President Biographies and Election 2016 books

President Biographies and Election 2016 books

The 2016 US Presidential Election might still be a few months away, but the race to be the next President is hotting up.   Our list of US President biographies includes past, current and possible presidents.  Learn about the person who might be the next President.  How much do you know about past Presidents?

Reading about leaders is also highly recommended to develop leadership skills.  Leaders face challenges and set backs.  Reading about successful leaders can help us in similar situations.

Past President Biographies:

1. Washington: A life – Ron Chernow

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Think you know all there is to know about America’s first president? Chernow’s biography of Washington goes beyond the formal portrait of President Washington, and introduces us to George Washington, the man. From this book, you will read about accounts that demonstrated all the qualities that made Washington a great leader, plus the other facets of his personality that are rarely found in other biographies. The author also spared no words at pointing out the president’s faults. It is a refreshing biography that brings to light the more human sides of America’s founding father in great detail – flaws and all.

2. John Adams – David McCullough

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John Adams was the 1st Vice President, and 2nd US President, succeeding George Washington in 1797. Relying mostly on correspondences through letters written between Adams and his wife Abigail, McCullough pieced together a vivid and compelling picture of American’s second president. This Pulitzer-winning biography skips the line-by-line history of America’s founding and focuses on Adams’s role in the journey. You will be quite delighted to read about Adams’s relationship with his wife and how she impacted his success.

3. Truman – David McCullough

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Truman was the 33rd President in office from 1945 to 1953. At a length of approximately 1000 pages, this is a big book. Fortunately, McCullough is a skilled biographer capable of making the life story of Harry S. Truman read like a novel. Filled with fascinating insights, great details and factually accurate, you will breeze through the 1000 pages on the life and times of one of America’s greatest presidents.

4. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris

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26th President, 1901 – 1909 What makes a biography such an amazing read is when it zooms in on details of the subject’s life that are not already covered by history books. Roosevelt is considered one of the most venerated American presidents of the 20th century, but Morris choose to focus, not on his presidency, but the various aspects of his life – from childhood all the way to his presidential greatness. This is not your run-of-the-mill formal biography and all you can expect from a Pulitzer winning biographer.

5. Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris

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Unlike his previous book The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt which offers a closer look at the president’s life, this follow-up volume covers his prolific presidency. Going beyond what history books already tell us, Morris also covers a great deal about Roosevelt’s relationship with family and contemporaries while in office. The author, while mostly on the president’s side, is also fairly critical of the Roosevelt’s unpopular choices. Both of Morris’s Roosevelt books are definitely recommended reads for anyone with a keen interest in 20th century American history.

Current President Biographies (2016)

6. Dreams from My Father – Barack Obama

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An autobiography written prior to his presidency, Dreams from My Father offers candid look into Obama’s backgrounds, personal life and his leadership aspirations. The book is simply filled with Obama’s intelligent, insightful and at times surprising observations of issues that are deeply personal to him. It is interesting to note that this book was written when the president was just out of law school, and was offered a publishing deal after being elected president of Harvard Law Review. Though not a new book, it is still an interesting read on America’s 44th president, in his own words.

7. The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama – David Remnick

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Remnick’s book could not have been more perfectly times, especially as Obama reaches the end of his time as 44th President of the United States. It is arguably one of the few books written about Obama that goes beyond history and public portrait of the president, with inclusion of interviews with former acquaintances and colleagues of the president. The author also does a fantastic job of taking an unbiased stance. It is an excellent material to look back on the milestones in American civil rights history in past eight years of Obama being in office.

Possible President Biographies (2016)

8. HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton – Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes

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Hilary Clinton may or may not be the next and 45th US president, but she has definitely made her mark as a political figure. There are several books written about Clinton, including her own memoir. This book by Allen and Parnes examine her seven-year tenure as Secretary of State. HRC is more political than personal, and may not be for everyone. However, if you have an interest in taking a closer look at Clinton’s role in the Obama administration, the book would be an interesting read.

9. The Truth About Trump – Michael D’Antonio

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With Trump’s election campaign roaring along, D’Antonio has updated his bestselling hardcover book  Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success (read our review of this book here) and released it in paperback with a new title.  This Pulitzer prize-winning reporter draws on extensive research and exclusive interviews.  Telling the whole story, from starting out in business, scandals, triumphs, successes and failures,  D’Anontio charts the path that made Trump. The Washington Post describes it as “a brisk and entertaining read”.  

10. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America – Jonathan Tasini

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This is an informative volume for supporters of Sanders who want a deeper understanding of his vision for the country. It compiles his speeches, public addresses and policy proposals – mostly in his own words – with commentary from the author. The chapters are short and easy to read, which makes it an ideal guide to Sanders as he makes his bid for the White House in 2016.

Best Crime Series 2016

Best Crime Series 2016

Wondering what the best crime series are in 2016? Read on.

Detective stories or crime fiction is unique as it must have a plot and a believable solution. A crime novel cannot leave you suspended in a conceptual idea or emotional drama. Most if not all loose ends must be neatly wrapped up or the reader will depart. Excitement must be balanced with logic. No cheating allowed.

These new and old crime series will definitely please the fans.

Best Crime Series 2016

1. The Big Fear (Hollow City Series) – Andrew Case

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A civilian investigator and veteran cop are forced to team up in a mystery involving corruption in the police force. The result is a highly suspenseful thriller with unique premise, yet remarkably believable. You will be turning page after page as each piece of the puzzle falls into place, leading up to a satisfactory conclusion that begs for a sequel. It is almost hard to believe that The Big Fear is the author’s debut novel, considering how skillful Case is at crafting an intricate plot and building up suspense.  We definitely think this deserves a place in the Best Crime Series list for 2016.

2. The Girl in the Ice (Detective Erika Foster series) – Robert Bryndza

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Detective Erika Foster was still grieving the loss of her husband when she has to investigate the death of a young socialite from a prominent family. With the victim’s father hindering her investigation in an attempt to uphold his daughter’s good girl image, the detective must follow her own gut and pursue her own leads to track down the killer. The Girl in the Ice is mainly a character based crime novel, filled with complex and sympathetic characters. As the first book of a crime series featuring Detective Foster, it is definitely off to a good start.

3. Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Novel – Laura Lippman

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Private investigator Tess Monaghan is entangled in the case of Melisandre Harris Dawes.  A woman who allowed her daughter to suffocate to death, but got off by reason of insanity. Although a crime novel, a few thought-provoking issues are explored, particularly the challenges of motherhood and maintaining a work-life balance as a working mom. Overall, Lippman has woven a complex tale with amazing psychological depth, featuring a complex female lead.

4. Make Me (Jack Reacher series) – Lee Child

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This is the 20th book of Child’s successful Jack Reacher series. This plot revolves around the protagonist teaming up with a former FBI agent to search for the latter’s missing friend. There is a mystery at hand in a small town of Mother’s Rest, which gradually unfolds. New comers to the series may enjoy the suspense, while long-time followers of the series may find this installment a bit too familiar to offer anything new.

5. Play Dead (Elise Sandburg series) – Anne Frasier

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Detective Elise Sandburg already has a lot on her plate, as far as her personal life goes. Now, she has to get to the bottom of a case where freshly buried male prostitutes – victims of a serial murder – are allegedly clawing out of their graves, supposedly driven by some voodoo ritual. You cannot go wrong with well-rounded characters, a murder mystery, and some supernatural elements thrown in for good measure.

Mark Zuckerberg Book Club part 2

Mark Zuckerberg Book Club part 2

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO wanted to read an important book every two weeks last year.    It was his new years resolution.  Half way through, WTR reviewed the books to date on Mark Zuckerberg’s book club list for 2015.

Zuckerberg’s book club list was intended to emphasize learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.  Something he felt important for everyone.  Something he felt could connect people, through discussion.

Its way past time we complete this list and help you broaden your reading. You can read about the first eleven books here.

Mark Zuckerberg Book Club – part 2

1. Why Nations Fail – Daren Acemoglu & James Robinson

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#1 Best Seller in Comparative Politics
Understanding poverty and the factors that contribute to nations being rich or poor may seem a little over our heads. Why Nations Fail tries to pin down political, social and economic factors that are important in understanding the big WHY. Based on over fifteen years of research this really is a comprehensive study on what makes sister countries like South and North Korea so different. There are numerous examples stretching the globe and the book is written for the everyday reader. All in all, this book aims to give us an understanding of some globally challenging issues but in an easy to understand way.

2.The Rational Optimist – Matt Ridley

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With climate change, overpopulation and bad politics, there seems to be nothing to look forward to in the future. Matt Ridley tries to show us that humans have in fact achieved a lot and that there is only one real way of going forward and that is to trade and trust one another. The book is a look into the economic future of the world and where we are headed as a civilization. The Rational Optimist aims to give us a silver lining to all the gloom and doom that we hear of daily. This is Ridley’s third best seller and he continues to charm with his wit and his economic thought is unparalleled.

