Former President Barack Obama’s Recommended Book List

Our former President Barack Obama is known to be quite a bookworm. Every year, he releases his summer reading list, which has been a tradition since his White House days. From classics to biographies to essays, his recommendations have it all. You can also enjoy Obama’s favorite titles with his recommended book list. 

“Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincoln” By Dorris Kearns Goodwin (2005)

“Team of Rivals” is an intriguing study of one of the most significant political periods in the U.S., depicting how the politically brilliant Abraham Lincoln assembled a cabinet team that included his rivals. Dorris Kearns Goodwin’s work has greatly inspired Barack Obama and his presidential journey. 

He was once asked which book, he would bring to the White House, and he answered, “Team of Rivals.” On another occasion, he deemed it “an exceptional study in leadership.” 

“Life 3.0: Being Human In The Age Of Artificial Intelligence” By Max Tegmark (2017)

With the increasing number of smart devices, there’s no denying that artificial intelligence has become a massive part of our lives. And that’s what Max Tegmark discusses in Life 3.0, which has been featured on the former President’s summer reading list. 

Tegmark explored the different potential ways artificial intelligence might affect the entire civilization in the future technological age. He says that AI might bring its side effects but will still be highly beneficial to society. 

“Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History Of Racist Ideas In America” by Ibram X. Kendi (2016)

In “Stamped from the Beginning,” Ibram X. Kendi explores the thorough racist history of the western world, from 15th century Europe to the modern-day United States of America. The book reveals that, surprisingly, it wasn’t hatred or ignorance that gave birth to racist ideas, but great world thinkers and leaders devised them to justify or bolster existing life discrepancies. Barack Obama shared Kendi’s work during Black History Month to help gain more context about the struggles and challenges people of color have gone through and are still facing. 

“The Fire Next Time” By James Baldwin (1963)

Obama highly recommended The Fire Next Time after the tragic killing of George Floyd to comprehend better why people are angry and hurting. He said it is terrifying how James Baldwin’s words remain true to this day. 

The book is a groundbreaking piece on racial inequality and injustice, containing two personal essays. One is a letter written to Baldwin’s nephew on the hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, while the other examines his life in Harlem and the convergence of religion and race.  

“Exit West” By Mohsin Hamid (2017)

Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West tells the tale of two young adults, Nadia and Saeed, living in a war-torn unnamed city. The pair finds mysterious and magical doors that can take them anywhere in the world while discovering surprising truths. Barack Obama called Exit West a relevant and timeless fable that should be read to understand the practicality of migration better.

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