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  • Published: 26 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9780143119623
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $32.99

Losing My Cool

Love, Literature, and a Black Man's Escape from the Crowd



"A provocative, intellectual memoir" (USA Today)-from a remarkable new literary voice.

Growing up, Thomas Chatterton Williams knew he loved three things in life: his parents, literature, and the intoxicating hip-hop culture that surrounded him. For years, he managed to juggle two disparate lifestyles, "keeping it real" in his friends' eyes and studying for the SATs under his father's strict tutelage-until it all threatened to spin out of control. Written with remarkable candor and emotional depth, Losing My Cool portrays the allure and danger of hip-hop culture with the authority of a true fan who's lived through it all, while demonstrating the saving grace of literature and the power of the bond between father and son.

  • Published: 26 April 2011
  • ISBN: 9780143119623
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $32.99

Praise for Losing My Cool

"Losing My Cool starts out as an explicit argument about "loss of discipline and spirit in the hip-hop era" and shape-shifts into an engaging, well-written memoir. . . . There is much to admire in Losing My Cool, and more to anticipate from Williams. -Jabari Asim, Washington Post "Fanwood, N.J., does not have a literary pedigree, or even a downtown bookstore, and yet it has produced a very talented writer. In this memoir, Williams is transformed from a skinny teenager who shoots hoops, gets into bloody brawls and smacks his girlfriend, into a philosophy major and author." -Tara McKelvey, New York Times Advance Reader Reviews from BookBrowse: Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Froma F. (Boulder, CO) Powerful indictment of hip hop culture This is an important book. Williams chronicles his life in hip hop culture and his eventual break from that culture as he moves away from negative values (empty materialism, denigration of women) into a life of self examination. Along the way he becomes a philosophy major and Williams is particularly gifted at explaining difficult concepts in language that makes them seem quite simple. Although this is not an introduction to Heidegger or Hegel, you will walk away understanding the ideas they propound. The book is filled with extraordinary insight about the values hip hop culture promotes, what it is like to grow up middle class and black in America and how pernicious the hip hop values are for most young, black people. Williams is very insightful and is most compelling when he reflects on his life. One caveat: Williams seems somewhat uncomfortable and overly self-conscious when writing about himself and the people he knows and in the early part of the book, the writing is stilted. Persist! This is a book that is well worth reading. Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Maria P. (Washington, DC) Culture Shift The ideas proposed in this book offer a culture shift away from what some believe to be popular, cool and hip. Hip today is not what hip was yesterday, and will not be what hip is tomorrow. The challenge for the young who want to be part of a group for reasons of safety, coolness or just belonging is to find the thoughts that can help create a cool, safe free society. The challenge for adults is to remember that what they do and say is heard and repeated by future generations. In "Losing My Cool" the family is challenging and wise and strongest group of all. Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Marta M. (Tustin, CA) An interesting read I found this book very interesting. In fact I couldn't put it down and I was reading it while on vacation. On vacation I usually read fiction. The author is well educated and the book is well written. It explained a lot to me about my fifth grade students. They all fans of hip-hop music but not so much with the education. This gives me a small insight into their world. This might help me in teaching them. I liked the way he blended philosophy with the fascinating story of his life. I don't think we have heard the last of this smart young man. I think that this is an important book that should be read by all. Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Terye B. (Scotts Valley, CA) How cool is cool? This was a fascinating story on so many levels. A young black man struggles for his identity and finds it in the black culture of Hip Hop and BET television. While fitting into a crowd, a group he never gets to know his true self. When away at college he finds himself and learns to appreciate the structured, collegiate life his father was preparing him for since childhood. This true story is told in an easy tone, and brings back all the teenage struggles for acceptance and the awakening of adulthood. I would highly recommend this for a book group. Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Irene M. (Ashland, OR) Losing My Cool This book is

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