Tucker Max
Geoffrey Miller

Tucker Max & Geoff Miller

CEO, Book In A Box

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON September 15, 2015

Discussion

Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
Hey everyone, this is Tucker. I'm an author who has written three NY Times Best Sellers, including the #1 best seller I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell. My books have sold over 3 million copies, been translated into over 30 languages, and are credited with the creation of a literary genre (fratire) that made avid readers out of millions of young men. And this is Geoff. I'm an author and professor of evolutionary psychology currently at the University of New Mexico. My two previous books were about the primacy of sexual selection in human evolution ("The Mating Mind") and how marketing exploits our inherent instincts to display social status for reproductive advantage ("Spent"). Together we host a podcast called "The Mating Grounds" to help men get better at life and become better versions of themselves so they can get better with women. We've written a book together called "Mate: Become the Man Women Want" which comes out September 15th. It marries all the current research in evolutionary psychology, human sexuality, hunter-gatherer anthropology, psychometrics, behavior genetics, and animal communication with a practical ethical framework to help men understand what women want, why they want it, and how to display those things so they can meet the best women for them. Ask us anything.
Neil Strauss
Neil Strauss@neilstrauss · Author
@tuckermax and Geoff Miller, after reading mate, I wondered if this really is a book simply about "becoming a better man" first and foremost? Second question: The tone of some of the advice sounded almost fatherly, so wondering if part of this is almost a manual for and thoughts on the things you'd want to teach your son as he grows up? Anyway, great job and congratulations. Was going to text you @tuckermax, but let me know anything I can do to help get the word out.
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@neilstrauss Good point Neil. We kind of approached the tone of the book as a really experienced and wise father or uncle or brother. Not condescending, not lecturing, just giving you hard won experience in the most direct and actionable style possible. Also, this book is very much a self-improvement book. Of course ALL of the self-improvement is geared towards making you more attractive to women, but that is the actual core truth at the center of the book: Most guys who fail with women do it because they aren't effective enough at the aspects of life that women CARE ABOUT.
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@neilstrauss Thanks Neil! A key premise of the book is that there's really no way to attract great women in a sustainable, honorable way without fulfilling women's typical evolved preferences. A lucky few guys are born endowed with great looks or charisma. But almost all other guys have to work hard to become better men. So they're who this book is really for. We think that 'being genuinely attractive to women' and 'being a better man' overlap a lot.
Brent Underwood
Brent Underwood@underwoodbrent · Yes
@tuckermax what qualities were missing in your fratire days that you felt you need(ed) to develop "to become the man women want"? What qualities do you still actively work on developing? And most importantly, who is more of the "man women want", yourself of Miller? Why?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@underwoodbrent Oh dude, I could write for a decade about the changes I've had to make. The big things were these: -real empathy, especially for my partner -ability to trust and be vulnerable with my partner -greater ability to show kindness to my partner Honestly, these are fairly typical problems for young guys. For me, they just extended a bit longer because I was able to do that. Those were my biggest issues I had to fix before I could really seriously have a great long term relationship. But again--a long term relationship is not the only goal of the book. The point of the book is to help guys understand how to be attractive to women to get whatever type of relationship they want. If they just want to have short term hook-ups and thats it, that's cool. We show you how to find women who want the same thing, and then be attractive to them as well--which a bit different than if you a girlfriend (which we also show you how to do).
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@underwoodbrent Tucker and I have both worked pretty hard over the years to understand women and to become more attractive, but once you reach a certain level of acceptability to most women, it's more about how your own specific traits match a woman's specific preferences.
Jon Arnold
Jon Arnold@jonarnold · product manager
@tuckermax What kind of reader/user research did you do around this book? I'm interested to know how you chose what to put in (or leave out) of the book. Was it based around what people wanted, or what your experience helped you learn?
