C-Span BookTV Interview – Michael Anthony talks about ‘Soldiers Earning Awards,’ and saying ‘Thank You For Your Service.’

A few months ago I had an interview appear on C-Span BookTV . In the interview I talked about my newest book Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir, (“[D]ark humored…” Kirkus, “A must read.” – Colby Buzzell) a memoir about my return home from the Iraq war.

In this clip I discuss soldiers who chase after awards and also that pesky question “how do I thank a veteran for their service?”


The Complete History of Pick-Up Artists (PUA’s) in America

[Note: Since the publication of my newest book, Civilianized, many of you have sent emails asking for this blog post, so here it is.]

373476050_735d4ba187_zIt’s no big secret that men’s and women’s brains are wired differently, but that clearly hasn’t deterred many a man from trying to understand certain key processes of a woman’s mind, specifically the parts of it that will enable him to get into her good graces (and other things besides).

For centuries, the art of seduction was a mystery to most men. While it was initially assumed that women would favor the best-looking, the most dominant, and the wealthiest among the opposite gender, history tells that this is not always the case. Many of the most successful seductions throughout history were conducted not by alpha males, but by seemingly shy and perhaps even unconventional-looking men. Casanova, (whose name is forever immortalized in the dictionary as a term for “a man who has many conquests or lovers”), for instance, used a variety of mental and psychological seduction techniques rather than make use of any overt quality to win over his quarries.

This sort of strategy would serve as the basis for many pick-up artist techniques, but their ilk would not surface until a few centuries later. Shortly before the late 20th century, most Americans faced extremes when looking about for advice on dating and relationships. On the one hand, there was Dear Abby. This advice column was a beloved institution dishing out wholesome advice on common dating dilemmas. While it was considered to be a “safe” option, the Dear Abby advice column was primarily written for women (which was hardly surprising as a woman was also behind the column).

On the other end of the spectrum were the more informal sources of counsel. These generally involved a wide range of sources from what was usually referred to as “locker room talk,” where adolescent boys with raging hormones dished out stories about conquests (be they actual or imagined) and advice on how to achieve the same, to one-on-one sessions with a much older mentor who had been around the block once or twice. Young men, at least those who were in America, clearly needed a happy medium.

The pick-up artist industry, as people know it today, was said to have originated back in 1970, when Eric Weber’s “How to Pick Up Girls” was published. This tome was initially endorsed by a prevailing racy adult magazine, which derived some of its articles from material found in the said book. Up until this point, the only acceptable dating topics discussed in modern publications were innocent questions that involved how long a gentleman should wait before he could kiss his date on the cheek after bringing her home. Weber’s book was the first widely published work that unabashedly dished out tips for red-blooded males in search of little more than a roll in the sack with an attractive female.

In true 1970s style, Weber advised the wearing of bell bottoms and even participating in peace marches with the primary objective of seducing hot, young female hippies all in the name of “free love.” “How to Pick Up Girls” would later go on to inspire the flourishing of the pick-up artist movement underground throughout the rest of the decade.

The movement slowed down upon the onset of the 1980s, as some unsavory consequences of events in the past decade set in. The conservative Ronald Reagan was elected into the White House and rock ‘n’ roll was all but verboten in many households with concerned parents in charge. The “Free Love” movement of the 70s, (which encouraged unrestricted and indiscriminate sexual activity), along with the influence of the freewheeling and reckless lifestyles of the era’s rock stars, led to sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS and HIV being more widespread along the population.

For most of the 1980s, the looming threat of AIDS put many people off pick-up artistry and dating advice again favored safer practices. Ironically, however, the seduction experts would form an organized community for the first time by the end of this decade.

It all began with an American author named Ross Jeffries. As a self-described “speed seduction expert,” Jeffries relied heavily on neuro-linguistic programming to attract and seduce women. His technique was akin to hypnosis, wherein a man would help a woman access a positive mind state or mood. The goal was for the target to later associate such pleasurable emotions with the seducer. Following typical neuro-linguistic programming principles, Jeffries was also renowned for his way with words as he could craft them into phrases that were calculated to instigate the aura of sexual desire in a person.

