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Bill Clinton's Bookcase

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III; August 19, 1946) is an American politician who was the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Clinton was previously Governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and 1983 to 1992, and the Arkansas Attorney General from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, ideologically Clinton was a New Democrat, and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy.

Recommends

From composer, musician, and philanthropist Peter Buffett comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that asks, Which will you choose: the path of least resistance or the path of potentially greatest satisfaction?

You may think that with a last name like his, Buffett has enjoyed a life of endless privilege. But the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett says that the only real inheritance handed down from his parents was a philosophy: Forge your own path in life. It is a creed that has allowed him to follow his own passions, establish his own identity, and reap his own successes.

In Life Is What You Make It, Buffett expounds on the strong set of values given to him by his trusting and broadminded mother, his industrious and talented father, and the many life teachers he has met along the way.

Today’s society, Buffett posits, has begun to replace a work ethic, relishing what you do, with a wealth ethic, honoring the payoff instead of the process. We confuse privilege with material accumulation, character with external validation. Yet, by focusing more on substance and less on reward, we can open doors of opportunity and strive toward a greater sense of fulfillment. In clear and concise terms, Buffett reveals a great truth: Life is random, neither fair nor unfair.

From there it becomes easy to recognize the equal dignity and value of every human life—our circumstances may vary but our essences do not. We see that our journey in life rarely follows a straight line but is often met with false starts, crises, and blunders. How we push through and persevere in these challenging moments is where we begin to create the life of our dreams—from discovering our vocations to living out our bliss to giving back to others.

Personal and revealing, instructive and intuitive, Life Is What You Make It is about transcending your circumstances, taking up the reins of your destiny, and living your life to the fullest.

From the Hardcover edition.

Found via: Favobooks

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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The Logic of Human Destiny

In his bestselling The Moral Animal, Robert Wright applied the principles of evolutionary biology to the study of the human mind. Now Wright attempts something even more ambitious: explaining the direction of evolution and human history–and discerning where history will lead us next.

In Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, Wright asserts that, ever since the primordial ooze, life has followed a basic pattern. Organisms and human societies alike have grown more complex by mastering the challenges of internal cooperation. Wright's narrative ranges from fossilized bacteria to vampire bats, from stone-age villages to the World Trade Organization, uncovering such surprises as the benefits of barbarian hordes and the useful stability of feudalism. Here is history endowed with moral significance–a way of looking at our biological and cultural evolution that suggests, refreshingly, that human morality has improved over time, and that our instinct to discover meaning may itself serve a higher purpose. Insightful, witty, profound, Nonzero offers breathtaking implications for what we believe and how we adapt to technology's ongoing transformation of the world.

Found via: Favobooks

This classic of Christian devotional literature has brought understanding and comfort to millions for centuries. Both Protestants and Catholics — as well as mystics and historians of religious thought — have studied these meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus, finding in them a path to prayer and spiritual guidance. Written in a candid and conversational style, The Imitation of Christ discusses liberation from worldly inclinations, recollection as a preparation for prayer, the consolations of prayer, and the place of eucharistic communion in a devout life. With its simple, readable text, this translation will appeal to new readers as well as to those already familiar with this religious classic.

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A New Translation of The Meditations

In the tradition of The Art of Living and Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations—a practical book of timeless advice from one of the most powerful individuals in history—available for the first time in a highly accessible translation, including several unique features for contemporary readers and users of daily wisdom guides.

Essayist Matthew Arnold described the man who wrote these words as “the most beautiful figure in history.” Possibly so, but he was certainly more than that. Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire at its height, yet he remained untainted by the incalculable wealth and absolute power that had corrupted many of his predecessors. Marcus knew the secret of how to live the good life amid trying and often catastrophic circumstances, of how to find happiness and peace when surrounded by misery and turmoil, and of how to choose the harder right over the easier wrong without apparent regard for self-interest.

The historian Michael Grant praises Marcus’s book as “the best ever written by a major ruler,” and Josiah Bunting, superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, calls it “the essential book on character, leadership, duty.” Never intended for publication, the Meditations contains the practical and inspiring wisdom by which this remarkable emperor lived the life not of a saintly recluse, but of a general, administrator, legislator, spouse, parent, and judge besieged on all sides.

The Emperor’s Handbook offers a vivid and fresh translation of this important piece of ancient literature. It brings Marcus’s words to life and shows his wisdom to be as relevant today as it was in the second century. This book belongs on the desk and in the briefcase of every business executive, political leader, and military officer. It speaks to the soul of anyone who has ever exercised authority or faced adversity or believed in a better day.

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A masterful work by Pulitzer Prize–winning author David Herbert Donald, Lincoln is a stunning portrait of Abraham Lincoln’s life and presidency.

Donald brilliantly depicts Lincoln’s gradual ascent from humble beginnings in rural Kentucky to the ever-expanding political circles in Illinois, and finally to the presidency of a country divided by civil war. Donald goes beyond biography, illuminating the gradual development of Lincoln’s character, chronicling his tremendous capacity for evolution and growth, thus illustrating what made it possible for a man so inexperienced and so unprepared for the presidency to become a great moral leader. In the most troubled of times, here was a man who led the country out of slavery and preserved a shattered Union—in short, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.

Found via: Favobooks

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A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa

In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold Ii of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million--all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold's Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains. It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold Ii. With great power and compassion, King Leopold's Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo--too long forgotten--onto the conscience of the West.

Found via: Favobooks

Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie -- man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.

Found via: Favobooks

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From the Dawn of Civilizations to the Eve of the Twenty-first Century

"Ambitious.... The truth is that Fromkin's outline is persuasively thought out and presented."--The Washington Post Book World

As the human race approaches the 21st century, questions of our past trouble us as much as those that concern our future. How did we get here? Where--and how--did Homo sapiens originate? How did we, precariously bipedal, come to dominate the animal kingdom, direct the flow of the Euphrates, fly a rocket to the moon?

David Fromkin, author of A Peace to End All Peace and finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critic Circle Award, provides an arrestingly cogent answer in The Way of the World. With insight and sound scholarship, he reveals how human culture has evolved according to the principles of self-determination--from the footsteps of the first hominids 3.5 million years ago to the efforts of contemporary democracies' to establish a global, lasting peace. Here is a world history wherein early forms of Christianity give way to rationalism, the tyranny of kings crumbles to the merits of representative government, and modern science presents us with the master key to the future. Refreshingly positive, David Fromkin reminds us of the astounding record of human achievement, and the potential in each of us to improve the way of our world.

"Mr. Fromkin recounts 'the greatest story ever told' exceedingly well, aided by a deep knowledge and an elegant prose style."--The Wall Street Journal

"The Way of the World is worldly, civilized, genial."--The Boston Globe

Found via: Favobooks

In Habit 2: Discovering Your Life MIssion, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. Covey explores developing a life mission statement by "beginning with the end in mind." With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for discovering your life mission and living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity- principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

Found via: Favobooks

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