Black Buck

Black Buck

By:  Mateo Askaripour

Narrated by:  Zeno Robinson

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A New York Times Bestseller

A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

“Askaripour closes the deal on the first page of this mesmerizing novel, executing a high wire act full of verve and dark, comic energy.”

—Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys

“A hilarious, gleaming satire as radiant as its author. Askaripour has announced himself as a major talent of the school of Ralph Ellison, Paul Beatty, Fran Ross, and Ishmael Reed. Full of quick pacing, frenetic energy, absurd—yet spot on—twists and turns, and some of the funniest similes I’ve ever read, this novel is both balm and bomb.”

—Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People

For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street—a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission.

An unambitious twenty-two-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.

Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.

Available Resources

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  • Format: Audiobook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358449331

  • ISBN-10: 0358449332

  • Duration: 11 hr 13 min

  • Price: $22.95

  • Publication Date: 01/05/2021

Mateo Askaripour

Mateo Askaripour

MATEO ASKARIPOUR was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence, and his writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, LitHub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, and his favorite pastimes include bingeing music videos and movie trailers, drinking yerba mate, and dancing in his apartment. Black Buck is his debut novel. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @AskMateo.
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  • reviews

    A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick 

    An Indie Next Pick 

    Apple’s Best of January 

    Amazon’s Spotlight Best Pick of the Month 

    One of Barnes & Noble Reads “Most Anticipated for January” 

    One of Entertainment Weekly’s “Best Books to Keep You Warm this January” 

    One of Washington Post’s “10 Books to Read in January” 

    One of Fortune’s “Best Books for January” 

    One of Shondaland's "Best Five Books for January" 

    One of Essence's "21 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021" 

    One of Vulture's "46 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021" 

    One of Elle's "55 Best Books to Read in 2021" 

    One of Marie Claire’s “29 Best New 2021 Books” 

    One of Vanity Fair’s “Books to Get You Through Winter” 

    One of E! Online's "17 Books to Add to Your Reading List in January" 

    One of The Root's "PageTurners: We're in for a Hell of  Year" 

    One of AV Club's "5 New Books to Read in January" 

    One of Cosmopolitan’s “Best New Books 2021” 

    One of the New York Post's "Best New Books to Read" 

    One of PopSugar’s “Books Everyone Will Be Talking About in 2021” 

    One of Literary Hub's "Most Anticipated Books of the Year" 

    One of Parade's "Best New Books to Read this Winter" 

    One of PopSugar's "Best Books of January" 

    One of Poets & Writer’s “New and Noteworthy” 

    One of SheReads’ “The Best 12 Books of Winter” 

    One of Alma’s “Favorite Books for Winter 2021” 

    One of Book Riot’s “January Book Recommendations” 

    One of Black Business Guide's "21 Books by Black Writers to Read in 2021" 

    One of Debutiful’s “10 Debut Books You Should Read this January” 

    One of Write or Die Tribe's "21 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021" 

    One of Sunday Evening Post's "10 Books to Start 2021" 

    A Skimm Reads Pick 


    "An irresistible comic novel about the tenacity of racism in corporate America . . . [Black Buck] is alternately sly and sweet, a work of cultural criticism that laments and celebrates the power of money."

    —Ron Charles, Washington Post


    “Darkly comic . . . The message at the heart of this novel [is] very American, that the power is in the pitch . . . Black Buck is not unlike The Great Gatsby, in its own way.”
    —NPR, Weekend Edition 


    "Mateo Askaripour’s voice is so fresh. The writing is so intimate. At moments, it's satirical and funny and then at moments, it's heartbreaking . . . The details are so intimate, spot on and beautiful. I found myself underlining constantly." 

    — Jenna Bush Hager,Today Show 


    “A combination of character study, searing indictment of all the problematics of white corporate culture, and some good old-fashioned enjoyable sarcasm.” 

    Entertainment Weekly, “The best books to keep you warm this January” 


    "A must-read . . . Buck’s journey is one you should invest in for 2021 without question." 

    BET, "Is Mateo Askaripour's Debut Novel the Blackest Book of 2021?" 


    “Mateo Askaripour begins his debut, which follows Brooklyn-dwelling Darren as he’s plucked from his Starbucks manager job by a start-up CEO and crashed into a sales job as the only Black member of the company, with an author’s note that the book might be used as a reference by aspiring Black salesmen. It’s a satirical construct that informs this razor-sharp send-up of ladder-climbing office culture, and all the systemic and individual racism it perpetuates. Preorder for your 2021 reading list.” 

    Vanity Fair, “The Books and Totes That Will Get You Through This Winter” 


    “Askaripour wields a sharp satirical blade to deliver social commentary . . . He may have written the first satire that doubles as self-help.” 

    Los Angeles Times 


    "A biting and brilliant novel, Black Buck is masterclass in self-reflection and meaningful satire." 

    Shondaland, "The Best Five Books for January" 


    "This quick-witted, trenchant debut novel starts like a superhero origin story . . . What follows is a harrowing tale that operates at the fraught intersection of capitalism, race, and class." 

    Vulture, "Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021"  


    "Blazing . . . A fast-paced, sharp, hilarious story with a lot of heart." 



    "[A] bold satire about corporate sales tactics...Pick this up if you’re exhausted by LLC Twitter." 

    Essence, "21 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021" 


    “A razor-sharp and highly intelligent debut, Black Buck brings the idea of the American Dream into a new century. It is a darkly comic novel about a young Black man named Darren, who moves from trying workplace drama to a rollercoaster journey of self-actualization. A novel bred to make you think.” 

    B&N Reads 


    “[Black Buck is] one of those books where, the minute you pick it up, you are in the story—rooting for the heroes, rooting for the neighborhood, rooting for Darren Vender who will transform before your very eyes . . . A wild ride, a mash-up between the humor of the everyday and the insanity of start-up culture. The best part is that Mateo Askaripour incorporates specific lessons throughout the book to give readers the basic training to get a sales job.” 

    Amazon Book Review 


    “Propulsive . . . This razor-sharp tale skewers America’s workforce, explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.” 

    Fortune, “21 Anticipated Books for January” 


    “Askaripour eviscerates corporate culture in his funny, touching debut . . . A winning and layered bildungsroman.” 

    Publishers Weekly, starred review 


    “Extraordinary . . . Askaripour has created a skillfully written, biting, witty, and absurdist novel that sheds light on racism, start-up culture, corporate morality, media bias, gentrification, and many other timely, important themes. Askaripour is an author to watch.” 

    Booklist, starred review 


    “A witty yet thrilling examination of the complexities of race in corporate America . . . 

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: Audiobook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358449331

  • ISBN-10: 0358449332

  • Duration: 11 hr 13 min

  • Price: $22.95

  • Publication Date: 01/05/2021

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