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@jonarnold Great question. We learned a huge amount from doing the Mating Grounds podcasts with guys calling in with their questions. That really helped tune us into what guys do and don't understand about women, sex, and dating. We also had a lot of material that just couldn't fit into the final book -- a huge amount of scientific background, some specific chapters (like on how women evaluate guys not just based on their individual traits, but also on their families and their relatives' traits), etc. We're aiming to include some of that other material in future Mating Grounds blogs.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
@geoffmillerphd for the podcast you had a segment where you coached Joe. Joe if you're out there, tell us about your progress!
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@eriktorenberg Joe is doing amazing now. His normal week now is 3-5 dates, all with different women. If we can help him, we can literally help anyone.
Joe Antenucci
Joe Antenucci@joeantenucci
@eriktorenberg Yea dude. It's pretty awesome. It took a few months and a lot of yelling from Tucker but this is the best I've ever done with women ever. Right now I'm dating a couple girls regularly and have 1-2 new first dates a week. And socially as well, I just have a lot more friends and lot more going on every day than I used to. Go listen to the last episode where we give a summary of my progress to date.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Tucker! What's the biggest thing you guys learned from your research about dating that has challenged your preconceptions? Or put differently, how has your philosophy about dating/evolved (if at all) changed in the past year? Here's the link to the book: http://www.amazon.com/Mate-Becom...
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@eriktorenberg I mean, its hard to sum up an entire book in one answer. I don't think I actually learned that much when doing the book; I already knew pretty much all of this. But it took me 15+ years to learn it. THAT is the point of the book--to distill the best knowledge and wisdom and effective advice for men into one book. If I had to sum the book up, I would say that the subtitle does it: the book teaches you exactly how to become the man that women actually want.
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@eriktorenberg I learned a lot from listening to guys' questions that we answered on the Mating Grounds podcasts. I've taught Human Sexuality in college for over ten years, but I didn't really get deep insights into what young men really understand, and what they don't. So a lot of my preconceptions were about where guys are at, and how to help them move forward. I also realized that most young guys really don't bother thinking consciously about how women think and feel, what it's like to be a woman, and what guys can actually offer to women.
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@geoffmillerphd That is a HUGE one I forgot about. I had no idea how lost most guys are with women. I mean...it was shocking. We would say things on the podcast like, "Have you thought about how your behavior looked to the woman" and the guys would be utterly flabbergasted, as if the thought NEVER entered their head. Because it didn't. That was a huge thing we ended up emphasizing so much more in the book--what dating is like for women. Most guys are good guys, but they do awful things without even realizing it, because they never think about what its like for her.
Jeff Umbro
Jeff Umbro@jeffumbro · CEO of The podglomerate
Hi @tuckermax - I'm really interested in your role in the publishing ecosystem. You have all kinds of firsts under your belt - for example I remember reading I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell entirely on your website, and now you're doing something really similar with the Mate podcast. Your S&S editor took a pretty big risk with your book, and it paid off handsomely, and now you're doing kind of the same thing with Book in a Box. Can you give me some examples of things that seemed innovative at the time (you or elsewhere) in the publishing world that didn't work? How do you view the book world as a whole now that you're a larger piece of it?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@jeffumbro OK, books and publishing should almost be it's own AMA, theres too much to talk about its so complicated. I've done a ton of things that haven't worked out well in publishing, mainly because I was trying to replicate the old model in some way. The first time I did something truly innovative (Book In A Box), it blew up immediately and it killing it. I think the entire book system is about to see radical changes. Books are always the last piece of media to change, and the radical changes that disrupted music, then photography, then newspapers, then magazines, and now cable and TV are coming to books. It's just going to take some time. The best to think about where the book industry is going is this: Ask yourself first, "What problem is this company solving" then ask yourself, "Are they using technology in the best possible way to do it." If you do that WELL, you'll see that maybe 10% of the companies in book publishing now are going to last through the decade.
To both: what are your tools of the trade? Or what are the "must have" apps you use?
