The Next Primer Edition

If you’re been following the plot… I thought I would do a Primer revision every year, but just… couldn’t… make… myself… write… it… over…. again. Seriously, it’s like redoing a year at school. I hated every moment of trying to rewrite it.


I now have several quite important ideas and changes I want to make to the Primer. Most of which have flooded into me over the last 3-4 weeks. You’ve probably caught little whiffs of them here and there, but at this point only three people including myself have seen the basic theoretical structure to the new approach, and only I have seen parts of some of the odds and ends. I think you will recognize the new version as still being the Primer, just a significantly better work.

That being said, I would like some feedback.

(1)  What did you like about the 2011 edition?

(2)  What did you like least about 2011 edition?

(3)  What do you think I missed in the 2011 edition?

(4)  What did I say that was just plain wrong or only partially right in the 2011 edition?

(5)  What could be dropped from the old edition?

(6)  What should be added?

When the new edition is done, that’s it. I doubt I will revisit it again for another ten years. But it’s not done until it’s done either. People have often asked to help sell the current Primer, but I’m holding off on heavily advertising the current edition because I am increasingly uncomfortable with it. It’s not wrong, but nor is it quite right. I’m proud of it, but it’s like a high school yearbook photo to me now.

I also have to regretfully distance myself a little from the blog and the forum. I have given a great deal and am burning out on it all. Right now the Primer revision is coming to the surface as my most critical task that will probably define the next thirty years of my life. So I need to be a little selfish. I am by no means “going away and not coming back”. It’s just time to do this task is all.

As things have progressed on a personal level, I have become increasingly awed by how arranged all of this is. This is all much larger than me being a smart guy with some clever ideas. I am grateful for everyones support.


  1. Ok, I am off to do a quick refresher and discuss with hubby to try to get some good feedback for ya…

  2. You’ve made and are making a very important contribution to society. I hope you appreciate your world-class good fortune that you were the one ready, willing and able to fill this need. That being said, I’d just focus on the MAP…the evo psych stuff is intellectually interesting and analytical people will like it but the nuts and bolts of how to fix broken relationship is what people want instantly in today’s instant-gratification society.

  3. I’ll have to think about those questions. I do want to say that I think moving away from yearly additions is a good idea. I think it would be too hard to come up with enough NEW and EXCITING information each year to make it worth your time.

    I think your current line of focus is good and well thought out. Don’t worry about the blog and forums. They are secondary to your other big projects.


  4. It’s perfectly ok you went away from the idea of annual updates or new editions. The content of the primer is of timeless value, especially the part about the MAP, which is a masterpiece in itself. Should you ever consider a new edition of the primer I’d even rename it into “The MAP”. You own that expression by now, Athol.

    The only problem I have is that in my Kindle edition of the primer the table of contents doesn’t contain hyperlinks to the chapters. But that’s a Kindle problem not one of content.

    Thank you very much for your work, it’s helped me improve my marriage and overall life considerably!

    Greetings from Switzerland!

  5. First thought on did NOT like:

    The cover- really hasty and unprofessional looking. If I hadn’t read a review and found my way to the site first, I never would have bothered, just skimming on Amazon. The cover for ‘How to Answer…’ is much better. The new primer should have something to capture the eye, not just text on white background.

    Content-wise, I haven’t read it in a while, so nothing to offer right now, maybe later.


    I, too, have the Kindle edition and this is the only Kindle book I have, so maybe that too is a Kindle issue? Not sure. And, yes, being able to navigate by clicking the TOC would be nice.

    Other than that, the biggest thing that I am struggling with, and I can’t say if it’s because of the Primer or my being dense and just not getting it yet (the latter is probably the case), is upping my Alpha.

    It’s a hard habit to cultivate and it’s far too easy to lapse back into neutered betality. Any additional inspiration you could provide would sure help me.

    Another thing that I am having trouble grasping is the shit test, not the concept so much, but how MY wife does it, because I don’t think she does, but I’m sure she does. Once again, it might just be me.

    I know I need to take another read thru the Primer, more slowly this time. Perhaps that will help spur an epiphany or ten.

    I think that overall this subject is rather large and is difficult to get my arms around. I don’t have enough time to read all of the forum posts and I know there is a wealth of information in there, and being able to spend 2 or 3 hours a day there might give me the insight I’m missing, but there just isn’t time for me to do that.

