#135 – Skin In The Game, Nassim Nicolas Taleb BOOK REVIEW

December 31, 2018
krauserpua

Skin In The Game

Back in 1997, when I was completing my Master’s degree, I was assigned a supervisor for my thesis. The department considered me quite a shining talent so they assigned me their best Professor, a rising academic star who wrote a lot on science in society – Sokal’s hoax, scientody vs scientism, the End Of Science, that kind of thing. He was on odd bird. He was some kind of Yank – an American or Canadian, I forget which – who was really into jogging. We students would see him out in his soyboy training gear pounding the streets and displaying the typical jogging-enthusiast’s body, which looks like a cross between an AIDs victim and Jordan Peterson. My professor would then lock himself in his office and refuse to answer the door without an appointment. There was a note on his door that if we wanted his attention we had to email.

It was all very odd, but I remember being extremely impressed with his intellect. He was very smart indeed and quite an inspiration in our weekly thesis chats. One moment in particular stood out. He was inquiring into my intellectual basis for the thesis and I made a comment about “following Popper.”

“God no! You don’t want to be known as a follower. That’s death in academia. Be your own man.”

That was very good advice and it stuck with me. I am highly reluctant to consider myself a follower of anyone – much less describe myself as such publicly – and any time I notice myself agreeing with one man too much I take stock and try to objectively ask myself: am I becoming a fanboy? This advice stuck with me in my Game journey in which I try to give credit to those I learned from (e.g. Mystery, 60 Years Of Challenge) while not riding their nutsacks. Sometimes I overdo it in the opposite direction, failing to give credit where it’s due. The attitude imbued by this professor was also handy in resisting attempts by gurus to make me their acolyte, and of acolytes trying to make me their guru. I was recently asked about this, to which I quipped:

‘I despise both gurus and acolytes. To me they are just pitchers and catchers in bum sex.’

This is why I despise PUA coaches positioning themselves as gurus, as I do similar charlatans in self-help, business advice, and fitness training. It’s quite possible to transmit your expertise to learners without forcing them into a twisted servile role. It’s why I call my blog regulars and book customers Krausermaniacs ‘readers’ not ‘fans’. It’s why I resisted the Jordan Peterson bandwagon before I really knew what was crooked about him. Don’t be a follower.

Julien-Blanc-Tyler-Durden

Smart guys, but they want you to be a follower

I bring this up because Nassim Nicolas Taleb is a writer I find it very hard to disagree with, which makes me constantly wonder if I’m slipping into a follower position with him. Surely there’s something he says I don’t like? Well, I thought Black Swan was badly written and showed all the signs of a full-of-himself intellectual unwilling to accept a strong-minded editor [1]. It was like Guns’n’Roses second album. But clearly Taleb overcame this bad habit because Skin In The Game is exceptionally clear and very lean in structure. There’s barely a whiff of intellectual bloat in it. And I like that.

One reason I like Skin In The Game so much is that it directly ports over into daygame. Almost every page has some point where I either thought, “that could apply to picking up girls” or, “yeah, I’d already figured that out from picking up girls.” The line between the two is blurred. On the one hand, I found nothing in Skin In The Game that I didn’t already know (much of it is in Daygame Infinite and Daygame Mastery) and on the other Taleb was able to streamline and parse those ideas so much more elegantly than I had, and provide a more convincing justification. Which brought me back to the whole follower thing: was I flattering myself that I’d already figured out all of Taleb’s ideas before reading Skin In The Game because I feared the alternative of agreeing with everything he said and turning myself into a fanboy. I don’t know. Perhaps I should outline some of those ideas.

Taleb

Taleb dead-lifting

Taleb is kind enough to structure the book where he explains everything in the beginning and then dedicates the rest of the text to proving each point. At the very beginning he explains his topic thus:

Skin In The Game is about four topics in one: a) uncertainty and the reliability of knowledge (both practical and scientific, assuming there is a difference), or in less polite words bullshit detection, b) symmetry in human affairs, that is, fairness, justice, responsibility, and reciprocity, c) information sharing in transactions, and d) rationality in complex systems and in the real world. That these four cannot be disentangled is something that is obvious when one has… skin in the game.

The very alert among you will already be drawing daygame parallels. Daygame is a fundamentally uncertain activity where much of the data is obscure yet you must discern patterns upon which to base behaviour, and spot when you are being bullshitted both by gurus and by girls in set. There is symmetry in your seductive interaction and ‘getting to know each other’ involves principles of information sharing as personalities, as goal-oriented actors, and of the process of seduction itself. We are of course intimately aware that we are employing our strategies in a complex system in the real world. Believe me, as you read Taleb explicate each principle, the connections to our fair sport only get stronger and clearer.

For example, Taleb makes much hay in investigating the difference between ivory tower theory and practical knowledge, principally by comparing his hero Fat Tony the market trader with intellectuals like Paul Krugman. We daygamers get a similar thing with the ivory tower “science” of seduction carried out in university post-graduate departments and our own direct knowledge of the street, the cafe, the bar, and the bedroom. It takes a certain number of lays before you feel confident hand-waving away all those idiot researchers. Taleb provides the intellectual justification for prioritising the Fat Jimmy Eddie Krauser Tony’s of the pick-up world over the armchair philosophers of the internet and daytime talk shows.

‘in academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world, there is’

‘Don’t tell me what you “think”, just tell me what’s in your portfolio’

Back in my early boxing days my coach once said to me, “the only way to get good at slipping right hands is to keep getting hit with them.” All of the alive martial arts [2] are built on a foundation of skin in the game: sparring, and eventually fighting. The dead martial arts [3] insulate the students from the consequences of their unrealistic training, to create paper dragons. We daygamers have the same ‘liveness’ in our learning: the constant contact with success and failure on the streets and the skin in the game of trying to get laid.

PROD-David-Jason-as-Derek-Del-Boy-Trotter

More qualified than any economist

Taleb goes into the moral dimension frequently, such as his discussion of information sharing. We daygamers have a vast amount of information about the seduction process, far more than a girl can reasonably expect us to have. We are also trained in how much information we parcel out to her while she’s making her decision – e.g. do we tell r-select stories or K-select stories on the date – so there is an inescapable moral dimension to our skirt-chasing. Are we deliberately withholding or slanting information to mislead? Are we trying a bait-and-switch? Are we wilfully allowing her to persist in a misunderstanding about our intentions based on her being a normie and expecting us to have normie ideas about what the dating means?

