Interview with Mark Manson: He attracts women with honesty

I’ve had the honor of interviewing Mark Manson of Post Masculine . He’s a blogger I really look up to.

He used to be a Pick Up Artist, indulging in the whole extravagant lifestyle and even started coaching. But he took it on his own to abandon it all and started writing on his own.

And I tell ya, he is one intelligent dude. He writes about personal development, sexuality, culture and even fashion, all with style. Check out his book, Models: Attract Women Through Honesty, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Maybe his “credentials” of chasing women in the past is unusual, but that’s the whole idea.

Don’t judge. Read on and see how he stylishly gives deep advice on how to grow as a person.

1. Hey Mark! Thanks for doing this interview with me. So first off, what do you consider as living life on your own terms?

 Doing what I want when I want, although I’d add something to that that I think most people wouldn’t: Doing what I want when I want as it aligns with my personal values. 


2. What is your dream and passion in life?

 My passion in live is writing about nerdy topics and my dream is to see it affect tons of people’s lives in a really positive manner. Off to a good start!


3. Tell us a little about Post Masculine and what does masculinity in a man mean to you?

What most people don’t realize is that masculinity has evolved over the centuries. And it’s not that men have always gotten softer or weaker. It’s more complicated than that. Evolutions and changes in masculinity have coincided with major economic upheavals. Men largely base their self-perception and values on economic status and when the cards of the economic deck get reshuffled so do masculine values. I believe we’re living in the midst of one of these “reshuffles” right now and men aren’t keeping up. Postmasculine is designed largely to seek out that new ideal of how men should be to best enhance their lives and help them along.


4. Can you tell us a little about your experience being a PUA and how it made you the man you are today?

I got into PUA in 2005, started coaching in 2007, disavowed it in 2010 and then stopped coaching altogether in 2011. It was definitely an important part of my development but there were/are some toxic aspects of that industry and that behavior which I sure could have done without. I make a point to point out those toxic behaviors to other guys whenever I get a chance. 


5. I read your article, “A New Masculinity” and I fully agree that there’s a need to blaze one’s own trail rather than look into traditions, norms and even history in order to achieve fulfillment in a man’s life. So what does a guy, or anyone for that matter need to do to create his own path in life?

They first need to be able to resist the pressure of social norms. They need to learn how to be willing to go against the grain if they believe it suits them. From there, they need to define their own values and goals. What is important to them? This is a question few people ask themselves. From there, they need to start staking out plans to go get it done.

So a simple example may be an accountant realizes that he’s not beholden to what his overbearing mother has always wanted from him. He admits he hates his job. He takes a sabbatical and goes and lives on a beach for three months, learning martial arts and getting his ass kicked. He doesn’t love martial arts but it’s shown him that he can live with less structure and more discomfort than he ever imagined. He goes home and realizes that while he hated accounting, he loves numbers. He takes a part-time job curating math competitions for high school and college students and loves it. To help pay the bills, he starts an online business where he consults with start ups on their tax options and how to keep their books. He makes less money but has more free time, more flexibility, feels useful, is aligned with his values, and most important of all, is happy.


6. I love how the core beliefs of your blog include inner happiness, taking responsibility and also courage.

These things are not mutually exclusive. In fact, following your heart and doing what you love is very likely going to require that you buckle down and work your ass off. In 2008 and 2009 when I was starting my business, I was usually working 70-80 hour weeks. I had no social life. That was the kind of sacrifice required to do what I love.

Which do you think is more important? Following your heart and do what feels right for yourself, or buckling down, constantly sacrificing and working hard?


7. I agree with your ideas of happiness and responsibility, that we do not require external validation for happiness, and we’re also always responsible for improving our own lives. But what would you say to people whose lives are overwhelmingly hard? Some might say that they’re “unlucky”. 

Well, we do need external validation to be happy. We all need external validation. The point is that we don’t depend on external validation. There needs to be a healthy balance between how we evaluate ourselves and how others evaluate us. If you live your life basing all of your self-worth on how others evaluate you, then that’s a one-way ticket to misery. 

Growing up in a bad environment is absolutely a disadvantage and sure, you could call it “unlucky” if you want. But people have made it out of those conditions before and people will continue to persevere. I mean, having bad things in your past sucks, but at some point you have to decide, “Am I going to succeed despite this or am I going to fail because of it?” It’s a personal choice. There’s always a personal choice.


8. I see that you travel a lot. What’s your biggest takeaway from exposing yourself to so many different cultures?

That we’re really not THAT different. Most of the major differences around the world are superficial and most of the differences we hear about in the media and what not are the radical fringes. Just like not everyone in the US is fat and religious, not every Muslim is violent and misogynistic. The things that matter — finding a life with meaning, taking care of one’s family, making connections with others — are all universal and we’re all trying to meet the same needs in different ways and in different environments. 


9. Would you recommend travel for everybody?

Yes, absolutely. Even if you don’t particularly enjoy it, you have to get out of your little bubble for a while and experience other parts of the world. And by experience, I don’t mean take the tours. I mean actually get down and meet the locals, hang in the local restaurants, get involved in the local community. 


10. Lastly, give us a piece of encouraging advice for those who are struggling with fear and self-esteem to live the life they want. 

Struggling with fear and self esteem is normal. It’s something everyone goes through and nobody talks about. Chances are, you’re not nearly as bad off as you think you are. 


Post Masculinity

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  1. Vincent Nguyen - March 11, 2013 3:18 pm

    Hey, Alden. Great interview. I recently learned about the true side of the pickup community a month ago and wrote an article on life advice to be learned through them.

    Mark is probably right about the toxic side of the community because I actually thought that was what they were all about. Sleazy tactics to seduce women, but I read more into them before writing that article and found that they were mostly about self-improvement, which they used to appear attractive.

    It’s interesting to see Mark’s perspective, but I’m glad he acknowledged its influence on his own personal development. I haven’t looked too much further into the community, but I got a general overview and was fascinated enough to write my article.

    Thanks for this, Alden!

    • alden - March 12, 2013 6:50 am

      Hey man,

      Yeah good on you for digging deeper.

      If anything, sleazy or not, I think it’s great they go all out to better themselves, although some morals should be in order.

      Can’t deny it, relationships are truly a reflection of who you really are. It makes you grow. And as guys, yeah, girls pretty much make who we are, or can be.

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