Over the course of his 8 years in office, America’s last literate president Barack Obama made a lovely habit of sharing his current reading lists with the public. (Find a complete list of every book recommended here.) Continuing this tradition on Facebook, he recently shared 6 timely selections he’s read of late, covering government, economic inequality, history and ‘truth decay.’

Including a brief piece of commentary on each title, Obama wrote: “There’s so much good writing and art and variety of thought out there these days that this is by no means comprehensive – like many of you, I’ll miss ‘The Americans’ – but here’s what I’ve been reading lately. It’s admittedly a slightly heavier list than what I’ll be reading over the summer.”

Find a list of the books and articles Barack Obama’s been reading below, a much-needed literary reprieve from 45.


Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen

“In a time of growing inequality, accelerating change, and increasing disillusionment with the liberal democratic order we’ve known for the past few centuries, I found this book thought-provoking. I don’t agree with most of the author’s conclusions, but the book offers cogent insights into the loss of meaning and community that many in the West feel, issues that liberal democracies ignore at their own peril.” -BO

Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life by Jennifer Kavanagh & Michael D. Rich

“The title is self-explanatory, but the findings are very interesting. A look at how a selective sorting of facts and evidence isn’t just dishonest, but self-defeating to a society that has always worked best when reasoned debate and practical problem-solving thrive.” -BO

In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu

“A few years ago, I eulogized the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who was slain by a white supremacist in his church in Charleston, South Carolina. And I’ll never forget something Clem said while he was alive: “Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history. We haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.” That’s something Mitch takes to heart in this book, while grappling with some of the most painful parts of our history and how they still live in the present. It’s an ultimately optimistic take from someone who believes the South will rise again not by reasserting the past, but by transcending it.” -BO

The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti

“It’s six years old now, but still a timely and smart discussion of how different cities and regions have made a changing economy work for them – and how policymakers can learn from that to lift the circumstances of working Americans everywhere.” -BO

The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy by Matthew Stewart

“Another thought-provoking analysis, this one about how economic inequality in America isn’t just growing, but self-reinforcing – and what that means for education, health, happiness, even the strength of our democracy.” -BO

Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner

“I once wrote a book on my own search for identity, so I was curious to see what Alex, daughter of a Burmese mother and Iowan Irish-Catholic father – and a friend of mine – discovered during her own. What she came up with is a thoughtful, beautiful meditation on what makes us who we are – the search for harmony between our own individual identities and the values and ideals that bind us together as Americans.” -BO

(via Facebook)

Categories: Politicians

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