‘someone with a high public presence who is controversial and takes risks for his opinion is less likely to be a bullshit vendor’

I especially liked Taleb’s conception of soul in the game and how other people can spot it. It’s approaching Pressman’s War Of Art distinction between a real writer and a hack writer from a different angle to the same result: the real writer feels the muse flowing through him and cares to authentically craft his work, whereas the hack looks to the market for what will sell and then panders to that. Readers can usually spot a hack [4]. You know when someone’s heart isn’t in it. Taleb has little time for ‘professional researchers’, those who make a career of researching an idea rather than first making a career of the thing, and coming to research it later based upon an intimate lived daily-experience of the thing.

It’s why politicians used to be selected by their constituency, usually eminent men who’d already made a local reputation in business. It was only after succeeding at life and demonstrating a track record to their fellows that these men were raised – elected – to a position of political leadership. The Party system destroyed all that. Now, a politician takes the route of being a student activist and council-member, then interns for a politician, and then rises in the ranks within a Party by demonstrating slavish adherence to their creed. They then get selected by the Party to be a candidate and helicopter dropped onto a local constituency.

So, modern politicians have no real-world competence, are adversely-selected for the most craven greasy-pole-climbers, and are completely beholden to the Party for a job. What a surprise they are all traitors. Donald Trump has been so successful because he was like the old model – he had soul in the game and everyone recognised it [5]

I wish I’d reviewed Skin In The Game back in August when I read it and all Taleb’s ideas were fresh, so I could really dive deep into the relationship between it and daygame. It’s an excellent book and provides a solid intellectual background to what we daygamers do. You can think of it as the meta-level upon which the principles of Daygame Infinite rest. It’s very pleasing to know that the world’s #1 public intellectual’s latest book is telling us we are doing it the right way. I absolutely intend to re-read this and pull as much value out as I can, once my pace of reading slows down next year.

But Taleb’s book doesn’t actually tell you how to bang hotties. You’ll need Daygame Mastery, Daygame Infinite and Daygame Overkill for that. Check them out here.

Final Cover

Daygame Infinite interior hardback 1

[1] Unlike his book immediately before it, Fooled By Randomness, which was tightly and cleanly written.
[2] Boxing, wrestling, BJJ, kickboxing, judo
[3] Karate, TKD, ninjutsu, akido, dim mak, kung fu
[4] I’m not so sure about customers of PUA products, mind.
[5] And in the case of globalists and NPCs, feared it.

#134 – History Of My Life Volume 3, Giacomo Casanova BOOK REVIEW

December 30, 2018
krauserpua

Casanova 3

I do wonder why Giacomo Casanova’s modern reputation is so intimately tied up with the idea of his prolific womanizing. In this, volume three of his epic autobiography there’s barely any shagging and what little there is comes mostly from prostitution. I’m increasingly of the opinion that Casanova was making an earnest attempt to recount his life as he lived it, from every angle and in every dimension, rather than merely reel off his female conquests. We see much of his temporary conversion to become ‘a bigot’ (i.e. religious fanatic) after falling ill with venereal disease and hallucinating while under its treatment by mercury. There is his falling-in with a inveterate welsher named only ‘F.C.’ who concocts repeated unconvincing pretexts for borrowing money, and then also accounts of Casanova in the society of numerous aristocrats from Venice to Vienna to Paris.

But shagging? Nope, not much of that. He spends a long time enraptured by the transvestite male impersonator Henriette at the beginning of the volume and after that affair goes sideways he is enraptured by a 14-year old Venetian called ‘C’. He rattles a few semi-pros in-between. Considering this volume covers his life from aged 23 to 25, that’s not a lot.

What comes in ample supply are Bottom World stories. Casanova seems only to have mixed in two social milieu – buffoonish vain aristocrats holding open houses, and the low-life conmen and adventuresses who glommed onto them (Casanova being one of the latter). For example he observes a card sharper dealing at an aristocrat’s game and cheating a girl out of 100 zecchini [1] and pulls him to one side, warning him he’d tumbled to his game. The sharp offers him a 50 tagliatelle pay-off and half of subsequent proceeds so Casanova falls in with him. Most characters Casanova meets are crooked in some way, with both male and female acquaintances reappearing in later years under new false identities running new scams.

Zucchini

That’s a small fortune in Italy

It would also seem Casanova had long since developed a reputation in the underworld of petty crooks across Europe. As soon as he arrives at a rest-house in Ferrara he is halted by a pretty woman claiming loudly that they are cousins. Casanova has never seen her before but senses a ruse he can join in with. He realises she is a famed adventuress called Cattinella and she’s previously had him pointed out at distance (hence how she recognised him). She is engaged in cheating a local farm-boy out of money by promising him marriage and living on the hog by delaying the formal announcement. Casanova helps her slip away, leaving the young lad bewildered and waiting futilely for her return. Now, why on earth would Casanova so comfortably fall into such games? It seems there were few cons going on in a town that he wouldn’t sniff the arse of.

At the beginning of this book he claims high moral standards by choosing not to sleep with a young village girl who he’s convinced of his wizardry [2] but mid-way through he gets a different young lass pregnant and then brazens it out when her mother has him arraigned before the local magistrates for breach of promise. Indeed for much of this book it seems his natural inclination towards rabbitry and The Con causes frequent soul-searching and discomfort. Being in his mid-twenties, it’s quite reasonable to think he’s writing this authentically, as he likely hadn’t yet figured out what type of man he was to be.

This laxity in moral compass usually involves gambling (he’s locked in a constant cycle of sponging and conning to pay off gambling debts) or shagging. Sometimes it makes for good squalor stories. For example, he takes a shine to a washerwoman employed at an inn where he has his rooms.

After doing everything I could to obtain an interview with the girl in my lodging or in hers or anywhere at all and not succeeding, I resolved to have her by using a little violence at the foot of the concealed staircase down which she usually went when she left my lodging. I hid at the foot of it, and when I saw that she was within reach I sprang on her and, partly by persuasion, partly by swift action, I subjugated her on the last steps; but at the first thrust of our union a most extraordinary sound, proceeding from the place next to the one I was occupying, stayed my fury for a moment, and the more so because I saw the victim put her hand over her face to hide the shame she felt at her indiscretion….. This aural phenomenon, together with the embarrassment and confusion which I saw in my victim, suddenly took possession of my soul; all together they presented so comical an idea to my mind that, laughter having overpowered all my faculties, I had to let her go. She seized the moment to run away.

