100 Best Politics Books of All Time

We've researched and ranked the best politics books in the world, based on recommendations from world experts, sales data, and millions of reader ratings. Learn more

Featuring recommendations from Walter Isaacson, Reid Hoffman, Malcolm Gladwell, and 521 other experts.
1

1984

A PBS Great American Read Top 100 Pick

With extraordinary relevance and renewed popularity, George Orwell’s 1984 takes on new life in this hardcover edition.

“Orwell saw, to his credit, that the act of falsifying reality is only secondarily a way of changing perceptions. It is, above all, a way of asserting power.”—The New Yorker
 
In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave...
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Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Steve Jobscalled this book "one of his favorite" and recommended it to the hires. The book also inspired one the greatest TV ad (made by Jobs) (Source)

D J TaylorIn terms of how technology is working in our modern surveillance powers, it’s a terrifyingly prophetic book in some of its implications for 21st-century human life. Orwell would deny that it was prophecy; he said it was a warning. But in fact, distinguished Orwell scholar Professor Peter Davis once made a list of all the things that Orwell got right, and it was a couple of fairly long paragraphs,... (Source)

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2

Animal Farm

Animal Farm is one of the most famous warnings ever written. Orwell's immortal satire - 'against Stalin' as he wrote to his French translator - can be read on many levels. With its piercing clarity and deceptively simple style it is no surprise that this novel is required reading for schoolchildren and politicians alike. This fable of the steadfast horses Boxer and Clover, the opportunistic pigs Snowball and Napoleon, and the deafening choir of sheep remains an unparalleled masterpiece.





One reviewer wrote 'In a hundred years' time perhaps Animal...
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Whitney Cummings[Whitney Cummings recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Vlad TenevWhen I was in sixth grade I remember being very upset by the ending of [this book]. (Source)

Sol OrwellQuestion: What books had the biggest impact on you? Perhaps changed the way you see things or dramatically changed your career path. Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 (though Huxley's Brave New World is a better reflection of today's society). (Source)

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3

The Prince [with Biographical Introduction]

Niccolo Machiavelli's "The Prince" is intended to be a treatise on ruling and is considered by many to be a classic of political science. In the book Machiavelli offers many bits of practical advice on how to rule and even though the book was written in the early 16th century its ideas are still very relevant today. Where "The Prince" differs from other political literature before it is in its separation of the lofty idealism of morality and ethics from the practical demands of governing. It is this very aspect of Machiavelli's work that has made his name synonymous with an almost immoral... more

Eric RipertA fascinating study and still wholly relevant. (Source)

Neil deGrasse TysonWhich books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] The Prince (Machiavelli) [to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world. (Source)

Ryan HolidayOf course, this is a must read. Machiavelli is one of those figures and writers who is tragically overrated and underrated at the same time. Unfortunately that means that many people who read him miss the point and other people avoid him and miss out altogether. Take Machiavelli slow, and really read him. Also understand the man behind the book–not just as a masterful writer but a man who... (Source)

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4

The Art of War

For more than two thousand years, The Art of War has stood as a cornerstone of Chinese culture-a lucid epigrammatic text that reveals as much about human psychology, politics, and economics as it does about battlefield strategy. The influence of Sun-tzu's text has grown tremendously in the West in recent years, with military leaders, politicians, and corporate executives alike finding valuable insight in these ancient words. In his crisp, accessible new translation, scholar John Minford brings this seminal work to life for modern readers.

Minford opens with a lively,...
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Reid HoffmanReid read Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu as a boy, which informed his strategic thinking. (Source)

Neil deGrasse TysonWhich books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] The Art of War (Sun Tsu) [to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world. (Source)

Evan SpiegelAfter meeting Mark Zuckerberg, [Evan Spiegel] immediately bought every [Snapchat] employee a copy of 'The Art Of War'. (Source)

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5
"Jarvious Cotton's great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."

As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind...
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Recommended by Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Temin, and 2 others.

Mark ZuckerbergI read The New Jim Crow, a study of how the U.S. justice system disproportionately criminalizes and jails blacks and Latinos. Making our criminal justice system fairer and more effective is a huge challenge for our country. I’m going to keep learning about this topic, but some things are already clear: We can’t jail our way to a just society, and our current system isn’t working (adapted with... (Source)

Peter TeminThe new Jim Crow that Michelle Alexander is talking about is mass incarceration. (Source)

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6

Becoming

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along... more

Barack ObamaOf course, @MichelleObama’s my wife, so I’m a little biased here. But she also happens to be brilliant, funny, wise – one of a kind. This book tells her quintessentially American story. I love it because it faithfully reflects the woman I have loved for so long. (Source)

Piers MorganCongrats to @MichelleObama on sensational sales of her new book #Becoming. I always take people as I find them & when I met her at the White House, she was a delightfully warm, friendly & genuine lady. A great First Lady & now a best-selling author. https://t.co/nlSUHI01SM (Source)

Randi Zuckerberg"I love the book Becoming by @MichelleObama and Creative Curve by Allen Gannett." @GoldieChan (Source)

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7
Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding.
 
His starting point is moral intuition—the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt...
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A.J. JacobsAll about trying to figure out the gap between the red and blue states – Republican and Democrat – and it’s really interesting. (Source)

Akin Oyebode@eggheader @OnemuVictor1 @JonHaidt Abeg order two. I read Righteous Mind which he also wrote, and that was a very fascinating book. (Source)

Andrew M. MwendaThe best work on this is a book by Jonathan Haidt “The Righteous Mind: Why good People are Divided by Religion and Politics.” He argues that human beings have deeply entrenched moral intuitions which guide their assessment of reality. Facts matter very little if at all. (Source)

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8

The Communist Manifesto

"A spectre is haunting Europe," Karl Marx and Frederic Engels wrote in 1848, "the spectre of Communism." This new edition of The Communist Manifesto, commemorating the 150th anniversary of its publication, includes an introduction by renowned historian Eric Hobsbawm which reminds us of the document's continued relevance. Marx and Engels's critique of capitalism and its deleterious effect on all aspects of life, from the increasing rift between the classes to the destruction of the nuclear family, has proven remarkably prescient. Their spectre, manifested in the Manifesto's vivid... more

Peter SingerYes, it is. I chose The Communist Manifesto, rather than, say, Capital because it shows in a much easier-to-read, shorter work something that is central to Marx’s vision. Capital is much drier, and a lot of it is focused on economics, although there are some remarkable passages of Capital describing the conditions of industrial workers in England at the time. (Source)

Felipe Fernández-ArmestoMarx and Engels’s historical analysis is breathtakingly, brilliantly simple. I think it’s wrong but, again, you’ve just got to admire its genius. Obviously, without understanding the historical basis of Marx’s thought you can’t understand anything else in Marxism. (Source)

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9
In her ground-breaking reporting from Iraq, Naomi Klein exposed how the trauma of invasion was being exploited to remake the country in the interest of foreign corporations. She called it "disaster capitalism." Covering Sri Lanka in the wake of the tsunami, and New Orleans post-Katrina, she witnessed something remarkably similar. People still reeling from catastrophe were being hit again, this time with economic "shock treatment" losing their land and homes to rapid-fire corporate makeovers. The Shock Doctrine retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman's free... more

George MonbiotThe Shock Doctrine explains some of the mechanisms by which patrimonial capital acquires power and enhances its wealth. It’s a brilliant piece of work, and one of those rare books that changes the way you perceive the world. (Source)

Mat WhitecrossIt starts with the theory that moments of crisis have been utilised by the right wing in the US and other countries to manipulate people into following their agenda. (Source)

Donna DickensonNaomi Klein’s argument is that capitalism actually requires deliberately engineered shocks to the economic systems. (Source)

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10
Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the...
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Bill GatesI loved Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and highly recommend this one too. (Source)

Barack ObamaThe Oval office can be a lonely place, so reading about your forefather’s experience could only help. “The biographies have been useful, because I do think that there’s a tendency, understandable, to think that whatever’s going on right now is uniquely disastrous or amazing or difficult,” said President Obama in an interview. (Source)

Kobe BryantI loved Team of Rivals, and Leadership really built on the things I had taken away from that book. Moving from basketball to building a company, I needed to learn new and different leadership skills, and Goodwin outlines the different skill-sets of Lincoln, both Roosevelts, and Lyndon Johnson, accessibly. (Source)

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11
A historian of fascism offers a guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn towards authoritarianism.