While Jeffries’ approach was considered to be controversial, he is often credited as the “father” or founder of the modern seduction community. Jeffries would later parlay his 15 minutes of fame by offering seduction seminars and other related products to his fellow men, most of who were confused about whether women wanted the old-fashioned, tough, macho man or the feminism-approved sensitive guy of the New Age. His gamble was a success, and he later published a book called “How to Get the Women You Desire Into Bed.” Apart from being the first man to build a business model around pick-up artistry, Jeffries would also gain fame and notoriety as the real-life basis for Tom Cruise’s disillusioned pick-up artist character in the movie “Magnolia.”

Those who found Jeffries’ method to be a little too ruthless (his primary focus was always on bedding a woman) opted for the somewhat diluted technique of David DeAngelo. DeAngelo’s “Double Your Dating” seminars and DVD sets catered to clueless, “nice” young men who were wondering why their female peers preferred their cocky counterparts. He favored adopting a cocky and funny personality in favor of a fawning one when it came to hitting on attractive women.

One of DeAngelo’s most renowned contributions to the pick-up artist’s bag of tricks was called “negging.” This involved giving a back-handed compliment to a sought-after lady to get her attention. An example of negging often included telling an undeniably beautiful girl that she was “as cute as my obnoxious little sister.” While this approach did pique the attention of certain women who were used to getting their way with most men (and thus viewed those who didn’t fall at their feet as an attractive challenge), it garnered quite a bit of negative press for its inventor. Too often, inexperienced novices who were fresh off DeAngelo’s seminars would “neg” women who were less attractive and insecure, making them feel upset rather than intrigued. Some neophytes botched the technique further by spewing outright insults at their targets rather than tweaking their compliments to generate a bit of insecurity to make the quarry a lot more approachable.

Still, DeAngelo proved that there’s really no such thing as bad press when he successfully marketed his seduction seminars and DVDs and built a thriving business empire off the proceeds. And, more importantly for the pick-up artist community, the road blazed by Jeffries and DeAngelo gave rise to numerous Internet message boards where young men discussed and exchanged ideas about dating, specifically about landing and pleasing a woman in bed.

Out of this veritable pool of pick-up artistry talent emerged one of the most flamboyant pick-up artists. Born Eric von Markovic, the young Canadian pick-up artist known by his alias “Mystery” would make waves by patterning his image contrary to the stereotypical pick-up artist’s. Rather than dressing up in the sleek dark suits or the preppy chinos and polo shirt combo of the typical pick-up artist, Mystery walked the streets in top hats, platform boots, and even outrageous feather boas. This practice, known as “peacocking,” relied greatly on shock value and on catching the eye of any female (or anyone for that matter) passing by. He would further engage his target by performing various sorts of magic tricks to the delight of many young women.

The much talked-about “three-second rule” is also credited to Mystery. This is all about being spontaneous and confident as it means walking up and talking to the first group of people you see or the first woman that catches your eye within three seconds of entering a room. The logic behind this approach is that women can sense if you had to work up the courage to move toward them, and this often lowers their perception of you. If, on the other hand, you simply followed the three-second rule, there would be no room for hesitation and you would breeze into the interaction with more confidence, which your target would thus appreciate more.

The year 2005 marked the entry of pick-up artists into mainstream consciousness. This sort of movement had been brewing for a while, what with the online seduction community (by now known simply as “The Community”) growing steadily over the past decade. The Community had given rise to a great number of pick-up gurus, who favored varying methods of picking up women.

It was the author Neil Strauss who exposed the techniques of Mystery and his cadre (along with their real-life experiences on the street). His book, “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists” illustrated the previously well-guarded secrets of the underground seduction community. It even provided a narrative on Strauss’ two years of practicing such techniques on the crème de la crème of L.A.’s female population.

