Summary of Models by Mark Manson

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  • Post last modified:September 18, 2023
models by mark manson book cover

Short summary: 2 min

Long summary: 21 min

Book reading time: 5h28

Score: 10/10

Book published in: 2011

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  • Attractive people are attractive because they’re more invested in appearing well in their own eyes than in the eyes of others.
  • Attraction happens when you can emotionally connect with somebody.
  • To connect with someone, you need to be genuine and unapologetically be who you are.
  • You do so by expressing your genuine thoughts, opinions, and intentions.

Aure’s Note: It’s 2023 and I have news! I figured out what Mark Manson meant by “honest living”.

Honest living is shame-free living. Shame has been at the heart of the social system to compel people to behave. You’ve been shamed a lot in your childhood, and this shame prevents you from being who you really are – and it prevents you from dating women.

You can read this summary but make sure also to read the summary of Healing the Shame That Binds You.

Table of Contents

What Models Talks About

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Short Summary

Women are attracted to men that are more invested in the way they perceive themselves than in the way others perceive them.

The only way to reach this state is to become “who you are” and the only way to do so is to live the life you want to live. Which means

  • Dressing (well) the way you want to dress
  • Doing the things you want to do
  • Pursuing passions you genuinely enjoy
  • Etc

This is called honest living. Once you have the lifestyle you truly want, you are in a much better position to date women because you have true confidence.

True confidence is being more invested in the perception of yourself for yourself than for others.

The only way to seduce a girl is to bond emotionally with her, and the only way to do so is to be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable means exposing yourself to the risk of being genuine and honest.

Eg: approaching a girl in the street because she’s cute and telling her so, is being vulnerable (provided you’re not being creepy, or simpy).

When you are vulnerable with her, she opens up and becomes vulnerable with you, which leads to the development of an emotional connection.

You bond fast with the girl by being polarizing. The more bold, fearless, and honest you are, the more you polarize, and the more you are bonding.

Strong polarization with aggressive physicality is the ultimate way to bond with a girl.

Summary of Models Written by Mark Manson


Our modern society lacks a model of what is an attractive man.

Centuries ago, men’s duty was power and protection. Decades ago, it was to provide.

Today, no one really knows anymore.

This book isn’t a step-by-step action plan with pick-up lines to say at X moment.

It’s a guide that will help you create your own style of talking to women.

Until you learn to trust your own actions and learn to pursue women with your own unique style and personality, you have learned absolutely nothing.

Mark Manson

Seduction has little to do with saying stuff. It’s more about being. The way you are influences the way you look and move, which influences how much people like you.

Part I: Reality

Chapter 1: What Attracts Women

We still don’t know exactly what a perfectly attractive man is.

But what we know is that male attraction and female attraction are completely different. Male attraction is based on beauty, and beauty is universal.

Female attraction is much more opaque: eg: what attracts certain women will turn other women off.

Women are attracted both physically and psychologically, while men are primarily attracted physically.

Showing pics of guys to women isn’t enough. A guy will appear more attractive if she knows that he is also powerful and dominant.

Another problem when it comes to mapping women’s desires is that women themselves don’t know what they like.

There are nonetheless a few things we know for sure.

1. Perceived social status.

The higher, the better.

2. Hypergamy

Women want a man that is more successful, popular, and powerful than them.

Power can be defined differently. It can be financial (a lot of money), social (a lot of friends/employees), or physical (tall, muscular).

Money doesn’t play as much of a role as generally believed. Many rich guys can’t date girls. And girls were dating guys before money was invented.

Women mainly judge the value of a guy based on his behavior. She’ll be equally attracted to a guy who she thinks has the potential to be successful as she will to a guy that already is.

This is why artists or college athletes can date models even though they have no money.

-> you don’t need to be rich and famous, just show potential for it.
-> social status is determined by how you behave around people, how people behave around you, and how you treat yourself.
-> treat others well, be treated by others well, and treat yourself well.

3. Being desired

Women love being desired.

They get turned on by a guy who rips her clothes off in a passionate kissing session; by a marriage proposal; or similar scenes and situations.

Women want to be desired to the point that a man loses complete self-control over her.

While status attracts her psychologically, physical assertiveness (putting your arm around her, taking her hand, etc) attracts her sexually.

-> if you want to be successful with women, you need to reveal your desire for her…clearly.

BUT…how do you convey you’re attracted to her without losing your status?

Chapter 2: True Confidence

Confidence = attraction.

image 4
The more confident you are, the more attracted the girl is.

There are two types of confidence: true and false.

1. False

False confidence is:

  • Attracting attention
  • Trying to dominate
  • Impressing others
  • Showing off
  • Seeking attention

-> false confidence is just sad

2. True

True Confidence is being less invested in other people’s perceptions of you than in your perception of yourself.

-> sexy

When you lack true confidence, you seek the approval you don’t give yourself from others.

