A Book Prescription for President Trump — 11 Books Trump Should Read Today

Posted by Bijal Shah on

Being a bibliotherapist (essentially a fancy name for a book therapist or an expert who recommends books based on current issues that a person is facing), I had many clients and friends joke about a book prescription for President Trump given his consistently narcissistic behaviour (particularly after this week’s unbelievable series of events including the congratulatory call to Putin on his reelection and the churning of white house staff including Robert Mueller).

My book prescription for President Trump would comprise the following:

1. Malignant Self Love (Non-fiction) by Sam Vaknin

I chose this book based on President Trump’s inherent ‘’NPD’ or ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’. defined as ‘an enduring pattern of grandiose beliefs and arrogant behaviour together with an overwhelming need for admiration and a lack of empathy for (and even exploitation of) others’.

The author, Sam Vaknin, a lifelong NPD sufferer hits the nail on the head when describing the disorder and his experience, documenting it magnificently. On reading the book, Trump may feel that the book is about him. Connecting strongly with the author through his writing, he may get some insight and awareness into his own behaviour.

2. To Kill A Mocking Bird (Fiction) by Harper Lee

A classic of modern American literature, it touches on the very serious issue of race, class, gender, what real courage is, and the importance of being a good, moral person. It’s particularly recommended for Trump because of its anti-racist values and teachings on integrity.

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Non-fiction) by Rebecca Skloot

An important woman’s invaluable contribution in the field of immortalised cell lines where human cells can continue to divide indefinitely. Whilst diagnosed with cervical cancer during the early 1920s and living in poverty with her husband and five children, her cancerous cells were removed without her consent. Initial researchers discovered the cells could reproduce indefinitely. This was ground-breaking and her cells were multiplied by the billions and sold to drug companies for research. They made a tremendous contribution to science and medicine (including vaccines for polio, AIDs, cancer) and continue to be used for testing today without ever having to conduct human trials. The controversy and privacy issues this continues to raise to this day is enough to give the American public goosebumps. Trump’s racist attitudes and ignorance of such stories makes it even more important that he reads this book. An influential story that opens our eyes to the tremendous contributions of African-Americans in the 20th century despite maltreatment and racist attitudes.

4 Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump (Non-fiction) by Michael Isikoff and David Cord

The secret is out of the bag. This one might be useful for Trump in anticipation of the final verdict in the on-going Russian election meddling investigation. The book journals insightful investigative reporting at its finest with impeccable detail and is a sign of things to come, although you might have to wait for a real-life ending.

5 A Room of One’s Own (Fiction) by Virginia Woolf

More of a speech/essay than a book (albeit a 113-page speech), this literature on women’s empowerment with them seeking greater and more equal rights will mark a haunting impression on Trump. Its glorious writing, honest truth about others’ expectations of women and how they have had to live and continue to live sums up the experience of the majority of women to this day. Virginia’s message is that women should indeed be given the same freedom and space as men to develop their own strengths and identity. One that perhaps First Lady Melania Trump should read aloud to her husband.

6 Lord of The Flies (Fiction) by William Golding

A personal favourite of mine, this is a story about how an attempt to govern themselves, goes harrowingly wrong for a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island. The book explores the dark side of human nature and our capacity for corruption and harm in order to survive. If there was any book that might persuade President Trump to re-think his leadership style, this one might just be it.

7 We Should All Be Feminists (Non-fiction) by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie

Yes this is another essay (60 pages this time) but it is one of the most powerful philosophies on gender equality and empowerment I have come across in a long, long time. I would make it required reading for everyone.

8 Wonder (Fiction) by R.J. Palacio

Wonder was inspired after the author and her son encountered a young girl with facial birth defects whilst queuing for ice cream. On seeing the girl’s disfigured face, her son started to cry. Attempting to remove her son from the situation to avoid upsetting the girl and her family, it became worse.

Palacio wanted to write a book that helped other kids understand, be aware of and embrace our differences. Whilst a children’s book, this might be the most effective literary channel for President Trump, teaching him empathy and how to embrace our differences and celebrate diversity. A much-needed virtue for any president.

9 The Hate U Give (Fiction) by Angie Thomas

A book that opened at number one on the New York Times young adult best-seller list, is a powerful eye opener about what is happening in America right now. Trump needs to know these stories and take them seriously.

Whilst a novel, the book was inspired by a series of police shootings on unarmed black youth, that are misunderstood by the media and whose murders are barely investigated by the police. A great literary contribution to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

10 The History and Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume I (Non-fiction) by Edward Gibbon and David Womersley

Masterful writing capturing every single piece of political, social, psychological, historical and cultural data about how a great empire failed and how America may too face the same fate in the future. A reminder for the likes of Trump that nothing is permanent, history does repeat itself and be careful how you tread. Might be one to listen to on Audible or audio given its 1,000 pages.

11 Breakfast with Buddha (Fiction) by Roland Derullo

A novel and the first in a sequel of books about a man’s spiritual discovery and self-realisation whilst touring America using philosophical insights from Hinduism, Taoism and Buddhism. I prescribed this spiritual book for Trump as the book of last resort that may awaken his moral and ethical senses to do what is right for the country and the world in a peaceful, godly way.

Do you have any books to add to the list above for President Trump? Feel free to add them to the comments section below!

A big hello and thank you for reading! I am a bibliotherapist/book coach, psychodynamic counsellor, author and founder of Book Therapy. Passionate about literature, psychology, life and mental health I launched Book Therapy as a form of non-conventional therapy and personal coaching through the power of literature. If you enjoyed the reading list above, feel free to reach out to me and I will create a book prescription for you based on your individual circumstance, needs, interests and reading habits.

Book Therapy is a participant in the Amazon EU, US and Canada Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

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