On November 9th, millions of Americans woke up to the impossible: the election of Donald Trump as president. Against all predictions, one of the most-disliked presidential candidates in history had swept the electoral college, elevating a man with open contempt for democratic norms and institutions to the height of power.

Timothy Snyder is one of the most celebrated historians of the Holocaust. In his books Bloodlands and Black Earth, he has carefully...
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George SaundersPlease read this book. So smart, so timely. (Source)

Tom Holland"There isn’t a page of this magnificent book that does not contain some fascinating detail and the narrative is held together with a novelist’s eye for character and theme." #Dominion https://t.co/FESSNxVDLC (Source)

Maya WileyProf. Tim Snyder, author of “In Tyranny” reminded us in that important little book that we must protect our institutions. #DOJ is one of our most important in gov’t for the rule of law. This is our collective house & #Barr should be evicted. https://t.co/PPxM9IMQUm (Source)

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12

How Democracies Die

What History Reveals About Our Future

Donald Trump's presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we'd be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang--in a revolution or military coup--but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit... more

Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Michael McfaulNothing more I’d rather have than a book endorsement from @SteveKerr ! And it is a great book. https://t.co/i9XCw5H9YX (Source)

Steve KerrAdd this to your summer reading list. Great book. https://t.co/5OFnC2vskM (Source)

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13
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story...
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Bill GatesThe disadvantaged world of poor white Appalachia described in this terrific, heartbreaking book is one that I know only vicariously. Vance was raised largely by his loving but volatile grandparents, who stepped in after his father abandoned him and his mother showed little interest in parenting her son. Against all odds, he survived his chaotic, impoverished childhood only to land at Yale Law... (Source)

Ryan HolidayIn terms of other surprising memoirs, I found JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy to be another well-written gem. (Source)

Ben ShapiroA very well-written book. [...] The whole thing is a critique of individual decisions. (Source)

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14
With extraordinary access to the West Wing, Michael Wolff reveals what happened behind-the-scenes in the first nine months of the most controversial presidency of our time in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.

Since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, the country―and the world―has witnessed a stormy, outrageous, and absolutely mesmerizing presidential term that reflects the volatility and fierceness of the man elected Commander-in-Chief.

This riveting and explosive account of Trump’s administration provides a wealth of...
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Recommended by Tony Schwartz, Seb Eckersleymaslin, and 2 others.

Tony SchwartzFrom my experience of Trump, this is the most deeply accurate book that’s been written about him—the chaos he creates and which has enveloped all of us since he took office. Michael Wolff has a remarkable capacity to get inside the heads of people. He does it in this book just as he did it in his book about Rupert Murdoch. (Source)

Seb Eckersleymaslin@shandsaker @ScottKilmartin @Hsuen Agreed. It’s tabloid. Read James Comey’s new book, it is much better. Some great lessons on true leadership in there. (Source)

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15

Why Nations Fail

The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty

Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?

Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of what the right policies are?

Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra...
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Mark ZuckerbergMy next book for A Year of Books is Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoğlu and James A. Robinson. This book explores the different kinds of social institutions and incentives that nations have applied to encourage prosperity, economic development and elimination of poverty. This is a good complement to our last book, Portfolios of the Poor, which focused on how people live in poverty. This one... (Source)

Bill Gates"I read two books that raise big, interesting questions about social change and technological progress. I’m planning to write longer reviews of each of these books, but let me flag them for you now. One is Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson.The topic of this book is why some countries have prospered and created great living... (Source)

George MagnusThe role of institutions is really important for societal development. (Source)

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16
In the bestselling tradition of Why Nations Fail and The Revenge of Geography, an award-winning journalist uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers.

All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. Their choices are limited by mountains, rivers, seas, and concrete. To understand world events, news organizations and other authorities often focus on people, ideas, and political movements, but without geography, we never have the full picture. Now, in the relevant and timely Prisoners of Geography, seasoned...
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Lee MckenzieThis is a great book and by far the best thing I have read for a while. If you are curious about the world in which we live, geopolitics or just fancy something a little different, you couldn’t do much better than this. Coffee optional! @Itwitius 👏🏻 #prisonersofgeography https://t.co/Gd3G2tDVyT (Source)

Sunil Chhetri@TaranaRaja The cover got me and I'm sure the book is very, very interesting! (Source)

Lucas MoralesDepending on your interest and goals, if you are like me and always looking for the trends in the big picture then I highly recommend being an active contrarian reader. Read what no one else is reading. Your goal is to think outside the box. To look at the world and ask “why hasn’t this been solved?” And that gives you a roadmap as to what opportunities may exist for your entrepreneurial efforts.... (Source)

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17
Who are the immensely wealthy right-wing ideologues shaping the fate of America today? From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the agenda of this powerful group.

In her new preface, Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump's victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.

Why is America living in an age of profound and widening economic...
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Recommended by Brad Feld, Avi Asherschapiro, and 2 others.

Avi AsherschapiroWho could forget that great book of reportage, "Dark Money," about the shadowy mechanization of the Nurses Union & the Climate Change Youth Movement. (Source)

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18
The newest deluxe edition in the bestselling Capstone Classics Series This ancient classic has had a make-over. In recent years these Capstone Classic deluxe editions have caught the book buying public's imagination. The volumes of international bestsellers such as Think and Grow Rich and The Art of War have quickly become the market leaders. Now Plato's best known work, one of the most intellectually and historically influential works of philosophy and political theory, has been brought to life in this luxury, hardback, keep-sake edition.

This edition includes:
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Maria PopovaTim Ferriss: "If you could guarantee that every public official or leader read one book, what would it be?": "The book would be, rather obviously, Plato's The Republic. I'm actually gobsmacked that this isn't required in order to be sworn into office, like the Constitution is required for us American immigrants when it comes time to gain American citizenship." (Source)

Rebecca GoldsteinLiving today in Trump’s America, I am constantly reminded of specific passages in the Republic, most saliently his warnings of how a demagogue might arise in the midst of a democracy by fanning up resentments and fears. (Source)

David Heinemeier HanssonI’m about a third through this and still can’t tell whether Plato is making a mockery of Socrates ideas for the idyllic society or not. So many of the arguments presented as Socrates’ are so tortured and with so disconnected leaps of logic that it’s hard to take it at face value. Yet still, it’s good fun to follow the dialogue. It reads more like a play than a book, and again, immensely... (Source)

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19

Between the World and Me

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER [[ LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD [[ Hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading," a bold and personal literary exploration of America's racial history by "the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States" (The New York Observer)

"This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it."

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates...
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Barack ObamaThe president also released a list of his summer favorites back in 2015: All That Is, James Salter The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Source)

Jack DorseyQ: What are the books that had a major influence on you? Or simply the ones you like the most. : Tao te Ching, score takes care of itself, between the world and me, the four agreements, the old man and the sea...I love reading! (Source)

Doug McMillonHere are some of my favorite reads from 2017. Lots of friends and colleagues send me book suggestions and it's impossible to squeeze them all in. I continue to be super curious about how digital and tech are enabling people to transform our lives but I try to read a good mix of books that apply to a variety of areas and stretch my thinking more broadly. (Source)

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20

Fear

Trump in the White House

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.

Fear is the most intimate...
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Don't have time to read the top Politics books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.
21
Former FBI Director James Comey shares his never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career in the past two decades of American government, exploring what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.

Mr. Comey served as Director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. He previously served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and...
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Marc AndreessenCertainly the story is well known, but given author's propensity to post photos of himself wearing running shoes in Iowa, potentially relevant again starting next year? (Source)

Seb Eckersleymaslin@shandsaker @ScottKilmartin @Hsuen Agreed. It’s tabloid. Read James Comey’s new book, it is much better. Some great lessons on true leadership in there. (Source)

Joanna PeñabickleySilence is complicity — @Comey ; For the last 4 days I have been glued to #AHigherLoyalty. I sincerely hope all of you read this book about truth, integrity and ethical leadership. Best 📖 on leadership I’ve read in a while #ThankYou for your leadership and service. (Source)

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22

What Happened

“In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.” —Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the introduction of What Happened

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major...
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Recommended by Bobby Voicu, Brianne Miller, and 2 others.

