Gang Leader for a Day is an autobiography written by Sudhir Venkatesh, about the urban poor life in Chicago. As explained in the beginning of the book, Venkatesh graduated from the University of Chicago and landed a research job, to learn about how different factors in various poor neighborhoods affected and influenced the young residents.
Instead of taking the traditional route of research, Sudhir decided to become a “rouge sociologist” and get a first-hand view of the life in a gang. In the book he discusses, reflects and describes the lives of a gang called the Black Kings, whom he befriends and gets to know on a deeper level than he believes he would have known by reading history books on the matter. In addition, he tried to be gang leader for a day, hereby learning the structure and business side of a gang.
Accompanying the book, there are documents and articles written and published by Sudhir from his research and time with the gang.