The Noble Hustle

The Noble Hustle

Poker, Beef Jerky, and Death

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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The Noble Hustle is Pulitzer finalist Colson Whitehead's hilarious memoir of his search for meaning at high stakes poker tables, which the author describes as " Eat, Pray, Love for depressed shut-ins."
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On one level, The Noble Hustle is a familiar species of participatory journalism--a longtime neighborhood poker player, Whitehead was given a $10,000 stake and an assignment from the online online magazine Grantland to see how far henbsp;could get in the World Series of Poker.nbsp; But since it stems from the astonishing mind of Colson Whitehead (MacArthur Award-endorsed!), the book is a brilliant, hilarious, weirdly profound, and ultimately moving portrayal of--yes, it sounds overblown andnbsp;ridiculous, but really!--the human condition.
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After weeks of preparation that included repeated bus trips to glamorous Atlantic City, and hiring a personal trainer to toughen him up for sitting at twelve hours a stretch, the author journeyed to the gaudy wonderland that is Las Vegas - the world's greatest "Leisure Industrial Complex" -- to try his luck in the multi-million dollar tournament.nbsp;nbsp; Hobbled by his mediocre playing skills and a lifelong condition known as "anhedonia" (the inability to experience pleasure) Whitehead did not - spoiler alert! nbsp; - win tens of millions of dollars.nbsp; But he did chronicle his progress, both literal and existential, in this unbelievably funny, uncannily accurate social satire whose main target is the author himself.nbsp;
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Whether you've been playing cards your whole life, or have never picked up a hand, you're sure to agree that this book contains some of the best writing about beef jerky ever put to paper.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385537056
0385537050
Characteristics: 234 pages ; 20 cm

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Greene_GregL Feb 28, 2018

Colson Whitehead may claim to be a resident of the Republic of Anhedonia (where inhabitants aren't capable of experiencing pleasure), but he sure makes poker seem like a good time. This memoir of his entry into the World Series of Poker is a funny and oddly empathetic investigation of the often-quixotic appeal of Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

mikelindq Apr 13, 2015

Highly entertaining if one is familiar with poker and the TV/Internet/casino poker world. If you like Vince Van Patten's World Poker Tour TV commentary, you'll love this book. Gave me many chuckles, some guffaws, and a few real belly laughs. The LA/NY Times reviewers apparently didn't get the references; seems as if they couldn't move beyond the author's background/literary accomplishments. Maybe they would have appreciated it more if published under a pseudonym.

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2303tes
Jul 24, 2014

no appeal to me but I don't understand the game. Book didn't help

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