Jun 16, 2018

What he's reading: Obama shares his summer 2018 reading list

Former president Barack Obama smiling in a crowd.

Photo: Pool/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama shared his reading list on Saturday, saying there's "so much good writing and art and a variety of thought out there these days," though he'll "miss 'The Americans.'"

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

  • His take: "[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."

"The New Geography of Jobs," by Enrico Moretti.

  • His take: "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."

"Why Liberalism failed," by Patrick Deneen.

  • His take: "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."

"The 9.9 Percent is the New American Aristocracy," in the Atlantic by Matthew Stewart.

  • His take: "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."
  • Go deeper: The destruction of the American Dream

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

  • His take: "It’s an ultimately optimistic take from someone who believes the South will rise again not by reasserting the past, but by transcending it."

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

  • His take: "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."

The story has been updated to correct the title of Alex Wagner's book to Futureface.

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