    Anything additional you can distill from there (and I know you’ve already done a lot of that from various forums) would be nice to see in the book.

    I think you could double the size of the book (All work and no play makes Athol a dull boy!) and perhaps end up with an encyclopedic tome that might be considered a major reference for years to come.

    Oh, and definitely, I want to see more about Loyalty Testing!

    Is that enough?



    PS- And thanks for all you’ve helped me with so far, between the Primer and your personal advice.

  7. 2/ I least liked the amount of crude vulgarity. There are other people that I would like to buy the primer for, buy have not because I know they’d react negatively to those parts.

    Keep the direct bluntness.

    I’ll reread it and give you my updates thoughts later.

  8. Seconding the name change AND cover change suggested by others. I’ll think about the questions so as to provide a thorough answer! Go Kay Team!

  9. I, for one, enjoyed the crude vulgarity. The Primer was the Married MAN’S Sex Life, and a robust use of invective has always been an important part of the masculine toolbox. If you want to appeal to both genders, then clean it up. But if you want dudes to take you seriously, using the “improper” terms makes it seem less like a feminine-hygiene-like lecture about reproduction and more like a practical guide to getting laid.

    My advice? Keep the Primer (maybe knock off the 2011 and launch a Second Edition, and leave it at that) and then re-state and polish the advice and your new parts for more mainstream consumption, which is the way I’m thinking you’re leaning. A Red Pill Marriage Guide. But part of the Primer’s allure was it’s no-nonsense dude language. While perhaps a few refinements are needed, as it stands it rocks out loud.

    But I understand the hiatus from the blog. Since writing is done alone, where people can’t see you, people assume that it just kinda writes itself. The brutal reality is sitting in front of a keyboard wringing sweet prose out of your tortured brain is always a challenge, and sometimes a struggle. To maintain focus on that, and then shift focus for the performance-art of blogging and advising, is hard. Sometimes you just have to hole up and crank it out.

    But persevere. The result of your efforts has been delightful of extremely useful, and I think everyone here understands just how important — critical — these next couple of months are going to be in the creative process. Don’t rush it if you don’t have to. It’s a tumultuous time in the Manosphere, but the fact is the real money is in the mainstream. Just one Oprah mention (even a negative one) and your kids can go to Harvard, if you play it right. Don’t fret about us, we’ll still be here. Focus on the work. Use the Force, Athol . . .

    Everyone want to support this effort? Suggest MMSL and DTPMMALF? to at least five people this week who you think would benefit from it. Drop a little money bomb on the Kay’s, and help build the base from which, when the new work is complete, Athol can give his book a healthy launch. Money always helps. One less thing.

    Me, I’m eager to see it, but I want it to be right.

    No pressure.

  10. “Right now the Primer revision is coming to the surface as my most critical task that will probably define the next thirty years of my life.”

    with all due respect, dont exaggerate! you’re making this bigger than it really is. If I have learned anything at all, things can and will change in unexpected ways. You’re just working on something that will impact you for the short term, and then something else will come along too.

    My only suggestion is to remember what got you here: Married Men. Stay focused on the audience, address them as you would in private and keep it manly.

  11. Flynn_Lives says:

    Keep the language, keep the jokes, keep all of it. It works so well as it is. Like the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”. I am sure there are things you look at and wish were different, but when WE see it it is a revelation. I am by no means telling you NOT to keep writing, and NOT to make improvements to it. That is your realm and your decision, this is just the humble return of opinion of a man who you provided valuable advice to. If you have new ideas, make a new book, one to accompany the Primer; which I am sure is already what you have in mind….you have a better grasp on this than I. Take the advice that many of us give and receive on the forum, keep your head up, keep positive, and keep moving forward. Thank you again for all the help you provide to us all, and anyone else yet to come along.

  12. Ah, yeah. I should make my opinion more clear. My comments are my opinions only.

    I’ve never written a book, and certainly not written a book as important as yours. You write whatever you think you need to write and to hell with my opinions. You will make the right decision.

  13. Trimegistus says:

    Have you considered recruiting some guest bloggers? Ironwood is an obvious choice — and maybe even pull in the redoubtable Heartiste for a much more cynical perspective. Or talk to some professional biologists.