To summarise in modern English: he stopped raping a maid because her farting noises made him laugh too hard. Bottom World.

2c23

Casanova is constantly meeting women who are chaperoned, pursued or otherwise accompanied by other men and he takes relish in attempting to steal them. Often he assumes he can simply buy them [3]. In one case, he meets some Corsican officers of the Royal Italian Regiment, and becomes pally with a chode called Paterno who has been pursuing an actress. Having been brought up around the stage, Casanova knows all actresses are whores [4] but this Paterno is getting tooled by her:

Being in love with an actress who scorned him, the young man kept me entertained with his description of her adorable qualities and at the same time of her cruelty toward him, whom she received in her house but whom she repulsed whenever he tried to give her evidence of his love. She was ruining him by making him spend a great deal on dinners and suppers which were shared by her numerous family but for which she gave him no credit… I refused to attend any more of his suppers- utterly boring suppers at which, even as they were eating them, the actress’s whole family laughed at the stupidity of the dupe who was paying for them.

Casanova shared my contempt for spineless chodes and decided to shag his bird: “I had no doubt that I could obtain her favours at the cost of fifteen or twenty ravioli.” So Casanova goes to her dressing room and offers her a watch worth twenty spaghetti. She refuses, claiming herself offended. Upon hearing this, Paterno feels himself vindicated and passes on Casanova’s message to her that he wouldn’t even give her the watch if she changed her mind. Piqued, she wants to see him again, he pays her cash, and he bangs her. They then laugh at the chode she’s stringing along. I swear this story would fit with any number of Russian and Ukrainian girls I’ve known who were dating Western forum chodes, but for two things. First, I didn’t pay to bang them, and second…..

Three days later I found that the wretched woman had made me the same sort of present that I had been treated by the prostitute at O’Neilan’s. Far from feeling that I had cause to complain, I considered myself justly punished for having so basely abandoned myself after having belonged to an Henriette….. Because of the season the cure compelled me to spend six weeks in my room.

In those six weeks, his mercury-addled mind rendered him susceptible to the frame-control of the religious bigot who treat him – one De La Haye – who is a recurring character and total charlatan. These memoirs are packed with an immense number of scoundrels. Like attracts like. It does make me wonder too of the cases Casanova relates of important men taking an immediate dislike to him – I suspect he’d gone so far down the rabbit path that wolves could sniff out his degeneracy quickly and steered clear of him, hence the only people he was able to fall in with were buffoons and fellow con-men. Still, Casanova is remarkably sanguine about his frequent bouts with STDs.

The malady which we call the “French disease” does not shorten life when one knows how to cure it; it merely leaves scars; but we are easily consoled for that when we consider that we gained them with pleasure, even as soldiers take pleasure in seeing the scars of their wounds, the proofs of their virtue and the wellsprings of their fame.

I dare say I disagree. While I too fondly recall my adventures with women, I’m rather glad I never once caught the French Disease. If you lie down with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas. That said, I’m enjoying this memoir and taking a liking to the old scoundrel.

If you’d like to read a memoir series devoted to travel and womanizing that does not involve catching STDs or cheating men out of money, consider mine. Check it out here.

Mastery cover

[1] That sounds like a type of pasta to me. Did those crazy Italians use food as currency?
[2] Literally, not figuratively. He performs occult rites in a thunderstorm to impress her.
[3] Casanova seems to encounter many semi-pros.
[4] No change nowadays.

Ask Jimmy #6 – A Christmas Tale 2

December 29, 2018
krauserpua

Chapter One is Here

Chapter Two – Ye Olde Pathe of the Brave

Jimmy stooped down into a tiny basement which appeared to house, predictably, an old curiosity shoppe. The shoppe was brightly lit at the entrance, dimly toward the corners. The air was dry and chalky. There was a general feeling of claustrophobia, with strange trinkets and junk of all imaginable shapes and sized stacked and stored in such a way as to make one suspect it was done so to purposely obstruct and annoy those who enter. Nothing in the store seemed to be anything that could be of any imaginable use to anyone. Vastly oversized bird cages that could house people, books without their covers and antique bicycles with handlebars missing made it looked more like refuse collection than a curiosity shoppe.

While we can all see the direction this story is taking, less so our dull-witted hero.

‘What kind of a shit show is this place?’ Jimmy muttered to himself under his breath.

‘It’s a magic shop obviously, you pie-faced moomin’, someone, or something, croaked from somewhere out of sight. ‘And the best wishes of the season to you too you miserable, arrogant urchin’. The voice sailed over from behind what seemed to be a pile of what seemed like a bookshelf of old magazines and comic annuals. ‘You find a street that shouldn’t be here and a funny little shop in a Christmas story and you can’t put two and two together and realise you’re in a fairy tale. My God Jambone, you’re just as incompetent as they say you are in those daft bookes your mates wrote. I didn’t think it possible. I really didn’t think it possible’.

‘What bookes?’ Jimmy muttered and he rounded the bookshelf and squeezed himself between an enormous picture frame and boxes of assorted lamps. Away from bright entrance Jimmy now had to squint in the dimmer light, but there in front of him, behind a little makeshift desk, lit by the weak glow from a nearby lamp, sat an impossibly old looking crone with a mannish face so miserable and unforgiving as to drive even the most hardy of adventurers away in fright. We’d rate her a 4 (that’s a 7 on a field report on a pickup forum). Thank God it was gloomy dear readers, for she was truly horrific.

old-hag-stratton-D88DN9

‘Ey up, a notch waiting ‘appen this. She’s bound to be lonely this one’, Jimmy remarked to himself, before continuing, ‘what bookes old crone, and what do you mean incompetent?’ Jimmy tugged on his lapels and rearranged an imaginary tie. ‘I’ll have you know I am a project manager’.

Jimmy stuck his chin out, ‘organisation is my stock in trade, my strong suit’, his lines were well rehearsed, as if addressing an audience. Jimmy had made this speech many times when routinely accused of incompetence. He then paused and turned on the deadly charm, ‘I should smite your bony backside with the flat of me sinewy right hand’ he said, with a twinkle in his eye.

The crone, however, seemed indifferent to our hero’s flirtations. She merely flapped her old grey hands in the air and conjured up an impressive glowing orb, some kind of apparition thing that just hung in the air. It chased the gloom in the shop into the farthermost of all it’s corners, but more importantly, it serves to remind the slightly less calibrated amongst Krauser’s readership that this is a Christmas fairy tale of magic and derring-do and not currently a field report to be taken seriously. No one is claiming to have ever met a witch.

