Audie Award Nominee, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2013
If you don't buy this book, you're a racist.
Have you ever been called "too black" or "not black enough"?
Have you ever befriended or worked with a black person?
Raised by a pro-black, Pan-Afrikan single mother during the crack years of 1980s Washington, DC, and educated at Sidwell Friends School and Harvard University, Baratunde Thurston has over 30 years' experience being black. Now, through stories of his politically inspired Nigerian name, the heroics of his hippie mother, the murder of his drug-abusing father, and other revelatory black details, he shares with listeners of all colors his wisdom and expertise in how to be black.
Beyond memoir, this guidebook offers practical advice on everything from "How to Be the Black Friend" to "How to Be the (Next) Black President" to "How to Celebrate Black History Month."
To provide additional perspective, Baratunde assembled an award-winning Black Panel - three black women; three black men; and one white man (Christian Lander, author of Stuff White People Like) - and asked them such revealing questions as: "When did you first realize you were black?" "How black are you?" "Can you swim?"
The result is a humorous, intelligent, and audacious guide that challenges and satirizes the so-called experts, purists, and racists who purport to speak for all black people. With honest storytelling and biting wit, Baratunde plots a path not just to blackness, but one open to anyone interested in simply "how to be".
©2012 Baratunde Thurston (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
I haven't read a book that can put me to sleep as quickly as this one. It must come with a warning to not listen to it while driving or operating heavy machinery. I cant recommend this. I don't understand why the tech community cheered about it.
B+ for effort
I was disappointed by this book, having heard BT on, for example, the TWIT podcast and finding him very funny and engaging. This book seems to have trouble deciding if it was his biography or a satire. Both, I guess, but the bio was only interesting in a few parts, and I did not find the satire to be as funny as BT is when I've heard him on podcasts. It was interesting, though, to actually *hear* the colleagues/friends he interviewed in their own words, which you wouldn't get from the written version. BT does do a good job of reading the book, and I always enjoy hearing an author's reading.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
This book was an easy, enjoyable read. While the humor was there, I think the main purpose of this author was encouragement and education. I feel more enlightened and will pursue more books like this. Baratunde did a fantastic job of narrating his book. I particularly liked the taped interviews in the actual voices of those who contributed. Highly recommended if you have any interest in black culture.
I love the chapter on how to be a good black employee!! This is a great perspective to share with others that work in a corporate setting.
Professional librarian type, amateur historian.
Location-wise this takes place in Washington, DC in the neighborhoody part of the city. There are some cultural things you can pick up on even if you live no where near the Beltway, but knowing the area and being around the general time the author grew up here, adds some extra to it. Also it is funny. It will go along as an interesting story and then bam, something is making me laugh. It only rated 3 stars overall because there is a lot of time between laughing. In general it is humorous, but it could be funnier.
It says all of those things you wanted to say but didn't quite know how to articulate it.
The delivery was great and it was a fun listen.
The author has a wry humor that ranges from entertaining to hilarious. I imagine the audio version is better than the book itself as there are recorded interviews with his expert panel members.
No. But will seek them out.
A satirical view of being yourself.
I was interested in what the advice would be from this brilliant younger generation brother would be. He has had the educational privilege afforded to very few in this society that he has certainly deserved, due to his mother's struggle to make this happen for her children. I found the entire book interesting and his reading of it even more engaging, Baratunde is also a stand-up comic. My favorite part of the book was his reading a brilliant essay he wrote when he was in his adolescence. I felt myself wishing though out the remainder of the book he would get back in touch with that Baratunde or at least have more this aspect of his personality more integrated in his present life. He had a good panel but I wish it were more diverse in age and Black experience.
I always recommend people read books that stretch them.
I have read better books on racism. This one is fairly funny, however, for those who require the distraction.
Baratunde is a racist referring to my brother, my sister and insisting that being black is cool all the while decrying (appropriately) judgmental treatment of blacks. Sorry, Baratunde, you can't have it both ways.
The man is a humorist genius but at times equates his skin color with ethnicity (wrong), politics (sad), and socioeconomic theory (um, isn't he a harvard trained businessman from an elitist high school...uh oh).
I enjoy other people's viewpoints so one of the highlights of this book was the unique interview style of several other agents. The intro, however, is pedantic, insulting, and wrong. I nearly didn't read the book. The ending is not eloquent and I found the final poem exclusive, divisive, and unnecessarily militaristic compared to the more intellectual main body of the text.
The audio performance was excellent but I wonder if this didn't help lead into a somewhat stream of conscious rant on a subject that deserved a little more intention.
All in all, Baratunde seems like the kind of guy I would have over for dinner and drinks and have a good time of it. I doubt he could talk me into voting for Obama again though.
Probably less political pandering and more actual humor.
His personal stories were probably the least interesting. I personally wanted more humorous commentary not his life story. I felt his strongest part was when he interviewed others about their own personal experiences.
Maybe. But only if it deals more with humor instead of political commentary.
A book dedicated to more interviews with his friends would definitely be interesting. I find that each individual views was intriguing. I probably would like a larger sample with more humorous questions.
As a Asian American of the same age to the author with almost opposite beliefs and experiences, I found it hard to like this book due to his "progressive beliefs". Personally I didn't find it too funny. I felt he could have done less on his own personal life story and more humorous question fielded to the panel. I guess I wanted something more like "Stuff White People Like". But I won't fault him. This book just wasn't for me. I would give it 3 stars because it was entertaining enough. And I thought he presented it very well and I liked his voice and the fact he able to get others to speak. He definitely gave a good vocal performance.
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