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Publisher's Summary

A “daring, urgent, and transformative” (Brené Brown, New York Times best-selling author of Dare to Lead) exploration of Black achievement in a white world based on honest, provocative, and moving interviews with Black leaders, scientists, artists, activists, and champions.

“I remember the day I realized I couldn’t play a white guy as well as a white guy. It felt like a death sentence for my career.”

When Chad Sanders landed his first job in lily-white Silicon Valley, he quickly concluded that to be successful at work meant playing a certain social game. Each meeting was drenched in white slang and the privileged talk of international travel or folk concerts in San Francisco, which led Chad to believe he needed to emulate whiteness to be successful. So Chad changed. He changed his wardrobe, his behavior, his speech - everything that connected him with his Black identity.

And while he finally felt included, he felt awful. So he decided to give up the charade. He reverted to the methods he learned at the dinner table, or at the Black Baptist church where he’d been raised, or at the concrete basketball courts, barbershops, and summertime cookouts. And it paid off. Chad began to land more exciting projects. He earned the respect of his colleagues. Accounting for this turnaround, Chad believes, was something he calls Black Magic, namely resilience, creativity, and confidence forged in his experience navigating America as a Black man. Black Magic has emboldened his every step since, leading him to wonder: Was he alone in this discovery? Were there others who felt the same?

In “pulverizing, educational, and inspirational” (Shea Serrano, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Basketball [And Other Things]) essays, Chad dives into his formative experiences to see if they might offer the possibility of discovering or honing this skill. He tests his theory by interviewing Black leaders across industries to get their take on Black Magic. The result is a revelatory and essential book. Black Magic explores Black experiences in predominantly white environments and demonstrates the risks of self-betrayal and the value of being yourself.

©2021 Chad Sanders. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Black Magic

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Loved it!

Really appreciate the insights and stories shared in this book. Great resource as I too, look to find my Black Magic.

~Javair Clarke

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Black and PROUD

This book is everything, every BIPOC need to read right now!!! Absolutely validating, incredibly relatable, heart and gut wrenching at times (like we all know and expect) but fantastically well delivered. Will be sharing this as a must read to my circles!

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  • Ben
  • 2021-02-09

Moving!

A coworker and I found Chad Sanders through the Dare to Lead podcast and I just had to listen to the book. Beautifully sewed together his and others experiences into words and gave crucially important stories a voice shared. This book truly shook me, legit made me cry over and over again. Life has a different set of rules the darker your skin and the expectations of “whiteness” was so clearly outlined in the stories from the book. My husband and I admire the strength the authors parents had and aspire to raise up our own son to be brave enough to stand up to race bullies and let others know when comments are not okay. Just sent the book to another coworker and she’s already being moved by the stories. The world needs to be silent and listen to more of these voices and stories!

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  • hmf99
  • 2021-07-20

Cannot Recommend Enough!

A revolutionary read for the 21st century. So many important takeaways, and amazing interviews that offer so many enriching details in the stories of incredible Black Americans of all different backgrounds. As a white woman reading this book, I’m left feeling extremely grateful and inspired by the stories and messages shared by everyone in this book. On top of super important racial and social topics, the messages I got surrounding creativity and entrepreneurship are ones that will stick with me forever. Amazing!

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  • SNW28
  • 2021-03-28

Relevant to my yesterday and today

If I could capture every Amen as I listened! So many of the experiences in this book resonated with me and my journey for my truth. However, there were also important themes for developing magic at a young age in our black children.

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  • Ashley L Wendell
  • 2021-07-20

I learned so much!!

This is a must read for all but especially for people that work in education. We must do better with educating our students to see each other, learn from each other, and to honor each other. Thank you for sharing this with the world. There are many lessons in this for any reader that will listen, and I only hope that I can implement my own learning with the various students and people of color that seek a safe place in my office. Blessings - A School Counselor

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  • K. Noble
  • 2021-06-29

Required Reading

Thank you Chad Sanders and all of the featured voices for sharing your stories. This book was powerful and I—a cishet white woman—learned a lot by listening, knowing I was not the target audience. These stories are not *for* me, but they have changed me and I’m honored to have heard them. I hope more people take the time to put themselves in the shoes of others so that we can change and grow.

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  • emily
  • 2021-05-01

amazing

fantastic book, loved how the interviewees were in their own voices. great narrative and insights

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  • Alli2sons
  • 2021-03-31

very worthwhile and informative

I heard Chad Sanders on a podcast and knew I wanted to read his book. The audible tempted me as I really enjoyed his story and energy on the podcast (Brene Brown). I enjoyed the book but found it sounded very scripted, and that was a distraction at times. The premise and individual narratives are incredibly powerful. I highly recommend reading or listening.

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  • Brittany Hines
  • 2021-03-25

Educational, Inspiring, Humorous and Enduring

I am upset I’m finished listening to this book. I felt so connected with the stories in this book that I had to end my sessions short because it pulled something out of me I didn’t want to face. I’m glad I returned and decided to stay plugged in because this book is so assuring and fellowship-ie. I felt apparent and seen. This book is for those that are swimming in pools where they are the only person wearing a swim cap or du-rag. This is for those with the upbringing of being from both sides of the track. Yes Chad Sanders, you got it right!

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  • Anand Narayan
  • 2021-03-15

Must read

Powerful account from Chad Sanders and many other speakers. A must read for anyone in leadership positions. Grateful that he and many others have been willing to share their personal stories to foster a better world.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2022-03-28

Outstanding!!

This was an exceptional book. Every interview was inspiring, motivating and thought provoking. This is one I’ll give to my children and friends