Neil Strauss is a changed man. After achieving great success – and notoriety – with his 2005 book, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, Strauss had everything he thought he wanted: a New York Times bestseller, a Hollywood mansion, a string of model girlfriends and a Corvette. He ruled the world of seduction and gave seminars teaching men to become better "players".
These days, Neil is a husband, father of one and a committed family man. What happened? His new book, The Truth, details his transformation from Lothario to monogamist, via a stint in rehab to treat his sex addiction (among other mental illnesses, to his surprise).
'We take these short cuts in our culture,” he told The Guardian in 2015. “We get one piece of information about people and we just assume it’s them for the rest of their lives. It seems like we don’t allow for the possibility of change. But, I mean, we only learn from our mistakes, right?”
Never one to shy away from deeply personal revelations, Neil shares many uncomfortable stories in The Truth: stories of therapy, loneliness, heartbreak and depression. And, most shocking of all, the epiphany that he wanted to settle down with his on-off girlfriend, Ingrid.
Today, he looks back on many of the techniques he espoused in The Game and describes them as 'objectifying and horrifying'. When asked by men for advice these days, Strauss tells them 'The Game is what you want, but The Truth is what you need'.
Neil says he feels a healthy amount of shame for his former life. 'The way I think about it is that you go through passages and stages of life,' he told The Guardian. 'And the question is, can you keep growing? Or are you going to get stuck somewhere?'.
Hear Neil Strauss discuss love, personal redemption and his new book The Truth on Friday 9 September at 6.30pm. He will also take part in a panel discussion 'Inheritance' on Saturday 10 September at 2.30pm.