The only way to gain more true confidence is to invest more in the perception of yourself for yourself than in the perception of yourself for others.

Investment here means “the extent to which you change your behavior/schedule/desire/thoughts/hobbies for someone else”.

Women like guys that are less attracted to them than they are to the guy. In fact, everyone likes it. Everyone likes people that value their own perception of themselves more than our perception of them.

True confidence is felt by women. It’s intuitive. They can”feel it”. This is why your investment in others must remain low.

Ideally, two people would start a relationship with low investment, and let the investment grows as time goes by.

In a relationship, a man should not be affected more by a woman than she is affected by him.

The minute he lets her dominate him emotionally, the relationship is over.

The Seduction Process

Women have much more to lose from promiscuity than men, which explains why they’re much pickier when looking for a guy.

Her attraction for a man is based on two things: security and connection.

This is why your capacity to seduce is based on your behavior, not on your wallet. It’s your behavior that enables her to feel secure and establish a connection with you.

Since men value sex more, they will be more invested at the beginning than the girl will. After sex happens, it reverses and the girl is more invested than the guy.

image 5
The progression of the level of investment in the other in a healthy relationship, per gender.

Seduction is basically the process of getting a girl to invest in a guy as much as the guy is invested in her.

A man highly invested and needy in the very beginning shows he is emotionally unreliable – hence cannot provide for security.

A man who is non-needy about sex displays confidence; a man that demonstrates his desire for her makes her feel secure.

Solving the Investment Paradox

The investment paradox is the paradox that outlines how a man can show he likes a girl without simultaneously losing his high-value and low investment.

There are two ways you can solve the paradox.

1. You make her believe you are less invested in her than she is in you -> active method, usually fails. Based on tactics, routines, etc.

Why does it fail? Because once you’ve used all the tactics and sleep with her, you go back to being the unconfident self that you were all along. And she breaks up with you.

2. Boy actually demonstrates he is less invested -> passive method, usually works. Based on “inner game”.

Why it may fail: if you change your lifestyle and lose your true confidence, you’ll also lose your girl.

-> you need to constantly be invested in yourself more than you are in the girl!

-> learning pick-up techniques without genuine self-esteem works only as a short-term bandaid solution.

False Confidence and Compensation

Going from no confidence to true confidence is not easy.

To do so, you must develop:

  • Self-respect
  • Boundaries
  • Social skills
  • Healthy habits

The shortcut to that is objectifying women. Men that objectify women treat them badly, behave like they are more important than everybody else, etc. This false confidence.

False Confidence is built on the idea of always being dominant or in control, of imposing your own desires onto others, etc.

It’s not about empowering yourself, but about destroying others.

It works, but only on girls that have their own set of issues.

It won’t work on high self-esteem, high-quality women.

Chapter 3: Power in Vulnerability

When men hear vulnerability, they associate it with weakness. It’s not, and it’s not about telling her that guy you got shamed at school.

Vulnerability, in this case, is taking risks in social, physical, and emotional situations.

Eg: approaching a girl in the street (you take the risk of being rejected); telling a joke that could bomb (emotional risk), saying an opinion that may offend others; etc.

You’re taking risks in all of these situations, hence, making yourself vulnerable.

Vulnerability, in this case, is a form of power. It’s saying to everyone “I don’t care what you think of me”.

It’s true confidence, and high status.

A vulnerable man:

  • Stands tall
  • Looks people in the eyes
  • Says what he thinks
  • Doesn’t mind when people disagree
  • Laughs when he makes a mistake, and apologizes when he needs to
  • Knows what he sucks at and is okay with it
  • Expresses his emotions even if it means he will be rejected

To quote Robert Glover: “humans are attracted to each other’s rough edges”.

Share them. Stop trying to be perfect.

The only problem with vulnerability, is that it’s not easy to practice when you have no idea how to do it.

The Pain Period

In the beginning, being vulnerable will be painful. But this is the case for every habit, every type of change you are undertaking.

The less vulnerable you have been, the harder it will be.

So, how do you do it?

Well, you don’t have a choice. You need to start sharing yourself openly with others.

Doing so, you will be able to understand that it’s okay to be yourself, and that you have nothing to be afraid of.

You will become comfortable with what you are the least comfortable with, which will considerably improve your success with women because you’ll become truly confident.

If your lack of emotional expression is too deep, you may need to see a therapist that will help you “unblock yourself”.

Research has shown that in relationships, you attract who you are.

If you are passive-aggressive, needy, and manipulative, you’ll attract this type of girl.

If you are real and open, then you’ll attract that type of girl.

The Investment Paradox and Vulnerability

The investment paradox is the idea that while women want to be desired, they’re also attracted to men of higher status – that is men that desire them less than they desire him.

So, how do you resolve that? With confidence.

Desire + confidence = it works.

Desire + neediness = it doesn’t.

