12min
logo 12min

Start growing!

Boost your life and career with the best book summaries.

Start growing!

Boost your life and career with the best book summaries.

logo 12min

Gang Leader for a Day Summary

4 min read ⌚ 

Gang Leader for a Day SummaryA Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets

Sociologists and anthropologists are a strange bunch. Oftentimes, they risk their lives so that you can learn more about the world around you. In this case, Sudhir Venkatesh lived with gangs.

So that you can find out how it is to be a “Gang Leader for a Day.”

About Sudhir Venkatesh

Sudhir VenkateshSudhir Alladi Venkatesh is an Indian American sociologist, former professor of sociology at Columbia University. Currently, he works for Facebook.

He has written three more sociological studies, in addition to “Gang Leader for a Day”: “American Project,” “Off the Books” and “Floating City.”

“Gang Leader for a Day Summary”

We’ve treaded along this territory in the past.

Scott Berkun, for example, worked for a year without pants so as to find out what working for WordPress looks like. To up the ante, Joshua Foer became the 2006 U.S.A. Memory Champion so as to be able to write a book on memory and mnemonic techniques from experience. And Suki Kim even went undercover in North Korea!

However, you probably can’t compare any of this to what Sudhir Venkatesh did.

Namely, he decided to live for a while among the gangs around Chicago’s Robert Taylor Homes, one of the most notorious places in the United States.

Completed in 1962, the project was originally “the largest public housing development” in America; however, half a century later, there’s almost no family living in the area without at least one member of it in prison.

The streets are littered. Arson fire has blackened the houses. Police cars avoid the area. Emergency calls are routinely ignored.

So, what happened?

That’s a long story. And “Gang Leader for a Day” is not a book about that. It’s a book about what happens at the moment.

Scroll to Top