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@jonthnw My tools of the trade for the Mate book were largely focused on doing a lot of the background research. For finding scientific papers, I mostly use Google Scholar and Web of Science. Wikipedia is great for checking the state of different fields in psychology, because the Association for Psychological Science (APS) has really encouraged professors, grad students, and undergrads to write good entries on lots of topics. I also did a lot of polling different Facebook groups for pointers and suggestions to research on various topics.
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@jonthnw The only "must have" ap is having a vibrant social life. Which is hard to get from an ap. I don't mean to be glib, but if you aren't doing well with women, an ap won't fix it. You need to look at yourself. That requires honest introspection, which I know is the opposite of most advice in this space.
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@jonthnw Hold on, I think I got your question wrong--you mean, like, in my life? I am very simple: Google Maps Gmail Slack (I run my company through it) Google Cal Kindle I could delete most everything else. Except Vivino. I'm a fancy wine snob now, it's obnoxious.
@tuckermax Yes, thanks man. If either of you circle back on this: what software do you use for note-taking and writing books?
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@jonthnw For writing and note taking, I just use Word. Nothing fancy. I've tried Evernote and suchlike, but I don't really do serious work when I'm travelling or on the go, so I don't need it. I just do almost everything at my home or office computers, where the most important work hack is to have a really huge screen that allows Word, Web of Science, and Google to all be open and visible at once.
Andrew Torba
Andrew Torba@torbahax · CEO, Gab.ai #SpeakFreely
@tuckermax what does your writing process look like? How long does it take you to research, draft, edit and publish?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@torbahax This book was very very different, because we had three writers. It was a jerry-rigged mess, and it only worked because @nilsparker is a great writer. Personally, I now use the method that my company popularized www.bookinabox.com & http://www.producthunt.com/tech/.... It works great and has made writing about 100x easier for me in most cases.
Vivek Thyagarajan
Vivek Thyagarajan@vivekt17 · Product Engineer
@tuckermax In many studies of female preference, you've used self-reporting and surveys. For example, two studies : the study revealing that women preferred leather shoes to sneakers, or how many prior sexual partners do women want in guys they want to be with. These studies were surveys. How do you deal with self-reporting bias. Some might say women will *say* they like something, but their behavior should be studied separately. How would you respond to that?
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@vivekt17 Self-reporting bias is a serious concern. For the shoe survey, it would be ideal to have convergent evidence from other research methods, like eye gaze tracking (what do women look at), media analyses (what shoes are favored in romance novel covers, movies, and TV aimed at female audiences), and psychophysiology studies (what kinds of shoes cause women's biomarkers for excitement to spike)? For other preferences mentioned in the book -- like which faces, bodies, and personalities women like -- there's a lot more of that convergent evidence.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
You wrote a great piece about why you decided to stop angel investing and why others shouldn't start: http://observer.com/2015/08/why-... How has response been to that post and what, if anything, has surprised you about it?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@eriktorenberg @eriktorenberg That piece has gotten, like, 400k uniques since it went up. It exploded, and that really took me by surprise. The response has been great, pretty much everyone I know in angel/tech investing said they agreed with everything in it, and that they loved that I said what they were thinking but never wrote down. The funniest thing is that now I have MORE companies coming to me to pitch. It's like--did you read ONE LINE in the article? Some people...
Thomas Ulibarri
Thomas Ulibarri@thomas_ulibarri · Writing Enthusiast
@tuckermax & @geoffmillerphd Will 'Mate' be a one book project or do you see an opportunity of expanding this into a series of future books based on what you're continually learning on "The Mating Grounds" podcast? TY.
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@thomas_ulibarri We're not sure yet. We've talked about some different possibilities. It depends on how Mate is received, and each of our other priorities.
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@thomas_ulibarri No idea. We'll see what happens. I'm always open to anything that makes sense.
