Cover Image: Black Buck

Black Buck

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Member Reviews

This book was funny, but not as funny as what I had heard it was going to be. There were some running jokes, but they got old after being brought up over and over.

Overall, this was a decent story line for a debut novel. I liked the character Darren and enjoyed his path through the world. I think this would be a good book for people to read to open them up to other cultures and how they see the world we live in.
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An interesting read that will entertain as well as stir up many topics for later conversations.  After 28 years in sales, the sales manual format of the book is very close to what I read in many of the manuals I was required to read for promotions.  One of the marks of successful business people is publishing their own "how to" book.  From Walt Disney to Bill Gates and beyond, their way is the best way.  But Buck's book is a little different.  He is the only Black person in his corner of the Tech world and has managed to quickly work his way up the ladder.  So his perspective is a little different from others you may have read.
Black Buck is written as a satire.  When Mateo Askaripour put that spin on the story, he upped the entertainment value while insuring a much larger audience than a novel would have generated.  It is most definitely entertaining, I found myself laughing at some of his more audacious observations while recognizing so many of the people I worked along side in the sales world.  A great story that will definitely fill a niche in many libraries.
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This was a funny and thought-provoking read. The depictions of everyday racial micro-aggressions were horribly realistic and I like the fact that Darren was shown to be a relatable but flawed protagonist. I loved the dark humour which at some points was a mix between Horrible Bosses and Whiplash. I definitely recommend this.
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Written from a first person perspective of Darren aka Buck in the style of a memoir mixed with self help and sales tips. this book takes us for a wild ride as we are plucked with him from his work at Starbucks to a start up with dubious ethics. Sumwun said start up  has a toxic almost cult-like environment and Darren as the only black man in the company has to deal with a lot of racism. In the process of assimilating into the company Darren forgets his goals and hurts the people who are closest to him, but also mostly himself. 
The book is both thought provoking and entertaining. It emphasize the barriers people of color have to face in a corporate environment that is almost entirely white and privileged. Buck is given dead leads at first and he lacks the social-club connections that can generate sales. He has to rely solely on his powers of persuasion and ability to butter up the gatekeepers. 
There are running gags throughout the story, for instance every white person tells his he resembles a different famous black celebrity. It started up as a very biting grim funny read but I felt like things went a little off the rails as the story progressed. However, I really enjoyed it and would absolutely recommend. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for giving me an Arc to review.
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What, what a debut! It's sharp, biting and witty. It is over the top but I think it's to make a point by yelling it (quite literally) instead of whispering it. Living near Silicon Valley, the start up culture definitely resonates. This is a fantastic satirical novel that examines race in corporate America but also in our larger culture as well. I found it hard to put down and the audio was excellent. It did get me some dirty looks by cyclists as I pulled up at a red light and the narrator was cussing up a storm but it was an amazing listen.  My 14 year old son is reading this now and he has claimed to hate every book I've given him over the last 2 years but he is so engaged with this one and has said it's a great book. He's even voluntarily picked it up without me making him read an allotted time..
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This book had similarities with Erica Katz's book The Boys' Club—an inside look at a wild, demanding, unconventional workplace and all the drama that comes along with it—but really is unlike anything I've ever read before. It begins when a high-power CEO plucks the main character, Darren, out of his barista job at Starbucks and offers him a job at his wildly successful startup. His new coworkers have one thing in common: they're all white and privileged. It's a satire that takes all-too-common microaggressions and amplifies them big time, making the racism so obvious that it slaps you in the face so no one can argue, "that wasn't racist." I kept having to remind myself that this is a satire and lift my jaw off the floor. Mateo takes readers on a wild, unexpected, and shocking journey that is both important and entertaining and I couldn't put it down. I loved his approach to getting people to rethink racism and Black Lives Matter and better understand the barriers that people of color face right out of the gate—and why/how we should go out of our way to lift them up and do what we can to break down some of those barriers. Wasn't a 5-star read for me because I felt like things went a little off the rails with the twists and turns in the last quarter of the book, but I really enjoyed it and would absolutely recommend.
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Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NetGalley for the Reader's Copy!

