BOOK SUMMARIES

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Book:  Mate

Author:  Tucker Max & Geoffrey Miller

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Max, T. & Miller, G. (2015). Mate : Become the Man Women Want. New York: Hachette Book Group USA.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. Attraction is an emotional, unconscious reaction to the suite of traits men present to women; it is not a conscious decision that they deliberate about. This is great news for the average guy: we are members of a species where females are attracted to many different traits that we can cultivate and display, not just one. This means that you have many options on your path to attractiveness, and all are equally valid, as they each signal effectiveness in their own way and predict a higher likelihood of social and reproductive success. (pg. 77)
     

  2. Women will get a complete sense of what kind of man you are by looking at all kinds of social proofs: can she see that many people know and like you? That’s popularity. Can she see people paying attention to what you do and say? That status. Can she see people changing their minds to fit your worldview? That's influence. Can she see people respecting your skills and expertise? That's prestige. Can she see you being outgoing and socially confident? That's extraversion. Has she heard of you through media before meeting you? That's fame. (pg. 174)
     

  3. Focus on your interactions: when you're around people, put more effort into eye contact, warmth, active listening, conversation, and other basic social skills. Don't just do this with women; do it with everyone. Make it a habit. Projecting confidence will help you seem far more socially attractive to both men and women. Women are attracted to extraversion because it predicts all sorts of positive traits – being friendly, talkative, assertive, funny, cooperative, and professionally successful. Extraversion is also one of the easiest traits for women to judge accurately: from face-to-face interaction, short emails, text samples from blogs, and even photos. (pg. 178)

     

Other Key Ideas
 

True confidence is not about hoping that you can take a risk and overcome a challenge; it's about realistically expecting that you can do it, based on previously demonstrated performance. A confident guy expects the women to engage him in conversation when he goes up to say hi and introduce himself. He expects her to give him her number when he asks for it. He expects he's going to get it, even before he says a word. Why? Because he's done this hundreds of times, with enough success to accurately predict the outcome. (pg. 20)


The only effective strategy for gaining real confidence is to develop skills and demonstrate performance of those skills. Developing realistic self-confidence is truly that simple. All you have to do is get good at the things you want to feel confident about and then demonstrate those skills, to yourself and others. This means learning, practicing, and then consistently performing under real-life conditions. Once you do that, confidence in that skill is almost automatic. (pg. 22)


Metaconfidence means that you're confident that you'll be able to improve your competence at any skill if you work at it and that will lead to demonstrated performance and real confidence as results. The real magic happens at this metaconfidence level. The more skills you learn, the more domains you master, the more experience you get at pushing through the low confidence barrier, and the more confidence you will build. (pg. 23)


If you want to get better with women, nothing will do more to increase your prospects and help achieve your mating goals than being in shape. If you are conspicuously healthy, fit, and energetic instead of the lumpy sack of hot garbage that is most guys’ bodies, you're going to the head of the line. (pg. 79)


Wearing nice clothes that fit well on a good body is one of the most potent ways to attract women. Good fit means not too loose but also not too tight. A great fitting cashmere sweater will reveal your upper body muscles and torso shape almost as well as being naked. (pg. 95)


Teasing is a combination of humor and playfulness directed at the other person. If you're good at it, it can be very effective and attractive because it shows your confidence, social savvy, and awareness of social norms and how to playfully flirt with them. (pg. 111)


When you're at a restaurant, broaden your palate. Ask the waiter for the best dish on the menu; try dishes with descriptions you don't understand. Order an entree with a meat you've never had before. Experiment! Food isn't just fuel, it's an experience. And the more varied experiences you have, the more open you seem to a woman. (pg. 113)


Modern society has developed into a cognitive meritocracy, meaning that our society values brainpower and brilliance over brawn and breeding to such a degree that intelligence is now the primary driver of your economic, social, and meeting success. It doesn't pay to be stupid anymore, no matter how much you can bench press or who your dad was. Women are instinctively looking for high IQ jeans; bright, adaptable partners;  and knowledgeable dads. (pg. 117)


