The November issue of WIRED magazine contains a list of 10 books President Obama recommends for future leaders. Serving as guest-editor-in-chief, the POTUS laid out "the books that shaped him," which are listed below.
According to WIRED analysts, it will take the average reader 89 hours to make it through President Obama's essential reading list. That's a little over three-and-a-half days, or about how long a cup of the most caffeinated coffee in the world will keep you awake. For safety's sake, I recommend not trying to read these books without any sleep in between.
President Obama has recommended several of the books on WIRED's list before. Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction made the POTUS' summer reading list for 2015. President Obama also recommended Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens during an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria in September 2016. Harari's book also got Bill Gates' approval this summer, appearing on his annual recommended reading list.
So what does President Obama think future leaders should read? A lot of nonfiction, as it turns out. Although a few of the titles on the POTUS' book list could be classified as memoir or self-help, all belong under the nonfiction umbrella, with the possible exception of John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle. Otherwise, it seems, the president thinks you should put down Harry Potter and start reading about the real world.
Here are the books President Obama recommends for future leaders:
- The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln
- Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63 by Taylor Branch
- The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American by Richard S. Tedlow
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
- The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
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