‘It’s your lucky day Jimmy’, she wailed jubilantly. ‘Once in a hundred years I appear from my slumber to find the world’s most incompetent, cack-handed dingbat and grant him knowledge, oh such a great knowledge’, she cackled and peered at Jimmy past the blinding glow of the spinning orby thing, before adding pointedly ‘any knowledge he wishes. It’s a kind of, ‘raise the weakest link in the chain’ kind of service’.

‘You single out the brave and the genius!’, Jimmy exclaimed. Never one to give up the frame so easily.

She continued in vaguely hypnotic and rhythmic chant,

’you can learn the cures for hills of ills,

cancer, AIDS, invent those pills (that cure them, not cause them),

write the worlds most banging tunes,

or build a bridge from here t’ moon’.

Jimmy interrupted excitedly, ‘could you make it ‘pie and a pint for a pound day’, every day down at the Giggling Squid’, he gasped the words out, barely daring to believe it could be true.

Bay-Horse-Pies-843A9684

Smashing

The crone shook her head impatiently. ‘yes, but don’t you understand you damned fool, I can give you the knowledge that ends all wars!’ The crone began to chant again, the globe burned brightly again, spinning quickly on it’s axis again, making a melodic whirring noise again. ‘Jimmy, just choose it at will and whim and you could invent the engine that runs on air. You could save the world Jimmy Boy. I am talking about ending hardship and saving humanity, you could live forev…’.

‘I GOT IT, I GO IT! HOW DO I CLACK THE ‘OTTEST SKIRT’, Jimmy blurted, now unable to contain himself.

The light dimmed and the orb suddenly stopped spinning.

‘Come again’, the crone croaked.

‘The skirt, you old hag, that top drawer skirt I see ‘ere and about’, Jimmy waved his hand in the general direction of the world outside. ‘How do I clack it?’, he demanded. He then raised his long skinny fore-finger aloft and said decisively, as if addressing a crowd again, ’there’s a way you can clack them crumpet. I want to know how. I want to know the secret that has eluded me for centuries. That’s the knowledge I want’.

The room was silent for a moment.

Fallen-Women

Ye Rock Solid Game boot camp in field

‘You want a book about how to get women’, the crone asked flatly, ‘what you mean like Ye Mystery Method?’ and still holding her hands aloft underneath the now grey and lifeless orb, she motioned with her neck to an old black and beige paperback lying by the comics and pulp fiction.

Jimmy bounded forward and grabbed the old book, thumbing through the dusty pages, wide eyed. ‘I could well see this being useful’, he slavered.

‘But that’s just a crummy old paperback’, the crone cried, ‘someone brought that in last week. I’m offering you the secrets of the universe; you can get that waffle from any disreputable bookshop. Wouldn’t you like to invent the microchip?’

Jimmy looked up at the crone and pounded his finger against one of the pages as he declared ‘it says here it’s all about giving them a bit of a cheeky chat’. Jimmy sniggered. He banged the pages together, dust exploding outwards in all directions into the dry air. ‘I’ll be balls deep in a tenne before closing time, and all I wanted was an 8’, he crooned, cramming the tattered pages into his pocket. To his credit, he felt a twinge of guilt at being so selfish. Pie and pint for a pound day at the Squid would have probably been the preference for most of the lads, but Jimmy has always struggled to fight the temptation to selfishness. It was, he said, his only flaw.

‘It takes years of practice and a lot of hard work to perfect that there Mystery Method’, the crone cooed. ‘It’s very powerful but you can’t just go out and get immediate successes. You have to try and fail and tray again’.

Jimmy’s face fell. The jubilation drained from his cheeks. None of our heroes are perfect dear readers and the hero of this story is no different. For if there is one thing akin to kryptonite to our Jimmy, then there were in fact two. These ideas of ‘hard work’ and ‘years of practice’ were in the same category as ‘the police called by to see you earlier’ and ‘it’s your turn to get the ales in’. It was, according to Jimmy, his only flaw.

‘I haven’t got years to get this done crone’, Jimmy whined pathetically, ‘the banging top night out is tonight’. He fell upon his knees, ‘I throw me on your mercy crone, and remember this is to be at most a three part tale, so we need to cram in as much as we can to the rest of this chapter and only one more’.

‘Very well’, said the crone. ‘Since you haven’t actually chosen anything in terms of any magic from me, you just chose than daft pickup book that you could have just bought anywhere’, she glanced dismissively at Jimmy’s bulging pocket where the book was indeed still crammed, Jimmy clasped his hands urgently and protectively over the bulge as if fearing it was to be taken from him, ‘how about I’ll grant thee a boon?’

‘The Grant’, Jimmy cooed. ‘Do it! Grant me!’ he proclaimed. He held his breath, threw his arms wide and closed his eyes. Visions of the south of Gaul, fine horses, swish clothes and ‘top totty’ filled Jimmy’s head. He closed his eyes tighter, salivating in anticipation.

When he opened his eyes he was a little disappointed to see he was still in the dingy little shop in the same old grey tunic, with the crone’s ugly old face staring back at him. Jimmy peered over her shoulder as if expecting to see the tops of the street of Monaco or the view from the balcony of the Metropole.

‘Grant me?’, he repeated, throwing hia arms apart and shutting his eyes again.

‘Jimmy lad, you are a buffoon,

you lower the tone of every room… err, that you grace.

You’re a total waste of space.

But you need to know what game’s all about

and you can’t do that without

experience and wings to help you out.

I’ll give you all this knowledge that you boys crave,

a plan and a crew to run with night and day.

These powers to thee I grant,

by the time I end this magic chant’.

And with that, the crone clapped her hands together. The two stared at each other in silence for a second.

‘A bit of an anti climax’, the crone said sheepishly, ‘I probably should have explained, it takes a few days for the information to bed in, by the time New Year comes round, you and the lads will know how to work a set in most bars. Sink a few ales in the Squid tonight, but on New Year’s Eve you’ll venture into Clapham Junction and there you’ll exercise your mighty powers. Try not to cause too much trouble; it’ll affect me badly at my half century review’.

‘OK’, Jimmy muttered as he turned slowly to leave, rubbing his head gently. ‘Thanks crone’.

Jimmy clambered over the bric-a-brac and oddities, back through the bird cages, books and furniture that littered his path back towards the door. Turning the handle, he glanced around the shop one last time, he could hear the crone humming behind the junk that now obscured her from view, he turned his back and got the feeling he was returning back to reality as he stepped through the door and headed back to the life of the village outside.