Be mentally engaged when you talk with women. Learn to talk articulately. Women especially value verbally intelligent guys who can talk about their feelings and emotions. Make eye contact, look actively, have an expressive face, use gestures, and actively listen. (pg. 131)


Men with willpower are effective – effective at organizing their life to realize their ambitions about what kind of men they want to become and what kind of life they want to lead. That is the essence of willpower. And as we've told you before over and over, being effective is very, very attractive to women. (pg. 135)


Ultimately, a woman is most attracted to a kind, tender partner who can care for her and who is also a strong protector who can defend her. If she can get both benefits from one man – if he's a tender-defender – he becomes the whole package. If you can wrap your head around the attractiveness of this tender-defender combination, you can easily become more attractive than 90% of guys out there. (pg. 149)


Almost all women would rather have an interesting, fun, kind husband with a solid middle-class income than a dull, disconnected, workaholic millionaire. Unfortunately, a lot of guys still think that money is central to attraction. They think that if they have the nicest clothes, get an expensive watch, buy a fancy sports car, and live in a huge house, then the women will just magically appear. That's not to say that wealth doesn't predict happiness – it does – but only indirectly, mostly through the social and sexual signaling benefits of attracting a better friends and mates. However, money helps you improve your life and construct your own meeting niche. Money lets you play by your own rules, thus, money can attract a wide variety of discerning women in much deeper ways that aren't really about the amount of money you have or are spending. (pg. 188)


If you have to pick between being rich or being really fun and attractive to hang out with, always pick fun and attractive, because that will get the attention of 90% more women, and they'll be higher quality every time. That is, if you have to pick. You don't have to pick though. You can do both. And the way to do it is effectively display your material proof and ways that signal not your bank balance but your underline traits. If you can be a really smart, kind, in-shape guy with a lot of friends, who happens to have a lot of money, that is the best of both worlds. Then your mate value is through the roof, and you will have your pick of high-quality women who have the same meeting goals as you. (pg. 194)


When you're with a woman, spend most of your time looking at her in general and plenty of time looking into her eyes specifically. Don't stare like a psychotic stalker, just look at her a little more often than you normally would. Use active listening, pay attention to what she's saying, and give little nods and reactions as she speaks. Ask about her background, interests, values, and preferences, and weave them into your dialog. Show energy and enthusiasm in your words, face, and gestures. Unleash your inner comedian, storyteller, reporter – all the creativity, knowledge, and humor that you can muster. (pg. 219)


If you're like most guys, the most important decisions you make about mating won't feel like mating decisions at all. Where you decide to live, study, work, and hang out or not just random, superficial lifestyle choices. They're crucial to your success or failure – with women. Most mating is local, so geography matters. A lot. The fact is, you can't meet the right women if you're in the wrong place. (pg. 231)


When it comes to mating markets, size matters. Lots of women means you have lots of choice. If you're a very bright guy looking for a very bright woman, you're far less likely to find her outside a big city. Also, in tiny mating markets, the women know each other, which can get awkward for them. In big cities, it's easier for women to be more adventurous when they're dating. (pg. 237)


When you're looking for a mating market, pay as much attention to the men there, who are your rivals, as to the women there. Women aren't measuring you against all the men on earth; they're measuring you against the other men they have access to. If you have your life much more together than most of the other guys in your mating market, you can do very well, even if the women seem way out of your league. (pg. 239)


The idea that bars and clubs are good places for men to meet women goes against everything in human biology. Quite honestly, you couldn't design a worse environment for men to meet women. (pg. 263)


Stop thinking about hooking up in order to focus on meeting new women and having fun with them. Tell yourself that your only goal is to meet new women and have as much fun as possible with them. When you do this, those women you meet will be much more attracted to you, and that will allow you to come off as far more attractive to them. We know it works – both science and experience point to the simple mindset shift as a key for most guys to greatly increase their success with women. (pg. 325)