Now available. 

Charming and quick witted, Askaripour's Black Buck is a contemporary Death of A Salesman. When 20 year old Darren joins Rhett Daniels of the new, lucrative startup Sumwun, he has no idea how his life is going to change. Dubbed Black Buck, Darren quickly climbs the corporate ladder only to find that success is not what he thinks it is. Interspersed with reflections of an older Darren, Black Buck sheds a harsh light on modern day corporate America, race relations, and much more. Fast paced and amusing read.
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This book had me hooked from the beginning It was incredible read, original and heartfelt I thoroughly enjoyed it! The author knocked it out of the park with this debut novel. This book hit on so many relevant topics such as systemic racism, white privilege and corporate greed! Thanks to Netgalley for advance reader copy.
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Oh, this book. This book. Black Buck taught me so much about the modern world and it's issues. Books with an educative side >>>> Everything.

The author expressed the issues of racism in the form of satire - he is in one word, a Genius. This incredibly written novel is a gift for people of all ages. It's a book that should be read by EVERYONE. I loved following Buck as he tackled complications of white privilege and problems deeply-rooted problems of the system. The best thing about the whole reading experience was how I laughed through and through. I couldn't help but be mesmerized by how witty the whole storyline was. :')

If you're looking for a book to teach you important lessons about the real and important stuff - pick Black Buck up. You'll love reading it, I promise.
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This book is a wild ride!! I gasped! My jaw dropped! I was shocked and surprised! The writing was smart, satirical, witty, and compulsive. Mateo has a way with words that paints such a clear and sharp picture while still conveying a deep and meaningful message. The way he conveys racism is so painfully real that you wince because you can picture it really happening with such vivid imagery. I can’t believe this is his debut novel. I can’t wait to see what other stories he brings to life!
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A fun and propulsive book that I saw described somewhere as a mix of Sorry to Bother You and Wolf of Wall Street, and I cannot beat that summary. The plot seemed a little predictable at first, but the last third made up for it with some decent unexpected developments. The satire was a little too blunt and on the nose to be fully effective though.
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I received this Review Copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you so much Netgalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for giving me this opportunity to read and review this amazing book. A very big Thank You!!


Black Buck is an amazing novel written by Mateo Askaripour. The author’s writing style was extremely exceptional, that it had the ability to attract the reader’s attention from the very first page. The total way in which the author has sketched the entire novel was mind-blowing-ly amazing. The plot was very straight and clear. The plot moved ahead flawlessly and there was not even a single scenario which was written down pointlessly. Every scene had a reason and it helped structuring the plot perfectly.

The book has been divided into 5 parts and each part spoke about different and crucial phases of the Protagonist’s life. Each and every line written on the pages of this book was like a compilation of golden words.

This book is simply about Sales. Sales is one of the very high demanding jobs with lot of pressure and targets to achieve every single day. Not everybody can do sales because taking money out of someone’s pocket with their consent is definitely not an easy job. Particularly when the people are so hellbent not to spend their money.

This book was like a mini guide to sales, if you read this book and follow whatever the protagonist of this book asks you to do, you will become hell of a Salesperson. It was so accurate and authentic. Either the author must have been a real life Salesman in the past or he has done a tremendous job with his researches.

The sales lessons that Buck teaches the readers throughout the book was very interesting and easy to learn. These lessons will not just help the readers learn about sales but also about life in a greater depth. This is one of the best attributes of Black Buck.

The characterization of Buck was done very authentically and realistically because the author had deliberately shown the change in Buck’s character with every phenomenal events of his life. And it is genuine for a normal human to change after encountering certain changes in their life and lifestyle. Flaws exhibited in Buck’s character made him so real and relatable. Not just Buck, every support character her their own battles to fight and that defined why they behave and do certain things the way they do. They were a lot of support character and each and everyone of them had their own distinct part to be played.

Especially the lessons learnt from Wally Cat was life changing. How he gave big and complicated life lessons which would solve people’s problems just by simply sitting on the streets was awe-inspiring. The role played by Buck’s mom was very significant, she made him a better man and she brought about a lot of impact on him.

