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Review of The Truth by Neil Strauss


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I read this book off the heels of reading The Game and I was somewhat disappointed. It seems that Neil Strauss tried to replicate the formula of writing about interesting outward experiences, intensely personal inward experiences, while sprinkling in dashes of truisms and poetic analogies. For The Game, this worked, because the subject matter was interesting and new in itself, but in The Truth, the subject matter is as old as time - how to conduct relationships. Still, I did get some value out of it and it was enjoyable at times.

The book was basically a 2 year journey of the author, beginning with infidelity and guiding the reader through various styles of relationship including total abstinence, polyamory, SM, free love, swinging, and finally back to where he started - monogamy and marriage. Throughout it all is Strauss's girlfriend, Ingrid, who is a main character through the entire book and who Strauss is constantly trying to reconcile himself with. In a sense, it is a sort of odyssey through the myriad of human relationship styles, ending with "enlightenment".

The purpose of the book, as I said, is to lead with reader both through a series of interesting subcultures and relationship styles, sort of like the Game and at the same time through the author's mind. The former is where the value lies, because a lot of these subcultures are in fact very interesting and goes to show just how little (in terms of sex and relationships) I have experienced. Strauss does try out many different relationship styles and reports back about them in a detailed way, which is of interest to me. The latter, though, is where the book sort of lets me down.

The author's random musings on life and relationships down have a lot of value for me, because they are disorganized, self-contradictory. The book was clearly written in chronological order, with some musings in direct contradiction to others later on down. While this might be interesting for some to read, in a sort of diary type way, it was annoying to me. I don't care about Strauss's mommy issues and I grew tired of hearing them. I can't relate to Strauss's issues with women, and grew tired of seeing him make the same stupid mistakes over and over. A lot of the musings are just the same thing repeated over and over in different ways, and are copied words and concepts from different people (I hope that therapist from the sex addicts group got a cut in the book, because Strauss constantly rips off of her).

In the end, after a spiritual detox and who knows how many thousands of dollars worth of therapy only a rich writer in L.A. could have access to, he finds "enlightenment" and gets married. Lol. I'm sure he will get divorced or have an affair in a couple of years, just like his relationship with "the one" that he found at the end of the The Game. A merry-go-round of random thoughts and overly personal and irrelevant experiences, but the scenery along the way is interesting.

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