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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.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.