Dive into the literary world of Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President.

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, served from 2009 to 2017, making history as the first African American to hold this office. Prior to his presidency, he was a Harvard Law graduate, community organizer, and senator from Illinois. Known for his eloquence and calm demeanor, Obama's leadership style was characterized by his emphasis on diplomacy and progressive reform. His presidency was marked by significant events such as the passing of the Affordable Care Act, advocating for renewable energy initiatives, and overseeing the operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

Reading is important. If you know how to read then the whole world opens up to you.❞ — Barack Obama

Beyond his political achievements, Obama is well-known for his profound love of reading, which has played a pivotal role throughout his life and career. He often discusses how reading has been a source of solace and a means to gain a broader perspective on the world. An avid reader, he annually shares his reading lists, featuring a mix of contemporary fiction, non-fiction, and classic literature, reflecting his diverse tastes and intellectual curiosity. Books like "Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison and "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald are among his favorites, and he credits reading with helping him survive his presidency with his sanity intact. His own books, including "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope," provide further insight into his values and experiences, showcasing his ability as a compelling storyteller.

Barack Obama's Favorite Books

Last Updated: May 2024

This Other Eden

A lyrical exploration of a utopian community's rise and fall, revealing the complexities of idealism and human nature.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling's optimistic take on global trends challenges pervasive negative perceptions and demonstrates why the world is improving in many critical ways.


A gripping thriller that follows the dark and twisted path of a brilliant mind turned dangerously unstable.
Also recommended by:
Natalie Portman 

The Vaster Wilds

This novel transports readers into the untamed wilderness, where survival and human narratives interlace with the raw beauty of nature.

King: A Life

This comprehensive biography delves deep into the complexities and achievements of its subject, offering a detailed portrayal of an iconic leader's life.

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel captures the glamour and disillusionment of the Roaring Twenties through the tragic story of Jay Gatsby's obsession with a lost love.

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Elizabeth Kolbert's Pulitzer-winning work details the ongoing mass extinction caused by human activity, comparing it to past extinction events.
Also recommended by:
Greta Thunberg  Bill Gates 

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

Sarah Smarsh's compelling narrative challenges stereotypes about poverty by recounting her own experiences growing up in a poor, rural family in America.

Poverty, by America

A provocative exploration of how systemic forces and policies perpetuate poverty in one of the world's wealthiest nations.

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

An enthralling historical adventure set on the high seas, where survival hinges on a deadly bet among shipwrecked sailors.

Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology

An in-depth look at the global battle over semiconductor manufacturing, which is crucial to technological supremacy and economic power.

How to Say Babylon: A Memoir

This memoir provides a poignant look at the author's journey through personal upheaval and cultural displacement.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Melinda Gates offers compelling insights into how empowering women can lead to transformative improvements across societies worldwide.
Also recommended by:
Warren Buffett  Bill Gates 

American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment

Shane Bauer's book provides a harrowing look inside a private prison in Louisiana, where he worked undercover as a guard to expose the brutal realities and economic forces behind mass incarceration.

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

Nicholas Carr's insightful analysis explores how the internet is altering the way we think, read, and remember, arguing that it is reshaping our neural pathways.

The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism

This book examines the intense and often controversial role of American evangelical movements within the context of modern political extremism.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store: A Novel

In this heartwarming tale, a small-town grocery becomes the unexpected crossroads where various lives intersect and secrets unfold.
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