President Obama Names His Favorite Books, Movies & Songs of 2018

Pho­to by Pete Souza via

On Face­book this morn­ing, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wrote: “As 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, movies, and music that I found most thought-pro­vok­ing, inspir­ing, or just plain loved. It also gives me a chance to high­light tal­ent­ed authors, artists, and sto­ry­tellers – some who are house­hold names and oth­ers who you may not have heard of before. Here’s my best of 2018 list — I hope you enjoy read­ing, watch­ing, and lis­ten­ing.” Note that you can hear all of the music on this Spo­ti­fy playlist.

Books That Pres. Oba­ma Read This Year:

Becom­ing by Michelle Oba­ma (obvi­ous­ly my favorite!)
An Amer­i­can Mar­riage by Tayari Jones
Amer­i­canah by Chi­ma­man­da Ngozi Adichie
The Bro­ken Lad­der: How Inequal­i­ty Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Kei­th Payne
Edu­cat­ed by Tara West­over
Fact­ful­ness by Hans Rosling
Futureface: A Fam­i­ly Mys­tery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belong­ing by Alex Wag­n­er
A Grain of Wheat by Ngu­gi wa Thiong’o
A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
How Democ­ra­cies Die by Steven Lev­it­sky and Daniel Ziblatt
In the Shad­ow of Stat­ues: A White South­ern­er Con­fronts His­to­ry by Mitch Lan­drieu
Long Walk to Free­dom by Nel­son Man­dela
The New Geog­ra­phy of Jobs by Enri­co Moret­ti
The Return by Hisham Matar
Things Fall Apart by Chin­ua Achebe
Warlight by Michael Ondaat­je
Why Lib­er­al­ism Failed by Patrick Deneen
The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

Favorite Books of 2018:

Amer­i­can Prison by Shane Bauer
Arthur Ashe: A Life by Ray­mond Arse­nault
Asym­me­try by Lisa Hal­l­i­day
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Flori­da by Lau­ren Groff
Fred­er­ick Dou­glass: Prophet of Free­dom by David W. Blight
Immi­grant, Mon­tana by Ami­ta­va Kumar
The Largesse of the Sea Maid­en by Denis John­son
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence by Max Tegmark
There There by Tom­my Orange
Wash­ing­ton Black by Esi Edugyan

Favorite Movies of 2018:

Black Pan­ther
The Death of Stal­in
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
Leave No Trace
Mind­ing the Gap
The Rid­er
Sup­port the Girls
Won’t You Be My Neigh­bor

Favorite Songs of 2018

Apes••t by The Carters
Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges
Could’ve Been by H.E.R. (feat. Bryson Tiller)
Dis­co Yes by Tom Misch (feat. Pop­py Ajud­ha)
Ekombe by Jupiter & Okwess
Every Time I Hear That Song by Bran­di Carlile
Girl Goin’ Nowhere by Ash­ley McBryde
His­to­ria De Un Amor by Ton­i­na (feat. Javier Limón and Tali Rubin­stein)
I Like It by Car­di B (feat. Bad Bun­ny and J Balvin)
Kevin’s Heart by J. Cole
King For A Day by Ander­son East
Love Lies by Khalid & Nor­mani
Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe
Mary Don’t You Weep (Piano & A Micro­phone 1983 Ver­sion) by Prince
My Own Thing by Chance the Rap­per (feat. Joey Purp)
Need a Lit­tle Time by Court­ney Bar­nett
Nina Cried Pow­er by Hozi­er (feat. Mavis Sta­ples)
Nteri­ni by Fatouma­ta Diawara
One Trick Ponies by Kurt Vile
Turnin’ Me Up by BJ the Chica­go Kid
Wait by the Riv­er by Lord Huron
Wow Freestyle by Jay Rock (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
And in hon­or of one of the great jazz singers of all time, who died this year, a clas­sic album: The Great Amer­i­can Song­book by Nan­cy Wil­son

You can find all of these song neat­ly list­ed in a playlist here on Spo­ti­fy.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Books on Barack Obama’s Sum­mer Read­ing List: Naipaul, Ondaat­je & More

Barack Oba­ma Shares a List of Enlight­en­ing Books Worth Read­ing

The 5 Books on Pres­i­dent Obama’s 2016 Sum­mer Read­ing List

A Free POTUS Sum­mer Playlist: Pres. Oba­ma Curates 39 Songs for a Sum­mer Day

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Comments (16)
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  • Ray Balson says:

    Kept scrolling down, but I did­n’t see a list of Pres­i­dent Trump’s favorite books or music from 2018. Did I miss that post?

  • Brad smith says:

    Who gives a rodents rump what that waste if skin thinks?

  • Damien Forbes says:

    Assum­ing he can read, we know THe Lorax by Dr. Suess is not on his list.

  • A.R. says:

    Is the book ‘How to tor­ture whistle­blow­ers’ on his list? He sure was good at that- even the UN had to slap him on the wrist there. Also, looks like ‘How to fast-track shady trade deals- TPP Edi­tion’ is miss­ing as well. Those are essen­tial Oba­ma pieces, to be topped off with, ‘How to be a Black Pres­i­dent for two terms yet still call the coun­try racist.’

  • Bill W. says:

    “Curi­ous George Bombs Sev­en Coun­tries” wasn’t on his list?

  • Ray Balson says:

    Exact­ly, Bill. Only Pres­i­dent in the his­to­ry of the U. S. to be at war with at least one nation every sin­gle day for eight years.

  • Brian C Gay says:

    When there is an arti­cle about Oba­ma on Open­cul­ture, I know it is going to be warm and fuzzy. When there is an arti­cle on Amer­i­ca, reli­gion, and Con­ser­v­a­tive val­ues, it is going to be a hit piece.

  • Michael says:

    Bri­an, The author’s com­men­tary con­sist­ed of exact­ly this:

    “On Face­book this morn­ing, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wrote: ”


    “Note that you can hear all of the music on this Spo­ti­fy playlist.”

    Very warm and fuzzy!

  • Karen says:

    He has­n’t been pres­i­dent for a few years… Are you cel­e­brat­ing New Years a lit­tle ear­ly?

  • Luke says:

    Who cares what this Marx­ist, Amer­i­can-hat­ing glob­al­ist thinks.

  • Marissa says:

    Since when did a sim­ple list of books, music and films become so offen­sive to peo­ple?

    Don’t you guys think you’re going a bit over­board here?


  • Bethany Meyer says:

    Here’s a list of Trump’s favorite books from 2018:

  • Donna West says:

    Why are y’all get­ting all bent out of shape over a for­mer pres­i­dent s com­ments on books and enter­tain­ment? It isn’t a polit­i­cal or par­ti­san issue. And why isn’t a Trump list pub­lished? Seri­ous­ly? Unless it’s a book or movie about him, he isn’t inter­est­ed. Who would care anyway?q

  • Kelly says:

    IKR! I can’t wait to lis­ten to it.

  • Jão Fiorot says:

    I sup­pose read­ing this com­men­tary sec­tion was THE mis­take of my night

  • kyle says:

    There’s no list like a Kill List.

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