7 Thought Leaders in the Dating & Pickup Industry

If you’re into pickup like me, you’ll see lists of the top 10 pickup artists of the year floating around the various blogs. You can see two such lists here and here. These are usually pretty popular, and often times controversial.

This post isn’t one of those lists. I’m not interested in who is a pickup machine and who can get the most lays. I am interested in attraction and social artistry, though, and I try to keep up with the latest ideas coming out of the pickup/dating/relationships niche. There needs to be more information (and innovation) about how to socialize and be attractive, because most people are terrible at both of those things. It’s also been my experience that conventional wisdom, ie the stuff you read on mainstream sites, is way off the mark from what’s actually happening during real life interactions.

What I want to know is, who is coming up with fresh ideas about dating and relationships? Who’s changing the way we think about attraction? Who are the thought leaders and innovators out there in this crazy little niche?

Here’s my list. If I left off someone who needs to be considered, post in comments.

Side-rant: I think VH1’s The Pickup Artist is pure entertainment and it’s branding pickup as the thing were trying to avoid being branded as, and that is a bunch of jackasses who sling lines. We need to get away from that.

Dan Savage

Dan Savage is my homosexual hero. No, seriously, he is. I love this man. He writes a nationally syndicated advice column that metes out tough sex/dating/relationship advice for straights and gay alike, and he covers EVERYTHING. Also not to be missed are his regular podcasts. If you’re involved in the dating niche, and there’s only one voice you can listen to, it’s is the voice of Dan Savage. He is the straight dope.

Savage Love, the column of Dan Savage at The Stranger.

Savage Love podcast RSS feed.

Also, here’s a Youtube vid of Savage kicking ass on CNN about Prop 8:


David Wygant

I’m sure you’ve heard of Wygant, but if you haven’t, he’s a popular dating coach based in LA, originally from New York. He also seems to be the go-to guy when mainstream media needs a column, article, or quote from a “normal” dating advice guy. Pickup marketers should take note, he’s successful and doesn’t have to market himself as a hardcore pickup artist! To be honest, when I first started following him, I thought his material was a little soft, but after surveying most of the stuff out there, I now appreciate the simplicity and common sense approach of DW. He coaches both men and women.

Wygant is a prolific blogger, publishing almost every single day. You can see his blog here. Check out his blog post where he slams The Cube, a pickup routine I happen to be a fan of. Also, another one where he talks about a girl wearing a “Rent By The Hour” shirt. He also pumps out a lot of short video both in-field and in controlled environments, and you can find these all over his blog or Youtube.

Here’s a DW video about approaching women authentically:


Tyler Durden

Out of all the big-name gurus in pickup community, I think TD has written some of the best material on the subject of attraction in the last couple of years. If you read his blog regularly, you’ll note that he doesn’t at all focus on lay reports or dirty hookups. Bottom line, he wants men to be better men. Also, TD’s got a great sense of humor and his posts are always funny.

Isn’t it ironic that out of all the characters in The Game, Tyler Durden, who is the clear antagonist of that story, has come the furthest in real life? He’s eschewed the cult of celebrity and still works to help guys by doing bootcamps. Can the same be said of Style and Mystery? Out of the big three characters in the book, I’d most want to spend a day hanging with TD.

Durden’s stuff has evolved to the point where he’s branched off into self help. His goal is to be the next Tony Robbins, and I give the guy mucho props for his ambition. I hope he makes it. If you can’t afford any RSD products, at least subscribe to the blog.

The blog of Real Social Dynamics.

Youtube clip of TD from The Blueprint Decoded:



It’s widely acknowledged that Sinn has amazing game and that he’s a great workshop teacher. Besides that, some of his blog posts are gold. What really matters is that he’s got some fresh ideas and his material is on the cusp of evolving away from typical quick lay material. Sinn has blogged about the need to move away from a rating system for women (ie getting rid of the 1-10 scale) and he acknowledges that basic social skills are needed before pickup can even begin.

I’d love to see Sinn be a catalyst for moving the pickup industry away from quick lay material to regular dating advice for men. He’s kinda young—mid-20’s—so I could see him making strides as he gets older and wiser. My guess is that happens after he gets a long term girlfriend or two.

The Sinns of Attraction blog.

Video of Sinn at the PUA Summit 2008:


Asian Rake

David Tian is arguably the best writer and one of the smartest guys in pickup. I guess it helps that he’s a doctor! If you’re really into the technical aspects of the art form and you want it broken down intelligently, sample some of the excellent posts on his Best Of page. He recently began writing a dating advice column for a Singapore newspaper, and I’ve noticed his material is becoming more accessible for regular people. This is a good thing, as it brands the social arts as something for everyone, which it should be.


Another strong rhetorician, 30+ writes about sex, emotional intelligence, and seduction on this blog, The Reality Method. He has some posts on success and honesty that are damned inspirational. Why is this guy not getting more pub? I don’t know, but he should be. I’m a big fan of 30+ and if you’re a serious student of game, you should be too. Check out his excellent post about game and honesty.

And then check out the Reality Method blog.

