Serious books for serious leaders

Tevi Troy, author of What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted, takes a look at what Israel’s leaders have read. He finds that the nation’s founders were heavy readers, apt to quote from the books they read and to carry insights gained from their reading into their policies. Tevi cites David Ben-Gurion (who read books in their original language), Chaim Weizmann, and above all, Menachem Begin.

It’s not surprising that “the People of the Book” tend to select leaders who immerse themselves in serious books. Nor, if you have read Tevi’s book, is it surprising that Israel’s Founding Fathers were extremely well read. Our Founding Fathers were as well.

But Israel’s current leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is also quite a serious reader. According to Tevi, Netanyahu recently has read Churchill’s Promised Land by Michael Makovsky (with whom he then discussed the book), Lessons in History by Will Durant, Civilization: The West and The Rest by Niall Ferguson, and A Brief History of Humankind by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari.

I’m retired, yet haven’t matched Netanyahu. Neither, I think it’s fair to say, have modern American presidents, although Tevi has shown that most of them, and especially George W.Bush, aren’t slouches.

I asked Tevi whether Netanyahu tweets. He told me that Netanyahu has a twitter feed. Tevi isn’t sure whether Netanyahu personally sends out any of the tweets, as Obama has done.

But we can be pretty confident that, unlike Obama, Netanyahu has never made public references to Snooki


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