DorobekInsider: Obama’s summer reading list – and autumn’s worthy reads

Wednesday - 8/26/2009, 10:31pm EDT

As you may know, I love books… and I love reading… so I love seeing what other people are reading.

Along those lines, I’m always fascinated what other people are reading.

I read all sorts of things — I have often joked that I’m one of the few people who read magazines ranging from The New Yorker and The Economist to US Magazine. And my range of books is equally broad — and I’m often reading at least two books at a time. Currently, for example, I’m reading the Twilight vampire books as well as a book recommended by DOD deputy CIO Dave Winnergren and Navy CIO Robert Carey… Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor by Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O’Toole, and Patricia Ward Biederman. (If I can get Bennis on the air, this might just be a Federal News Radio Book Club book.)

And yes — of course there is a social networking site for books — you can find me on Goodreads.com here… and on Shelfari here…

Anyway… Slate.com John Dickerson has a wonderful story about what’s on President Obama’s reading list. The White House issued the president’s vacation reading… and here it is…

  • The Way Home by George Pelecanos, a crime thriller based in Washington, D.C.;
  • Lush Life by Richard Price, a story of race and class set in New York’s Lower East Side;
  • Tom Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded, on the benefits to America of an environmental revolution;
  • John Adams by David McCullough;
  • Plainsong by Kent Haruf, a drama about the life of eight different characters living in a Colorado prairie community.

Dickerson goes on to analyze what this list tells us about the President.

The Obama selection is not overtly controversial. In 2006, Bush’s list included The Great Influenza, about the 1918 flu. If Obama were reading that today while his White House was issuing a new report about the H1N1 virus, he’d start a national panic. But his list is also clearly not poll-tested. Women played a key role in Obama’s victory in 2008. They’re swing voters. And yet all of Obama’s authors are white men. The subject of the longest book, John Adams, is a dead white male. Obama couldn’t get away with that in an election year, and, given his aides’ penchant for cleaning up little things like this, we’ll soon see the president with a copy of Kate Walbert’s A Short History of Women.

Read Dickerson’s full story here.

I can’t imagine having to poll test my reading list, but…

Two books coming out this fall that I’m very much looking forward to:

Andrew McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges. I actually was given an early read of this one and McAfee, a associate professor at the Harvard Business School and the man credited with creating the term “enterprise 2.0.” As I mentioned previously, one of the examples discussed in the book is Intellipedia.

The other book that I’m really looking forward to is Deloitte’s William D. Eggers’ If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government. Read more about the book here.

Both books come out in November.