What Books Inspired Our New President?

A New York City bookstore, McNally Jackson, has mounted an exhibit not of new books, but of books that inspired President Barack Obama as a young man in his 20’s. The exhibit is entitled “How History Was Made: Books that Inspired a President.”

“There is an incredible range of books and writers,” said McNally Jackson’s John McGregor, who came up with the idea for the display shortly after Obama won the election in November. McGregor conducted extensive research to compile the list of more than 50 featured titles, drawing on such sources as Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope and interviews given by Obama. “It was a really deep period of contemplation and study for him,” said McGregor. The young Obama’s reading selections ranged from Shakespeare’s King Lear and Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook to Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son. Also included in the display are some more recent books Obama has indicated reading, such as Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Gandhi: An Autobiography.

Here’s the list of titles read by Obama. Great idea.