Barack Obama Reading List : How the Former President Picks Book Recommendations
The question of how the most powerful man on the planet found time to read Fates and Furies amid major world events like the Arab Spring and the killing of Osama bin Laden is a perfectly valid reason for skepticism—the guy was and is busy!—but Schultz says Obama found time to read because he sees reading as necessary, and he makes it a priority on his schedule. “He considered [reading] part of being a good leader, part of being a good president, part of being a good father, a good husband, and a good man,” Schultz said.
The feeling of connection between two people who love the same book is not one often felt between ordinary citizens and high-ranking government officials, but I can honestly say that when Obama announced Lauren Groff’s achingly beautiful novel Fates and Furies—my favorite book of 2015—as his favorite book of 2015, I felt I learned more about him as a person than I had from any profile, speech, or campaign ad.
After weeks of reaching out to publishers, authors, and book insiders, I could not find a single source with knowledge that the former president’s book recommendations are engineered by anyone other than himself. I may have set out to write an exposé, but what I found was so much more shocking: a positive publishing story filled with authenticity.
For one moment, I give you permission to forget about book bans, unlivable industry salaries, and diversity problems. For one minute, I give you permission to be grateful that one of the most influential people on the planet makes it a priority not just to promote books but to be personally moved by them.