Book of Pook: 15 Lessons (A Review)
I've read about 100 authorities on masculinity and intersexual dynamics so far but none of them have stood out to me as much as Pook (maybe Rollo Tomassi but he's really popular).
Pook (like Rollo) was on the sosauve forum and, as it seems to me, was a student of Anti-Dump. Anti-Dump is really interesting because he was completely focused on finding girls for a long term relationship and didn't really seem to care about short term ones like one night stands. Since he was only looking for a long term relationship his entire "Anti-Dump Machine" was a vetting process for finding a really good girl who had genuine interest in you. His point was that girls have sex, boyfriends, flings, husbands, etc for many reasons and none of them have to be genuine interest or desire for you. Plenty of average guys get girlfriends. Very few guys get girls that are completely crazy about them.
This is where the "only needy birds fly into cages metaphor (see: how to be a man 101)" comes into play. You think the best of yourself realize you deserve only the best. You realize in the world of relationships, getting a girlfriend is not winning. If you are not with a fantastic girl that is submissive and has complete unmitigated, genuine desire for you, then you lost. Most people do not realize that being alone is not losing. Being alone is part of being a man. This is a really cool part of both Anti-Dump and Pook's work because it is a complete buffer against neediness. No matter what form it is, needy guys always slip in there asking how they can get vagina passwords or get a girlfriend. (One of the things) that actually makes a man attractive is not needing a woman. She wants to enter your life when your life is full (abundant) already. So most guys fake this the best they can to get laid, they get over women just enough to get a girlfriend or wife then they're back to codependency 101, or they just never get past that stage and they never have any serious luck with girls. The harder pill that they should have swallowed was that until you'd rather be alone than with someone who doesn't treat you perfectly, you have more work to do.
That went on longer than expected.
A lot of Pook's philosophy is that those who learn philosophy in order to get women are doing it wrong because they should be striving toward being more human, integrated with their sexuality, self-actualized, etc and they can not learn this from theory or philosophy. They have to embrace themselves, gather experience, and learn how to be more in touch with their own essence (aka your masculinity (the fucking point of this blog)). In his section of aphorisms, he says a few things I like.
"Philosophy is for refuge for those who refuse to be flesh and blood" - Pook
"Theory! Endless theory! I want to move to this Land of Theory the intellectuals emerge from. For in Theory, everything is correct." - Pook
"How absurd is this sentence: 'Deliver me the philosophies necessary to make me laugh.' What! We say to such a person, 'No, there is no philosophy that can teach you to laugh.' And they respond with, 'Tell us the twelve step program that teaches one to laugh.' And we say to them, 'There is no how-to in order to get you to laugh.' At this, they grow angry and rattle, 'You deliberately hide the information we seek! You hide your thoughts and keep them closed to our world!' And we reply, 'We do not close the world to you, YOU close the world to you. Do you want to laugh? Look in the mirror.' And on and on this goes! Now replace the word 'laugh' with the word 'Don Juan' and you realize why learning to Don Juan is not like an academic degree."
And so Pook can save you a lot of time on theory and philosophy reading if you only read him and this blog. He is still writing for an audience (even if he says he just writes for himself) so obviously he doesn't want you to do no reading. But basically learning game the classical way of the Real Social Dynamics method with a 12 step program is a useless endeavor to him. Although I am a philosopher myself, I come from more of the Nietzschean/Humean school of thought, where I believe very limited access to the true nature of the world, so we should focus on living a good, joyful, experiential, and fundamentally human life (David Hume was known for his good spirits and good company). More on my personal philosophies in an upcoming post.
A note about Pook's lessons: although he believed in living and trying over theory or philosophy, he did think you need to know these things before you ventured into the world of women.
Okay, now for the lessons:
In lesson number ONE, Pook is with a young man on a college campus who is trying to get a girlfriend. He is nervous and filled with desire/lust. He wants to approach women but he lets a few go by, as he's too nervous to speak. Finally he talks to a girl, she's perfectly pleasant, and when he asks for her number she says no. Still, he felt better that he actually went for it.
The young man is slowly becoming open to opportunity and abundance, but he needs to take action. From this Pook teaches us that we must operate in the domain of ACTION. Whenever we are unsure about doing things, we must default to action. All our normal hesitant nature or insecurity is actually not the cause of our inaction, but the consequence of the negative emotion from inaction, and not having what we currently want, which is a result of inaction. This one is pretty fucking brilliant.
