'All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis' by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera

As the president and his economic advisers try to pull the country out of its financial morass, this damning account (one of our Facebook fan favorites) of how things went south in the first place might help keep them from making the same mistakes again … or is it too late for that?

Captions by Sheryl Huggins Salomon

'Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Male Inferiority' by Tom Burrell


We know that President Obama doesn't buy into the notion of black male inferiority, but messaging guru Tom Burrell's analysis — another top pick by our Facebook fans — can help him better combat his inexplicable image in some sectors as an inept, foreign-born socialist who hates his country.

'Basic Economics' by Thomas Sowell


Written by black conservative economist Thomas Sowell, this is known as a reader-friendly guide to understanding the free-market economy and is perhaps a staple on the bookshelves of some of the folks across the aisle with whom President Obama must negotiate.

'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu


With sage advice like, "supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting," this ancient text can provide plenty of help for our low-key president as he takes on congressional Republicans in 2011.

'The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference' by Malcolm Gladwell


Remember how much flak Obama got for not wearing an American flag pin? Enough said about why this tome made the list.

'Decision Points' by George W. Bush


In including the former president's book, we're not suggesting that Obama emulate his predecessor, who led us into two wars and a financial meltdown — only that there's a time to be "the Compromiser" and a time to be "the Decider."

'Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard' by Chip Heath and Dan Heath


This best-seller about how the battle between the rational mind and the emotional mind thwarts change might provide the president with insights on how to overcome conservative opposition and usher in the hope and change he promised.

'The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness' by Michelle Alexander


We're glad that the drug-sentencing disparity has been narrowed on Obama's watch, but as Michelle Alexander's compelling read makes clear, there's still plenty to be done to address the caste system that has resulted from our incarceration-happy approach to criminal justice.

'Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat From Racial Equity' by Tim Wise


The POTUS might be the man who was hailed as ushering in the post-racial era, but clearly the reception he's received from elements on the right has been anything but. Tim Wise examines why.

'Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There?' by Whoopi Goldberg


We have two words about why President Obama would probably find a lot to agree with in Goldberg's book about the loss of civility in our society: "You lie!"