Barack Obama recently shared his year-end lists of the music, movies and books he enjoyed the most in 2018. In a Facebook post, the former president said the annual tradition, besides allowing him to highlight talented authors who may or may not be well known, gives him a moment to pause and reflect on the year through works that he found "most thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain loved."
We've picked out the business books from his list of the best books he read in 2018:
The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti
Urban economist Enrico Moretti's book was released in 2012 and demonstrates among other things how prosperity in the U.S. is concentrated in metros with high levels of innovation.
"It’s six years old now, but still a timely and smart discussion of how different cities and regions have made a changing economy work for them – and how policymakers can learn from that to lift the circumstances of working Americans everywhere," wrote Obama.
American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer
Calls to divest from private, for-profit prisons have continued even as stocks in the companies, including CoreCivic Inc (CXW) and The GEO Group Inc (GEO), surged higher under the Trump Administration.
Bauer, an investigative journalist, went undercover and took a job as a guard at Winn Correctional Facility in Louisiana in 2014. His book is a searing look at the private prison system and chronicles its history in the U.S. going back to the decades before the Civil War.
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne
Obama first recommended this book in the run-up to the midterm elections in Nov. 2018. The book delves into the psychological impact of economic inequality and how it affects people's decisions, beliefs and health. Payne cites research in psychology, neuroscience and behavioral economics.
Obama called the book "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."
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
In his book, Tegmark, a professor of physics at MIT and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute, writes about how the rise of AI may change everything from the job market to warfare in the future.
Tesla Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, who himself has warned about the possibility of robots running amok, has called the book "a compelling guide to the challenges and choices in our quest for a great future of life, intelligence and consciousness—on Earth and beyond.” Musk donated $10 million to the Future of Life Institute in 2015.