Bobby Voicu"I also have Hillary Clinton's book 'What Happened' on the go right now and love it ... although not specifically business related, it centres around female leadership and the challenges that we face. Really eye opening & inspiring!" BRIANNE MILLER (Fo… https://t.co/QztUoai6Sx (Source)

Brianne MillerI also have Hillary Clinton's book 'What Happened' on the go right now and love it ... although not specifically business related, it centres around female leadership and the challenges that we face. Really eye opening & inspiring! (Source)

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23

Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.

How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the...
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Richard BransonOne example of a book that has helped me to #ReadToLead this year is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. While the book came out a few years ago now, I got around to it this year, and am very glad I did. I’ve always been fascinated in what makes humans human, and how people are constantly evolving, changing and growing. The genius of Sapiens is that it takes some daunting,... (Source)

Reid HoffmanA grand theory of humanity. (Source)

Barack Obamaeval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'theceolibrary_com-leader-2','ezslot_7',164,'0','1'])); Fact or fiction, the president knows that reading keeps the mind sharp. He also delved into these non-fiction reads. (Source)

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24
In this pathbreaking work, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky show that, contrary to the usual image of the news media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in their search for truth and defense of justice, in their actual practice they defend the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.

Based on a series of case studies—including the media’s dichotomous treatment of “worthy” versus “unworthy” victims, “legitimizing” and “meaningless” Third World elections, and devastating critiques of...
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Recommended by Louis Nyffenegger, and 1 others.

Louis NyffeneggerFew technical books and a bit of everything. The following books are currently sitting on my bedside table: "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", "Predictable Revenue", "Manufacturing Consent", "Agile Application Security". "Oauth In Action", "Serious Cryptography". (Source)

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25
The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama's call for a new kind of politics—a politics that builds upon those shared understandings that pull us together as Americans. Lucid in his vision of America's place in the world, refreshingly candid about his family life and his time in the Senate, Obama here sets out his political convictions and inspires us to trust in the dogged optimism that has long defined us and that is our best hope going forward. less

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"A wonderful, splendid book--a book that should be ready by every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and its hope for the future." --Howard Fast

With a new introduction by Anthony Arnove, this edition of the classic national bestseller chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home and the workplace.

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research,...
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Recommended by Lisa Ling, Alex Honnold, and 2 others.

Lisa LingI credit this book with propelling me to dig deeper, and to not always believe the narrative. (Source)

Alex HonnoldTotally changed the way I look at politics. (Source)

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27

Atlas Shrugged

This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators?

Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor — and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.

Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an...
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Recommended by Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Ev Williams, and 17 others.

Steve Jobsis said by his Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, to have regarded Atlas Shrugged as one of his “guides in life”. (Source)

Elon MuskA counterpoint to communism and useful as such, but should be tempered with kindness. (Source)

Travis Kalanick[Travis Kalanick mentioned this book in a Washington Post interview.] (Source)

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Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon...
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Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Bill GatesThis was a breakthrough to me. The framework Hans enunciates is one that took me decades of working in global development to create for myself, and I could have never expressed it in such a clear way. I’m going to try to use this model moving forward. (Source)

Nigel WarburtonIt’s an interesting book, it’s very challenging. It may be over-optimistic. But it does have this startling effect on the readers of challenging widely held assumptions. It’s a plea to look at the empirical data, and not just assume that you know how things are now. (Source)

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29
Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime? Freakonomics will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.

These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much heralded scholar who studies the stuff and riddles of everyday life -- from cheating and crime to sports and child rearing -- and whose...
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Malcolm GladwellI don’t need to say much here. This book invented an entire genre. Economics was never supposed to be this entertaining. (Source)

Daymond JohnI love newer books like [this book]. (Source)

James Altucher[James Altucher recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

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30

In a dramatic account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.


In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood's most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret...

more

Reese WitherspoonCongrats @RonanFarrow on your incredible book #CatchandKill. Amazing investigative reporting and A real thrill ride of a read. 📚 (Source)

Julie K. BrownThe parallels to the Jeffrey Epstein case are amazing in ⁦@RonanFarrow⁩’s new book. Imagine this same predatory behavior and coverup among powerful men — not at a TV-media network — but at the highest levels of our government. #perversionofjustice ⁦ https://t.co/wh2EJlg7iW (Source)

Bastian ObermayerI know I’m very late to this party, but: „Catch And Kill“ from the unrelenting @RonanFarrow is a hell of a read!! Need inspiration for how to hold the powerful accountable - or only looking for great entertainment? Get this book. https://t.co/y3xWkUTWhh (Source)

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31
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he...
more

Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Chris SaccaProud that @crystale and I could help fund the making of a film about one of our heroes, Bryan Stevenson. If you’ve read the book, then you know how powerful this film is. #JustMercy https://t.co/vNfXK4Imwr (Source)

Howard SchultzPerhaps one of the most powerful and important stories of our time. (Source)

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32

On Liberty

Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780140432077

Published in 1859, John Stuart Mill's On Liberty presented one of the most eloquent defenses of individual freedom in nineteenth-century social and political philosophy and is today perhaps the most widely-read liberal argument in support of the value of liberty. Mill's passionate advocacy of spontaneity, individuality, and diversity, along with his contempt for compulsory uniformity and the despotism of popular opinion, has attracted both admiration and condemnation.
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Nick CleggThe tradition is that it is given to the president of the Liberal Democrats rather than the leader, which is a subtle but important distinction in Lib Dem land. But you’re quite right. The traditions of J. S. Mill are still handed down like some sort of totemic emblem of everything that we’re supposed to still believe in, even now. It’s extraordinary, given it was written in 1859……What we’re... (Source)

A C GraylingOn Liberty is a very important document, and one which, because of the clarity with which one can read it and its brevity, is slightly passed over. (Source)

Peter SingerMill points out that very often, throughout history, people have thought that they were certainly right, and then turned out to be quite wrong. (Source)

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33

The Federalist Papers

Hailed by Thomas Jefferson as “the best commentary on the principles of government which was ever written", The Federalist Papers is a collection of eighty-five essays published by Founding Fathers Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay from 1787 to 1788, as a means to persuade the public to ratify the Constitution of the United States.

With nearly two-thirds of the essays written by Hamilton, this enduring classic is perfect for modern audiences passionate about his work or seeking a deeper understanding of one of the most important documents in US history.
more
Recommended by Barack Obama, Karl Rove, and 2 others.

Barack ObamaAccording to the president’s Facebook page and a 2008 interview with the New York Times, these titles are among his most influential forever favorites: Moby Dick, Herman Melville Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson Song Of Solomon, Toni Morrison Parting The Waters, Taylor Branch Gilead, Marylinne Robinson Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton Souls of Black... (Source)

Karl RoveI think this is the greatest explanation, in one place, of the American constitution, of the essential underpinnings and structures that make American democracy possible. This is how to view the constitution in its proper perspective, as a document of limited government, and enormous personal freedom – as an attempt to understand human nature and draw on both its strengths and its weaknesses to... (Source)

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34

The 48 Laws of Power

This amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive book synthesizes the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz with the historical legacies of statesmen, warriors, seducers, and con men throughout the ages. less

Charlamagne Tha GodThese are the books I recommend people to listen to on @applebooks. (Source)

Marvin LiaoMy list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make... (Source)

Ryan HolidayThere is no living writer (or person) who has been more influential to me than Robert Greene. I met him when I was 19 years old and he’s shaped me as a person, as a writer, as a thinker. You MUST read his books. His work on power and strategy are critical for anyone trying to accomplish anything. In life, power is force we are constantly bumping up against. People have power of over us, we seek... (Source)

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35

Democracy in America

Democracy in America has had the singular honor of being even to this day the work that political commentators of every stripe refer to when they seek to draw large conclusions about the society of the USA. Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat, came to the young nation to investigate the functioning of American democracy & the social, political & economic life of its citizens, publishing his observations in 1835 & 1840. Brilliantly written, vividly illustrated with vignettes & portraits, Democracy in America is far more than a trenchant analysis of... more

Karl RoveTocqueville was seized by the sharp contrast between Paris and America, where people did not wait for the central government, but went ahead on their own, and I think that’s vital part of what it is to be both an American and a vital part of what is America. (Source)

Yuval LevinIt lays out how ideas are translated into political institutions, and even more so into mores and habits and practices of everyday life. (Source)

Robert ReichTocqueville was not only a brilliant sociologist but he also saw the connections between American society and the budding capitalism of the 1830s. (Source)

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36

Outliers

The Story of Success

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player,...
more

Bill Gates[On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

James AltucherGladwell is not the first person to come up with the 10,000 hour rule. Nor is he the first person to document what it takes to become the best in the world at something. But his stories are so great as he explains these deep concepts. How did the Beatles become the best? Why are professional hockey players born in January, February and March? And so on. (Source)

Cat Williams-TreloarThe books that I've talked the most about with friends and colleagues over the years are the Malcolm Gladwell series of novels. Glorious stories that mix science, behaviours and insight. You can't go wrong with the "The Tipping Point", "Outliers", "Blink" or "David & Goliath". (Source)

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37

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

With its first great victory in the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the civil rights movement gained the powerful momentum it needed to sweep forward into its crucial decade, the 1960s. As voices of protest and change rose above the din of history and false promises, one voice sounded more urgently, more passionately, than the rest. Malcolm X—once called the most dangerous man in America—challenged the world to listen and learn the truth as he experienced it. And his enduring message is as relevant today as when he first delivered it.