He began to wonder if he’d made the right decision as he walked past a church group singing Christmas carols. He wasn’t all bad our Jimmy. He worried if he had been selfish. He could have chosen ‘pie and a pint day every day at the Giggling Squid’, something the whole village could enjoy and maybe the lads would have liked better. Now he’d have to tell them they couldn’t spend all night in the squid, they were to venture out into the respectable peoples’ taverns of Clapham Junction. These doubts though didn’t last long and as he padded back along the street, he again turned up his collar to the falling snow and set off in the direction of his home. As he whistled his favourite tune ideas were already beginning to filter through. Building value before opening, pawn sets, targets, various gambits designed to adjust social dynamics in your own favour and as Jimmy reached the outskirts of the village and closed in on his own low rent neighbourhood, and as the snow fell heavier, and as the wind grew colder and the streets darker, and as Jimmy smiled more broadly, he warmed to one idea of which now he was certain.

He even said it to himself, as if to officially accept it was true, ‘me and the lads are going to hit them smart taverns soon enough and pull us some unsuspecting, decent looking skirt’.

You can find Jimmy hanging out on his blog here and he can sometimes be persuaded to do consultations.

#133 – The Age Of Calamity, Time Life BOOK REVIEW

December 29, 2018
krauserpua

The Age Of Calamity

Fucked, mate. You’re all fucked.

My school teachers informed me that the European settlers in North America decimated the native Indian population more through disease than war. In particular, we gave them blankets carrying contagious small pox and influenza germs. Right, I get it. That wasn’t very nice. But do I feel any White Guilt about it? Hell no. Aside from the obvious fact that I’m not personally responsible for what someone I didn’t know and who died before I was born did to someone else I didn’t know and died before I was born…. there’s just another rather important fact.

It was give and take. You see, my school teachers told me about the Black Death that twice ravaged Europe. What they didn’t say is who brought it….. the fucking Turks.

Now, I happen to like most of the Turks I’ve met and I’ve dated a couple of Turkish women [1] but their repeated invasions of Europe do sorely try my patience. The Ottomans were utter cunts, with their slave galleys, penchant for impalings, and Janissary child-kidnapping system. Bunch of cunts and I’m very glad WWI finally put paid to their sick twisted empire. However, what history really ought to remember is it was the Turks who introduced the Bubonic Plague to Europe in The Age Of Calamity between AD 1300 and 1400. Here’s how the book describes it:

Out of the Far East came a sickness of unprecedented virulence which, in the years between 1346 and 1352, carried off at least one third of Europe’s population. The greatest wave of mortality ever to sweep across the world, it was to become known as the Black Death.

It was first spotted in Constantinople in 1347 and infected rats aboard Ottoman vessels gave it to the rest of us. Now, I’ll admit that the Turks may hold their hands up and say, “hang on a minute, we didn’t originate it. We got it off the bloody Mongols” and they’ll have a point.

blackdeath_main

What % bodyfat do you reckon he’s got? Maybe he’s on Tren?

The terrible machinery of the plague appears to have been set in motion in the Gobi desert in Mongolia. In the late 1320s and epidemic erupted there among rodents and claimed its first human victims from within the ranks of the nomadic Mongol horsemen, who then proceeded to spread the disease throughout their extensive empire. The trade routes of the Silk Road, along which silks and furs were carried westward from China, exposed the whole of central Asia to the disease.

We Brits got it from the French [2] via Burgundy wine.

Now the lesson of the Black Death is pretty simple: Build The Wall. It was the mass immigration and globalist trading which allowed the spread of virulent pestilence from the Third World into Europe. We are seeing the same thing now on a (currently) smaller scale with all the Ebola, HIV, Hep C, small pox and strange new diseases coming in with all the Soros fake-refugees. Anonymous Conservative has been keeping tabs on the spike in incidences of previously eradicated diseases. Bring in the third world people, and they bring the third world conditions with them. But of course so long as globalist traitors like Merkel, May and Macron are in power, they’ll keep doing it.

French cunt

“Zut alors! Ve got thee Engleesh with ze wine!”

There was an upside to the mass die-off in the European population.

The massive decline in population transformed the relationship between people and resources. Because labour was scarce, the surviving work force could command high wages, while the prices of land and agricultural products fell due to lack of demand.

We see the modern equivalent in Japan, but due to declining birth rate. The country suddenly isn’t so crowded. House prices have been falling for thirty years. After decades of overcrowding and pressure on scarce resources, declining birth rates should be leading the First World into a Golden Age. As soon as those parasite Baby Boomers die, everything is freed up. But…… those same Baby Boomers insist on keeping globalists in power who are using the “demographic crisis” as a pretext to inflict mass immigration on us.

Really, as if Britain’s “demographic crisis” can be solved by filling our schools with Pakistani and Somali children….. how does turning Britain into Not-Britain help the British? Whatever Age Of Calamity strikes the Proper Countries as globalism and the neo-liberal world order collapses and the civil wars of identity fire up, I’m guessing those of us who keep our heads will emerge into a great age, like in the 1400s.

I made it though an entire blog post about immigration without once saying “shoot the invaders and execute the traitors!” I guess I’ve mellowed.

Look, this is what happens when you read a book in summer and forget to review it for six months. Let’s pretend it never happened, and buy Daygame Mastery, Daygame Infinite and Daygame Overkill, alright? Check them out here.

Daygame_Overkill_Double_Bill_Poster

[1] But never have and never will bum a male Turk, nor wrestle one. There are many things I won’t follow Casanova in trying.
[2] No surprise there. It’s always the bloody French. I’m glad we smacked them up with the Hundred Years War for it.

#132 – The Elements Of Eloquence, Mark Forsyth BOOK REVIEW

December 29, 2018
krauserpua

The Elements Of Eloquence

It’s my bet that most of you young yobbos know what alliteration is. Perhaps you recognise the sweet scent of synaesthesia in my words. And I’ll bet you my hyperbole has kept made your heart beat a millions times a minute. But, I ask you this….

…. do you know what an epanalepsis is? Or a prolepsis [1]? Or a scesis onomaton?

Nor did I but having read Mark Forsyth’s The Elements Of Eloquence I do now and what is more, I’m very glad I do. You see, this is the Daygame Mastery of prose writing. There, I said it. Now I have to explain why.