3. Portfolios of the Poor – Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford & Orlanda Ruthven

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It is pretty difficult (for most of us) to imagine living on $2 a day. How do you feed your family? educate your kids? save for a pension? Portfolios of the Poor gives us an insight into how the poorest live each day and how billions struggle to do some of the stuff we take for granted. The authors conducted interviews with some of the poorest people around the globe and have tried their best to bring together their stories and struggles in a ‘tell all book’. It is considered a pivotal text in the dialogue on poverty and understanding what it really means to be poor in a world that applauds the wealthy.

4. World Order – Henry Kissinger

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Hendry Kissinger has an advisor to some of America’s most powerful people for many years. In his World Order, he brings together all of his experience in foreign policy, diplomacy, and thinking in order to look at what it really means to have world order. Can we ever get to ‘ world peace’ with all the conflicts that exist? This book tries to give us insight into the inner working of the world and why getting all our ducks in a row is not as simple as beauty pageants would have us think. Word Order is a valuable study and many are saying that this book ( published 2014) is Kissinger’s best book to date.

5. The Varieties Of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature – William James

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Religion vs Science is and will continue to be a topic of universal debate. In The Varieties of Religious Experience, we find 20 different lectures concerning religion. All these lectures were given between 1901 and 1902 at the university of Edinburgh. This collection of lectures is still widely read and is considered a staple in many university courses today. The discussions try and pinpoint religion’s hold on people, how we individually experience religion and what it means to be religious in a world that is evolving in thought. Considered as one of those classic MUST READS, it is a text that defies time and holds essential arguments.

6. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari

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#1 Best Seller in Anthropology
What does it mean to be a human? Can we pin down that ONE factor? Well, we may not be able to but Yuval Noah Harari does his best. Sapiens tries to look at human evolution and what humans have achieved and how. Being a prolific historian, Harari is able to weave his knowledge of history with biology in order to give us an overview of how our species won the battle and survived. The book is a best seller and people have been charmed by the way in which the touchy topic of evolution is presented in an easy to read and well-researched way. Harari is an author to watch and this book should be read by both academics and the everyday curious global citizen.

Best Selling Non-Fiction Lucky Dip

Best Selling Non-Fiction Lucky Dip

Non-Fiction is a very broad range. This list of best selling non-fiction from 2015 is a lucky dip of topics.
From dating practices, pet stories to the people of New York, this eclectic list is sure to give you an idea or two for the summer holidays.

1. Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari

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This is not another book by a comedian about their career. Ansari is demystifying modern dating, with the backing of data from expert research – albeit in his humorous an entertaining ways. The book is a social study that focuses mostly on online dating, but also enlightens with studies and observations of dating culture in other parts of the world. Whatever your stance is on modern dating trends, this book will at least help you understand the curious ways people are looking for love in the 21st century.

2. Humans of New York stories – Brandon Stanton

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If you are active on Facebook, and have a rather global friend list, chances are you may have come across Stanton’s page. In 2010, Stanton set out on an ambitious project of photographically documenting the diverse people living in the Big Apple on his blog, which resulted in a book of the same name. This book is a follow up, with more stories from the people Stanton photographed and interviewed. HONY is a passion project that shines the spotlight on the fascinating individual lives of people in a big bustling city. After going through this compilation, you may not look at another passed in the streets the same way again.

3. Between the World & Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Drawing on his personal experience and those of other African American youths, Coates paints a clear and humane picture of what it means to be a person of color in America. He brings to light obvious issues regarding race that many people are aware of, but often subconsciously choose to turn a blind eye. Whether we care to admit it, racial politics does affect each and everyone us, and Coates shows us why we should not ignore them.

4. H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald

best selling non-fiction
This book is Macdonald’s heartfelt personal account of adopting and raising a goshawk named Mabel. More than just a human-animal bonding book, Macdonald’s account of her experience if rife with astute observations and reflections on human emotions that are rarely found in other books in a similar vein. Particularly insightful is how she demonstrates that we tend to project out emotions, temperament and belief on our relationship with animals – it is something people with pets can nod to.

