The 5 Books Barack Obama Wants You to Read

Welcome to a truly enlightened book club.

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He may not be president anymore, but Barack Obama has continued to inspire his fellow Americans since leaving office through his work with his foundation, his speeches, and his social media presence. On Sunday, Obama took to Facebook to talk about something near and dear to his heart: books.

"One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it's on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon," he wrote. "This summer I've been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth."

Read on for the five books that Obama has recently devoured and recommends to others. And don't forget to notice that one of these books coincides with The 5 Books Bill Gates Says You Should Read This Summer.

Educated, by Tara Westover

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Obama describes this book as "a remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind." It was published in February and has since become a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Warlight, by Michael Ondaatje

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You probably know Ondaatje for his 1992 international bestseller, The English Patient. His most recent book, Warlight, is set in London toward the end of World War II, and "is a meditation on the lingering effects of war on family," Obama wrote.

A House for Mr Biswas, by V.S. Naipaul

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Obama decided to reread this acclaimed 1961 novel after V.S. Naipaul passed away on August 11. He described it as "the Nobel Prize winner's first great novel about growing up in Trinidad and the challenge of post-colonial identity."

An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones

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Published in January, this novel is "a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple."

Factfulness, by Hans Rosling

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$15; buy now at

Obama describes Rosling as "an outstanding international public health expert" and says that this "is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases."

It should be noted that Bill Gates has raved about the book as well, previously saying that it "gives you a breakthrough way of understanding basic truths about the world—how life is getting better, and where the world still needs to improve. And he weaves in unforgettable anecdotes from his life. It's a fitting final word from a brilliant man, and one of the best books I've ever read." He loved it so much, in fact, that he gave a free copy to every college graduate this year.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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