  14. tigerandplay says:


    agree with you that the primer is very good, but not *quite* there. A few thoughts on how it could be even better:

    1. navigable table of contents for kindle edition (as shared above)
    2. incorporating the checklist of 5 key things (ruling out medical) etc that you have on the forum
    3. some kind of visual or framework to tie all the concepts together. Both the stages of the MAP as well as the elements within the stages. Different men will have different areas to work on, a framework would help tremendously to help them prioritize on where they need to focus
    4. something that ties all the examples and suggestions into an action plan. I found I had to do this myself by reading and re-reading the book. The top suggestions you had at the end were good, but it needs a bit more to net things out so the reader can come away with, “these are the the top 3 things I personally need to do first, and this is how I know I can go to the next thing….”
    5. more examples of what the “end state” looks like. Perhaps even tie ins to videos on the blog?

    I view the primer as a guide to action, and not a book. Thanks for asking for feedback, and good luck on working through the grind on getting the next version out.

  15. Will reread and try and give more detailed suggestions at a later date. However, as someone who just read the book for the first time I felt that I needed a lot more info on Shit Tests. How to recognize, how to respond, what specifically to say and/or do, what internal frame, what to do when you immediately start second guessing yourself in response to her intensity.

    As much as I loved the book this particular topic is one where I felt I got far more practical, usable advice from some of the forum posters.

    I’m sure that you’ve already figured this out on your own, but the enormous number of postings on the forum since your last edition is a veritable gold mine. You got (and get) the ball rolling but some of the men and women who post on the forum have incredible insight and very usable and concrete advice. Particularly for a newbie like me. Again, you’ve probably already considered it but as you write each chapter your readers would be well served by you searching that topic on the forum and blog comments and adding the suggestions and perspectives that you feel best amplify, explain and even sometimes improve upon the principles in the book.

    The opportunity to have other voices heard is a resource that should not be wasted.

  16. For me, the Primer is an explanation of why Game works, and the MAP is a sensible, systematic approach for husbands. It provides an excellent theoretical framework. What it lacks, I believe, is more information about exactly how to go about becoming the AMOG.

    An analogy is prose style. Writing style isn’t merely good or bad. We have many recognized styles and rhetorical devices to choose from, and some are more suitable for certain applications than others. Those who don’t know this adopt a default style without being aware of it, and that unconscious default style, like every other style in existence, might work well in some circumstances but it will work very poorly in others.

    I’m not suggesting fakery. I’m only suggesting that men who want to be attractive to women need to be conscious of what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, and they need to know what the likely effect will be. John T. Molloy’s old book Dress for Success covered not only clothes but voice, mannerisms, word choice, etc. That’s for business. I’m suggesting you add a chapter or two for what most women, most of the time, find sexy in men.

  17. I totally disagree with the guy that said focus on the MAP, and less evo psych. I think science and psychology of attraction is what differentiates your book. The MAP seems fairly obvious and I had already gone down that road quite a bit by the time I found the book. The evo psych is what helped me the most. Its not politically correct so many will suggest you tone down the game aspects, but don’t listen!

  18. Two thoughts to update what is already an amazing book:

    1) An expansion of the “shit-test” section : I don’t think I’m alone in saying that shit-tests are the single hardest thing to adjust yourself to once you’ve swallowed the red-pill. Even if all it ended up being was more examples (both of shit-tests themselves and appropriate reactions), I think it’d be really helpful to your readers.

    2) Why not look to some of your more popular blog posts and include updated versions of those as an appendix of some sort? No reason to reinvent the wheel, and your expansion on quick thoughts that get made into blog posts would make for some interesting reading.

  19. Who better than a sex/marriage blogger to know the power of anticipation…you are a master at your craft.

  20. The best thing about the Primer, compared with just about every other self help book I have ever perused? No anecdotes. No tedious tales of some guy who thought he should be doing this then this happened and isn’t that a bit like your life?
    The Primer has no padding, it is more like and instruction manual than a self-help book. Please, whatever you’re doing, keep it that way.

  21. Re possible items to add: how about tailoring some strategies to personality type? I’m a Myers-Briggs INTJ, and my method of communication and thinking (and how I would construct a loyalty/shit test) is likely utterly at odds with how someone on the “feeling” side of the spectrum would come out.