I’ve been trying my bestest to become a good writer and thus have approached it with the same mindset I did with Game. The first thing is action – learning through practice – so I’ve been writing an awful lot. This blog is the obvious outlet of such energies but it’s not like I listened to any of those sober heads who warned, “woah Nick! you might want to slow down in churning out them there memoirs.” Stephen King in his book On Writing advises very strongly to write every single day whether you feel like it or not. It’s only through doing that you improve. But that’s not all there is to it.

My 2018 book review project was borne partly out of a desire to improve my writing because, it seems, all the good writers recommend reading a lot. So, I dipped into books from all genres, eras, and topics to expose myself to many styles. By writing a short essay on each I converted the reading process into active learning both in absorbing lessons from the books but also in teaching myself how to find themes and write about them in short order. Call it a one-year research project. But what else?

Masterclass

I know, it looks like “… teaches pedophilia”

I tried the various Masterclass seminar products such as those of Aaron Sorkin, David Mamet, Malcolm Gladwell, and James Patterson. But of every source I tried, The Elements Of Eloquence is by far the most useful. That’s because it is a toolkit. It’s a very specific actionable toolkit on how to improve the literary quality of your prose. Until now, I didn’t even realise there were guidebooks for this kind of thing. Imagine the way Daygame Mastery and Daygame Infinite explain the theory, give practical examples, and then explain how to create your own versions – that’s exactly what this book does with the writer’s art. It has 39 chapters and each introduces a figure of rhetoric. A what? Mark, you explain it mate:

The techniques for making a single phrase striking and memorable just by altering the wording. Not by saying something different, but by saying something in a different way. They are the formulas for producing great lines.
These formulas were thought up by the Ancient Greeks and then added to by the Romans. As Shakespeare set to work England was busy having the Renaissance. So the classical works on rhetoric were dug out, translated and adapted for use in English…. So Shakespeare learnt and learnt and got better and better, and his lines become more and more striking and more and more memorable.

Ah, I see. So, Mark, I don’t suppose you could pick the best of these figures and then patiently guide me through each one so I can begin improving my own prose? What, you already did that, with 39 of them? Smashing! Good lad! But I’m worried that focusing so much on style may hinder the dialectical value of my work. I’m not looking to become a bloody poet.

A poet is not someone who has great thoughts. That is the menial duty of a philosopher. A poet is someone who expresses his thoughts, however commonplace they may be, exquisitely. That is the one and only difference between the poet and everybody else.

Ah! Gotcha.

Lets give an example, with Chapter 3’s antithesis. The essence of the antithesis is simple: first you mention one thing: then you mention another. Oscar Wilde used to do it by making the first side of the antithesis something pretty obvious, then begin the second side to lead you into expecting something else equally obvious, but surprise you with an odd turn (making it an epigram). For example:

  • ‘The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.’
  • ‘If a man is a gentleman he knows quite enough. If he is not a gentleman whatever he knows is bad for him.’
  • ‘Journalism is unreadable, and literature is not read.’

It all comes down to plays on the basic formula of X is Y, and not X is not Y. It works as rhetoric because it appears final and certain through the phrasing. For example, compare the same thought expressed first as a philosopher and then secondly as a poet (using antithesis)

  • Those who can’t write themselves instead instruct other people on how to write.
  • Those who can, do: those who can’t, teach.

Right then, are we all happy with the basic idea of the book? It’s like a To Do list. I imagine myself sitting down with The Elements Of Eloquence at hand while a draft manuscript of Balls Deep sits open on my laptop. I then proceed to pick a figure of rhetoric and add it in a bunch of times, then pick the next figure and add those in. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll need to add a Merism in here…. A what? A Merism is when you don’t say the group/category name but instead name all of its constituent parts. Thus ladies and gentlemen is a merism for people, because all people are either ladies or gentlemen [2]. Tennyson used merism in his The Charge Of The Light Brigade:

Cannon to right of them.
Cannon to left of them.
Cannon in front of them…

Forsyth notes it would’ve been far more efficient to simple say cannon were in every direction, or “Cannon quaquaversally”, but it doesn’t have the same rhetorical effect, does it? No, sonny Jim, it does not. I’ll give you a few more figures of rhetoric so you get a flavour of just how much is in this book.

Anadiplosis: Taking the last word of a sentence and repeat it as the first word of the next, to create the illusion of a logical connection. See the promotional material for Gladiator: “The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied and emperor.” Or perhaps Yoda, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” That’s Anadiplosis.

Gladiator-wallpaper

Well, are you?

Tricolon: Using the magic number three to create a rhythm and implied connection between all elements: “I came; I saw; I conquered” or “Sun, sea, and sex.” They have alliteration too, as does, “wine, women and song.” [3]

Parataxis and Hypotaxis: These are two poles in sentence length and complexity. Parataxis imitates the short clipped sentences of direct spoken English, and would be described as “punchy” or “crisp” prose. Hypotaxis is the long sentences with many conjunctions and sub-clauses seen in older novels, aimed at a mass readership with a higher overall IQ and level of education. Forsyth explains the style thus:

Hypotaxis was what made English prose so terribly, terribly civilised. It still works. Angry letters of complaint, redundancy notices and ransom notes will, if written in careful hypotaxis, sound as reasonable, measured and genial as a good dose of rough Enlightenment pornography.
Yet hypotaxis (along with reason) has been declining for a century or more. Gone are those heady and incomprehensible sentences of Johnson, Dickens and Austen, replaced with the cruel, brutalist parataxes of writers whose aim is to agitate and distress. The long sentence is now a ridiculed rarity [4] usually hidden away in the Terms and Conditions, its commas and colons, clauses and caveats [5] languishing unread and unloved.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough for aspiring writers. I come from a martial arts and video games background where I’m used to instructional manuals and seminars where complex chains of action (e.g. a triangle choke to omoplata transition, or a Dark Souls boss fight) are broken down into constituent parts that can be analysed and perfected. That is exactly what The Elements Of Eloquence does for sentence construction. It’s also very humorously written so you’ll be chuckling your chubby cheeks as you peruse its precise pages.

Serious seducers of sexual sentiment should probably purchase my predatory, precise and perfected publications: Daygame Mastery, Daygame Infinite and Daygame Overkill. Check them out here.

Final Cover

Daygame Infinite interior hardback 1

[1] No, that’s not what porno actresses get after too many anal scenes.
[2] There are only 2 genders, and 74 mental illnesses.
[3] As does Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer! It’s powerful rhetoric.
[4] Alliteration
[5] And again. See?