Andrew Horn
Andrew Horn@itsandrewhorn · ability list
hi @tuckermax - If you look back at your relationship with your wife, what was an important struggle you guys went through? What did you learn from it?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@itsandrewhorn So many different things. Lets see, a really big one was learning to lean on someone I loved. I am very independent and its very hard for me to rely on other people. I was attracted to her partially because of what a stable, amazing woman she was, yet I didn't really open up and share with her and lean on her emotionally for awhile. It took me time to learn how to do that, and to feel safe enough to trust her.
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@itsandrewhorn In my longer-term relationships, I learned a lot about all the hidden costs and benefits of different female traits. Like, the hundreds of ways that being with a really intelligent, capable woman can make life better and easier -- from managing money better to having smart kids who get awesome merit scholarships. I also learned the hundreds of ways that emotional instability and mental health problems can cause problems in ways you would never have expected. A lot of those insights ended up in the Mate chapter on 'choosing women' -- because young guys don't usually think ahead to how women's mental traits will make their lives great or horrible.
Michael Sitver
Michael Sitver@msitver · I build things
Tucker, I start at UChicago on Sunday. I've read of your escapades there. What tips do you have for me?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@msitver You mean, other than "transfer as quick as you can"?
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@msitver University of Chicago is about 53% males and 47% females -- an unusually low percentage of women compared to other colleges. So the sex ratio is a bit of a problem. My main advice would be, don't limit your mating market just to U. Chicago undergrad women. Read the 'Mate' chapter on mating markets and think about other places to meet women -- other universities in the area, etc. Or, just transfer to Sarah Lawrence College, which is 71% female.
Michael Sitver
Michael Sitver@msitver · I build things
@tuckermax Yeah. I plan on staying. But you know the schopl pretty well, so you must have some actual tips.
Michael Sitver
Michael Sitver@msitver · I build things
@tuckermax yes. Other than that, what tips do you have fro your time there?
Michael Sitver
Michael Sitver@msitver · I build things
@geoffmillerphd Recently met some girls from Sarah Lawrence. We had an "interesting" conversation about being male at SLC.
Jeffrey Li
Jeffrey Li@jefffli
@tuckermax Throughout your first three books, the types of things you did/said is what most guy WISH they could do and say. However, it's not the specific actions that I admire but your ability to do and say what you want. How did you morph yourself into that type of person ? What would you recommend for those looking to become someone who "lives life on their own terms"?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@jefffli That's a really good question. I used to think I knew the answer to this. Now I am less sure that I do. In the simplest terms possible, here's how to do that (I think): 1. Really ask yourself what's truly important to you. Not the bullshit answers you give your parents what you really want. 2. Do an honest inventory of your life, to see if you're actually pursuing that 3. If you are, great, no problems 4. If you're not, then ask yourself why? 5. It's almost certainly going to come down to WHO you spend your time around 6. Cut the people out of your life who are not ACTIVELY HELPING YOU reach your goals 7. Fill those spaces with people who do That might not solve every problem but its a great start.
Patrick Vlaskovits
Patrick Vlaskovits@pv · Founder, Superpowered
Hey @TuckerMax -- best and worst part of writing this book?
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Who else do you really respect when it comes to advice in this area? What are other favorite books on the topic you read while researching? Or what's a popular dating book to definitely stay away from
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@eriktorenberg Neils new book, The Truth, is great. But it's nothing like our book. Honestly man, the reason we wrote this is because there is NOTHING like this book. Nothing. Nothing that brings everything together and explains the lay of the pand in a way that can help guys get their shit together and be successful with women. Which is a nice way of saying that most other books aren't very good, at least not at what we accomplish.
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@eriktorenberg We've been pretty critical of a lot of the pick-up artists like Roosh -- we had a whole podcast about how they go wrong. Basically, we worry that some of them seem manipulative and deceptive -- almost sociopathic -- and they're trying to turn desperate guys into clones of them. They also emphasize trying to meet women in bars and clubs as sort of a test of masculine confidence, which we think is stupid for most guys who aren't super-extraverted. But we do include a bunch of recommending dating books in the Mate bibliography.
