more optimized, lifestyle-oriented pursuit, specialization is a necessity to get the most out of your approaches. Familiarity with Myers-Briggs types provides insight that often takes precious time and effort to gather otherwise. By limiting the generalized game you pull from your normal playbook, Myers-Briggs can accelerate the process of building attraction and maintaining your frame, giving you an edge on the competition.