The problems and day to day difficulties faced by Black American in the world, especially corporate and sales world had been beautifully written. This book also exhibited the emotions of Black Americans in a greater depth. The initiative taken by Buck for his fellow people was really amazing and the author was considerate enough to give the required push to build Buck’s character appropriately in order to become that kind of an hero, that he was.

The turn this book took halfway through the book was seriously unique and it was something no one would have anticipated. The movement created by Buck and how Buck and his friends worked towards the betterment of all their lives was amazing. This quote “Each one teach one” was fantastically followed and executed in this book. The ideology that this book exhibit was really inspiring.

This book had a very good vibe to it. It was extremely fast pacing and informative as well. The author also vividly told about the life of a Salesperson. How occupied, busy and fast pacing their life will be and how that kind of a workaholic attitude of a Salesperson brings about a toll in their personal life has been written down so realistically.

On the whole, it was a mind blowing book. How it started and how it ended was really nice. And the parts in-between were nothing short of amazement.


Right now, I am working in Sales field and it felt really relatable. I could relate with each and everything that has been told in the book. I could almost find each and every word which had been taught to me during my sales training period has been written on the pages of this book. I immediately texted my training manager and told him about this book. It was so akin and that’s one of the reasons why I liked this book so much.

I was relying on the ending of this book to make a life decision and I guess this book helped me get a clear head. I kind of had mixed feelings about the ending of the book but when you think it through again and again in your head, you will realize it was the most apt ending and you will get accustomed to it. That’s what happened to me with this book as well. Initially I was not so very okay but then I started liking it.

There were lot of good quotes throughout the book, I almost highlighted 40 percent of this book. There was also emotional stuffs infiltrated into the book and the one which was very heart touching was the letter written to Buck by his mother. It had lots of values and lessons to learn. I cried a lot while reading it and also learnt a lot.

I generally like books written by Black authors and this book did not let me down. I absolutely loved this book. I learnt a thing or two about life and emotions of Black Americans and I would love to learn more about them. It was such a wonderful read. I’m so glad, I decided to read this book and I’m thankful for Netgalley and the publishers gave me the opportunity to read this book.

There are certain life altering books which could impact you in a way like you have never ever been. I loved this book so much and the things I learnt from this book will definitely stay in my heart forever. I hope it had brought about some solid positive change in my thought process and attitude.

My rating for this book would definitely be 5 out of 5 stars

I would like recommend this book to all the people who are working in the field of sales to read it without fail. If you are someone who is interested in reading multi-cultural interest kind of books then you can absolutely pick up this book. If you want to try something new, then please pick up this book, I promise this book will give you lot of takeaways!!

Do read this book and tell us how you feel about it.

Happy reading Folks 

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Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

This debut novel was so much more than I imagined it could be. It follows Darren (later known as Buck) through his tumultuous ride from a comfortable yet fulfilling life working at a Starbucks to later working at a start-up in New York City. While I personally have never worked at a start-up (which actually seemed more like a fraternity or a cult from these pages), I felt as if this novel so accurately portrayed the BIPOC experience in the working world coupled with microaggressions and outlandish comments by peers and higher-ups of the like.

I have seen many mentions of this novel being compared or placed side by side with the film Sorry to Bother You, which might I add was fantastic but the ending was so strange at the same time. While these are both stories that follow Black men in the startup world, I believe they both have different takeaways. I was able to hop onto one of the author's Instagram lives and asked his thoughts on the comparison of his novel with this film - he brought up how he wanted to be the first one to tell a story of a Black man in a startup, but conversely how that is a scarcity mentality. 

Overall, this book was fabulous (and made the NYT Bestseller list, congrats!) It made me really feel angry about many things that happened throughout the novel (btw Clyde sucks).