Bryan Mannion
Bryan Mannion@bmannionwins · Programmer
@tuckermax I see people put more effort into themselves when they are single. What are you thoughts on relationships where one partner suddenly stops putting in the effort to remain healthy and sexy, even when the other partner explains how important that is to them? How would you handle this situation?
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@bmannionwins In evolutionary psychology we call this 'mating effort' -- the effort you invest to become or stay attractive. People do tend to get lazier about mating effort once they're in relationships. And the partner who's more valued (e.g. the other person loves them more than vice-versa) can afford to get lazier. People are, sometimes sadly, very efficient about allocating their time and energy in ways that make a difference. Usually the strongest ways to get someone to increase mating effort in a relationship are things like inducing jealousy, reminding them that you have outside options, and instilling uncertainty about one's level of commitment. None of those are very nice tactics though ... if we think of an ingenious way to solve this fundamental problem in relationships, we'll let you know!
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@geoffmillerphd Some people have anecdotally argued this is why love evolved, but thats hard to get good data on, of course.
Bryan Mannion
Bryan Mannion@bmannionwins · Programmer
@tuckermax How have dating apps like Tinder changed the landscape of dating? Did you have any experience with these before you were taken off the market? How much do you talk about this in your new book?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@bmannionwins Oh yeah, I was actually one of the early Tinder users. It worked GREAT then, and it still has it's uses. I think Hinge is better for dating, and Tinder is better for shorter tem things, but I have a lot of experience with them. I think they have created some big changes, but most of them as positive. Anything that helps you get access to a lot of women and helps both of you determine if there is some attraction level is good. The whole point of all of these things is to help people get together and have relationships, either short or long. People who don't like dating apps are people who hate sex and hate happiness. Yes we talk extensively about online dating and dating apps. They are a fundamental part of life now, and will only increase in usage. They don't change the core fundamentals of human attraction, but they do change some things in how you display your traits, and we talk about this in depth in the book.
Geoffrey Miller
Geoffrey Miller@geoffmillerphd · University of New Mexico
@bmannionwins Tinder puts a huge premium on physical attractiveness, so it's great for good-looking young people, and not so great for people who are stronger on all the other attractive traits that matter (like intelligence, humor, great friends, etc). I've tried Tinder, but I find OKCupid a lot more efficient for finding like-minded women who I'll really click with on dates.
thedick
thedick@thepicaa · student
@tuckermax like you, my dad have a very successful restaurant company, he wants to pass part of it to me in a few years. I'm 20 and I'm in college. Do you think this is a good thing? And, for women is that attractive to inherit a business?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@thepicaa Well, if I were you I'd start with changing my screenname. Not many women are looking for a guy called "thedick." Second, you are looking at this totally wrong. The first question you should ask yourself is if this is something YOU want. If you like restaurants, it could be great. If you hate them, it's probably not a good thing. What women want are men who are effective at life, not necessarily men who are rich. We go over this in many different ways and angle in the book.
thedick
thedick@thepicaa · student
@tuckermax relax, I created this stupid twitter for this things, I don't connect with people using it. I read the book. My question is how far following your dad business is from building your own business, or being successful for yourself, in attractiveness rating?
thedick
thedick@thepicaa · student
@tuckermax do you think that pushups alone can change my ectomorph body shape?
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@thepicaa No, of course not. First off, being an ectomorph is not a bad thing. Some of the most attractive men on earth are fairly skinny. The point is not to be huge, it's to be in shape. We talk about this a LOT in the book.
thedick
thedick@thepicaa · student
@tuckermax can you give a few exemples of attractive ectomorphs? I don't see anybody
Tucker Max
Tucker Max@tucker_max
@thepicaa Well, go look at TMZ. I'd say about 60% of actors are ectomorphs. Just start at the top of the alphabet: Adrien Brody Adrien Grenier I could go on and on