The Noble Hustle
Poker, Beef Jerky, and DeathBook - 2014
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."
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.
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;
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.