the truth book summary

Actionable Book Summary: The Truth by Neil Strauss

The Book In Three Or More Sentences:

A personal story about depression, sex, love, and childhood issues. The Truth by Neil Strauss teaches us what no one else does, how to build and maintain a lifelong contact with another human being. Before he builds his case, though, the author will go through emotional hell, an avalanche of feelings, a waterfall of tears and a lot of sexual intercourses.

The Core Idea:

Restlessly search for your soul mate and don’t let go once you find it. Do everything on earth to please your partner. To respect and understand her/his needs. Commitment and mutual respect is the key to a successful relationship.


  • When things are not going well in your relationship, don’t immediately start looking for someone else. Try to health the wounds.
  • The reason your new relationships fall quickly apart it’s because of the invisible bag of shit you carry that’s full of past emotions and negative feelings.
  • The key to mutual happiness in a relationship is to have a mutual goal. Both parties in a relationship to want and strive towards the same thing.

5 Key Lessons from The Truth:

Lesson #1: When I Am Single, I Want To Be In A Relationship. When I’m In A Relationship, I Miss Being Single

We expect love to last forever. Yet, we can’t stop looking at that sexy girl walking down the street.

It’s like slow motion. We do everything possible to remain calm and avoid showing even a glimpse of what our thoughts are imagining at the moment. The second the girl walks away, we feel relief, and we throw a very quick look at our wife walking beside us to see if she suspected want our dirty mind was imagining a second ago. Then, our thoughts turn into a different direction, “Does my wife have the same thoughts about good looking guys?”

Even though we don’t really want to know the answer to the above question, and we’ll probably never know the real answer. Unless, of course, we catch our wife holding hands with the neighbor. We tell ourselves that these are only thoughts and even if we had the chance we would never cheat on our spouse. Or would we?

When we are single, we’re doing everything possible to find love. We crave loving arms pulling our pants down, kissing us for good morning and holding us tight till the sun is setting. Yet, when we get caught up in some sort of relationship, we feel chained.

Being alone seems bad when we are alone. But much better when we’re having difficulties in our relationship. And instead of trying to fix things, every time we argue with our partner we think about “what else is out there.” However, the truth about our dissatisfaction with our current partner is, in reality, a camouflage of our own insecurity and loneliness.

Lesson #2: There Is A Big Bag Of Shit You Are Carrying Around

We are born innocent and pure. Beautiful and honest. Ready to dive and explore the wonders of the world. As we develop, however, the people we meet load us with baggage. Depending on the person, each one of us can carry a different amount of weight until it really hurts.

Each bag contains a different amount of shit. Few examples: The problems of your parents; The physical disabilities you were mocked for; Your previous relationships. Along with that, different levels of neediness; arrogance; dependency; vulnerability.

With each passing year, your shit bag grows. It becomes heavier and more difficult to carry. It’s so stinky that it corrupts the relationships with the people you meet. On top of that, each interaction adds more and more shit. That’s why you’re extra careful when you meet new people. Questions like the one below pop-up in your mind and ruin everything:

  • Your last boyfriend cheated? You will be extra vigilant with your new man and nag him about everything.
  • The person you were previously with was suffocating you? Your new boyfriend will have to live with that.

Instead of releasing the emotions after we end a certain relationship, we carry them around, like a pet. This prevents us from truly connecting with others.

Lesson #3: Believe, Behave, Become

Extremely simple, yet powerful technique to keep your relationship in shape:

  • Believe: Trust is given loyalty is earned. However, thinking that X amount of time needs to pass in order to trust your partner is a terribly wrong decision. Instead of spying, checking her phone, reading her messages, go all in from the start. Trust the person you are currently with, unconditionally. Lack of trust can only do you harm. If she/he cheats, in most of the cases you’re not the reason. Your partner is either not ready for a relationship, or he/she is simply not a good person, *cough* whore *cough.*
  • Behave: Your partner treating you poorly in private is one thing, doing the same in public is unacceptable. Not that you should comply with the former, but embarrassing you in front of others is unacceptable.
  • Become: When I think about a relationship between two people, I always imagine one being. The final goal should be becoming a whole. One bulletproof family with mutual goals. Even though you will both execute different tasks, they should be aimed towards one bigger mission.

