How to Talk to Anyone, Leil Lowndes (Review/Summary)

I recently read How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes. To cut a long story short, I do not recommend that you read this book. I’ll explain why I think that.

Each chapter is structured in roughly the same way. A bit like a TV advert for each technique. Lowndes sets the scene and goes over how awful things are going until, hey presto, the technique is used, everything is wonderful and everyone is flashing their pearly whites at the camera. This is a criticism which could be levelled at Carnegie also, but there is something more endearing – less produced – about his writing style. Perhaps because it was written many decades ago it sounds quaint.

Another thing is that the book seems very… American. Real life doesn’t follow the Hollywood storylines. It’s gritty and dirty. It’s one problem which American Daygamers need to address specifically. To use metaphors, Americans don’t seem to properly understand the concept of anti-heroes. They have heroes and villains, and in the Game space that means they think to move away from being their old selves they need to become more dark triad and introduce these kinds of “tricks.” I find that, on average, they don’t have a cultural metaphor for the good-but-dirtied anti-hero.

And that’s where the key really is; in the subtitle: “92 little tricks for big success.” The book makes it seem that by adding these tricks/techniques to your arsenal that you are going to become the talk of the town. I was disappointed while reading the book because I was hoping that it was going to go more into what Carnegie would describe as showing “genuine interest in people.” Conversational probes which you could use to get someone to open up about something they are passionate about. Unfortunately, the book is just a bag of tricks, and furthermore there is close to zero discussion of identity change.

The problem, I think, with pursuing Outer Game techniques without addressing Inner Game problems is that the techniques eventually lose their effectiveness. One of the effects that learning techniques has is that your enthusiasm for life goes up. In terms of Daygame, your vibe improves because you think that you’ve found the next breakthrough in your Game. In reality, it is just a short term improvement in vibe. When that wears off you are back at square one and are looking for the next technique.

Don’t take that to mean I think we should only focus on Inner Game. That way doesn’t work either as you become a “build it and they will come” guy or else not achieve your full potential, as you wait for women to escalate on you. The way to square this circle is, of course, to do both. There’s no denying that Game techniques work, as we have the data, but you can’t rely on them alone. They will give you the aforementioned boost of enthusiasm as you try new techniques and therefore you should exploit that boost in energy to let the identity change occur. I can’t remember the exact quote from Pressfield’s The War of Art but he says to diligently guard the front door (Outer Game) so that inspiration can slip in through the back (Inner Game).

Yours unfaithfully,

Thomas Crown

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2 thoughts on “How to Talk to Anyone, Leil Lowndes (Review/Summary)

  1. Interesting take on the book. I’ve read it as well and enjoyed it.

    She presented actionable advice to improve general social skills, such as making strong eye contact when listening and toning it down when speaking. In that particular example, she even mentions how eye contact with a woman can be seductive, whereas with a man it can be threatening.

    Other examples include how to enter a group conversation at a party, teasing in the right moment and avoiding opportunities to outshine other people in a social setting.

    Regarding her method of presentation: yes it was certainly over the top. For each trick, she wrote a little story illustrating its effectiveness in a convoluted way. My eyes glanced over (the veracity of) her stories, except to understand the application of the “trick”.

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    1. Yeah good points. I guess as I read it I was just looking forward to the end. For sure there are a few good points in there but I’d rather read 10 big techniques, how to do them and why, rather than 92 little tricks

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