The 3 Penguin Random House Books Barack Obama Recommends You Read Before Election Day

By Luis Diaz | October 23 2018 | Humanities & Social Sciences

Former President Barack Obama posted a message on his Facebook page on Friday, October 12, that began, “I wanted to share a handful of books and articles that speak to the current political moment and something I’ve been talking about around the country this fall.”

Among the books that Obama has read and recommends that everyone consider reading before Election Day on November 6 are three titles published by Penguin Random House imprints:  


Penguin’s THE BROKEN LADDER: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne (“A persuasive and highly readable account of how rising inequality, and not just absolute poverty, is undermining our politics, social cohesion, long term prosperity, and general well-being.”)

Crown’s HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (“A useful primer on the importance of norms, institutional restraints and civic participation in maintaining a democracy – and how quickly those things can erode when we’re not paying attention.”)

Crown/Broadway’s  EVICTED: Poverty and Profit in the American City  by Matthew Desmond (“A powerful account of the challenges facing the working poor even in a strong economy, and the political and policy choices we’ve made as a country that help make it so hard.”)


Obama also mentions Doubleday/Anchor author Anne Applebaum and links to an article on polarization in Poland that she wrote for The Atlantic.

How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die
A critically acclaimed examination of the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality by a leading social scientist.
$17.00 US | $23.00 CAN
May 01, 2018
5-1/2 x 8-1/4
256 Pages
Penguin Books
US, Canada, Open Mkt

Donald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is American 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. Today, democracies often die at the hands of elected authoritarians, who slowly but steadily weaken critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and erode the long-standing political norms.
$26.00 US | $35.00 CAN
Jan 16, 2018
5-1/2 x 8-1/4
320 Pages
US, Canada, Open Mkt

Poverty and Profit in the American City
Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction | Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction | Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction | Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction Finalist | Shortlisted for The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction | Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review • The Boston Globe • The Washington Post • NPR • Fortune • San Francisco Chronicle • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Politico • Kirkus Reviews • Library Journal • Chicago Public Library • Publishers Weekly • Booklist • and others
$17.00 US | $23.00 CAN
Feb 28, 2017
5-3/16 x 8
448 Pages
Broadway Books
US, Canada, Open Mkt