In the...
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Casey NeistatAside from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Casey's favorite book is The Second World War by John Keegan. (Source)

Ryan HolidayI forget who said it but I heard someone say that Catcher in the Rye was to young white boys what the Autobiography of Malcolm X was to young black boys. Personally, I prefer that latter over the former. I would much rather read about and emulate a man who is born into adversity and pain, struggles with criminality, does prison time, teaches himself to read through the dictionary, finds religion... (Source)

Keith EllisonMalcolm X is somebody that everybody in America’s prisons today could look at and say, ‘You know what, I can emerge, I can evolve' (Source)

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38

All the President's Men

This landmark book details all the events of the biggest political scandal in the history of this nation--Watergate. Woodward and Bernstein kept the headlines coming, delivering revelation after amazing revelation to a shocked public. Black-and-white photograph section. less
Recommended by Nick Davies, and 1 others.

Nick DaviesWhat is so good about All the President’s Men is that most books about journalists are full of gun fights and car chases – but that’s just not what the job involves. Woodward and Bernstein simply wrote a great, really detailed account of the work that went into the case. I still use sections from it as case studies when I give lectures. (Source)

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39
An alternate cover edition exists here.

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point...
more

Kevin RoseBunch of really good information in here on how to make ideas go viral. This could be good to apply to any kind of products or ideas you may have. Definitely, check out The Tipping Point, which is one of my favorites. (Source)

Seth GodinMalcolm Gladwell's breakthrough insight was to focus on the micro-relationships between individuals, which helped organizations realize that it's not about the big ads and the huge charity balls... it's about setting the stage for the buzz to start. (Source)

Andy SternI think that when we talk about making change, it is much more about macro change, like in policy. This book reminds you that at times when you're building big movements, or trying to elect significant decision-makers in politics, sometimes it's the little things that make a difference. Ever since the book was written, we've become very used to the idea of things going viral unexpectedly and then... (Source)

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40
An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with... more

Geoffrey Miller@bdmarotta No, The Road to Serfdom by Hayek is the best book on modern evil (Source)

Yuval LevinThe Road to Serfdom is a very polemical book. It was published in 1944. It’s a warning not exactly about Communism, but about the coming of statism in the West, about the ways that some of the governing élites that Hayek saw, especially in Britain, thought about governing. The book is really mostly about Britain. He talks about the dangers of central planning, of the attempt to take over the... (Source)

Mitch DanielsThis book convincingly demonstrated what was already intuitive to me: namely, the utter futility, the illusion of government planning as a mechanism for uplifting those less fortunate. (Source)

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41
“It’s one of the best books on politics of any kind I’ve read. For entertainment value, I put it up there with Catch 22.” —The Financial Times

 

“It transports you to a parallel universe in which everything in the National Enquirer is true….More interesting is what we learn about the candidates themselves: their frailties, egos and almost super-human stamina.” —The Financial Times

 

“I can’t put down this book!” —Stephen Colbert

 

Game Change is the New York Times...
more
Recommended by John Doerr, and 1 others.

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42
Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas. Yet his survey is binocular: one eye has the rather distant vision of the evolutionary biologist, while the other eye--and his heart--belongs to the people of New Guinea, where he... more

Bill GatesFascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history. (Source)

Daniel EkA brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning book about how the modern world was formed, analyzing how societies developed differently on different continents. (Source)

Yuval Noah HarariA book of big questions, and big answers. The book turned me from a historian of medieval warfare into a student of humankind. (Source)

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43

Fascism

A Warning

A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world, written by one of America’s most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state

A Fascist, observes Madeleine Albright, “is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.” 

The twentieth century was defined by the clash between democracy and...
more
Recommended by Brad Feld, and 1 others.

Brad FeldAmy and I have been fortunate enough to get to know Madeleine Albright through our collective relationships at Wellesley. Amy knows her better, but I had an amazing dinner sitting next to her one night where I walked away thinking “I wish she had been born here so she could run for president.” The word “fascism” is once again being used so often as to mean nothing, so Albright spends 250 or so... (Source)

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44
"We were eight years in power" was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. Now Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America's "first white president."

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and...
more

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45

12 Rules for Life

An Antidote to Chaos

What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson's answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research.

Humorous, surprising, and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.

What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about...
more

Marc AndreessenA bracing disassembly and reconstruction of a theory of individual progress in the modern world. Fascinating compare and contrast with The Courage To Be Disliked. (Source)

James AltucherJust look at the table of contents: Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping Rule 3: Make friends with people who want the best for you Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them Rule 6: Set your house in... (Source)

Andrew Price@stewheckenberg @jordanbpeterson Thanks mate. I almost wish the book was published under a different author so more people would give it a chance. It’s really one of the best “how to fix your life” books around. (Source)

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46
In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America's most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible. less

Bill GatesIf you want a good understanding of how the issues that cause poverty are intertwined, you should read this book about the eviction crisis in Milwaukee. Desmond has written a brilliant portrait of Americans living in poverty. He gave me a better sense of what it is like to be poor in this country than anything else I have read. (Source)

Satya NadellaNadella is using this season to learn more in a variety of subjects. By the looks of it, he is interested in, among other things, virtual reality, the refugee crisis, and housing for the urban poor. (Source)

Noah KaganSurprising insights into the lives of people who were evicted. I make a lot of assumptions about these people. Turns out I was wrong WHY they get evicted. (Source)

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47

Permanent Record

Edward Snowden, the man who risked everything to expose the US government’s system of mass surveillance, reveals for the first time the story of his life, including how he helped to build that system and what motivated him to try to bring it down.

In 2013, twenty-nine-year-old Edward Snowden shocked the world when he broke with the American intelligence establishment and revealed that the United States government was secretly pursuing the means to collect every single phone call, text message, and email. The result would be an unprecedented system of mass surveillance with...
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Recommended by John Sargent, Kara Swisher, and 2 others.

John SargentEdward Snowden decided at the age of 29 to give up his entire future for the good of his country. He displayed enormous courage in doing so, and like him or not, his is an incredible American story. There is no doubt that the world is a better and more private place for his actions. Macmillan is enormously proud to publish Permanent Record. (Source)

Kara SwisherBtw @Snowden new book “Permanent Record” is quite good and surprisingly a love letter to the Internet as it was. (Source)

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48
Nine years before the Senate campaign that made him one of the most influential and compelling voices in American politics, Barack Obama published this lyrical, unsentimental, and powerfully affecting memoir, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller when it was reissued in 2004. Dreams from My Father tells the story of Obama’s struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother—a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego.

Obama...
more
Recommended by Robert McCrum, and 1 others.