Evan Marc Katz

If you only surf pickup artist sites, you’ve probably never heard of this guy. Evan Marc Katz is NOT a pickup artist. He’s a dating coach based in LA, and his primary business is getting people to find love via online dating. I’ve been following his blog for about a year now and I’ve rarely disagreed with anything he’s said. The guy is insightful, articulate, occasionally controversial, and always on the money. He talks about real dating issues and he wants people to have healthy relationships. Hell, he wants people to find love! What an outlandish idea! Love is a dirty word to most PUAs, so EMK might seem “soft” for the hardcore pickup guys, but the fact is his perspective is incisive. Check out this blog, where his posts are heavily discussed.

BTW, Evan just got married, so congratulations to him!

Evan’s blog, Advice From A Single Dating Expert.

Video interview:


So there’s the list, 7 thought leaders in the dating and pickup niche, if you have additions or you hate my picks, comments are wide open. I’d like to see more intelligent, innovative people in the community and less more-of-the same.

More thought provoking posts for your head:

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    That’s a great list. Which one gives the best advice to single parents who are shell-shocked from divorce, or have partnering trust issues, or lost their confidence to even flirt, let alone have any game? I’m a 40-something single dad, and while I have tons of confidence with women once we’re one-on-one talking, I suck at pick-up.

    dadshouse´s last blog post…Flirt-a-Day Update

  • http://www.worklovelife.com Holly Hoffman

    Fantastic list! I’ve been trying to explain to a friend why certain PUAs are not well-respected in the community, but with little success. I’ll be passing this one along. 😉

    Holly Hoffman´s last blog post…Doing the Spiritual Dishes

  • http://www.idatewhite.com Eathan

    Nice list.

    @ Dadshouse.. I guess I’ll start looking out for the single parent list to come soon. I’d be interested in seeing how that list is created.

    Eathan´s last blog post…Christmas Party 2008

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    Most of the PU guys wouldn’t have the experience or sensitivity to handle the unique challenges of single parents who are dating, which is part of the reason why I came up with this list, because I wanted some names who can appeal to different audiences.

  • http://20-forty.com/ lisaq

    Fantastic list! I especially love Evan Marc.

    lisaq´s last blog post…Mortal Danger

  • http://www.hotapproachcoach.com Hot Alpha Female

    I was just surfing the internet for some of the top PUA’s out there.

    I have heard a lot of those guys that you mentioned but dont know about them in detail.

    Thanks for the extra information =)

    Hot Alpha Female


  • http://sparksofattraction.com Nick Sparks

    Great list.

    I’ve had the privilege of hanging out with The Asian Rake over the summer and the guy is truly amazing.

    It’s really great to see him get some well deserved accolades.

    Nick Sparks´s last blog post…The Death of the Community: Evolving Past the M-3 Model

  • http://honeyandlance.com/contact Lance

    Very cool. I need to hang with you guys something. I’ll shoot you an email and catch up.

    Lance´s last blog post…In Sickness…

  • http://www.singlemomseeking.com/blog single mom seeking

    Good homework!

    This has been on my mind A LOT lately (after I got quoted in the November issue of Real Simple magazine about how to pick up men):

    Why are all the pick artists men?


    It seems like there’s something missing here. Shouldn’t a woman be out there, too, teaching guys to get their game on? Honey?

    single mom seeking´s last blog post…Holiday giveaway: How do you handle loneliness?

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    SMS, there actually are a few women affiliated with pickup companies. Kezia comes to mind:

    There’s Pickup Tara, who’s featured on the VH1 Pickup Artist show: http://www.pickuptara.com/

    Far more men than women for sure, but if you do searches for “dating coaches” you’ll see more gals out there.

    I did searches for dating advice blogs by women but didn’t find anything that really jumped out at me in terms of thought leadership, although I like Lynn Harris: http://www.breakupgirl.net/

    She’s just a little mainstream for me. If you look in the sex blogger niche, though, you’ll find a TON of great content by female bloggers. A lot of the sex blogs cross over into relationships, but I didn’t include any of it on purpose because it’s not pure dating advice. I DO think Honey has one of the edgiest perspectives on dating & relating, so she should be on this list.

    If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to reply. My list could use some female names on there, for sure.

    Lance´s last blog post…Add Randomness To Your Life To Meet People

  • http://blogs.marinij.com/katwilder Kat Wilder

    Excuse me if I’m a tad controversial here (that’s OK, I like that), but I’m going to pick up where SMS left off.

    I have read most of the above men’s blogs because the way to understand men is to immerse yourself in their world. Just like the best way to learn how to give a guy a blow job would be to read advice from gay men (who know what men like because, well, they’re guys and they give blow jobs!)

    If men really want to learn how to relate to women, they need to do the same thing — read what’s being dished out by smart women columnists (emphasis on smart).

    That said, the bigger issue isn’t how to pick up men or women — it’s how to be genuine in our interactions. Because if you are comfortable with who you are and can talk to men or women, attractive or not, without feeling that the conversation has to “get” you something or somewhere, you will probably find a lot more people with whom to connect. And isn’t that what we want?

    Kat Wilder´s last blog post…At least one part of his anatomy likes me

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    Kat, well said, I couldn’t agree more. I don’t necessarily agree with the focus of most of the material from the PUA’s (ie same day lays), but I DO think there is a lot of cutting edge knowledge about dating, sex, inner game, and attraction coming from these guys.

    These guys do thousands of approaches, go on hundreds of dates, and just plain socialize with many times more people than a regular person does, including some dating coaches. There’s insight to be had there, and if you can set aside the moral questions.

    Lance´s last blog post…Pickup Saved Me $112 This Weekend