The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Death (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In THE NOBLE HUSTLE, Whitehead focuses his prodigious talents on nonfiction, with an incredibly funny and insightful look at American culture through the lens of one of its strangest sporting spectacles--the World Series of Poker. "I have a good poker face because I am half dead inside," and so begins an existential odyssey of self-deprecating humor, piercing social commentary and delicious delicious beef jerky. Actually, it's less about poker than the lengths Americans will go to find excitement, diversion and success. You will laugh out loud and awkwardly cringe, quite often on the same page. It's the perfect read for sports fans, as well as fans of cultural criticism and just plain good writing. I can't recommend THE NOBLE HUSTLE enough.

— From The Noble Hustle (Colson Whitehead)


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad

In 2011, Grantland magazine gave bestselling novelist Colson Whitehead $10,000 to play at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. It was the assignment of a lifetime, except for one hitch--he'd never played in a casino tournament before. With just six weeks to train, our humble narrator took the Greyhound to Atlantic City to learn the ways of high-stakes Texas Hold'em.
Poker culture, he discovered, is marked by joy, heartbreak, and grizzled veterans playing against teenage hotshots weaned on Internet gambling. Not to mention the not-to-be overlooked issue of coordinating Port Authority bus schedules with your kid's drop-off and pickup at school. Finally arriving in Vegas for the multimillion-dollar tournament, Whitehead brilliantly details his progress, both literal and existential, through the event's antes and turns, through its gritty moments of calculation, hope, and spectacle. Entertaining, ironic, and strangely profound, this epic search for meaning at the World Series of Poker is a sure bet.
An NPR Best Book of the Year

About the Author

Colson Whitehead is the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Underground Railroad. His other works include The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A National Book Award winner and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780345804334
ISBN-10: 0345804333
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
Pages: 256
Language: English