In lesson number TWO, Pook says that men end up with the "friendzone" problem because while they reserve talking about feelings with romantic interests, that's what women normally do with friends, so they have no problem seeing you as a friend, while you thought that was a romantic activity. To avoid this ALWAYS PURSUE WOMEN ROMANTICALLY. (This one might be on the more obvious side for my readers).
This also means, in my own commentary, that you should actually avoid all the feelings talks with girls because this is the domain of friendship to them. And besides, you're a man, and always sitting around doing feminine things shows that you are willing to compromise yourself and betray your masculine nature. Not very attractive. Don't be willing to compromise yourself (for yourself, AKA don't just do things because women may or may not like them. Do things you want to do.
In lesson three, Pook paints the scene of a young man with a date set with a woman. He spends his entire time analogizing over it, but she stands him up. They reschedule and she does it again. Through his rationalization, he explains away her shitty behavior.
Pook has to make him realize that when it comes to women, you must judge them for what they do, not what they say (Rollo Tomassi is a staunch behaviorist and says this all the time). Women are only complex when we take their explanations seriously. If you focus on what she does over what she says, it becomes pretty simple.
Here's an example Rollo uses in The Rationale Male, you meet a girl at a party and she's really into you and you kiss and whatever. You then call her the next day and set a date to meet. She flakes a few times and then stops responding. You cry out, why are women so complicated!! But that wasn't very complicated at all. She was into you then (she was drunk, dim lighting, she was feeling desperate, etc) and she's not into you now (she has "buyer's remorse", reconnected with an ex, met someone hotter, saw you were weird on social media and so on).
This relates to Pook's idea that women love in their bodies, men love in our minds. Men are romantic and idealistic, we think about what "could be", we rationalize and romanticize, we write love songs and poetry, build statues and kill ourselves to show our love. Women, on the other hand, are more pragmatic and opportunistic. They love who is strong at the time. They get "the tingles" when you say something. They like to feel your touch, your comfort, your resistance, and it is all a bodily think that I think they'd have trouble explaining. That's why they give such fucking horrible relationship advice.
So finally when you judge them for how they act versus what they say, you get the picture. Now you have to explain to yourself why you wasted so much time on someone that wasn't into you.
In lesson four, Pook and the young man watch as a man is surrounded by several men more good looking and successful than him, all competing for women. The man realizes that he too is valuable, but in a different kind of way. He says "I will be patient and let the cards fall where they may." As they women call for his attention, he laughs, replies, and walks off.
The young man is confused, rightfully so, and Pook explains to him that patience is the refined sense of confidence. He is patient because he knows his worth, skill, and that he is a prize to be won.
This is probably my favorite lesson. This was a huge realization for me in working towards my goals. There are a few different layers to be broken down. Firstly, patience is a masculine virtue. Drive is a masculine virtue as well, and although they seem to conflict: you can be driven and patient, you can know what you want and go towards it, but know it will take time. This is HUGE. Let it take time, enjoy the process, know that you are a prize and that once you figure it out and dial it in, you will be unstoppable.
Another part of this scenario is that the man is valuable in his mindset. The other men have looks and material things. They're possibly even more charming. But they need women, and eventually their need is their downfall. The man has abundance mentality, there will be more opportunities, women, etc and if not, he is okay in himself to be on his own. Women see this and eventually become attracted to him because he has everything. They want to be part of his world because in his world he needs nothing more. He is the well trained fighter that does not street fight because he knows he could win. He is the prince.
In lesson five, the young man has learned patience, but when he is with a woman attracted to him he lets the opportunity pass and eventually the "iron grows cold". Pook tells him that although you must be patient, you should trust your gut. You know what is right in the moment, so secede to nature and do what philosophy can not teach you, seize the opportunity and take action!
This relates to another essay Pook has on whether or not to have desire. He essentially says, when you're a nice guy (beta loser) and you're starting to become more aware, turn off your desire because your desire output machine is broken. The machine uses to shower women in needy love, affection, and gifts and you need to fix the crappy machine before you can run desire again. Once the machine is fixed, and you start to communicate desire through eye contact, authenticity, masculine nature, etc. then feel free to desire. So the young man that misses his opportunity has his desire set too low. He needs to relearn the drive of what it feels like to want to kiss a woman without all the shit he had attached to it before. That's just my two cents.
