Former president Barack Obama stands in stark contrast to the current president in countless ways. One of the biggest discrepancies between Obama and Trump are their intellectual curiosity and appreciation of culture.

It’s well documented that President Trump refuses to read just about anything, unless it’s written about him. Whereas Obama has always been open about his love of knowledge and often shares what he’s currently reading on social media.

His literary tastes tend to focus on race relations, economics, technology, and current events.


As he has done in previous years, to mark the end of 2018, Obama shared a list of his favorite books, movies, and music of 2018. His choices reveal a preference for art house films and current hip-hop and R&B.

Honestly, he has pretty hip taste for a dad in his mid-50s.

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“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,” he wrote on Facebook. “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.”

Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2018:

“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

“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

Barack Obama’s favorite movies of 2018:

“Annihilation”

“Black Panther”

“BlacKkKlansman”

“Blindspotting”

“Burning”

“The Death of Stalin”

“Eighth Grade”

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

“Leave No Trace”

“Minding the Gap”

“The Rider”

“Roma”

“Shoplifters”

“Support the Girls”

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor”

Barack Obama’s 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)

“The Great American Songbook” by Nancy Wilson

Spotify playlist of Obama’s favorite tunes of 2018.

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