Books for a New President

The New York Times published an interesting article called From Books, New President Found Voice on President Obama’s approach to reading, with a sidebar called “A Reading List That Shaped a President” listing the books mentioned in the article as significant to Obama, including the Bible, “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson and “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville.

In the comments section, now closed, the Times asked public what books they would recommend to the new President, and they got some interesting responses : “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson, “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge” by Edward O. Wilson, and “Flatland” by Edwin A. Abbott. Many gave reasons for their recommendations, and a few gave other advice.

While most people wanted the President to read widely and deeply to provide himself with the wisdom and knowledge he’ll need as a world leader, Harry Reynolds, of Scarsdale, New York, who offered this advise to the President : “Read any book that disengages your mind from the tasks at hand. Literature should be your refuge and not your source of instruction.” and added “…use a low energy reading lamp. It will tend to induce the sleep you will need and thus benefit you more than any book can yield.”

Libraries might get some equally interesting responses to this question, and the choices might make an interesting display for Presidents Day.

From Books, New President Found Voice
Article by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, January 18, 2009

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