Also, illimitable man has a distinction he makes between instinct and emotion. Instinct is the "trusting your gut". The doing "in your heart of hearts what you know is right" feeling. It is subconscious decision processing that, although we may not be able to articulate, has made a decision for us that we believe is right. It is to be respected, trusted, and acted upon because it is acting on our deepest levels of knowledge, those below what we are able to clearly say (like Nietzsche says, in a critic of Socrates, just because someone can't explain something doesn't mean they don't know it). Emotion on the other hand, comes and goes, is unreliable, and lets us make irrational decisions. We know the feeling of going against our "better judgment" (instinct) and acting emotionally just to have the whole thing blow up in our face, whether it's a text we shouldn't have sent or whatever. The young man needs to rely on instinct to tell him, "yeah go for this kiss" and fight against the emotions of his nerves.
In lesson six, a two part lesson, the young man approaches various women, desperately trying to win them over, only to be rejected again and again. He buys them gifts, shows them affection, and is agreeable in conversation. Finally, he frustratedly realizes that, not only is this a fruitless effort, but that he is super valuable in who is he is, he is a great catch, he need not go around like a beggar. From now on, he would act like the prize that he is.
But, he then goes a step too far, saying that he doesn't have to change at all, can indulge in whatever egregious habits he pleases (porn, video games, being a bum) and women should still have to love him.
Pook sternly corrects him, and paints a picture of two men, identical in upbringing with strong fathers (they must have been raised 50> years ago) and gentle mothers. Whilst growing up, one boy wishes to retreat to the comfort of childhood and his mother. He becomes reliant on friends and eventually on his girlfriend, and eventually on his wife. He wishes to stay young forever and act as a child, indulging in whatever he wishes. He never grew.
His destiny was to be left by his wife, whom he truly loved, because he wasn't a true man but a boy. Pook says "the man goes through his life, broken and re broken, fruitlessly trying to rebuild that sandcastle of childhood fun while the waves of reality kept crashing down on him".
But after all, he was just "being himself"...
The other realizes his childhood is over, and goes head first into adulthood. He accepts responsibility and volunteers in hardship. He wishes to be better today than he was yesterday. He was in constant self improvement. He wanted to pick the women he wanted, the career he wanted, and the friends he wanted. He didn't want to be a slave to fate. He wanted to choose his own destiny.
And because he asked, and worked, he received. He had the strength to handle it. The will to create his own life. He was satisfied and chose to live how he wanted to.
The young man realizes, he must always be growing, not for women, but for himself. You must be directed towards greatness to be the prize.
In lesson seven, the young man finds himself with a girlfriend. But when she needs something, even if she is demanding, he always placates. She tests his boundaries and doesn't show respect for his time. Eventually she leaves him, he is confused as he has constantly pleased her. By being a servant, she lost his attraction to him. Pook explains that respect is all. When asked why, he summons Socrates who explained that where there is reverence there is always fear.
Pook's point is that if you're a good catch, she'll be fearful to lose you. If she's fearful to lose you, then she'll respect you. If she disrespects you, you should show you're willing to walk away. In the manosphere we call this dread game, kind of, and we also withdraw attention. Usually we don’t argue. A good catch has his "pick of the lot", he doesn't need to put up with any bullshit. He wants to be free and is only going to sacrifice that if you're really great. If you're not great, next.
In lesson eight, Pook's discusses with the young man why he still isn't getting any women. They conclude it is because he rejects his sexuality. In order to be successful with women, like any normal guy who gets laid that knows nothing of seduction, you must embrace your sexuality. Pook makes the point that nice guys wouldn't dare admit they have a penis. It's true.
You need to be unapologetic that you are a man, a sexual being with masculine drive that wants sex. It needs to flow through your character. You need to be comfortable being sexual and accepting who you are. This is huge for guys. There's no reason to apologize for having a dick. Act like a guy, talk like a guy, make sexual comments, don't be apologetic about what you want!
For me, a huge part of this, besides how I act and what I say, is the way I dress. I don't dress androgynously. I like to wear tight pants, necklaces, shirts that show off my arms, clothes that shape me well, this is all a sexual act. It's like a peacock showing it's feathers.
