There are people who could have changed the world, and they were too afraid of public criticism. They were too afraid of failure. They were too afraid of social disapproval. They were too afraid of not living up to the greatness that exists in their own head for themselves, that they didn’t do it. I think staying comfortable is something to try to avoid.Neil Strauss
Neil Strauss really needs no introduction. But of course, that’s what this is for. At the bare minimum, Neil is a writer and journalist. Broadening the lens, he also has written 10 bestselling books, and has a wide following online. Looking even deeper, Neil has been at one point called “The world’s greatest pickup artist”.
Before we get to that however let’s back up. Neil was born in Chicago, Illinois, and went to the Latin School of Chicago for high school. Neil grew up as he describes in his book The Game, as an AFC, an Average Frustrated Chump.
He got into journalism as an adult, becoming a successful music writer for magazines such as Rolling Stone, Spin, Esquire and the New York Times. Books include The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band About Motley Crue (now a documentary on Netflix which is amazing) and The Long Hard Road Out of Hell about Marilyn Manson. One day Neil began to look into the world of pickup artistry, and his subsequent experiences of life are all recorded in one of the most infamous books of all time, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. The Game forever changed Neil’s life, becoming an instant bestseller wrought with controversy.
Neil has published more than 5 books since then, and has continued exploring other ventures in life. Neil now generally resides in Los Angeles, and that’s where I got the opportunity to speak with him for an hour. Despite my being slightly nervous at the beginning, our conversation spanned many different topics and is one of my favorite talks I’ve had on the show.
- Discovered the power of words after being introduced to Ulysses in high school
- Writing – a safe place, free to express without interruption
- Music in the high high school years
- As a writer for Rolling Stone, meeting his childhood musical heroes
- Weirdest thing he discovered covering the music business
- High school social life, being bullied, and messing up
- Finding your own path through school
- Advice for high schoolers trying to ‘get’ the girl or boy
- Becoming your best self
- Beginner’s mind
- Thoughts on what makes successful people ‘great’
- How to motivate yourself
- What is success?