models book summary

Book Summary: Models by Mark Manson

The Book in Three Sentences

In this book summary of Mark Manson’s Models, you’ll learn to connect with women rather than impress them. Mark Manson’s framework helps you meet women without lying and without copying others. There are numerous lessons in the book, including how to develop a sense of humor, how to keep women engaged, and how to overcome anxiety around attractive women.

Models Summary

Introduction: Movement

What is a man in this day and age? Hundreds of years ago, men were supposed to be powerful and protective. Decades ago, they were supposed to work and provide. Now, there’s no clear definition of what a man is supposed to do and without that model, we’re lost. There are two movements, one is social and emotional and demands a new masculinity. The other is emotional and psychological and happens within yourself. The latter is all about improving your relationship with women, being confident around them, and being in control. Seduction isn’t about words, it’s about emotions and you alter those emotions through movement.

Part I: Reality

Chapter 1: Non-Neediness

The less needy you are, the more attractive you’ll be. Neediness means placing higher priorities on how others perceive you rather than on how you perceive yourself. Needy men act and say things to impress and win the approval of others. Non-needy men do and say things to embody their values and desires. There’s nothing more attractive and admirable than a lack of need for attention.

Neediness or the lack thereof depends on your intentions. Don’t do or say things for other people’s approval. Forget external things, men are judged by their behavior. Neediness is a feeling and one that women have developed to identify. Don’t confuse non-neediness with narcissism because the latter will lead to dysfunctional relationships.

Biologically, women can suffer more consequences than men when it comes to sex. This explains why women are pickier while men are more promiscuous. Women want to feel comfortable and secure with a man. The process of seduction is when a man wants a woman to be “as invested in him as he is in her”. The side effect of this process is sex.

Seduction happens in two ways: 1) neediness disguised as non-neediness, or 2) genuine non-neediness. The first method is when a man “performs” for women. The second method is passive and affects a man’s behavior. The latter is all about moving from external goals (such as dates and sex) to internal goals (happiness and emotional fulfillment).

To maintain stable, long-term relationships, you must invest in yourself. The best way to do this is by overcoming your neediness, a process that requires you to change your mindset, self-perception, and self-respect. Only make room for people who make room for you. Become the kind of man you want to be, not the kind of man women want. Ironically, this will make you more attractive, respected, and trustworthy. Your strategies aren’t what’s attracting or repelling, who you are is. Regardless of how attractive a woman is, her values are much more important than her looks.

Unless you love yourself, no one else will. Being non-needy requires self-respect, boundaries, social competence, and healthy habits. This is by no means an easy process since it involves introspection, questioning, doubt, anger, frustration, and change. The only shortcut is objectifying women, something that gets you what you want in the short-term, but hurts you (and them) in the long term. If you decide to work on yourself, don’t overcompensate by becoming narcissistic.

Unfortunately, narcissism works but results in unpleasant and superficial interactions. Narcissism is focusing on your needs above everyone else’s. In practice, this means telling yourself that you have no flaws, that your problems are someone else’s fault, and you make others feel bad so that you can look good.

The people you date, reflect your emotional state, so look for patterns and break them. Non-neediness is about having respect for both yourself and women.

Chapter 2: Power in Vulnerability

Vulnerability isn’t the same as being weak. From a young age, men are taught to hide their emotions, but opening up to them can be a good thing. Manson defines vulnerability as “putting yourself in a position where you can be rejected.” Instead of being a weakness, this is a form of power because it makes you comfortable with yourself. When you’re trying to make vulnerability a habit, it’ll hurt. You’ll naturally resist change and there will be discomfort, but don’t give up. Being uncomfortable teaches you that rejections and mistakes are fine.

Ultimately, women want strong, independent, non-needy partners, so become that for them even if you’re rough around the edges. Whatever you do, don’t perform. Performing is a form of neediness too and vulnerability shouldn’t be part of an act, it should be a way of living.

Chapter 3: The Gift of Truth

Regardless of what you say to a woman, your intention is more powerful than words. Even if you say something stupid, as long as it’s genuine, this will attract women. So instead of investing your time and energy in becoming a pickup artist, you should invest in yourself. Once you do, your identity and honesty will do the rest. What you say is unimportant, why you say it makes all the difference. Say things because you feel them and not because you’re desperate for approval.