In lesson nine, the young man, in his sexual frustration, meets a Spanish guy named "Manual". "Manual" has all the tricks to get women. Pook then pokes fun at some PUA techniques and the idea that you need to read 100,000 articles in order to get a woman. The young man did get success with Manual.
When the young man started breaking Manual's rules, he was met with success as well. He realized that he shall not be contained by a "formula". The guides made him successful, but are only there to show the means to success, if you constantly need the rules and guides that Manual provides, you become his slave. Instead you start to understand the principles and mindset at it's foundation and become free.
In lesson ten, the young man asks Pook why some men seemingly effortlessly get women and some guys can't get a girl no matter how hard he tries. He hears the critical voice of the "jerks" that got all the girls and the girls that rejected him calling him a wimp, desperate, skinny, not smart enough, not rich enough, and not handsome enough. Pook says, "he knew he was not a prince so he didn't act like one."
BUT he realizes that it is these thoughts that keep him from being Prince Charming, in fact it is not the prince that makes the thoughts, but the thoughts that makes the prince. He had to change his mentality and thinking. "Think and you shall become."
The young man didn't want a self improvement lesson but just wanted to get laid. Pook had to explain to him "women come and go, but YOU are forever. The focus must be on you." By focusing on yourself you'll find a woman that wants to support your life.
The young man is hesitant, he thinks that if a girl doesn't like his date ideas, way of life, or isn't what he is looking for then he is getting rejected. Pook has to explain that it is only rejection if you "place your emphasis on the woman." You believe the woman is "making the choice, not you". It is "merely finding out if the woman has good taste." If she isn't into you, thank her, she just made it easier for you.
Here, Pook is saying a lot. This lesson is fucking awesome. You can not sacrifice yourself to please a woman without killing part of yourself. Instead, you have to not only focus on yourself (the point of this blog) but also unapologetically be yourself! And not just "be yourself" in the way girls tell you who aren't attracted to you. You have to be the best version of yourself. Which means knowing yourself, striving towards greatness, and continually growing. But to who anyone who doesn't like you for that authenticity, thank you. They make your vetting job much easier.
I am the best version of myself I've ever been and I feel more "myself" than ever. I am self improving, of course, but part of that is finding my inner man and being in touch with him and harnessing my masculinity. Caring less what people think. I don't self improve for women, but the added attraction I get is a nice benefit. Pook ends the lesson saying a few things that really pertain to us on here.
"You cannot be yourself without truthfully seeing yourself (yam note: all of your flaws and short comings that need to be fixed to be your true self)"
"You cannot sacrifice character for joyfulness without ultimately destroying happiness"
"You cannot control the situation, but you can control yourself, your emotions, and your life"
"You cannot have a woman love you until you love yourself (yam note: make yourself deserving of your own self love -- or love yourself because you know what you can become)"
"You cannot grasp female nature until you grasp your male nature (yam note: be grateful to have balls, and engage your masculinity!!)"
"You cannot win her until you focus on her winning you (yam note: don't chase, you're the prize)"
"You cannot fulfill desire by letting it trump your integrity (yam note: amazing)"
"You cannot be yourself by denying your dreams and what it takes to achieve them"
In lesson eleven, the young man watches his friends, all confused by femininity, get into relationships and married. The girl choses them and the chumps eagerly agree. They then judge the young man for not being married or in a relationship. He says he'd rather not sacrifice his masculinity for a girl. He understands "GETTING A GIRL IS NOT THE SUCCESS".
"Most guys think like women, they think that by sleeping with lots of women, by having a girlfriend, or by having a wife means they are successful with women."... "[W]omen date for all sorts of reasons. They marry for all sorts of reasons. They sleep with you for all sorts of reasons. To the addition of the above, you want to find a woman who is interested in YOU."
Instead find a woman that actually likes you. That has legitimate desire for you. It is a happy life. It is not settling for the first thing that comes your way.
Finally, when Pook is asked what if you are so bad with women that none have legitimate desire for you, he responds,
"Then you'll have more free time for your buddies (yams note: plus your career, making money, traveling, hobbies, lifting, martial arts, etc..). Success cannot be getting a girl because that means failure is being alone. No. Failure is being in an unhappy marriage or a relationship where she has no true interest in you."
Pook is exactly right here. Do not fear being alone. Like Rollo Tomassi says in The Rational Male, the true test of a man is how he can be with himself, alone. Pook's work is a true buffer against neediest because he is saying you should rather be alone than with someone who not only meets your standards, but completely and honestly desires you. Do not settle! If you are afraid to fail, you may never truly succeed!