With such an illustrious track record, Strauss had no difficulty persuading his clientele that even the most awkward geeky male specimen could turn into a polished pick-up artist once he was exposed to the right guidance. Thanks to his new street credentials, Strauss was able to put up the Stylelife Academy, where he continues to educate aspiring pick-up artists on the tricks of the trade.

Today, the pick-up artist community is widely shrouded in controversy. Lots of women consider their practices to be sexist and unnecessarily aggressive. However, there have been some movements that have taken a leaf out of the pick-up artist playbook but modified it to make their “strategies” more chivalrous or considerate. Clearly, there will always be a need for such “guidance” so long as the comprehension gap between male and female brains remains significant.

Picture: Flickr/Pazzia

Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

In this dark humored War Memoir, Iraq veteran Michael Anthony discusses his return home from war and how he turned to the Pick-Up Artist Community to help defeat his PTSD.

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

“[S]mart and mordantly funny.” –Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Anthony delivers a dose of reality that can awaken the mind…” Bookreporter


Why The Pick-Up Artist Community Could Be Good For Veterans With PTSD

[Note: With the publication of my newest book, Civilianized, which includes stories of veterans with PTSD, and Pick-up Artists, I thought the following post might be appropriate.]

Pick-Up Artists AND Veterans?

What’s the deal?

The chaotic and disturbing ordeal that US military veterans went through during the recent wars has left a sizeable portion of them in a harrowing state of trauma and shock. Although some of them manage to live a better life after their experiences, about fifteen percent of veterans are still trapped in another war zone — a continuous struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, leaving them stuck in the ugly past and pessimistic of the promising future.

There are many organizations and volunteers who are determined to help US veterans move on from the horrors of War — from counsellors, to writers, and even performance artists. Among these groups, several people believe that the Pick-Up Artist Community, also known as Seduction Community, might be the breakthrough approach that can truly relieve US veterans. How can the modern and liberated nature of this relatively new concept, along with the numerous criticisms and objections thrown at it, aid in the veterans’ battle against PTSD?

PTSD and US Military Veterans

By definition, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is a mental condition that a person may develop after he is exposed to one or more traumatic events. However, not everyone who is exposed to a traumatizing situation will develop PTSD as doctors and psychologists have a set of symptoms or “guidelines” that a person must display first before he can be considered as a PTSD case. Generally, PTSD is divided into four classifications — unwanted memories, escapism, hyperarousal symptoms, and pessimism and apathy.

It was after the Vietnam War when the term “post-traumatic stress disorder” was coined. US Military veterans showed different signs of negative behavior, all of which were triggered by the daunting situations they had to face during the war. Up until now, many years after the war, US veterans are still haunted by their horrendous past and they are still greatly affected with PTSD.

Although this mental condition is somewhat difficult to identify and quantify, one thing that’s certain about PTSD is that it changes a person’s overall personality and behavior — the exact situation that US veterans are dealing with right now. Most of them still get distressed and anxious even with the slightest recall of the tragic war; thus they opt to completely avoid anything that would remind them of it. They are consumed by their fear of talking about the past so they tend to be antisocial, aloof, and nonchalant. Aside from expressing their suppressed emotions, a simple and plain conversation and communication becomes a huge challenge for veterans.

The Pick-Up Artist Community and The Game of Seduction Science

The Pick-Up Artist (PUA) Community is a modern male movement dedicated to learning the complex art and science of seducing women, known in the group as The Game (the term also comes from the popular PUA book: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists). Depending on a PUA’s personal intentions, a sarge (PUA slang for a successful connection between a man and a woman) may either be a simple conversation, an exchange of phone numbers, or a one-night stand. Putting it in a lighter perspective then, it can be said that the main goal of the PUA Community is to develop and encourage a man’s confidence in approaching and communicating with women.

Followers of this concept believe that the innate global gender culture where men chase women is something that is hard to change. The increasing equality and empowerment of the modern woman, however, makes it more difficult for men to fulfill their gender roles. In order to keep up with the times, the Community develops techniques and strategies, collectively called as “studied charisma,” that men can use when attempting to strike a conversation with a woman. Members of the Community learn and practice these techniques by attending forums, sessions, and small group talks.