Robert McCrumHe is really is a globish president and a brilliant writer. He is of Kenyan origin, grew up in Kansas and Hawaii. His reference is Islam, America, Kenyan tribal customs, Indonesia. (Source)

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49
In Strangers in Their Own Land, the renowned sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild embarks on a thought-provoking journey from her liberal hometown of Berkeley, California, deep into Louisiana bayou country – a stronghold of the conservative right. As she gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions, Russell Hochschild nevertheless finds common ground and quickly warms to the people she meets – among them a Tea Party activist whose town has been swallowed by a sinkhole caused by a drilling accident – people whose concerns are actually ones that all... more

Tony SchwartzArlie Hochschild is a brilliant writer and a sociologist of great empathy and insight. Although the book was written before Trump was elected president, it goes a long way toward explaining him, and more specifically toward explaining why people embraced him. (Source)

Clara Jeffery@jwpetersNYT Anywho, Arlie spent 5 years embedded in Tea Party culture. Her book was an NYT best-seller and a National Book Award finalist. And she was hardly the only one that did deep reporting on the Tea Party before and after the 2016 election. (Source)

Kate MarvelHochschild argues that all social groups have a ‘deep story’: a narrative that makes the complicated world make sense. (Source)

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50

The Fifth Risk

What are the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works?

"The election happened," remembers Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, then deputy secretary of the Department of Energy. "And then there was radio silence." Across all departments, similar stories were playing out: Trump appointees were few and far between; those that did show up were shockingly uninformed about the functions of their new workplace. Some even threw away the briefing books that had been prepared for them.

Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the...
more

Malcolm GladwellIt's good to be reminded every now and again what genius looks like. (Source)

Tom WolfeSaturation reporting, conceptual thinking of a high order, a rich sense of humor, and talent to burn. (Source)

Tim HarfordMichael Lewis could spin gold out of any topic he chose. (Source)

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Don't have time to read the top Politics books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

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  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
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51
Eckhart Tolle is emerging as one of today's most inspiring teachers. In The
Power of Now, a #1 national bestseller, the author describes his transition
from despair to self-realization soon after his 29th birthday. Tolle took
another ten years to understand this transformation, during which time he
evolved a philosophy that has parallels in Buddhism, relaxation techniques,
and meditation theory but is also eminently practical. In The Power of Now
he shows readers how to recognize themselves as the creators of their own
pain, and how to have a pain-free...
more

Roxana Bitoleanu[One of the books that had the biggest impact on ] The power of now, as time is a limited resource and we should spend it as wonderfully as possible. (Source)

Darrah BrusteinOthers include The Power Of Now which is powerful reminder that all we have is the present and helps give you meaningful ways to live in it, not in the past or the future. (Source)

Valeria Mercado@Ye_Ali The best book (Source)

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52

Common Sense

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves—and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives—and destroyed them.

Published anonymously in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was a radical and impassioned call for America to free itself from British rule and set up an independent republican government.
Savagely attacking hereditary kingship and aristocratic...
more

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53

Capital in the Twenty-First Century

What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate... more

Bill GatesCapital sparked a fantastic global discussion this year about inequality. Piketty kindly spent an hour discussing his work with me before I finished my review. As I told him, although I have concerns about some of his secondary points and policy prescriptions, I agree with his most important conclusions: inequality is a growing problem and that governments should play a role in reducing it. I... (Source)

David Heinemeier HanssonThis is the book that was catapulted by its conclusion: r > g. That the rate of return on capital is greater than the growth rate of the economy. Which means that capital, and the people who own it, will end up with a larger and larger share of all wealth and income in the economy as time goes on. It’s a dense dive into the historical data on wealth, income, and economic growth from the optic of... (Source)

George MonbiotPiketty explains the economic crisis that we face in ways that also explain the political crisis. He does this by talking about the rise of what he calls ‘patrimonial capital’: wealth arising from inheritance, rent, and interest payments which greatly outweighs any wealth arising from hard work and enterprise. (Source)

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54

Leviathan

'The life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short'

Written during the chaos of the English Civil War, Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan asks how, in a world of violence and horror, can we stop ourselves from descending into anarchy? Hobbes' case for a 'common-wealth' under a powerful sovereign - or 'Leviathan' - to enforce security and the rule of law, shocked his contemporaries, and his book was publicly burnt for sedition the moment it was published. But his penetrating work of political philosophy - now fully revised and with a new introduction for this edition - opened...
more

Jonathan WolffWritten more than three-and-a-half centuries ago in the shadow of the English Civil War, Leviathan remains a profound and relevant study. (Source)

Michael PeelThe idea of ‘the war of all against all’, what a man wins through strength is what he gets, has parallels in modern Nigeria. (Source)

Jonathan SumptionThe best reason for reading Hobbes is that no other philosopher has ever used the English language to such powerful effect. It is a really remarkable feat of dialectic. You find yourself agreeing with him at each stage of the reasoning as he builds up his case then, quite suddenly, you find that you’ve arrived at a conclusion which seems intolerable. (Source)

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55
Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.

Francis Fukuyama, author of the bestselling The End of History and the Last Man and one of our...
more

David Heinemeier Hansson[This book and "Political Order and Political Decay" is] a fantastic two-part book. (Source)

Venkatesh RaoThis two-volume book is basically a very extended study of history from that starting point of ‘What happens if you look at history as a convergent evolutionary path that seems to end in liberal democracy? (Source)

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56
Jon Stewart, host of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning The Daily Show, and his coterie of patriots, deliver a hilarious look at American government.

American-style democracy is the world's most beloved form of government, which explains why so many other nations are eager for us to impose it on them. But what is American democracy? In America (The Book), Jon Stewart and The Daily Show writing staff offer their insights into our unique system of government, dissecting its institutions, explaining its history and processes, and exploring the reasons why concepts like one...

more
Recommended by Lee Camp, and 1 others.

Lee CampThere’s not much of a political agenda in this book, although I guess the writers are largely on the left, but it’s just fall-off-your-chair funny. They go through the entire history of America and satirise accepted mythology in brilliant fashion. It’s made up like a textbook. It’s so funny it’s almost too much for a book. There are 20 good jokes per page and it’s 400 pages long. By the time you... (Source)

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57

Brave New World

Now reissued in a gorgeous hardcover edition: "one of the most prophetic dystopian works of the 20th century" (Wall Street Journal) must be read and understood by anyone concerned with preserving the human spirit in the face of our "brave new world." Huxley's masterpiece has become a bestseller once again after the American election.

Aldous Huxley's profoundly important classic of world literature, Brave New World is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically...
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Yuval Noah HarariThe most prophetic book of the 20th century. Today many people would easily mistake it for a utopia. (Source)

Ellen Wayland-SmithIt is a hilarious, and also very prescient, parody of utopias. Huxley goes back to the idea that coming together and forming a community of common interests is a great idea – it’s the basis of civil society. At the same time, when communities of common interests are taken to utopian degrees the self starts to dissolve into the larger community, you lose privacy and interiority; that becomes... (Source)

John QuigginThe lesson I draw from this is that the purpose of utopia is not so much as an achieved state, as to give people the freedom to pursue their own projects. That freedom requires that people are free of the fear of unemployment, or of financial disaster through poor healthcare. They should be free to have access to the kind of resources they need for their education and we should maintain and... (Source)

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58
Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It's not about carbon – it's about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better.

In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein, author of the global bestsellers The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, exposes the myths that are clouding climate debate.

You have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. You have been told it's impossible to get off fossil...
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59

The Origins of Totalitarianism

Hannah Arendt's definitive work on totalitarianism and an essential component of any study of twentieth-century political history

The Origins of Totalitarianism begins with the rise of anti-Semitism in central and western Europe in the 1800s and continues with an examination of European colonial imperialism from 1884 to the outbreak of World War I. Arendt explores the institutions and operations of totalitarian movements, focusing on the two genuine forms of totalitarian government in our time—Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia—which she adroitly recognizes were two...
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Recommended by Ruth Ben-Ghiat, and 1 others.

Ruth Ben-GhiatHer most useful (and her most chilling) conclusion for today is that totalitarian tools were not specific to Nazism or Stalinism or any ideology. Arendt’s words should be studied today by those who want to prevent the further spread of authoritarian regimes and the ideologies they are propagating. (Source)

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60
"One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Found­ers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of "privateers"; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rust­ing nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine.

Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a...
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61
A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright's remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two...
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Bryan CallenI love [this author]. (Source)

Mary HabeckThis is a fantastic account of the origins of al Qaeda, the individuals who laid the foundations of the organisation and why they carried out 9/11. (Source)

Peter TaylorIf anybody wishes to understand what Al-Qaeda is, where it came from and what it is trying to do, I think that this is the key book to read. (Source)

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62

Alexander Hamilton

The inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, National Book Award winner Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than...
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Travis Kalanick[Travis Kalanick changed his Twitter] avatar to Alexander Hamilton after having read [this book]. (Source)

Ryan HolidayRelated and with equal weight, I want to recommend George B. McClellan: The Young Napoleon by Stephen W. Sears (a biography of the talented but utterly delusional General George McClellan), Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S.C. Gwynne (a biography of the brilliant but manic Stonewall Jackson) and Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton (an equally brilliant, more... (Source)

Jim ManleyAm reading this book, it’s called Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Not sure if anyone has heard of it - but Hamilton calling john Adams a crazy President has a certain resonance in this day and age. History is amazing (Source)

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63

Nothing to Envy

Ordinary Lives in North Korea

Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population.

Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to...
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Recommended by Hyeonseo Lee, and 1 others.

Hyeonseo LeeShe includes great details that show everyday life in North Korea. (Source)

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64
The Sunday Times Bestseller and New York Times Bestseller.

'You will not be able to buy a more beautiful book for Christmas for somebody you love' Chris Evans

A book of hope for uncertain times.

Enter the world of Charlie's four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons.

The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. In Charlie's first book,...
more

Brooke HammerlingOnce in a while there’s a thing that just gets people to feel love & joy, and warmth & be inspired and touched all at the same time. It’s rare but when it happens it’s magical. That’s @charliemackesy and his important drawings and his new book #theboythemolethefoxandthehorse https://t.co/FHHdSruNKH (Source)

Fedor HolzFull Book Review of The Boy, The Mole, The Fox & The Horse: https://t.co/bNPgWdIyYl —— Simple but amazing book that I read from at random times throughout the week. https://t.co/qsPyGm8TEm (Source)

Kenton Cool@MrMarkBeaumont @AlexGregoryGB Think we ended up with 4 possibly 5 copies!! Great book though (Source)

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65
Al Franken, one of our savviest satirists (People), has been studying the rhetoric of the Right. He has listened to their cries of slander, bias, and even treason. He has examined the Bush administration's policies of squandering our surplus, ravaging the environment, and alienating the rest of the world. He's even watched Fox News. A lot.

And, in this fair and balanced report, Al bravely and candidly exposes them all for what they are: liars. Lying, lying liars. Al destroys the liberal media bias myth by doing what his targets seem incapable of: getting his facts straight. Using...

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66

Politics

What is the relationship of the individual to the state? What is the ideal state, and how can it bring about the most desirable life for its citizens? What sort of education should it provide? What is the purpose of amassing wealth? These are some of the questions Aristotle attempts to answer in one of the most intellectually stimulating works.
Both heavily influenced by and critical of Plato's Republic and Laws, Politics represents the distillation of a lifetime of thought and observation. "Encyclopaedic knowledge has never, before or since, gone hand in hand with a logic...
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67

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

From Senator Al Franken - #1 bestselling author and beloved SNL alum - comes the story of an award-winning comedian who decided to run for office and then discovered why award-winning comedians tend not to do that.This is a book about an unlikely campaign that had an even more improbable ending: the closest outcome in history and an unprecedented eight-month recount saga, which is pretty funny in retrospect.
It's a book about what happens when the nation's foremost progressive satirist gets a chance to serve in the United States Senate and, defying the low expectations of...
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68
Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers -- and why they often go wrong.

How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn't true?

While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He...
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Recommended by Ryan Holiday, Nilofer Merchant, and 2 others.

Ryan HolidayI'll put here what I emailed Malcolm when I finished the book: "Just finished your new book in one sitting yesterday. So good. You are at the height of your powers and remain an inspiration to all of us trying to master an un-masterable profession." It's a little less practical or self-improvement oriented than his previous books, but far more thought provoking. (Source)

Nilofer MerchantAn interesting analysis/ essay re Gladwell’s latest book —> https://t.co/5Ey1maNRyI (Source)

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69

The Wealth of Nations

In his book, Smith fervently extolled the simple yet enlightened notion that individuals are fully capable of setting and regulating prices for their own goods and services. He argued passionately in favor of free trade, yet stood up for the little guy. The Wealth of Nations provided the first--and still the most eloquent--integrated description of the workings of a market economy. less

Elon MuskAdam Smith FTW obv. (Source)

Barack ObamaObama, unsurprisingly, appears to be more drawn to stories sympathetic to the working classes than is McCain. Obama cites John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle,” about a labor dispute; Robert Caro’s “Power Broker,” about Robert Moses; and Studs Terkel’s “Working.” But he also includes Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and “Theory of Moral Sentiments” on his list. (Source)

Neil deGrasse TysonWhich books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] The Wealth of Nations (Smith) [to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world. (Source)

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70
A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin's corruption.

Bill Browder's journey started on the South Side of Chicago and moved through Stanford Business School to the dog-eat-dog world of hedge fund investing in the 1990s. It continued in Moscow, where Browder made his fortune heading the largest investment fund in Russia after the Soviet Union's collapse. But when he exposed the corrupt oligarchs who were robbing the companies in which he was...
more

Eric RiesThis reads like a thriller, but is an urgent and important story about the dangers of Putin’s Russia and the events leading to the Magnitsky Act. (Source)

Anand Sanwal@geoffreysbatt @patrick_oshag 2/ Reminded a bit of the story of @Billbrowder as told in the remarkable book Red Notice which chronicles his investments in Russia very early before everyone saw the opportunity (Source)

Jonathan KayAm reading @Billbrowder's amazing book Red Notice. Did not know incredible story of Bill's dad, who got his @Princeton math PhD at age 20. Like many Jews of era, suffered massive discrimination, stigmatized because of his own dad's communism. Then Eleanor Roosevelt saves the day https://t.co/Bp5PFiIxm1 (Source)

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71

The Social Contract

"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains."

These are the famous opening words of a treatise that has not ceased to stir vigorous debate since its first publication in 1762. Rejecting the view that anyone has a natural right to wield authority over others, Rousseau argues instead for a pact, or ‘social contract’, that should exist between all the citizens of a state and that should be the source of sovereign power. From this fundamental premise, he goes on to consider issues of liberty and law, freedom and justice, arriving at a view of society that has seemed to some a...
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72

Understanding Power

The Indispensable Chomsky

A major new collection from "arguably the most important intellectual alive" (The New York Times). Noam Chomsky is universally accepted as one of the preeminent public intellectuals of the modern era. Over the past thirty years, broadly diverse audiences have gathered to attend his sold-out lectures. Now, in Understanding Power, Peter Mitchell and John Schoeffel have assembled the best of Chomsky's recent talks on the past, present, and future of the politics of power. In a series of enlightening and wide-ranging discussions, all published here for the first time, Chomsky... more

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73

A Fighting Chance

An unlikely political star tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works—and really doesn't—in A Fighting Chance

As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher—an ambitious goal, given her family's modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but fifteen years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could...
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Recommended by Sean Kent, and 1 others.

Sean KentReally enjoying this book by @ewarren. She goes into deep detail about the 2008 financial crisis. She lays out what caused it, how to avoid it again and what was wrong with the bailout. What a brilliant woman. https://t.co/lRh9svdf47 (Source)

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74

Homage to Catalonia

In 1936 George Orwell travelled to Spain to report on the Civil War and instead joined the fight against the Fascists. This famous account describes the war and Orwell’s own experiences. Introduction by Lionel Trilling. less

Timothy SnyderThe reason why I am so fond of Homage to Catalonia, and see it as an even more relevant precursor to dissent, is that in it you can see a man of the Left learning to make the distinction that breaks down the Left with a big L into lots of little lefts. He comes to understand what Soviet power actually is, and that it is qualitatively different to the other sorts of Spanish left, or to European... (Source)

Ben ShapiroA lot of people have read Orwell's 1984, he actually wrote a book that's better. It's [this book]. (Source)

Timothy Garton AshAnyone who wants to go off and write about Egypt, Tunisia or Libya today should pack a copy of Homage to Catalonia. It’s brilliant reportage. As you know, it opens with a vignette of an Italian militiaman in the barracks in Barcelona and he only saw this guy for a few moments but it captures the excitement. (Source)

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75

Meditations

One measure, perhaps, of a book's worth, is its intergenerational pliancy: do new readers acquire it and interpret it afresh down through the ages? The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, translated and introduced by Gregory Hays, by that standard, is very worthwhile, indeed. Hays suggests that its most recent incarnation--as a self-help book--is not only valid, but may be close to the author's intent. The book, which Hays calls, fondly, a "haphazard set of notes," is indicative of the role of philosophy among the ancients in that it is "expected to provide a 'design for living.'" And it... more

Arianna HuffingtonI find [this book] so inspirational and instructive, it lives on my nightstand. (Source)

Chip ConleyI have given [this book] away to a number of people. (Source)

Marvin LiaoMy list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make... (Source)

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76

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today's most pressing issues.