#131 – Powers Of The Crown, Time Life BOOK REVIEW

December 28, 2018
krauserpua

Powers of the crown

Contrary to popular opinion, my initial interest in Japan grew not from its porn or video games but actually from ninjas. Yes, those shadow-skulking, shuriken-shuffling assassins for hire. I first saw them in the 1980s movie Enter The Ninja, hired from my local Jet Garage gas station’s small video rental booth. That was followed up by Revenge Of The Ninja and god knows how many others until I finally discovered the king of all ninja movies: Mafia vs Ninja.

At my school it soon became accepted as established fact that martial arts superstar Bruce Lee did not die of a brain aneurysm, but had actually been assassinated by a gang of seven ninjas who were upset that he was too fucking hard for them [1]. Indeed. You need to be careful who you piss off in life, and I’ll tell you now there wasn’t a single kid in my junior school who’d have risked pissing off the ninja. We’d rather risk the wrath of the Eagle’s Claw school of kung fu than the ninja [2].

My love affair with ninja continued throughout the 1980s, including my frequent visits to the South Shields seaside amusement arcades where I’d play games such as Yie Ar Kung Fu and Ninja Warriors. When playing Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja I was firmly on the side of the latter, and then when I discovered the original Eastman and Laird Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books in my local Timeslip comic store, I was all over them.

The 1990s were a blur of university, work, and not enough ninjas. I did try my hand at the university Ninjutsu club, being a regular student for all three years though I realise now I was wasting my time. The ninja mythos was so strong that all kinds of charlatans got involved. I still suspect that Grandmaster Hatsumi Masaaki is a bullshitter. Talented martial artist in the traditional sense yes, but more like the leader of a historical reenactment society than a legit ninja [3]. Then of course, there was Ashida Kim. I did get in a bit of ninja gaming though, such as with From Software’s [4] Tenchu: Stealth Assassins game.

Finally in 1998 I visited Japan for the first time, spending a week in Tokyo then a week in Osaka and Nagoya. My bird at the time told me there was a ninja museum within day-trip distance of Nagoya, in the Iga province (their old base). So, off we went. We visited a beautifully reconstructed Tokugawa-era mountain village just like you’d see in a Zatoichi or Kozure Okami movie, and then found a big wooden house deep in the forest that housed the museum itself. A purple-clad kunoichi [5] showed us around and I bought a souvenir coffee mug that I own to this day. A great day out.

Where on earth am I going with all this? Frankly, I don’t know. I just like to talk about ninja. They were a secret society of assassins hired by rival feudal leaders to infiltrate castles and murder VIPs. They also never actually dressed in those black suits – that’s a coincidental artefact from the custom of Japanese plays to dress stage hands head-to-toe in black so the audience ignores them.

Oh wait! I remember. Yes.

In Powers Of The Crown, the theme of which is that AD 1600-1700 saw consolidation of royal power in most civilisations bar England, the first chapter covers Tokugawa Japan – the time of the first shogunate. It’s the period covered by James Clavell’s classic novel Shogun, which itself was made into a TV series with The Count Of Monte Cristo himself Richard Chamberlain. I read that in 2015 and was surprised that the book ends on the eve of the fateful Battle of Sekigahara. Fateful why? Well, that’s the battle where Tokugawa Ieyasu of the Eastern Kanto region crushed his rival of the West, Ishida Mitsunari, and became undisputed military dictator of all Japan.

Incidentally, it’s also the battle the aftermath of which begins Eiji Yoshikawa’s classic Musashi saga, as the teenage tearaway Miyamoto Musashi wakes up injured on the morning after the battle, having been knocked unconscious while fighting for Ishida’s losing side. I’m pretty sure the battle also features plenty in Japanese video games from the warring kingdoms period, such as Kessen and Nobunaga’s Ambition [6]. Look, the important thing is that the battle was ace, some 140,000 warriors laying into each other with pike, spear, and sword. I wish I’d seen it (from a safe distance).

220px-Kessen_II_Coverart

Loved it

Anyway, that’s chapter one. Powers Of The Crown also explains the Manchu invasion and occupation of China, the Great Shah of Persia, the rise of William of Orange and the Dutch Republic, and then the settlement of the USA by the English. The only break from the theme is the Civil War in England leading to Charles I getting his head lopped off and Oliver Cromwell establishing a reign of terror. To take Powers Of The Crown at face value it rather seems like Charles I was asking for it, making the dumbest and most arrogant of moves when he could’ve easily held onto his throne with Roundhead consent if he’d been reasonable.

But no, he was rather Cavalier about it.

I think he envied Louis XIV across the channel, who’d established an absolutist government. All this is great backstory to fill in the Alexandre Dumas novels I’ve been reading. Dumas was an avowed Royalist, so he gives it all a rather different slant [7].

Anyway, after 168 pages of world history painstakingly assembled for this volume by Professors Geoffrey Park (Illinois), Christopher Bayly (Cambridge), I.J. McMullen (Oxford), Denis Twitchett (Princeton), David Morgan (SOAS), Nicholas Tyacke (UCL), Jonathan I. Israel (UCL) and G.V. Scammell (Cambridge) we can all agree on the major learning point: Ninjas are awesome.

If you’d like to see some real stealth attraction, stealth comfort, and stealth seduction from a masterful daygaming ninja then do consider my own textbooks Daygame Mastery, Daygame Infinite, and the video series Daygame Overkill. Check them out here.

Daygame_Overkill_Double_Bill_Poster

[1] I consider it far more likely he was poisoned to keep him quiet after he considered exposing all the paedophilia and child sex trafficking that went on with Hollywood producers during the location filming of Enter The Dragon.
[2] Because Jackie Chan had already proven that while the Eagle Claw is invincible against Snake’s Fist, it is highly vulnerable to the Cat’s Claw style. Nobody had yet figured out the style to beat ninjutsu.
[3] Unless he was actually involved in the Bruce Lee assassination and his role as kindly old instructor is a deep cover.
[4] Yes, that From Software
[5] That’s female ninja to you, lad. And no, you’re not allowed to shag them.
[6] Okay, I think Oda Nobunaga came a bit earlier, now I think about it.
[7] Not that type of slant, you racist!