Now, while you should be vulnerable, the key to communication isn’t the communication itself, but the intention, the meaning.

You don’t tell a story for the story. You tell a story to bond/connect/seduce etc. That’s the intent of the story. If the intent is right, the communication will be right.

If the intent is wrong (telling a story to have sex with her), it will seem off.

You must tell a story because you genuinely want to tell it…because you want to connect with her.

If you want to have sex with her, you state this by inviting her to your place, not by telling a story.

Intent and communication must be aligned.

-> you need to be authentic.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Chapter 4: The Gift of Truth

Lots of dating advice tells you not to show interest in the girl.

It’s a lot of work, and it works only in the short term.

The opposite is much better, as long as (once again) it’s coming from a place of honesty and confidence.

So, why does showing interest work? Because you are vulnerable. You’re showing her you’re taking the risk to be rejected or not – and that if you’re rejected it doesn’t really matter.

This is hugely attractive.

Remember: it’s not about what you say, but why you say it (the intent).

If you say something because you are unconfident, it will bomb.

This is why pickup lines don’t work. The girl will always see whether what you said was truthful and genuine, or not.

You cannot fake vulnerability. You cannot fake truth. And being truthful is the only way it will work.

Truth has to be given without any expectations or conditions.

The truth always shines through, so if you’re not being yourself, everyone will see it.

If your compliment comes from nothing but a genuine opinion, good! If your compliment is made to extract something in return…then you’re not being genuine.

Genuine communication doesn’t have to be only positive.

When you’re telling a girl she’s out of the line, it can be highly attractive to her too as you’re showing your confidence.

You can piss her off and turn her on at the same time.

Men who are confident establish boundaries and expect others to respect them. If they don’t, they leave and find someone else that will respect them.

Finding Truth

You need to understand where your attraction, fear, and desire for women are coming from (likely your childhood).

These are your truths.

Eg: a guy running after the hottest girl at the club likely tries to overcompensate something.

Find out your truths, then draw boundaries around them. Why are you scared, needy, or over-invested when talking to a girl?

What do you value in a girl?

Find answers to these questions, then solve these problems.

Are you seeking girls to get guys’ approval because your father was absent growing up?

If yes, you need to let it go. When you do, you will also let the absolute need of finding a girl go -> you will be more invested in yourself -> you will attract more girls, more easily.

Friction and Projection

It’s not because a woman is attracted to you that she will immediately date you.

Why? Because of frictions and projections.

Frictions are mismatches in values. If you’re a rockstar who bangs three girls per night and she is deeply catholic and won’t have sex before marriage…that relationship is unlikely to happen.

Projections happen with women that have been psychologically damaged. They hate men in general and will hate those that are honest and confident even more.

They will project all of their shortcomings onto you and that will make your life insufferable.

Part II: Strategy

Chapter 5: Polarization

Rejection is good, as it prevents two people that shouldn’t be together from being together.

You should be with the right person, not with everyone. In this sense, rejection helps you avoid at least one bad date.

The Three Categories of Women

If you don’t find a woman attractive, don’t do anything with her.

So let’s focus on the girls you find attractive.

They can be divided into three categories.

  1. Receptive: the girls that also like you. They:
    • Make eye contact
    • Initiate
    • Touch you
    • etc
  2. Neutral: girls that are unsure whether they like you or not (most girls). They look unreceptive until you make a move. The key with these girls, is to polarize them, meaning doing something that will create a reaction. If it’s positive, bingo. If it’s not, then let her go.
  3. Unreceptive: girls that are not interested (they may have boyfriends, your status is too low, or whatever other reasons).

Strategies for Each Category

Convincing an unreceptive woman to become receptive is a waste of time.

The goal with unreceptive girls, is to identify them then move on as soon as possible.

You will waste your time with women in two situations:

  1. She’s in a relationship.
  2. You’re friendzoned.

Don’t try to get out of it. Takes too much time and effort, and it rarely works. Just move on.

Let’s talk about neutral women. The goal is to polarize them – to make them receptive, or unreceptive as fast as possible.

You polarize them simply by “being yourself”, exposing your “genuine truth” to them.

The better your lifestyle and capacity to express yourself become, the more women will be receptive to you. The more bold and fearless you are, the more women you will be able to meet.

When you polarize a neutral girl, you will either make her receptive, or unreceptive.

If you get rejected, it’s good.

It means you weren’t meant to be together anyway – well done!

You polarize when you make a bold move.

Eg: if she’s late on a date and you tell her not to be late again, that’s polarizing; when you approach her and say “hey, I saw you and thought you were cute”, that’s polarizing.

Polarizing is expressing your genuine self. It’s making a seductive move.

A man who cannot express himself will not be able to polarize.

The more polarizing you are, the more you’ll be flooded with opportunities (and the more girls will be unreceptive too, sadly).

But before you can fully polarize, you need to understand that there’s no shame in being rejected.

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