    Also, if you want to give a toss to the female audience, how about a flashback into “The Rules”? Some of the “Rules” are both designed to explain to women how to shit-test (if he doesn’t call by Tuesday, you aren’t seeing him on Saturday); how to let him be the alpha male/captain (not being clingy, letting him be in charge and pursue you), but also jibe with some of your sex rank ideas (in the sense of the rules telling women to be light, happy, take care of yourself, exercise, wear nice clothes, and think about the long term).

  22. metasteve says:

    Guess we just saw some of the “new direction” on Instapundit…

  23. Joel Chadwick says:

    I would really like to see a big expansion in the fitness (shit) test section as well. How to recognize them and how to pass them to still get “laid like tile”. Also, a list of examples of the “rationalization hamster” and how best to recognize those and react accordingly.

    Finally, how about some quotes from other experts in this arena or some from your favorite posts by forum members or from talkaboutmarriage (mem11, deejo, conrad, etc). Kind of like a book or Bible commentary where they always quote other people.

    Hope this helps.

  24. I strongly echo @TP in respectfully disagreeing w/ @Betasattva’s suggestion to skip the evo psych explanations. In my reading of the Primer, the evo psych lessons were what first convinced me of the unshakeable logic of your message. It was the evo psych that helped me see the reason why The MAP works. Without the psychological underpinning, the MAP could lose some of its foundational strength (at least to those for whom it is a totally foreign concept) and sounds more like someone’s opinion of a method that MIGHT work, instead of the brilliant truth that it is.

    I also agree w/ Ian I. that you don’t want to clean up the language in the original Primer TOO much. Clean up the grammar, sure, and maybe a little of the vulgarity if it’s just something you WANT to do, but I ask that you not take out too much of the vulgarity and cursing — reading a book that contained those elements made it a much more engaging book to read. It gave me the feeling that I was having a conversation w/ one of my buddies, rather than being lectured to by an oh-so politically-correct professor that was afraid of offending someone. It give the book a gutsy, masculine edge that adds greatly to it.

    I also like the idea of adding more help for the alpha-challenged among us to help get us started on our MAPs. Like your advice to start with the physical body improvements – That is good, solid, simple direction that all of us can understand and follow. Build/expand on that with some more ‘Next Steps’. The MAP is such a radical departure from the way some of us have been taught to think that it feels overwhelming without more clear direct advice. Hopefully we’ll all get to the point where we feel comfortable taking the reins of our own MAPs, but those first steps are pretty terrifying.

    Lastly, thank you for all that you have done, are doing, and plan to do to help men (and women) transform their roommate marriages into happy ones. Please keep up the good work!

  25. It’s a while since I read it all through. Now I just tend to dip into it.

    The thing I remember liking least, and the thing I never re read, is the rather negative attack on the state of marriage today. Marriage 2.0 is it? Forgive me if I dont remember the term, but you spell out all the problems with the way our society treats marriage, and in my memory, you are basically saying it;s a mistake to get married nowadays. Whether it;s true or not, as a married person, that message is of no value to me, I already am married. It was just annoying to read. I kept thinking “but my marriage isnt as bad as that!”

  26. i already posted in your last post about my suggestion. BUUUUT. if i get to review it, i’ll totally link it.

    what, i HAVE to whore myself out too. lol.

  27. Ok. Better late than never…

    (1) What did you like about the 2011 edition? body agenda and the rationalization hamster, betaization of the husband, Differences between marriage 1.0 and 2.0, 10 things to do right now. My DH said particularly “the framing of relationship dynamics” and everything relating to head if household/ leadership in the home.

    (2) What did you like least about 2011 edition? For me the part that was harder to swallow is that love is boiled down to a chemical reaction, and the assumption that women will cheat seemingly at the whiff of some dopamine. Though nowadays after all the blog and forum reading I am more realistic and sympathetic to that point of view. For Husband he said it was the emphasis on virgin marriage and the “biased perspective towards a single sexual partner for life.”

    (3) What do you think I missed in the 2011 edition? I think the short section entitled “Marriage requires endless courtship”. Could be a lot meatier. Of course I don’t know how to make it so. ha! :) Hoping you can pull all the punches on that one. From the women’s point of view I suppose it might be along the lines of the nuanced differences between default yes and frequent teasing.