The same techniques are the stepping stones to achieve pretty much everything valuable in your life. Believe in your dreams. Behave in a way that will help you make them real. Become the person you wish.

Lesson #4: Create Your Timeline

Tell your story, no to your wife nor to your mother, but to yourself. It’s a great way to see what you’ve done, achieved, messed up, failed, who you’ve hurt and disappointed.

Aside from the promotions, your new phone, the new car, clothes, friends, and the other “nice to have” things you are actively sharing on your social media, there are others, much worse things that have happened in your life. Seriously shitty things. Stuff you hide and avoid speaking about.

However, no matter how horrible, disgusting, or shameful they are, these things made you who you are, currently. Listing everything, chronologically, will eventually help you find your real path, solve your current problems, save your relationship, even save your life.

It’s a great idea to come clean to yourself. Start your story from your birthday, go through the things you’ve enjoyed doing (didn’t enjoy) while you were young and continue till what you are currently doing in the present days. This simple act will help you know yourself, better.

Lesson #5: How To Maintain A Healthy Relationship

It’s in our nature to desire the opposite sex, it’s in our blood. The world, as we know it now, would not have developed if we didn’t, well, fucked.

And since it’s in our DNA to want to mate, not surprisingly, many of us struggle with keeping a relationship loyal, caring, loving, supportive.

So, a logical question will be: Is it possible to have a healthy relationship?

Well, it is. But it’s not easy. The first step out of many is to build a healthy relationship with yourself. To understand yourself and know your true desires. Because only when your relationship with yourself is working, you can trust another human being.

From there, things get a bit simpler. Once you accept yourself you now have room to get to know another human being.

In essence, a healthy relationship is when two individuals become a whole. Their actions are no longer to support their selfish needs, their focus has shifted from solely serving themselves, to serving the whole, the commitment they have with the other person. That’s the key to mutual happiness.

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Actionable Notes:

  • Leave the past behind: We love bringing old arguments – reviving them. It’s as if it doesn’t matter at all where the conversation or conflict started … it just always ends in the familiar sinkhole. Burry the past. Get a small coffin, write all of your old disagreements with your spouse and literally bury it.
  • Grow up: Relationships don’t require sacrifices. They require growing up. Admitting to your partner when you’re wrong and not pointing the finger when the other party is not right. When you can put your ego aside and take full responsibility for your wrongdoings – even if you’re not always wrong – you’ll have a healthy relationship. So, grow up god damn it.
  • The truth: As the title of the book suggests, obviously tell the truth. Share with your partner how you feel and how you want to feel. Don’t assume that he/she should know everything about you. What will bring you closer together as a couple will be honest conversations about your most secret desires. Regardless of their type.
  • Set a mutual goal: We often hear and read about setting personal goals but we rarely read about setting family goals. Yes. That’s what you should do to strengthen your relationship. Sit down. Talk. And set a family goal both of you are OK with.

Commentary And My Personal Takeaway

Even though this book can be considered as a fiction, it’s worth summarizing. The book holds truths about something really important in our lives. That is, our relationships with other people and most specifically with our exclusive life companion.

Neil is making quite a strong case about commitment and monogamy in The Truth. There’s a lot you can learn about your personal relationship with your partner.

A true bestseller and definitely worth checking.

Notable Quotes:

When I’m single, I want to be in a relationship. When I’m in a relationship, I miss being single. And worst of all, when the relationship ends and my captor-lover finally moves on, I regret everything and don’t know what I want anymore.”

Believe in you and your spouse. Behave for your wife. Become a nuclear family.”

Intimacy problems come from a lack of self-love,” she continues. “Someone who fears intimacy thinks, unconsciously, If you knew who I actually was, you’d leave me.”

Most people seem to believe that if a relationship doesn’t last until death, it’s a failure. But the only relationship that’s truly a failure is one that lasts longer than it should. The success of a relationship should be measured by it’s depth, not by it’s length.”

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