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the gifted e-book!
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Black Buck (2021) by Mateo Askaripour is a satirical modern-day hero’s journey of a young black man at a tech startup. Darren “Buck” Vender is 22 and smart. He is still living at home with his mother, has a steady girlfriend and a job at Starbucks. He was his high school valedictorian and never attended college. As the story begins, he is poached away from Starbucks by the CEO of a tech startup called Sumwun. As the only black person he is exposed to all the white cultural craziness, prejudice, and racism in the company. He is challenged at every turn because of his color and lack of Ivy league education. Yet he (mostly) prevails. Askaripour handles all the issues with tremendous skill and humor, and his book is an accessible and enjoyable reading experience. My thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book for an honest review.
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Darren is a 22 year old Starbuck’s barista and he’s very content with his life, but has the potential and talent for so much more.  When he upsells the right person, his life changes and he finds himself working in a startup and a name for himself. 
I don’t often enjoy satirical fiction, but this was so well done reading as part memoir, part thriller and part cautionary tale.  I alternately rooted for “Buck” and hated his choices, but found that I couldn’t put it down once I started.  It definitely takes aim at current culture and the concept of the American Dream.  I didn’t particularly love the ending, but I understand why it was written that way.  Overall, it was funny, smart and highly entertaining.
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I absolutely loved the book. It was a fast pace read and wow, it was full with contemporary issues. Buck, a former Starbucks barista starts a new job as a sales person in a new start up. It's a very toxic environment and he is the only African American on board. Determined and ready to succeed he doesn't give up in this environment and makes it to the top. And making it to the top always comes with it's price and this story is like a roller coaster about work issues, race issues and much much more . Absolutely adored it and can't wait to read more from Mateo Askaripour!
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Darren is 22-years-old, living in Bed-Stuy with his mom, content to work at Starbucks as he has been doing for the past four years. His mom sees his potential, but he's fine working at 'Bucks and spending hanging out with his girlfriend. Darren is presented with an opportunity in a chance encounter with CEO of Sumwun, Rhett, Darren is hesitant to take it, but his mom encourages him to seize it. Despite not having a college education, despite his lack of connections many of the other staff on the team have, despite the fact that he is the only Black man in the company. And above all, the fact that the head of the sales team, Clyde, pulls some racist hazing...Darren finds a way to success.

This is the story of Darren aka "Buck" as he fast-passes his way through start-up corporate America in a satirical novel that echoes the unbelievability of American Psycho, intensity of Wolf of Wall Street , and a dash of powerplays and chess moves from Starz's Power. Darren is a likeable character who makes some (REALLY) dumb mistakes and loses himself to the siren song of corporate America. In his downfall, he finds a way to buck the system. The novel is written like a handbook for folks wanting to go into sales, which was very meta. The pace was a little too fast in terms of the timeline for Darren to be so into Sumwun and have such a strong connection with Rhett, but again, it highlights the cult-like atmosphere.

Anyone who has had any experience, even peripherally, with corporate culture, can appreciate some of the references and recognize the shifting of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts of many companies. Very fun, twisty, over-the-top (maybe not so over-the-top?? Especially considering some BIPOC folks at a cloud-based company who have recently shared their experiences of microaggression and exclusion with the interwebs...) read that made me shake my head, cringe, groan, laugh. I can't wait for more from Mateo Askaripour!
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I’m judging a 2021 fiction contest. It’d be generous to call what I’m doing upon my first cursory glance—reading. I also don’t take this task lightly. As a fellow writer and lover of words and books, I took this position—in hopes of being a good literary citizen. My heart aches for all the writers who have a debut at this time. What I can share now is the thing that held my attention and got this book from the perspective pile into the read further pile. 

“It’s important for you to know that we weren’t poor, that not everyone living in what some white folks think is the hood is poor.” -I was grateful for the beginning of what proved to be a  neat and complicated narrative.
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Black Buck is a well written story involving topics of racism, ambition, feelings, wishes. It is entertaining. Being a Starbucks addict, I really enjoyed it!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC.
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This book was unlike anything I’ve read before and I can’t believe it’s the author’s debut novel. I think it’s better to go into it not knowing much about the story. It’s definitely a book that will make you think and feel. Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
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