Although traces of this liberated concept date back to the 70s, it was only in the mid-2000s when the PUA Community reached mainstream awareness. Despite numerous critics claiming that The Game is offensive, misogynistic, and sexist, the Community was still able to establish a solid, although discreet, follower base. Today the Community exists in various channels such as the Internet, blogs, secret groups, and hundreds of underground local clubs (called in PUA slang as lairs).

How Seduction Science Can Save PTSD-Diagnosed Veterans

Establishing a decent conversation and maintaining an open line of communication are two of the greatest challenges of veterans with PTSD, and this is considerably the biggest barrier between veterans and the support groups and volunteers. This is where the concepts and applications of The Game can definitely come into play. By teaching veterans different fool-proof ways of initiating a conversation with another person (not necessarily a woman, and not necessarily for hook-up purposes) without feeling scared, worried, or threatened, the PUA Community can help the veterans regain their self-confidence and make them comfortable with talking to others again. Once this is achieved, it will be a lot easier for support groups and volunteers to introduce other psychotherapy procedures, ensuring continuous improvement on the condition of the veterans and, hopefully, completely eliminating PTSD.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among US veterans is a serious matter, and everyone must cooperate in finding effective and efficient ways to solve this concern. By applying a few tweaks but still sticking to its core idea, the Pick-Up Artist Community could be the key towards winning this tedious battle against PTSD.

The Sales Pitch

If you’re interesting in a book about an Iraq veteran who tries to cure his PTSD by becoming a PUA then pick up a copy of my newest book: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir. Available at your local bookseller and all your online book retailers.


C-Span Interview – Michael Anthony talks about ‘Soldiers Earning Awards,’ and saying ‘Thank You For Your Service.’

This is a partial clip from my C-Span BookTV interview. The talk took place at Porter Square books in Cambridge, and it was a talk about my newest book Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir, a book about my return home from the Iraq War.

In this clip I discuss soldiers who chase after awards and also that pesky question “how do I thank a veteran for their service?”


Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir: Publicity Round UP

Here’s a round up of some of the publicity that my newest book: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir, has received so far.

It’s a hard, sometimes difficult, tedious task, promoting and marketing a book, but it’s an important topic that I think has the opportunity to help a lot of veterans, so I’m going to keep trucking away…

Kate Tuttle, writing for the Boston Globe, wrote about Civilianized for her The Story Behind the Book column.  She interviewed me about the writing process of the book and how it came about.

Kelly Lynn Thomas, writing for the Rumpus, did a write up for her This Week in Books column. She discussed the importance of war memoirs and war writing.

Litpick (a website made of high school book reviewers) posted a nice Youtube video review of the book on their booktube page, and a quick six question interview appeared on their website.

David Abrams, author of Fobbit, and owner of the blog The Quivering Pen, was nice enough to allow me to do a guest post of his “My First Time Experience,” where I shared a story about getting my first book deal.

20SomethingReads had a nice review of Civilianized that was posted today. Check it out if you get a chance.

Also, a few NPR radio interviews, but I don’t have the clips to those yet.

More to come soon, and if you have any tips/ideas for ways to spread the word about the book and the issues it discusses, please shoot me an email.


Porter Square Book Talk — Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir

If you’re in the Boston area tomorrow: January 5th, 2017, I’ll be doing a book talk, reading and Q & A at Porter Square books in Boston. I’ll be talking about my newest book: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir.

Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

Address:PORTER SQUARE BOOKS, 25 WHITE ST, CAMBRIDGE, MA 02140 | 617-491-2220 |


I’ll be part of a Q & A with Chris Walsh, a distinguished writer, scholar and teacher from the Boston area. We’ll be discussing: War, PTSD, Reintegration, and the Writing Process.