Lesson twelve is... confusing. The young man is now getting women but he is haunted by a voice that is telling him he is empty. To not quote Pook at all, he is basically saying that:
You can not change yourself so much for women that you lose the essence of who you are. Your dreams, desires, and goals must come first. Women should only be a supplement to your life, never the focus of it. You must unite "day (yam question: women and hobbies?)" and dream (yam note: goals and ambitions) for a good life.
In lesson thirteen, the young man found himself clogged by philosophies whenever he tried to approach a woman. All the information was too much and harmed his ability to action. He finally figured out he would go up to a woman as if she was still a childhood girl looking to have fun. He'd take her from bored on the park bench and lead her by the hand to a slice of adventure.
Pook says "charm is treating women like little girls". Similarly, he needs to return to a state of playful adolescence where he knew how to engage with women. He compares the young boy who leads a girl to run around, have fun, and play to a man who sits boringly talking on a conventional dinner date. The men who are naturally successful with women still have that element of danger and play. They "play" with big trucks, they tease, they lead her to do things.
I agree with Pook here to an extent. I am not the type to "run a girl across the grocery store by the hand to check out the tomatoes" like Pook talks about doing. Maybe one day I will. Instead, do what you want to do. Do you really want to sit around at some boring dinner? Or over coffee bullshitting? Or would you rather go on a little hike or walking mini adventure, show her your favorite little food truck, throw a football or teach her a sport, etc? Additionally, in conversation, talk about what you're interested in. Talk about what you're passionate about (if there isn't anything that's a problem). Let the passion radiate. Don't stick to polite dinner conversation. Break the boundaries. Do what you want to as if you were a little kid, and you will be refreshing to be around.
In lesson fourteen, the young man finds himself having feelings for women he is casual with and feels the need to send them flowers, write poetry, and be otherwise overcommitted. These women get freaked out and leave. The young man realizes he must "always have a backup chick." Pretty horrendous to the average reader I know. That's because everyone has been sucked up by the feminine operative conditioning (credit to Rollo Tomassi for the vocabulary) like a vacuum.
Basically, the same way God says you shouldn't pray to false profits, Pook says you shouldn't fall into false love. For a man can love many different things at one time, many cars, foods, goals, etc but he has a nature to (I believe was conditioned but Pook says it's in his nature) only focus on one girl a time. So that's where all his energy goes. This can be fixed with a little touch of optionality. Focus your efforts in a few different places and everyone wins!
Lesson fifteen. In the fucking mindblower of the century, we find out here that the young man that was going through this journey was really Pook the whole time. These are all lessons he learned in his own growing experience.
Pook compares his life to a roll of the dice. He looks at the "dice" of his talent, dreams, and endurance and the "chips" of his life which included all his things, property, societal connections, his time, and thus all of his life himself.
The Gamesmaster asks him how much he was willing to bet. He goes all in. He asks if he is really willing to bet everything on the dice he has.
"Pook says, 'The greatest risk you can take in life is not to risk at all!'"
You will never win with women or in the world unless you RISK.
And if you lose?
For you cannot lose. Everyone will try to bend you and mold you. Everything will be right if you stay yourself.
How can you not lose?
"Just as on the battlefield, the valiant warrior losing in glorious battle is honorable. It is not the victory that defines the Man, it is the fight. There are some people who somehow have this curse or bad luck and must eat an excrement sandwich everyday. They win everytime they struggle against that."
"So to risk is to fight. Then all this knowledge and 'insights' are merely the sword, shield, armor, and weapons we fight with? And those who fight, unarmed, are more worthy than those who sit there completely clad with the finest weapons?"
"Yes. Paradise, spoken slowly, is literally a 'pair-of-dice'. Gamble what you have."
I'll leave you with that. These are some insights I've gained from reading Pook. He isn't right about everything, but neither am I. His perspective is profound and just based on the impact it's had on me it was worth the deep analysis, paraphrasing, and quoting 20+ pages of text. This can teach you a lot, even if you know nothing else.
This concludes the three part series on the lessons in the Book of Pook. Please, read him and others if you have not done so. More importantly, go out, try and fail. The last lesson teaches us that life is being able to risk it all.