#130 – Cruel As A Cat, John Creasey BOOK REVIEW

December 28, 2018
krauserpua

Cruel as a cat

John Creasey usually writes books that you’d call “genre fiction” or perhaps “pot-boilers”, meaning they are formulaic and do exactly what they say on the tin. For example his Inspector West stories will always involve the titular West employing police procedure to track down local criminals, with a little levity and seasoning added from his time back home with the ball and chain wife and kids. His Cruel As A Cat, first published under the pseudonym Michael Halliday in 1968 as part of his Dr Cellini series, is nothing like that. It’s a character study that reads much like Agatha Christie’s The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd.

I can’t tell you how it differs from TMORA without giving away that classic’s key twist, so I urge you to read Agatha Christie’s best novel. But what it shares with TMORA is as follows:

  • Mostly in the perspective of a central character who begins the story having discovered a recently murdered corpse without having a solid alibi himself.
  • The franchise character (Cellini here, Poirot in TMORA) doesn’t appear for quite a while, and only then as he is encountered from the perspective of other characters. The detective is not a perspective character himself [1].
  • Ultimately it’s all about the psychology of the murderer, hidden from all but the reader until the detective figures it all out.

Cruel As A Cat begins with poor young James Clayton hidden in shrubbery on the moors at the peak of summer while a manhunt rages around him. He’s the prime suspect in the strangulation murder of his adoptive sister Gloria, discovered that morning in her apartments soon after James was seen quarrelling with her over an inheritance she’d jipped him out of. From the beginning Creasey makes it clear – as the reliable narrator – that Clayton is innocent. But he’s on the run and in deep shit.

His hiding place is disturbed by a dog called Blixi, out being walked by its owner, a Mrs Midge Benison – a beautiful young woman who recently moved into the area with her shifty husband Alec. There’s a tense scene where Midge seems about to turn James in to the posse over the next ridge, but something stays her hand. She seems to believe his protestations of innocence. Quite unexpectedly, she offers him sanctuary in the attic of her apartment, rented out from the spinster Trudie Stern who lives on the ground floor.

It’s here where Creasey begins the head games, as he slips in some misgivings and red flags regarding Miss Benison and her motives. She doesn’t seem quite right. Too flirtatious, too controlling, and altogether a little odd. More a bunny-boiler than a pot-boiler. Thus the character portrait begins. Clayton is kept couped up, effectively a prisoner in the attic – considering the danger of being ensnared by the manhunt outside – while Miss Benison plots and schemes to as yet unknown ends.

Siren

Miss Benison, yesterday

It’s a fact of life that men understand other men far more accurately than women ever can. The reason men worked so hard to present themselves as dependable and of high moral character was that they needed a girl’s father to approve a marriage proposal. Society knew men’s arsenal of bullshit is far more effective on a woman than upon a fellow man, especially a man a generation older than the bullshit artist. This works the other way. Though Miss Benison effectively beguiles the young men in her life (fugitive James and her husband Alec, among others) she can’t fool Miss Stern, her landlady. Stern reaches out and is put in touch with Dr Cellini, who finally appears in chapter nine, making a house call for tea and biscuits with Stern. She relates her concerns:

“It’s past time I told you why I’m worried,” said Miss Stern at last. “There is something rather odd about the young woman who lives in my flat upstairs.” She told Cellini exactly what she had told [Inspector] McLelland although in somewhat greater detail. “Of course I know that the Lombroso theory is out-dated, Dr. Cellini, one cannot really tell a criminal type from their bumps, but—”
“You can often tell a kind person from their face– and a cruel one, too” said Dr. Cellini. “That is, if you are sensitive to appearance, as you obviously are. You might be unpleasantly surprised if you knew how many people there are who enjoy being cruel, Miss Stern.”

While taking an interest in facts, Cellini is as interested in ‘the psychologies’ as Hercules Poirot himself. In order to subtly ascertain the quality of Miss Stern’s interpersonal judgement he asks that she give her impressions of a mutual acquaintance, the Superintendent Hardy who made their introduction. It’s a nice scene, showing Cellini as keenly observational and precise in assessing his sources.

Dr Cellini no longer looked a benevolent elderly man; he took on a stature of which she had not been aware before. She realised that with very little prompting he had made her talk much more freely than she would normally have done, but she could not for the life of her imagine why he had made her discuss Superintendent Hardy. To cover an inward confusion which she did not want to admit, she plugged in the kettle and took the lid off the silver dish of Mary Jane’s sandwiches.
“You are telling me to pay very close attention to your opinion of the Benisons” remarked Dr. Cellini. “A woman who can see a stranger so clearly as you see Hardy is likely to have a very balanced view of someone she knows rather better. How long have you been uneasy about the Benisons, Miss Stern?”

I ate this up. One thing drummed into me from Game theory is the need to elicit values early in a date. It encourages the girl to talk, to share her mind, and build rapport. As I explain in Daygame Infinite, it allows you to begin placing her on the r/K spectrum so as to guide your choice of DHVs and speed of escalation. Detective stories focused on ‘the psychologies’ are good role models for this type of interpersonal communication [2].

Hercules Poirot

“It’s about the grey cells, Hastings”

This whole book was as smooth as butter with delightful pacing, precise language and suitably colourful characters. I was somewhat surprised how little Cellini’s investigations relied upon careful consideration of evidence. There wasn’t the usual Poirot business of double-checking alibis and establishing timelines, nor of Sherlock Holmes minutely investigating footprints and tobacco ash. This was all about the psychology. The publisher’s biographical note at the book’s end clarifies it nicely:

One of the major factors in John Creasey’s ever increasing popularity is undoubtedly his talent for viewing and so portraying his characters as living beings; each with his own special problem, each with his own hopes and dreams and fears. John Creasey has now written nearly 500 books, and in essence this extraordinary achievement is a testament to his penetrating observation and understanding of human behaviour. Criminals, their victims, the police – all he writes of are touched with this very real compassion.

I absolutely agree and that puts the finger on why I liked his Inspector West and The Toff stories so much [3]. Although Creasey stories are structured like pot-boilers, the characters are never empty suits. They always feel like real, engaging people. I felt like I knew Clayton, Benison, Stern and Cellini.

If you’d rather women were just shagged rather than empathised with, consider buying and then studying my pick-up textbooks Daygame Mastery and Daygame Infinite, which will encourage your malevolent sociopathy into far more constructive paths than murder. Check them out here.

Mastery cover

Mastery interior

[1] Not unlike how Mr Moto is usually written in those classic Japanese espionage stories.
[2] As are espionage stories that rely primarily on verbal jousting to uncover the intentions and secrets of rival spies.
[3] And not the early Department Z stories, where he hadn’t yet developed these skills.