The top ten books on the list are: The Bible, The Odyssey, Plato’s Republic, Democracy in America, The Iliad, Hamlet, The Koran, The Wealth of Nations, The Prince, and The Federalist Papers.
Arnold rightly laments the absence of modern books on the list. More interesting to me is the lack of consensus. The top-scoring book, the Bible, was recommended by only 20 of the 128 presidents; and the Federalist Papers made the top ten despite being mentioned by only three percent of the respondents (four out of 128).
On the topic of science and technology, depressingly few books were mentioned at all. The top sci/tech scorer was Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, with three mentions. Also mentioned were Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Ridley’s Genome, and, oddly, Brockman’s Greatest Inventions.
Readers: tell me in the comments which five science and technology books you would have every student read. I’ll summarize and give my own list once your lists are in.