Here’s what you can learn from the books that Trump, Obama, Sheryl Sandberg and Oprah are reading now.
It’s time to hit the books.
Even if you’re not enrolled in any classes this fall, there’s something about summer beach days coasting into sweater weather that gets many of us nostalgic about going back to school. So why not take a page from what world leaders, CEOs and celebrities have been burying their noses in?
And an endorsement from these notable book worms can translate into big sales. Publisher’s Weekly noted earlier this month that two political tell-alls that President Trump raved about on Twitter — “The Russia Hoax” and “The Briefing” — debuted at No. 1 and No. 7, respectively on its list. (They debuted at No. 1 and No. 13 on The New York Times Best Sellers list, where “The Russia Hoax” has remained at the top for the past three weeks, as well.) In the first 25 years of Oprah’s Book Club, USA Today estimated that the 70 “Oprah edition” titles sold 55 million copies. Her most recent pick, “The Sun Does Shine,” spent five weeks on the Times Best Sellers list earlier this summer, while former President Obama’s selection “Educated” has been up there for 25 weeks.
Here’s what you can learn from the tomes that notable men and women are reading, in their own words.
President Donald Trump: “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump,” by Gregg Jarrett; “The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President,” by Sean Spicer; “9 Rules of Engagement,” by Harris Faulkner; “The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It,” by Andy Puzder
The Commander-in-Chief has said he doesn’t have much time to read, but when he does, he shares his reading recommendations on Twitter. They have recently included his former press secretary Spicer’s new book, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President.” Trump posted, “A friend of mine and a man who has truly seen politics and life as few others ever will, Sean Spicer, has written a great new book … a story told with both heart and knowledge.” And “Fox News” anchor Faulkner (the network is owned by the same parent company as Moneyish) is praised by the sitting president for her work, which “shares lessons from a military family.”
Former President Barack Obama: “Educated” by Tara Westover; “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje; “A House for Mr. Biswas” by V.S. Naipaul; “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones; “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling
“One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon,” the 44th POTUS wrote on Facebook, listing the books that have “reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth.” They include Westover’s autobiography published last February, which he describes as “a remarkable memoir of a young woman raised in a survivalist family in Idaho who strives for education while still showing great understanding and love for the world she leaves behind.” And he cited Rosling’s recent “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” as “a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.”
Bill Gates, “Leonardo Da Vinci” by Walter Isaacson; “Everything Happens for a Reason” by Kate Bowler; “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling
The Microsoft founder shared his summer reading list with Fortune, noting that “I think Leonardo was one of the most fascinating people ever,” and Bowler’s memoir, “revolves around one of life’s hardest questions: Why me?” He’s also reading “Factfulness,” stating that, “it’s a fitting final word from a brilliant man, and one of the best books I’ve ever read.”
With technology so present in our lives, I often wonder: have we gone too far? I recently read “Your Happiness Was Hacked” by @AlexSalkever & @wadhwa, and was captivated by their take on this question — add it to your list! pic.twitter.com/2g4gOVPypz
— Indra Nooyi (@IndraNooyi) July 25, 2018
Indra Nooyi, “Your Happiness Was Hacked” by Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever
The outgoing PepsiCo CEO raved about this recently-released book questioning the consequences of society’s tech obsession. “With technology so present in our lives, I often wonder: have we gone too far?” she tweeted. “I recently read “Your Happiness Was Hacked” by @AlexSalkever & @wadhwa, and was captivated by their take on this question — add it to your list!”
Sheryl Sandberg, “Proust’s Duchess” by Caroline Weber
The “Lean In” author and Facebook COO shared her college roommate’s new book on Instagram earlier this summer, writing that her roommie’s tome is “a look at the women who inspired one of the most famous characters from French novelist Marcel Proust. While researching her book, Carrie also discovered two lost Proust essays that people will be studying for years to come. Yeah Carrie!”
Book Club friends, I’m SO passionate about my next pick. The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton. This unimaginable memoir is Anthony’s story of being falsely convicted and released from death row after 30 YEARS! Hope you’ll get a copy today. https://t.co/hSf6lcCxN5 pic.twitter.com/OM5Jma9zJH
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) June 5, 2018
Oprah, “The Sun Does Shine” by Anthony Ray Hinton
The most recent volume in the media mogul’s book club is a memoir published earlier this year by a man falsely convicted of murder who spent 30 years on death row. “This story reads like an epic novel, and it is all true,” Oprah said in a video clip introducing her latest favorite thing. “It’s unimaginable, and you will throughout the book try to imagine yourself falsely accused and in a five-by-seven cell for 30 years,” she said. “I’m sure you’ll think a lot like I did about how is it possible to find life and freedom on death row.”
Lynne Doughtie, “Return on Integrity” by John Blumberg
The CEO of Big Four tax and advisory firm KPMG recently told Glassdoor that she encourages everyone to read this because, “It’s a powerful book that challenges you to reflect on the importance of personal core values. When each of us really knows our personal core values, they’ll permeate the organizations we work for by strengthening our decision making and enhancing openness, collaboration, and trust.” There’s something to that: KPMG team members have given Doughtie a 95% approval rating on Glassdoor, earning her a spot on the Employees’ Choice Awards, honoring the Top CEOs in 2018 across North America and parts of Europe.