How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?

Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted...
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Bill GatesHarari is such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking. All three of his books wrestle with some version of the same question: What will give our lives meaning in the decades and centuries ahead? So far, human history has been driven by a desire to live longer, healthier, happier lives. If science is eventually able to give that dream to most people,... (Source)

Brajesh Kumar SinghHarari, currently, the world's best historian and future analyst, is a gay! He is a Jew and writes his books in Hebrew! Got universal acclaim for his first book Sapiens, followed by Homo Deus and now the latest, 21 lessons for the 21st century! Salute to this genius, keep it up! https://t.co/s7R6oEbwiN (Source)

Eh Bee Family@harari_yuval This book is amazing. After every chapter...I pause...then freak out...then gather myself and keep reading. (Source)

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77

The Dictator's Handbook

Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics

For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don't care about the "national interest"--or even their subjects--unless they have to.

This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only in the number of essential supporters, or backs that need scratching. The size of this group...

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78
Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but here Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from California's subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many fast food's flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating,...
more

Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Carl HonoréThis book again pulled together a lot of things I was hearing about in a journalistic, methodical, rigorous fashion. I found it a very alarming read, but also a reassuring one. One of the charges leveled at those who sing the praises of slowness is that we can get tarred with the brush of new ageism or airy fairyness. I’m not at all from that school. I’m a journalist and rigorous, and I know that... (Source)

Barry EstabrookEric Schlosser takes apart a single fast-food meal and shows not only how it affects our health but also how the people who serve it to you are treated. He also looks at how the people in the slaughterhouses working with the cattle are treated, and so it shows you the true picture of the all-American meal – burgers and fries. (Source)

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79

No Logo

With a new Afterword to the 2002 edition, No Logo employs journalistic savvy and personal testament to detail the insidious practices and far-reaching effects of corporate marketing—and the powerful potential of a growing activist sect that will surely alter the course of the 21st century. First published before the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, this is an infuriating, inspiring, and altogether pioneering work of cultural criticism that investigates money, marketing, and the anti-corporate movement.

As global corporations compete for the hearts and wallets of...
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Recommended by Bogdana Butnar, David Lammy, and 2 others.

Bogdana ButnarI thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written. (Source)

David LammyThis is another modern classic worth revisiting. It charts how brands have become tangled up with identity – how they stopped being markers of quality and became symbols of identity and markers of status. Logos have moved from the inside label to being splashed all over products. Having a coffee in Starbucks is an experience not a product. What you wear helps signal your worth. (Source)

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80
"Sam Huntington, one of the West's most eminent political scientists, presents a challenging framework for understanding the realities of global politics in the next century. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is one of the most important books to have emerged since the end of the Cold War." --HENRY A. KISSINGER

Based on the author's seminal article in Foreign Affairs, Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order is a provocative and prescient analysis of the state of world politics after the fall of...
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Recommended by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bogdan Savonea, and 2 others.

Ayaan Hirsi AliThis is a very important book on the post-1989 context, and what the new world order would look like after the fall of the Soviet Union. It was written almost 20 years ago now, and it seems as if Huntington’s hypothesis is getting more and more credit than Francis Fukuyama’s (The End of History) about what the world will look like. (Source)

Bogdan SavoneaKissinger's "Diplomacy", Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" and Machiavelli's "The Prince". They pretty much shaped the first part of my life, defined my University choice and career path up until my late 20s. (Source)

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81

Utopia for Realists

And How We Can Get There

We live in a time of unprecedented upheaval, with questions about the future, society, work, happiness, family and money, and yet no political party of the right or left is providing us with answers. Rutger Bregman, a bestselling Dutch historian, explains that it needn't be this way.

Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilization – from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy – was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic income and a 15-hour...
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Recommended by Duan Pavlovi, and 1 others.

Duan PavloviThank you @rcbregman for this great book! (I am writing a short review, but only in Serbian for a Serbian daily.) (Source)

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82
From one of Barack Obama's closest aides comes a revelatory behind-the-scenes account of his presidency--and how idealism can confront harsh reality and still survive--in the tradition of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.'s A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House.

For nearly ten years, Ben Rhodes saw almost everything that happened at the center of the Obama administration--first as a speechwriter, then as deputy national security advisor, and finally as a multipurpose aide and close collaborator. He started every morning in the Oval Office with the...
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Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Jon FavreauWe published an exclusive excerpt from @brhodes new book, “The World As It Is,” which is one of the best, most honest memoirs I’ve ever read: https://t.co/XBg0ae2RCd (Source)

Dan Pfeiffer@dplaz19761 @colleen_curtin @AlyssaMastro44 @brhodes It's a great book, Ben is a supremely talented writer (Source)

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83
I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a...
more
Recommended by Adrienne Kisner, and 1 others.

Adrienne KisnerMalala’s story of triumph is a battle cry for girls (and boys) everywhere. Education can set you free. (Source)

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84

Long Walk To Freedom

Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country.

Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial...
more

Richard BransonToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Barack ObamaAs 2018 draws to a close, I’m continuing a favorite tradition of mine and sharing my year-end lists. It gives me a moment to pause and reflect on the year through the books I found most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to highlight talented authors – some who are household names and others who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018... (Source)

Bianca BelairFor #BHM I will be sharing some of my favorite books by Black Authors 21st Book: Long Walk to Freedom -Nelson Mandela Read about his journey from childhood to the struggles of living under apartheid to becoming a freedom fighter & leader of his country. He is inspirational! https://t.co/bdvZu0kbh0 (Source)

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85
Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

Big Oil and Gas Versus Democracy—Winner Take All

Rachel Maddow’s Blowout offers a dark, serpentine, riveting tour of the unimaginably lucrative and corrupt oil-and-gas industry. With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe—from Oklahoma City to Siberia to Equatorial Guinea—exposing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas. She shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth,...
more

Joy ReidThis week I had the chance to interview my pal Rachel @Maddow about her amazing new book, Blowout!! Tune in to #amjoy at 10am ET Sunday to check it out (and find out what Equatorial Guinea, Michael Jackson's glove, black oil and Texas tea have in common...! https://t.co/mTQZKIZT2T (Source)

Thebeat W/ari Melber[email protected]'s book, #Blowout, is now number one on The @nytimes Best Seller List for the second week in a row! https://t.co/Hyia070255 (Source)

Josh Long ( )😂 @maddow you’re so amazing. I’m listening to the Audible version of your fantastic book “Blowout” and just got to a part where you detail a sad, lonely existence and then - as an aside - declare “aw! Sad.” in a completely different voice 😂 (Source)

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86

The Handmaid's Tale

Before The Testaments, there was The Handmaid’s Tale: an instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (New York Times).

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the...
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Grady BoochI read this several years ago but — much like Orwell’s 1984 — it seems particularly relevant given our current political morass. (Source)

Cliff Bleszinski@HandmaidsOnHulu Done. Love the show, book is a classic, can't wait for season 2. (Source)

Jason Kottke@procload Not super necessary, since you've seen the TV show. This first book is still a great read though...different than the show (tone-wise more than plot-wise). (Source)

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87
An immediate national bestseller, Hegemony or Survival demonstrates how, for more than half a century the United States has been pursuing a grand imperial strategy with the aim of staking out the globe. Our leaders have shown themselves willing-as in the Cuban missile crisis-to follow the dream of dominance no matter how high the risks. World-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky investigates how we came to this perilous moment and why our rulers are willing to jeopardize the future of our species.