Honesty can’t be faked and has to be given unconditionally. Express yourself without inhibition or shame and don’t expect anything in return. Is your appreciation for a woman genuine? To answer this, see if your words align with your intentions. The words are meaningless, but your intentions mean everything. Don’t try to impress her, don’t over-invest in her, and don’t try to steal her attention.

Also, establish boundaries from the get-go. If she’s being offensive, let her know. If she wants to leave, let her go. And If she plays games, make it clear that you want no part of it. Maintain your boundaries while you respect everyone else’s. Learn to say no and be painfully honest with the things you tolerate and the things you don’t.

The reasons why attractive women don’t want to be with you are friction and projection. Friction is when women like you but your values prevent them from being interested. Projection is when women attack you or push you away despite liking you. Most of the women you’ll meet will fall under those two categories, but that’s fine. The idea isn’t to be attractive to most women but to attract the ones who like us for who we are.

Part II: Strategy

Chapter 4: Polarization

Rejection is good because it keeps people who aren’t good for each other apart. You don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t appreciate you after all. Also, don’t pursue women you don’t find attractive.

Women can be divided into three categories: Receptive, Neutral, and Unreceptive.

  • Unreceptive women are either unavailable or uninterested in you.
  • Neutral women are unsure about a man and need to make up their minds about it. This is a temporary state that won’t last long and you must take action (teasing, flirting, smiling at them, or asking them out) so that they make a decision. If you don’t do anything, she’ll become Unreceptive.
  • Receptive women are attracted to you sexually or romantically. You recognize them because they initiate with you or they reciprocate what you do.

Most of the women you meet will be Unreceptive or Neutral. Context determines the kind of women you meet. The kind of women you meet determines the strategy you’ll use:

  • You must identify Unreceptive women and move on because they’re not worth the time and effort. The most common time sinks when it comes to Unreceptive women are the friend zone and women in relationships. The friend zone is a category where the woman in question sees you as a friend and not a lover. Once inside the friend zone, you won’t get out. You get to the friend zone by meeting an Unreceptive or Neutral woman and never expressing interest. A woman in a relationship is also not worth the time and effort, not to mention morally wrong.
  • Once you spot a Neutral woman, you must get them to stop being Neutral before they can become Unreceptive. So be vulnerable and see how they react.
  • Receptive Women will give you the most rewarding interactions since they’re already receptive, make a move and see what happens.

Rejection exists so that you can spot the women who are likely to make you happy and the ones who aren’t. The main strategy is to polarize women. This involves showing who you are, how you feel, and what you think. Once you do, you’ll be able to spot Receptive Women and push Neutral Women to make a decision about you. To attract women, you must be polarizing.

Chapter 5: Rejection and Success

Polarizing women can lead to strong emotional responses, but it’s better than being pleasant. You shouldn’t fear rejection because it saves you time and effort. How you define success is also very important. For the author, success is “maximizing happiness with whichever woman/women we prefer”. The importance is chasing fulfillment, not validation.

You can be honest in one of three ways:

  1. Lifestyle: Living based on our values
  2. Boldness: Becoming comfortable with our intentions
  3. Communication: Expressing our sexuality freely

Manson refers to these as the three fundamentals.

Chapter 6: The Three Fundamentals

The Three Fundamentals are Honest Living, Honest Action, and Honest Communication.

  • Honest Living: Adopt an identity that reflects your emotional needs and desires. Your lifestyle involves your job, your hobbies, your friends, your health, and your appearance.
  • Honest Action: This is overcoming your fear around women.
  • Honest Communication: This is expressing freely and effectively. Keeping people’s attention, having a good sense of humor, and telling good stories.

Men who struggle with relationships belong to one of two categories:

  • Socially anxious: They express themselves well but are scared and nervous about pushing things forward.
  • Socially disconnected: They don’t express themselves well, but they’re fearless around women.

