Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books (click photo for link to article)

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In this January 16th article by President Obama talks about his vice (books) he uses to deal with the aggravation, confusion, hardship, and the enormous pressure of being the President of the United States of America.

Obama states that “in a noisy era of information overload, extreme partisanship and knee-jerk reactions” books were a key source of appreciation and insight “for the complexities and ambiguities of the human condition” – an ideology many Americans, and humans around the world also hold close: the idea that we are in an information overload.  That although the fast increase of technology in our lives is exciting and helpful in a plethora of ways, many people are using tactile books as an escape from the “noise” of an information overload.

“At a time when events move so quickly and so much information is transmitted,” he said, reading gave him the ability to occasionally “slow down and get perspective” and “the ability to get in somebody else’s shoes.”

President Obama has been a reader and a writer all of his life: from a young child, to a college student, to the Commander in Chief of our county – Obama has always taken solace in the adventures and escapes of reading.  Over his life he has read–in counsel and  guidance–the works of Abraham Lincoln, Reverend Martin Luther King Junior, Mahatmas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, W.E.B. Dubois, and even William Shakespeare.  Obama has said that reading Shakespeare’s tragedies has been “foundational for [him] in understanding how certain patterns repeat themselves and play themselves out between human beings.”

But Obama is also dappling in fiction works such as the sci-fi epic, “The Three-Body Problem” by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin.  He also had lunch last week with five novelists he admires — Dave Eggers, Mr. Whitehead, Zadie Smith, Mr. Díaz and Barbara Kingsolver.  He purchased a Kindle filled with books he’d like his daughter, Malia to read, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and Doris Lessing’s “The Golden Notebook.”

-Kelsey Gallagher, LIS-653, Wednesdays 1130-230

MICHIKO KAKUTANI, MICHIKO. “Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Jan. 2017. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.

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by Hugh McLeod

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Pratt Institute School of Information
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