With the striking logic that is his trademark, Chomsky tracks the U.S....
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88
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man reveals a game that, according to John Perkins, is "as old as Empire" but has taken on new and terrifying dimensions in an era of globalization. Perkins should know. For many years he worked for an international consulting firm where his main job was to convince LDCs (less developed countries) around the world to accept multibillion-dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at Halliburton, Bechtel, Brown and Root, and other United States engineering and construction companies. This book, which many people... more
Recommended by Marc Andreessen, Anurag Ramdasan, and 2 others.

Anurag RamdasanAmazing insights into the economic warfare cast over the last few decades and its implications on the world in different ways

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89
New York Times Bestseller
National Book Award Longlist
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017


“This is one attempt to uncover how we got to this surreal political moment. It is also an attempt to predict how, under cover of shocks and crises, it could get a lot worse. And it’s a plan for how, if we keep our heads, we might just be able to flip the script and arrive at a radically better future.”
–From the Introduction

Donald Trump’s takeover of the White House is a dangerous escalation in a world of cascading crises. His reckless...
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90

The Law

How is it that the law enforcer itself does not have to keep the law? How is it that the law permits the state to lawfully engage in actions which, if undertaken by individuals, would land them in jail? These are among the most intriguing issues in political and economic philosophy. More specifically, the problem of law that itself violates law is an insurmountable conundrum of all statist philosophies. The problem has never been discussed so profoundly and passionately as in this essay by Frederic Bastiat from 1850. The essay might have been written today. It applies to our own time. It... more

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91

World Order

Henry Kissinger offers in World Order a deep meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era—advising presidents, traveling the world, observing and shaping the central foreign policy events of recent decades—Kissinger now reveals his analysis of the ultimate challenge for the twenty-first century: how to build a shared international order in a world of divergent historical perspectives, violent conflict, proliferating technology, and ideological extremism.

There has never been...
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Recommended by Mark Zuckerberg, and 2 others.

Mark ZuckerbergMy next book for A Year of Books is Quantum Physics for Babies! Just kidding. It's actually World Order by Henry Kissinger -- about foreign relations and how we can build peaceful relationships throughout the world. This is important for creating the world we all want for our children, and that's what I'm thinking about these days. (Source)

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92
Everywhere acknowledged as a modern American classic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest books of the twentieth century, The Power Broker is a huge and galvanizing biography revealing not only the saga of one man's incredible accumulation of power, but the story of the shaping (and mis-shaping) of New York in the twentieth century.

Robert Caro's monumental book makes public what few outsiders knew: that Robert Moses was the single most powerful man of his time in the City and in the State of New York. And in telling...
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Barack ObamaHe may have the country’s finest experts at his fingertips, but it still doesn’t hurt to read up on environmental and economic issues. (Source)

Ryan HolidayIt took me 15 days to read all 1,165 pages of this monstrosity that chronicles the rise of Robert Moses. I was 20 years old. It was one of the most magnificent books I’ve ever read. Moses built just about every other major modern construction project in New York City. The public couldn’t stop him, the mayor couldn’t stop him, the governor couldn’t stop him, and only once could the President of... (Source)

Ben GreenmanWell, if you look at a picture of a place, you can normally get a sense of what it’s like. But hopefully what books do, or what thinking does, is to show you what that place is like underneath. The Power Broker is the definitive history of how, in modern America, cities get built, power gets thrown around, neighbourhoods are overpowered by developers and politicians. It’s gigantic and it’s a... (Source)

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93
NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL, AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER

NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2019AN NPR BEST BOOK OF 2019 • ONE OF TIME’S MUST-READ BOOKS OF 2019 • AN ECONOMIST BOOK OF THE YEAR • A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF 2019 • A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST BOOK OF 2019

“Her highly personal and reflective memoir . . . is a must-read for anyone who cares about our role in a changing world.”—President Barack Obama
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Hamdi Ulukaya[email protected] rare moment when I’ve put your book down !! always learning from your integrity, brilliance, leadership & unwavering focus on human dignity. this is one book everyone must get.. https://t.co/5EzdiOUDRl (Source)

Mia FarrowObama thinks we should read this book & I wholeheartedly agree. Buy it, read it, share it with those you care about - it is an inspiring, riveting read. https://t.co/Hc6ekQ04M4 (Source)

Piper PeraboReading @SamanthaJPower amazing new book, The Education of An Idealist, and learning all kinds of inspiring things: @CarnegieEndow you are one of those inspiring things. Get inspired. Know your rights. And find ways to stand up and defend those rights, so we don’t loose them. https://t.co/dggmPWm5qB (Source)

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94
With a New Afterword by the Author

The New York Times bestseller, praised as "hilariously funny . . . the only way to understand why so many Americans have decided to vote against their own economic and political interests" (Molly Ivins)

Hailed as "dazzlingly insightful and wonderfully sardonic" (Chicago Tribune), "very funny and very painful" (San Francisco Chronicle), and "in a different league from most political books" (The New York Observer), What's the Matter with Kansas? unravels the great political mystery of our...
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95
7 hours, 46 minutes

Called "disgraceful," "third-rate," and "not nice" by Donald Trump, NBC News correspondent Katy Tur reported on—and took flak from—the most captivating and volatile presidential candidate in American history.

Tur lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half, following Trump around the country, powered by packets of peanut butter and kept clean with dry shampoo. She visited forty states with the candidate, made more than 3,800 live television reports, listened to endless loops of Elton John’s "Tiny Dancer"—a Trump rally playlist staple.
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96

The Path to Power

The Years of Lyndon Johnson is the political biography of our time. No president—no era of American politics—has been so intensively and sharply examined at a time when so many prime witnesses to hitherto untold or misinterpreted facets of a life, a career, and a period of history could still be persuaded to speak.

The Path to Power, Book One, reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and urge to power that set LBJ apart. Chronicling the startling early emergence of Johnson’s political genius, it follows him from his Texas boyhood through...
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Recommended by H W Brands, and 1 others.

H W BrandsCaro is another master storyteller. Like Parton, Caro supplements the written record with fresh evidence. He was a journalist. He interviewed all sorts of people and got information on Johnson that others hadn’t uncovered. He tells a great, gripping story. One of his volumes on Lyndon Johnson is called The Path to Power. Caro is fascinated by how people acquire power, what they use power to... (Source)

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97
Barbara Ehrenreich, our sharpest and most original social critic, goes "undercover" in Nickel and Dmined as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity.

Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings...
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Jim Edwards@Astrologic007 @ainecain @businessinsider @B_Ehrenreich @AndrewYang @carolhunter @esaagar @EmmaVigeland @kthalps @ErinBurnett @mviser Nickel and Dimed is a great book and everyone should read it. @B_Ehrenreich (Source)

Steve MarmelSide note — There’s a fantastic book about this: “Nickle and Dimed.” https://t.co/hykM6zvnBS https://t.co/xkCxxPBBnA (Source)

Angela PhamAnother form of non-fiction heartbreak. This is a timeless look at how most of America survives. You cannot be an empathetic business leader without this lens. (Source)

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98

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Read the cult-favorite coming of age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Now a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic.

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and...
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Richard Speight Jr.A pal for 30 years, @StephenChbosky ‘s first book #ThePerksofBeingaWallflower had a MASSIVE impact on me & countless others. Then came his great movies. Now..THE NEXT BOOK! Be like me & buy it THE DAY it comes out. (Then harass him until he agrees to put me in the movie! 🎥 🤠) https://t.co/02bMKPgF9A (Source)

Jamie GraysonHoly shit there’s no way this book is that old because that really ages me but I COMPLETELY agree. This book is a masterpiece and a must-read. Lessons about being human are in there and those are important right now. https://t.co/fF1spEFrUH (Source)

Rae EarlIt is a tremendously powerful study of PTSD, a mental health issue that isn’t talked about enough (Source)

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99
By Glenn Greenwald, star of Citizenfour, the Academy Award-winning documentary on Edward Snowden

In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the twenty-nine-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency's widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a...
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Recommended by Gilbert Rwabigwi, and 1 others.

Gilbert RwabigwiYour book, “No Place To Hide”, was a thrilling/insightful read. Can’t wait to flip through @Snowden’s memoir. 🙏🏾 https://t.co/pZPLxDpNcM (Source)

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100
Do you ever suspect that everyone else has life figured out and you don’t have a clue? If so, Rachel Hollis has something to tell you: That’s a lie.

As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the 20 lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t...
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Don't have time to read the top Politics books of all time? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.