Part III: Honest Living

Chapter 7: Demographics

One of the most important questions you can ask yourself is which kind of woman would you like to meet? Context makes a big difference because it determines the women’s age, education, values, appearance, and interests. This is what the author calls demographic. The theory of demographics says that you attract what you are. Age, money, and looks matter, but not as much as people think. Ideally, you want to recognize the strengths and build upon them to attract women in your demographic.

Another important concept is that of social proof. This is the idea that when most people value something, we tend to value that as well. Cultivate social proof within your demographic. This involves pursuing what you’re passionate about and taking an active role in those endeavors to the point that you become a leader and dominate the demographic in question. In conclusion, words are meaningless and what attracts women is your identity. Don’t perform, just be.

Chapter 8: Lifestyle and Presentation

Women perceive attraction in a different way than men. For men, female beauty involves physical traits first and personality and presentation later. The good news for men is that even if you’re not good-looking, you can become attractive with time and effort. Pay attention to your outward appearance because it’s a reflection of your self-investment. The first steps are to shower, shave, get haircuts regularly, wear deodorant, brush and floss your teeth, keep your fingernails clean, and wear clean clothes. Once the basics are covered, take care of the two Fs: Fashion and Fitness.

First, fashion. To dress well, you must follow some simple rules:

  1. Wear clothes that fit
  2. Wear clothes that match
  3. Dress to your personality

The basics of fitness are:

  1. Exercise: Exercising makes you look and feel better, gives you energy, and relieves your anxiety
  2. Eat the right food: Cut down on sodas, fast food, desserts, and candy

Other aspects you can try to improve include posture, maintaining eye contact with people, developing an expressive and loud voice, and having a unique character.

Part IV: Honest Action

Chapter 9: What Are Your Stories?

We always tell stories to ourselves about the women we meet. You might be judging them and convincing yourself of things that may be wrong. Judging someone you don’t know is a defense mechanism, a sort of internal resistance that makes you afraid, anxious, bored, apathetic, shameful, or arrogant. To change your behavior, you first must identify those stories. Don’t come up with excuses not to talk to someone you like even if you’re afraid. To overcome your fears, identify the patterns that emerge so that you can break them.

Making negative assumptions about women and stereotyping them is assuming a victim mentality and it doesn’t help. Your observations have nothing to do with your actions (or lack thereof). Blaming others prevents you from learning from your mistakes.

Pornography negatively impacts your motivation to meet women in real life. Porn is easier, more attractive, more easily available, emotionless, and there are no obligations involved when you use it. The side effects though are tremendous: porn creates unrealistic expectations surrounding sex, by consuming porn you’ll expect real women to be perfect and finally, you’ll expect sex to be quick which isn’t always the case. To be motivated to meet someone, the author suggests the following:

  • Stop using pornography
  • Masturbate once a week
  • When you do, you’re only allowed to think about women you’ve met but never had sex with
  • Use lotion or lube and do it slowly

Chapter 10: How to Overcome Anxiety

Rejecting people is uncomfortable, but women have to do it all the time. They are lonely and frustrated, so they want to meet someone who’s confident, charming, fun, and interesting. When you’re rejected by them, it’s because you weren’t what they were looking for.

Fear is normal and you shouldn’t be trying to get rid of it. Don’t avoid or ignore your fear but channel it into something positive. Anxiety can help you when you’re competent, so you must be exposed to situations that make you anxious incrementally. The idea is to build competence and confidence slowly and by focusing on one thing at a time. Once you’ve mastered one thing, you move on to the next.

Part V: Honest Communication

Chapter 11: Your Intentions

Men communicate through facts, stories, and data. When they say something, they mean it literally. Women communicate in feelings and intentions. This is sub-communication and it makes women seem contradictory and irrational. When you approach a woman, you have to pay attention to your intentions. Don’t try to impress her or brag, just share things about yourself. Unless your actions and words live with your intentions, you’ll seem creepy.

The opposite of creepiness is flirting. Flirting is how you express your sexuality while making a woman feel secure. When done right, flirting is appreciated by women, but it’s an art and by doing it, you risk rejection. Your goal is to develop emotional connections because once you do, your interactions with women will be rich and unique. Developing emotional connections is all about relating to feelings instead of facts.