☀💦✍🏼 I am excited to announce that July/August's pick for @oursharedshelf is our first poet, @rupikaur_ , and her book of poems Milk and Honey 🍯🥛. Rupi Kaur is an Indian-born, Canadian-raised poet and artist. She chooses not to use upper case letters or punctuation in her poems as an ode to her native language, Punjabi. She travels the world, including recently to her native country India, performing her poems and drawing crowds of hundreds. Both of her books, Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers, have made the New York Times bestseller list, which for a poet, is astonishing. ••• Over my lifetime, I have fallen in and out of love with poetry. Performing poems was what got me into acting (I had a primary school teacher that made everyone learn one a week, and eventually I won a poetry recital competition!) In secondary school and at university, I loved deciphering the codes of poems in class discussion, but I honestly wondered if poetry would continue to feature in my life outside of an academic context. ••• Enter poets like @holliepoetry, @SabrinaMahfouz and Rupi Kaur- I demolished whole books in single sittings. Unlike poems I have often spent weeks unraveling, Rupi’s poems are not designed to obscure meaning or entertain too much ambiguity – they hit you like punches to the stomach. They are immediate, visceral and not easily digested. I am loathe to say Rupi has made poetry “accessible” because while this is the truth (Rupi’s poems and illustrations fit well into those famously square shaped Instagram frames), there is nothing easy or accessible about what Rupi chooses to talk about. In fact, the topics she chooses, are audacious. ••• Here is a 25-year-old girl saying the unsayable… to hundreds of thousands of people: that she has been raped, that at times she has been abused, that she bleeds. And sin of all sins… she actually likes the hair that grows on her body. Yes. She actually thinks it is beautiful. And that she is beautiful as God made her – what a transgression. That her body is her home and nobody else's. ••• Full letter on: www.goodreads.com/oursharedshelf
Emma Watson, “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur
It’s no surprise that the woman who grew up playing Harry Potter’s book-loving BFF Hermione Granger onscreen is also a voracious reader. The actress and founder of the Our Shared Shelf book club selected this book of poems for July and August. “Here is a 25-year-old girl saying the unsayable . . . to hundreds of thousands of people: that she has been raped, that at times she has been abused, that she bleeds,” Watson wrote on Instagram. “And sin of all sins . . . she actually likes the hair that grows on her body. Yes. She actually thinks it is beautiful. And that she is beautiful as God made her — what a transgression.”
Jimmy Fallon, “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi
The “Tonight Show” host started a book club this summer, and asked viewers to vote on which tome to read first. Adeyemi’s story won out after the show received more than 100,000 votes, with Fallon and his team writing, “The fantasy novel follows Zélie Adebola, a young woman on a quest to return the magic that was stolen from her people by an oppressive ruling class – and along the way learns to embrace her own magic. It’s an epic adventure set in a world that is both richly fantastical and uncannily reflective of our own society.”
Awkwafina, “My Absolute Darling” by Gabriel Tallent
The “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Ocean’s 8” star told the Belletrist book blog that, “This is the coming of age story of a young girl, Turtle, who fights for her independence, body and soul at the grasp of her father. The novel is a hypnotizing paradox between ugly and beautiful and riddled with tension. It will leave you shook.”
As I think about inspiration today, and how to add light to the world, I find myself coming back to @alittleradical. It’s technically a “children’s book,” but I read through it all of the time. It’s the A, B, C’s of Activism. It teaches kids, and adults too, how to love on the world. How to be part of a team, and how each person’s heart, commitment, and action can make the world a better place. • So, I’m reading you the first chapter today because I love you all. And because sometimes we all need an uplifting poem. If you want to read the rest of the book, written by my brilliant pals @jasonradical and @danicarussell, head to the link in my bio or the one on @alittleradical. Sometimes restoring our sense of childlike wonder and motivation is all we need. #MondayMantra #AisForAction
Sophia Bush, “A Little Radical” by Danica Russell and Jason Russell
The actress, model and activist often re-reads this children’s book, which she says gives the “A, B, C’s of activism.” She posted on Instagram: “As I think about inspiration today, and how to add light to the world, I find myself coming back to @alittleradical. It’s technically a ‘children’s book,’ but I read through it all of the time … It teaches kids, and adults too, how to love on the world. How to be part of a team, and how each person’s heart, commitment, and action can make the world a better place. So, I’m reading you the first chapter today because I love you all. And because sometimes we all need an uplifting poem … Sometimes restoring our sense of childlike wonder and motivation is all we need.”
Brie Larson, “The Heroine’s Journey” by Maureen Murdock
The star of the upcoming “Captain Marvel” movie — the first Marvel Studios flick to be led by a woman — has been reading Murdock’s feminist classic on Instagram, posting quotes such as: “That is the sacred marriage of the feminine and masculine – when a woman can truly serve not only the needs of others but can value and be responsive to her own needs as well.”
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