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How to Be Black Audiobook

How to Be Black

Regular Price:$17.94
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (695 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.1 (638 )
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Story
4.4 (640 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Manny Dallas, PA, United States 07-21-13
    Manny Dallas, PA, United States 07-21-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you need to sleep..."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Baratunde Thurston again?

    Never


    What three words best describe Baratunde Thurston’s performance?

    B+ for effort


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Boredom


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl 12-19-12
    Carl 12-19-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Disappointed"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 11-22-12
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 11-22-12 Member Since 2008

    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

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    "Funny but quite serious!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Naydja Madisonville, LA, United States 10-26-12
    Naydja Madisonville, LA, United States 10-26-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Best listen ever"
    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie WASHINGTON, DC, United States 10-16-12
    Marie WASHINGTON, DC, United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2010

    Professional librarian type, amateur historian.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Funny, moreso if you live in DC"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lemart chicago, IL, United States 09-04-12
    Lemart chicago, IL, United States 09-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Very Good Read"
    If you could sum up How to Be Black in three words, what would they be?

    It says all of those things you wanted to say but didn't quite know how to articulate it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dr zeus Denver, CO USA 08-11-12
    dr zeus Denver, CO USA 08-11-12
    ratings
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    1
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    "Fun listen"
    What made the experience of listening to How to Be Black the most enjoyable?

    The delivery was great and it was a fun listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Baratunde Thurston’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. But will seek them out.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A satirical view of being yourself.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha Ringgold Jones 08-01-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Houston, TX, United States 07-24-12
    Philip Houston, TX, United States 07-24-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Predictable racism"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I always recommend people read books that stretch them.


    Would you recommend How to Be Black to your friends? Why or why not?

    I have read better books on racism. This one is fairly funny, however, for those who require the distraction.


    Have you listened to any of Baratunde Thurston’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Olde English 800 Western Suburbs of Chicago, IL 06-25-12
    Olde English 800 Western Suburbs of Chicago, IL 06-25-12 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mildly funny"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Probably less political pandering and more actual humor.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    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.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Baratunde Thurston?

    Maybe. But only if it deals more with humor instead of political commentary.


    Do you think How to Be Black needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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