Chapter 12: How to Improve Your Flirting

Regardless of how well you communicate, you might still be misunderstood. This is unavoidable and you must get used to it, but you should still learn how to communicate efficiently and openly. The better you communicate, the more chances of connecting with a woman you’ll have.

First impressions are important. Remember that what you say isn’t important, but your intentions and level of anxiety are. With this in mind, don’t scare women as you approach them, walk up and introduce yourself, don’t linger, always smile, make strong eye contact, and speak loudly and clearly. As you get more rejections, you’ll notice that:

  1. You’re presenting yourself poorly
  2. You approach women for the wrong reasons
  3. You haven’t taken the guidelines above into account

Once you introduce yourself, you use conversation skills. The idea is to:

  • Use effective language: Saying what you mean clearly. Remove fillers and what you say will feel more impactful.
  • Question versus statements: Continue the conversation with statements rather than questions. You can do this with cold reading, a skill where you can tell something about someone without actually knowing it. This involves making predictions and taking educated guesses to avoid interrogating someone.
  • Endless conversation topics: Whenever you’re talking about something, you have endless opportunities to talk about something else. Try to relate what a woman is saying to something relevant and make it a habit.
  • Storytelling: Whether we notice it or not, we use stories on a daily basis. Every story has three components: a setup, a conflict, and a resolution.
  • Relating and connecting: The goal of a conversation is to connect with a woman. To connect, you must either reveal your identity or try to reveal hers.

To spice up your conversation, you can use humor. There are different types of humor:

  • Misdirection: This is leading a story towards something and then saying something unexpected.
  • Exaggeration: This is taking a quality and showing it as something greater than it actually is
  • Teasing and sarcasm: Teasing is saying something derogatory to someone in a humorous way. Not everyone appreciates teasing and you’ll get strong reactions from it. Sarcasm is a dark sense of humor that’s all about being extreme.
  • Swearing: Swearing can be funny, but it gets old quickly and can be unattractive.
  • Word-playing and puns: Wordplay is using words with different meanings to be funny. This is an intellectual style of humor and most women won’t appreciate it.
  • Roleplay and games: These are an energizing and fun way to interact with women.

Avoid self-deprecating humor because it’s unattractive. Also, while humor is a way to attract women, don’t become an entertainer.

Chapter 13: The Dating Process

Dating is a rigid process where the people involved are trying to figure out the kind of relationship they want to have. Once you get a woman’s phone number, you should follow some rules: 

  • Ask a woman her phone number if she’s attracted to you
  • Don’t hide the fact that you’re attracted to her
  • Get used to being ignored by some women, try to contact a woman twice, and move on if she doesn’t reply
  • Text within a day of getting her number
  • Wait a day before starting another conversation
  • Ask her out or keep the conversation going

For the actual date, never do lunch. Your best bet is to go out at nighttime (6 to 9 pm) so that nobody has any commitments afterward. Also, avoid dinner dates. Go to comedy clubs, dance classes, museum exhibits, walk in parks and plazas, go to concerts, or grab a drink. Having many shared activities together creates a lasting impression.

Chapter 14: Physicality and Sex

Men are visually stimulated, but women are stimulated by being desired. The goal with a woman you like is to get physical quickly. Just do it in a way that’s respectable and comfortable for them. When you’re making a move, you have to be confident about it. Since this is polarizing, you quickly find out if they’re interested or not, and being bold is considered attractive.

You must recognize some signals that are part of the courtship process: eye contact, smiling, proximity, dilated eyes, and touching. Finally, if you’re thinking about kissing her, just do it. If you’re rejected, ask her about it. When things escalate, there has to be some build-up before sex. If at any point she wants you to stop, then stop. Sex should be a team effort and not something you do for yourself.

During sex, communicate openly and make a joke if someone makes a mistake. Everyone has sexual anxiety in some form, especially men. Once you’ve had sex, you have the choice of continuing the relationship or not.

Epilogue: What if It Was a Gift?

To attract women, men need inner security. This confidence comes from forging a strong identity and investing in oneself, not from the perception of others. Once you find confidence, you’ll be able to express yourself clearly and directly. This polarizes women and some of them will reject you, while others will be attracted to you. Whatever happens to you, ask yourself: “What if this was a gift?”

Further Reading

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