We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets | [Sudhir Venkatesh]

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatest managed to gain entree into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.
Regular Price:$27.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

The story of the young sociologist who studied a Chicago crack-dealing gang from the inside captured the world's attention when it was first described in Freakonomics. Gang Leader for a Day is the fascinating full story of how Sudhir Venkatest managed to gain entree into the gang, what he learned, and how his method revolutionized the academic establishment.

When Venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of Chicago's most notorious housing projects, he was looking for people to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty. A first-year grad student hoping to impress his professors with his boldness, he never imagined that as a result of the assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade inside the projects under JT's protection, documenting what he saw there.

Over the next seven years, Venkatesh got to know the neighborhood dealers, crackheads, squatters, prostitutes, pimps, activists, cops, organizers, and officials. From his privileged position of unprecedented access, he observed JT and the rest of the gang as they operated their crack-selling business, conducted PR within their community, and rose up or fell within the ranks of the gang's complex organizational structure.

In Hollywood speak, Gang Leader for a Day is The Wire meets the University of Chicago. It's a brazen and fundamentally honest view into the morally ambiguous, highly intricate, often corrupt struggle to survive in what is tantamount to an urban war zone. It is also the story of a complicated friendship between Sudhir and JT: two young and ambitious men a universe apart.

©2008 Sudhir Venkatesh; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"Gang Leader for a Day is an absolutely incredible book. Sudhir Venkatesh's memoir of his years observing life in Chicago's inner city is a book unlike any other I have read, equal parts comedy and tragedy." (Steven D. Levitt, co-author, Freakonomics)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (870 )
5 star
 (486)
4 star
 (282)
3 star
 (79)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
4.5 (335 )
5 star
 (207)
4 star
 (89)
3 star
 (31)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.4 (327 )
5 star
 (175)
4 star
 (103)
3 star
 (40)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Elisa Hong Kong, Hong Kong 03-28-13
    Elisa Hong Kong, Hong Kong 03-28-13 Member Since 2007

    I'll give everything a try

    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    597
    50
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved It"
    Any additional comments?

    I loved this book, the writing is festinating and lively. All the characters, i.e. the people the author met throughout his years with JT's gang. The story and his experiences though amazing, I was most impressed by how he used the book to remind us that sometimes, it pays to stay quiet. Sometimes you can learn so much more by listening, even when in an unexpected place and from unexpected people.

    This book is I think, one of the best autobiographies I've read. You should read it. There is so much you can learn, one of which is the lesson is to learn to accept others and not let appearance to deceive you as well as the levels of relationships explored and discussed in Gang Leader for a Day.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noah Toronto, Ontario, Canada 12-30-12
    Noah Toronto, Ontario, Canada 12-30-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    72
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    149
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough"
    Where does Gang Leader for a Day rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Great book, one of my handful of favourites so far


    What did you like best about this story?

    While being a true story with incredible insight into "living in the projects", the story is captivating and as good or better than fiction.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    There are some reviews that criticize the narrator. I disagree. I thought the narrator did a good job at bringing out some of the different personalities and characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend this book especially if you like to get a little education while reading something enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chiang ShanghaiChina 04-24-09
    Chiang ShanghaiChina 04-24-09 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Gang Leader for a Day"

    insights of gang leader. Surprising facts and interesting aspects

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pavel 04-20-15
    Pavel 04-20-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great start, weak finish, bit of deceiving title"
    Any additional comments?

    The book had a really interesting start and developing story, however I felt that the ending was a bit weak and sort of dropped off. Also, it felt like the author did the research to progress his own studies, however did not do much for the people of housing projects. I feel that maybe he could have done more to raise awareness of life inside the projects.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward P. 04-03-15
    Edward P. 04-03-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good read"

    Enjoyed the approach and the study was fresh and direct.
    The only change I would recommend is to lose the cheesy music at random times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yaman New Zealand 02-12-15
    Yaman New Zealand 02-12-15 Member Since 2014

    I am Yaman, I live in New Zealand, I come from Syria. I love audiobooks, and Audible is the best source for what I love!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The brief background music startled/angered me!"

    Please get rid of the silly pieces of music at the beginning of each chapter! It's the reason I rated he performance with 3 stars instead of 5!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie 01-28-15
    Marie 01-28-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great for a phd student in nursing"

    Great read--helpful and surprisingly entertaining. Will read more of his books. Wonder about JT now lol thanks for this!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica C. Yusuf Pearland, TX USA 12-09-13
    Jessica C. Yusuf Pearland, TX USA 12-09-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, Insightful, Entertaining"
    What made the experience of listening to Gang Leader for a Day the most enjoyable?

    I felt like I was being told a cool story by someone who had been there and who knew how to tell a story. It could have sounded like a sociological paper but far from it. I hated to turn it off (which I had to do whenever the kids came in the room. Appropriate to the content but definitely R rated language).


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gang Leader for a Day?

    I liked to hear about the 'off' times. When he wasn't with the gang leader or dealing with a 'crisis', when he was just hanging with the complex' residents, in a mother's kitchen or in the parking lot.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    His intonations. He's not African American or in a gang or from anything close to the life of the people he was representing but he sounded like he could have been.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    People are so very similar in their love for their kids and for a better life. And, sadly, their frustration when social structures and perceptions seem stacked against them.


    Any additional comments?

    When my kids get a little older, upper teens rather than younger, I will listen to this book again with them to provide perspectives and motivate discussion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan 10-16-13
    Nathan 10-16-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Took me to a different world."
    What made the experience of listening to Gang Leader for a Day the most enjoyable?

    The narrator has a tremendous voice that brought out the dark and sophisticated mood of the entire story. It felt as if I'd stepped into a whole new society from the other side of the world. Their way of life is so different from my middle class everyday life, it really blew my mind at times.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How Sudhir manages to build all of these relationships out of nothing in an extremely different part of his city.
    The book really gave me a fresh perspective on what it means to be in a gang, or protected by one. Definitely not how the media portrays it at times.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book for anyone and everyone. Very thought provoking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Koerner 08-15-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Highly recommended for everyone"
    What made the experience of listening to Gang Leader for a Day the most enjoyable?

    The performance was fantastic and I loved that the author read the last chapter


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gang Leader for a Day?

    Every character was multidimensional, no one was simply 'poor' or a 'gang-banger' or a cop. Venkatesh did an amazing job of self-examining and that added so much. It was never a story of how things are or were, but rather how he perceived them to be.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, only because some parts were intense and others I needed to reflect on before continuing.


    Any additional comments?

    I feel like someone from the projects who read this book would have just as much of an opportunity to understand the alien world that was Venkatesh's experience and I learned looking through Venkatesh's eyes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 55 results PREVIOUS1236NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.