A.k.a. Paul Ross
A pick-up artist (PUA) is a man (or rarely, a woman) who systematically studies ways to hopefully improve their success rate with women, and they have come to constitue a kind of loosely knit subculture, the seduction community, with their own lingo and terminology. Ross Jeffries, a former Californian comedian who currently terms himself a “flirtation guru”, is a central character, who has made millions from his masterclasses in “courtship skills for the modern man.” (He currently (well, at least in 1999) has something like 60,000 “pupils” who pay vast sums of money to learn body language and one-liners). Of course, it’s gotta be woo, and sure enough – Jeffries’s advice is a mixture of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP – the particular brand is called “speed seduction”) and cargo-cult psychology – though it is admittedly a little unclear to what extent Jeffries would actually defend his advice if he somehow got interested in sticking with truth and evidence.
According to Jeffries, his is a system that would enable lonely men to meet and get into bed with absolutely any woman they want within minutes of meeting them. All men, he says, have an inner James Bond, and Speed Seduction can help you break him out of his shell. His approach mixes basic common sense advice with verbal techniques called “patterns,” which are basically rehearsed NLP-ish speeches employing “trance words”, which supposedly hypnotize women and make them more sexually receptive to you. The first steps in his advice package is the common sense stuff – the hypnosis and psychobabble comes later. And as in all pseudoscience, if the patterns don’t work, then it’s the men’s fault for not applying them correctly. It’s a win-win game for Jeffries, and his evidence is, rather obviously, anecdotal.
Diagnosis: Though less blatantly wooish than some, perhaps (and one does wonder how committed he is to the truth of the pseudoscientific claims in his package), Jeffries is yet another self-help guru who, with a seller’s skills and plenty of woo, preys on groups of people with low self-esteem. It is hard to judge how dangerous it is, but it is not unlikely that his advice will help foster misogyny, at least.