    Well, That’s all we got. I hope by now you’ve got more feedback than you know what to do with and go break a leg wading through it all. Fingers crossed for ya!

  28. Just off the top of my head the whole book needs to be more Kindle friendly. Maybe in 2011 it wasn’t much of a concern but here in 2013 it needs to be reformatted. Mainly the lack of searchable index was the problem.

  29. You should turn it into an audiobook.
    Record it, or pay someone to record it.
    Add some testimonials.
    Update the book cover.
    It will be epic.

  30. 1. Take care of yourself. Seriously, isn’t this at the heart of the MAP? You have done a monumental service to marriedman kind with the Primer. The high school photo is spot on. You know where it didn’t turn out as expected so spruce it up a bit, i.e. get rid of that ridiculous dress shirt and haircut, and then take a good long break that you’ve earned.
    2. As per Ian Ironwood, keep the language for the most part. Any man who can’t handle it isn’t even ready for the Primer.
    3. Better cover.
    4. Expanded shit test section. Maybe as an appendix with wrong/right responses. I say this because this is how I learn best and, reading the forum, I don’t think I’m alone. Get Joskin Nodd to help lol.

  31. I recently bought the book for the Kindle and am about 70% through it, but I’ll give you my thoughts thus far. My apologies if anything I cite as an improvement is in the sections of the book I haven’t gotten to yet.

    1) Agreed with other posters that more explanation needs to be given to the shit test concept. I’m still not really clear as to what a shit test is and how to recognize it.

    2) I would add worksheets or at least summaries in the section on the MAP to help the reader to perform a self-assessment on where they are on the various alpha/beta traits. This would be helpful in actually putting together the plan.

    3) I’m not sure if I would change the title of the book, but I probably would spice up the cover a bit. Perhaps similar to the sidebar ad for your books with the attractive female body on one side and the text right next to it.

  32. Clean up lots of grammar and style mistakes. Polish the writing style up some. You generally get your point across well, in a funny, pithy way, but sometimes the sentences are not well constructed.

    The section on Escalate, Isolate, instigate bothered me some. I understand that you have to explain how these concepts work in the dating world, but you need to make more of an application to married men, since that is your audience. That was the only section that sounded like it was more for single men than married.

  33. Long time since I read it so only one comment. Blame the puritan in me but as a Brit I really really want a version called “Marriage Maintenance Manual for Men” (or similar); that I’d happily give to at least half a dozen blokes who would really benefit from it. Probably more. With the current title; not a chance. Oh and you, Athol, can have that one for free.

  34. Please consider an Audible version. I don’t have time to read, but, I can listen while driving or sometimes working. I really enjoy listening to books!

  35. I’ve lost count as to how many posters on TAM demand that some befuddled husband get MMSL ; I’ve also lost count how many say “despite the title it’s not a sex manual”

    Please work on the title!

  36. I love your blunt honesty about men. I want to know everything about my husband. I never understood male sexuality until my doctor put me on testosterone (I’m female). OH MY GOSH!!!! I truly understand men now. I couldn’t get sex out of my mind and I was checking out every guy… EVERY GUY! Never again will I get upset when my husband checks out another girl, well almost never. When I told my doctor what was going on with my libido, she panicked and reduced my dosage… sigh.

    I’ve watch many of my female friends walk all over their husbands, but I never knew it was because they desire more alpha. I also know some of those women would burn your book, so sad. What’s also amazing is that my hubby has always told me many of these truths in your book. Your book validates feelings for some men, whose wives make them feel like horndog-jerks.

    Keep up the great work and I hope you keep your blog going.

    PS: Your wife must be some wonderful lady to let you write about her and also being ok about all of this.

  37. Craig Beaton says:

    I know you have a lot on your plate but along with all the other suggestions I’d love to have this book in italian. I am watching many of my wife’s nearest and dearest’s relationships fall appart and my itallian is now where near good enough to explain why the men are approaching it all wrong… Then theres french, german chinese… And you dont even need to write any new content.

    If it wasnt that it be a drop in the bucket id gladly pay towards the cost of translating it… A way of paying forward the difference you’ve made to me and my wife.


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