5. Missoula – Jon Krakauer

best selling non-fiction
In this engaging, somewhat unsettling and infuriating book, Krakauer carefully documents the flawed justice system when it comes to sexual assault cases. Exhaustive in details, the author presents the heroes and villains involved in a college town rape case. Perhaps the only missing piece is interviews with locals that could offer a perspective of the average citizens’ take on rape culture. As depressing and upsetting as the subject matter is, the book is still must-read that could raise awareness of the impact of sex crimes on the victims’ lives, especially when their assailant walks free.

6. Pirate Hunters – Robert Kurson

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If you enjoy stories of treasure hunt and sunken ships, you will enjoy Pirate Hunters. The ‘pirate’ in question of Kurson’s book is Joseph Bannister – notorious 17th century English pirate. The book is extensively researched and factually accurate, but it is far from the dry historical account you’d expect. The author has done a great job in presenting a story that may just get you excited to go on a scuba diving trip.

7. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson

best selling non-fiction
The internet can be a powerful for vigilante justice where “shame war” can be waged on perpetrators by people banding together, each “online vigilante” safe behind their computer screens. Ronson had once ignited a virtual war that brought down a group of men using his name for a Twitter account. Somewhat ironically, in his book, he examines the impact such internet justice has on those of a receiving end. There are some philosophical questions raised throughout the book about internet justice. They might make you think twice the next time you post something online.

8. For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards – Jen Hatmaker

best selling non-fiction
If you are looking for some light reading from a Christian perspective, you will love Hatmaker’s book. The beauty of this book is that though coming from a religious standpoint, it does not feel too preachy and dogmatic. Instead, the author presents a practical approach to theology, some of which are great points non-Christians can find agreeable.

9. Rising Strong: The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution – Brene Brown

best selling non-fiction
The basic message of this book is to be your authentic self.  Find the courage to rise up to the occasion in the face of adversity and failure. There may be a few too many personal anecdotes in the book for some.  But the main message of strength and courage stands. The book is a practical and inspiring reference, drawing on the author’s voice and experience.

Funny Books For Adults by TV & Internet Personalities.

Funny Books For Adults by TV & Internet Personalities.

Funny books for adults usually touch on serious subjects too.  These funny life anecdotes, almost biographies,  are written by very funny TV and internet personalities.  They will make you laugh out loud, even in the serious bits.

Science tells us laughter is good for lowering blood pressure, and increasing happy hormones, so go ahead and laugh.  Sharing these funny books for adults will also increase happiness.

1. Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling

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Even if you are not familiar with Kaling’s work in comedy and TV, her books are still delightful to read. Why Not Me? is a rather personal book of essays where readers can get to know Kaling more – her life, struggles and success. Filled with wit, insight and self-depreciating humor, her essays address topics that almost anyone can relate to and laugh along.

2. You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – Felicia Day

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Funny Books for Adults
If you are in your late 20s to early 30s, you belong to the last generation who knows what life was like before the internet, and thus will find Day’s book more relatable. Day recounts the early, pre-social media era of connecting with people online, the ups and downs of online fame, and how it influenced her life and career. To keep it real, she also highlights the drawbacks and potential dangers of being actively involved in online communities. A very funny book.

3. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things – Jenny Lawson

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For those who loved Lawson’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, may be hoping for a sequel from the blogger. Unlike her collection of anecdotes, however, Furiously Happy is a very personal book, in which she openly shares her struggles, especially with mental illness. As relatable and heartfelt as this book is, it is far from gloomy. Readers will still get plenty of laughs out of it, yet putting the book down with a greater understanding and tolerance for those living with mental conditions.

4. Binge – Tyler Oakley

Funny Books for Adults
Oakley is one of those YouTubers who have gained enough online fame to court a book deal. But if you expect his book to be a printed rehash of his videos, you will be surprised! Binge is filled with deeply personal anecdotes – stuff he would not have shared on YouTube – and life lessons, which will likely resonate with the younger crowd. Whether you belong to Oakley’s target audience on YouTube or not, this book is a worthwhile read.  Even if only for insights on how one person can harness the power of social media to reach and inspire millions.

5. Yes, My Accent is Real – Kunal Nayyar

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Most people became familiar with Nayyar as Raj in The Big Bang Theory TV series. However his book is not really a biography – despite what the title might have you think.  There is very little mention of the TV show.  It is a collection of short self-reflective essays.  Nothing too profound or deep (no Big Bang Theory), it is a great book for light reading and a laugh for fans of Nayyar.