Print up from Porter Square books:

“Anthony navigates the dark side of a veteran’s homecoming with honesty, skill, and even a touch of humor. Prepare to be disturbed and entertained in equal measures.” – Brian Castner, author of The Long Walk

After twelve months of military service in Iraq, Michael Anthony stepped off a plane, seemingly happy to be home or at least back on US soil. He was twenty-one years old, a bit of a nerd, and carrying a pack of cigarettes that he thought would be his last. Two months later, Michael was stoned on Vicodin, drinking way too much, and picking a fight with a very large Hell’s Angel. Civilianized is a memoir chronicling Michael’s search for meaning in a suddenly destabilized world.

Michael Anthony is a writer and veteran of the Iraq War. He spent six years in the army reserves, with a sixteen-month deployment—twelve months in Iraq—where he served as an operating room technician. After his service in Iraq, he earned a BA in English literature from Bridgewater State University, and an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University.

Coward. It’s a grave insult, likely to provoke anger, shame, even violence. But what exactly is cowardice? Bringing together sources from court-martial cases to literary and film classics such as Dante’s InfernoThe Red Badge of Courage, and The Thin Red Line, Cowardice recounts the great harm that both cowards and the fear of seeming cowardly have done, and traces the idea of cowardice’s power to its evolutionary roots. But Chris Walsh also shows that this power has faded, most dramatically on the battlefield. Misconduct that earlier might have been punished as cowardice has more recently often been treated medically, as an adverse reaction to trauma, and Walsh explores a parallel therapeutic shift that reaches beyond war, into the realms of politics, crime, philosophy, religion, and love.

Yet, as Walsh indicates, the therapeutic has not altogether triumphed–contempt for cowardice endures, and he argues that such contempt can be a good thing. Courage attracts much more of our attention, but rigorously understanding cowardice may be more morally useful, for it requires us to think critically about our duties and our fears, and it helps us to act ethically when fear and duty conflict.

Chris Walsh is Interim Director of the College of Arts and Sciences Writing Program at Boston University, where he teaches classes focused on the poetry of war. Walsh has also taught at Emerson College and the University of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), and he is currently teaching “The War Memoir” at the Harvard University Extension School. His work has appeared in Civil War History, Foreign Affairs, the New Republic, The New York Times, Salon, and The Yale Review, among other places.

Event date:
Thursday, January 5, 2017 – 7:00pm
Event address:
Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140



Sales Pitch for the New Book…

I’ve been thinking about a few ways to pitch the new book. Here’s a couple I’m working on, shoot me an email and let me know which one you think works the best.

The Sales Pitch

In this dark humored War Memoir, Iraq veteran Michael Anthony discusses his return home from war and how he turned to the Pick-Up Artist Community to help defeat his PTSD.

dark humored military memoir“An intense memoir.” -Kirkus

“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach

“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell

The Sales Pitch

If you’re interesting in a book about an Iraq veteran who tries to cure his PTSD by becoming a PUA then pick up a copy of my newest book: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir. Available at your local bookseller and all your online book retailers.

I don’t know though, it’s hard pitching a book and trying to capture it. Even the above doesn’t do it justice. In reality, it’s just a good book that any veteran who’s ever struggled will understand, relate to, and get something out of. And/or if you have a significant other or friend who’s a veteran who’s struggled with things, it’s a book that will help you understand things a little better. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say, but more elegantly though, you know?



dark humored military memoirHey Everyone! I wanted to let you know that my new book is officially for sale and available for Pre-Order.
The title is: Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir. It’s a story about my homecoming from Iraq and some of the struggles I faced (though it’s a bit darker, and funnier than it might sound/seem). Here’s the text from the jacket:

“After twelve months of military service in Iraq, Michael Anthony stepped off a plane, seemingly happy to be home–or at least back on US soil. He was twenty-one years old, a bit of a nerd, and carrying a pack of cigarettes that he thought would be his last. Two weeks later, Michael was stoned on Vicodin, drinking way too much, and picking a fight with a very large Hell’s Angel. At his wit’s end, he came to an agreement with himself: If things didn’t improve in three months, he was going to kill himself. Civilianized is a memoir chronicling Michael’s search for meaning in a suddenly destabilized world.”

Pick up a copy today!