Tired of binging The Office? Here's your new workplace satire starring a salesman trying to beat the corporate system.
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Why I love it
Jenna Bush Hager
Co-host, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna
Black Buck is my favorite type of book: a surprise, a fresh gift. It is one that upon reading the summary on the back, I thought, a storyline centering around a sales startup in New York City? This is not for me. But as I began reading (the brilliant!!) Mateo Askaripour’s debut novel, I found myself obsessed with the page-turner.
Written in a fresh and unique literary voice, the book is a satirical “how-to” for becoming a salesman that tells the story of 22-year-old Bed-Stuy resident Darren. Plucked from his happy life as a Starbucks manager after an encounter with a tech executive, Darren finds himself the only Black salesman at an eccentric (READ: bizarre!) tech start-up. Soon, Darren takes on a new persona as a ferocious salesman under his company-given nickname, “Buck.” When tragedy strikes at home, Darren develops a new plan to help young people of color break down the barriers of the sales world.
Black Buck is raw and intimate—and a title I knew our book club readers needed to read as we begin this new year with a fresh start. Alternating moments of satirical humor with heartbreaking realities, this is a book that will have readers both laughing and crying. Askaripour’s compelling debut novel is thoroughly entertaining while addressing relevant themes: of race, ambition, and family. Let’s kick off this new year together rallying around Mateo Askaripour and his thrilling story that is strikingly vibrant and refreshing—leaving the reader wanting more!
An unambitious 22 year old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor.
After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game.
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