Guest Post: Why I Love and Hate Pickup Artists – New TEDx Speech

I’m thrilled to welcome Wang Jia (who you might remember from his AMWF TEDx speech) back to the blog once again. Last time he blogged about the world of pickup artists; this time, he’s here to share his latest TEDx speech titled “Why I love and hate Pickup Artists”.

Do you have something you’d like to see featured on Speaking of China? Check out the submit a post page and then contact me today with your ideas or draft post.

My first TEDx speech [] was about Asian men Western women (AMWF) relationships. I never expected that so many people would reach out to me with a whole range of thoughts. One repeated theme was the pickup artists (PUA), also known as the seduction community. Some believe that pickup is the best way to balance the AMWF issue. In a previous blog, I have written some of my thoughts. It’s a fascinating topic. I feel strongly that more people should know about the existence of PUA, especially women.

From a small sample group of my friends, I discovered that PUA is widely known among men, but for women, it’s another story. There is limited knowledge about PUA and often it’s biased. PUA is mainly a male thing, indeed, but it is a very important development in modern dating. It should be equally important for women.

When I discovered PUA around 2005 it was still a relatively unknown community. I learned some things and was not convinced that this was something for me. Even though I was struggling to have a successful dating life. That’s probably why PUA kept coming back to me. After my first TEDx, I thought, why not do a speech on PUA? And TEDx is fun!

Some people told me it was courageous to talk about the seduction community on TEDx. Yes, and I allowed myself to be that bad boy! TEDx is full of all kinds of topics. Some are shocking, some are depressing, some are controversial. I have always wondered why there was no speech focused on pickup artists?

My speech is now online: “Why I love and hate Pickup Artists”. []

While preparing this speech, I interviewed many PUA coaches, gathered data, and attended some PUA training sessions once again (don’t ask me how my wife felt about it… 😉 ). I also encountered a strong resistance from the TEDx community on this topic. It was an eye opener for me to see some of the harsh rejections. At a certain moment I noticed that this topic makes some people feel very uncomfortable. But I believe in my mission, even if no one appreciates my effort, even if I am not a dating expert. I want to make more people know about PUA with a balanced view.

From a public speaking point of view, I must admit, it was tough to squeeze everything into a 13-minute speech. I changed versions so much that I ran out of friends to get feedback. They all got fed up with it. Some even got pissed off by what I wanted to say. You may find that my first speech on Asian men Western women was more fun and engaging, but only I know the work I put into this speech.

If you think some of your friends need to know about PUA, then please share my speech. You can also continue the conversation about PUA on my blog

Wang Jia blogs about the chemistry of relationships at You can view his first TEDx speech on AMWF: Western Women, Eastern Men at

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Guest Post: What Do Pickup Artists Tell Us About Dating?

I’m thrilled to welcome Wang Jia (who you might remember from his AMWF TEDx speech) back to the blog with a post exploring the world of Pickup Artists (PUA).

Do you have something you’d like to see featured on Speaking of China? Check out the submit a post page and then contact me today with your ideas or draft post.

Pick-up artists (PUA) present one of the most controversial issues in the modern dating world. According to Wikipedia, PUA is the seduction community and their goal is to achieve sexual success with women. In the past 10 years, due to the success of the book “The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists”, PUA has grown from some thousands of geeks exchanging pickup lines to a multi-million dollar industry.feature Wingmen_1575.indd

While many feel appalled at PUA, I think it provides a unique angle to look at the modern romantic relationship. Though not a PUA myself, I have come across many of them while preparing my previous TEDx speech. [] Some are very helpful to provide me an inside look into the dating world. And I think their argument/explanations are in general sensible and well grounded. Some PUAs are even interviewed by Jocelyn to provide advice for Asian men. [JT Tran interview:]

So why do we have polarized impressions/opinions against PUA?

Though much PUA stuff is self-help and aiming at improving men’s life style, the ultimate goal of PUA is predominantly sex – to have as many “lays” as possible (in PUA language). For many women that is a real turn-off. It seems that many women believe PUAs often play tricks to achieve short-term benefit of having sex.

I see that men’s impression of PUA differs a lot from women. Men often feel that they have some kind of privilege when they are able to have sex with many women. I am no exception. For a period of time, I secretly admired those who can easily find sexual partners, and I was very insecure due to the lack of success. PUA comes in to help. But is that the best way? Has the Western culture set many desperate men to that route?

Are PUAs happier than average men?

Arguably PUA is mainly for those who believe “more women = better life”. As many things in life: the quality is more important than quantity.

Nearly all PUA gurus have sex addiction. They especially enjoy the variety of sexual choices, but they cannot sustain a long term monogamous relationship. Getting married is the end of their life style – a great example is the author of the book “The Game” Neil Strauss, who basically announced GAME OVER when he finally got out of a lot of trouble and married. I think top PUAs are basically different human beings than average men like me. I was always looking for that special one person, and I am very happy to keep her in my life. Some men thought that PUA life style is the happy world. They end up in a deeper trouble.

But to be fair, compared to those men with zero access to sex, PUAs are certainly happier.

Is it true that those people who practiced PUA significantly changed their dating lives?

Some men certainly did, but only those who are disciplined and keep trying for an extended period of time. At the beginning it’s not fun. PUA is like many other skills or professions: theory is not hard to find – still no results without practice. If you are only looking for a shortcut to solve your problems you will be disappointed.

Does PUA prove that we all make irrational decisions constantly in dating?

We are emotional creatures, and we don’t make many relationship decisions based on logical thinking. Is that the fundamental reason why women can be manipulated? Mmm, that’s a good Ph.D. topic for social psychologists. (I reserve it for my next life. One Ph.D. title is enough J) Well, many PUAs do claim that their methods have a neuro-psychological foundation. I don’t think scientific research is that far yet.

Should I believe that PUA can make me a dating master in a short time?

As I mentioned, I don’t believe there is the quick and easy shortcut. Even though 90% PUA sites try to sell you a shortcut/trick/secret. I believe that the right PUA method does give men a workable system to improve. It is A method, not THE method. There are already honesty-based methods immerging. (Ironically, developed partially by ex-PUAs.) And I believe that’s the better direction to help men. Search for names like Mark Manson, Johnny Berba, Johnny Soporno, Nick Sparks.

Would I recommend PUA methods to Asian men?

It depends. If you are fully aware of the potential negativity of PUA, by all means, try it. If you are disadvantaged in some parts of the world due to lack of understanding how dating works, PUA has a lot of good explanations on Western dating processes. But, (a big BUT) I would rather recommend to focus on self-improvement: communication skills, confidence, healthy life style, purpose in life, understanding yourself, etc. – in another word, those things that are bigger than just sex. Many ex-PUAs find that period of life more of a stepping stone to something more meaningful.

PUA methods come from real world experiences and they give good examples of how practice + feedback can take you to another level. This method is similar as in many scientific fields. I explained this in my recent TEDx speech “ Chemistry of Relationships”. []

(This TEDx speech is not about PUA. But my next TEDx is coming. And my plan is to bring up the PUA topic.)


There is often no yes-or-no answer. The existence of PUA has deep-rooted reasons in human society. Many questions remain. How do you think PUA will impact our dating world in the future? Have you met a PUA? Please give your opinion here. I am interested to hear! Questions are welcome. I am happy to comment. And it may help me to prepare my speech. But keep in mind, I am just an amateur PUA expert.

Wang Jia delivered a TEDx speech on AMWF: Western Women, Eastern Men ( He also blogs about the chemistry of relationships at

Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.