Donald Trump's Reading List

Trump may not read, but he does love to recommend books.

Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

It's well-known that Donald Trump doesn't read.

Admittedly, reading can be hard in the social media age of distraction and SparkNotes. Maybe if you're the president of the entire United States, you should perhaps read–but who are we to judge?

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When I travel, the experience is about so much more than just seeing historical sights or eating international cuisine. Don't get me wrong, I certainly try to see as many tourist destinations as I can, but I'm more interested in soaking up the culture in a holistic way. I want to broaden my horizons by getting a taste of how other cultures see the world, how they interact with each other, what makes them tick. That's why I always try to make new friends when I travel, whether it's keeping in touch over social media or just finding a friendly face for the night to show me the off-the-beaten-path places where the locals really go to drink and dance. So having conversational command of the local language is important to me. I don't have to be fluent, but the more I'm able to speak and understand the language, the more I can have the kinds of adventures that really make travel worthwhile: finding hidden gem restaurants, or late-night talks about philosophy and love with fellow travelers under the Argentinian summer sky.

I've tried a lot of different language learning programs over the years to get ready for trips. The one I come back to over and over again is Rosetta Stone, because all of their features are easy to use, polished and modernized. At the end of the day, it's the only program that helps me actually speak confidently when I'm abroad. Their immersive technique lets you absorb a new language in brief lessons that I can fit in with my morning coffee or on my evening commute. Their lessons are never overwhelming, they're rewarding because you see clear, noticeable progress in your speech and pronunciation after each exercise. Plus, their exercises are never boring (looking at you college classes!) because they're always teaching you in a new and clever way. The app lets you learn on-the-go from your phone (no wifi needed!), which is the only way I can fit language learning into my busy schedule.

When I used other apps, I found that even if I technically knew the vocab, I would still shy away from the conversation if I didn't have confidence in how I was saying sentences. Once, I went fifty miles (which I learned is 80 km!) in the wrong direction on a bus in Italy because I was too nervous to ask for directions. I used to feel overwhelmed a lot when I traveled: too scared to speak to locals, too lost to know up from down, and no internet to save me. Rosetta Stone has changed my confidence problem for good. Phrasebook, a feature I wish I had on my Italy trip, tells you how to pronounce the most useful phrases such as "I'm lost" or "Excuse me, how do I get to the beach?". Their speech recognition technology hears how I'm pronouncing words and helps me fine tune my accent, which makes all the difference when I travel. Plus, they have a really cool Seek & Speak tool that leverages augmented reality. It challenges you to take pictures of objects like fruits or vegetables and the app teaches you how to say the word in the language you are learning. I tried it out a couple of months ago when I was at a farmer's market in Paris. I was able to collect photos of the most perfectly ripe strawberries and cherries I wanted to buy. All I had to do was point my iPhone camera at the fruit and the app taught me "des fraises" and "cerises", and then I had the best dessert ever.

Before I used Rosetta Stone, I imagined it was an old-school program that took up a lot of time. But once I put it to the test, I discovered their new app is truly amazing. Subscriptions start for as little as $6.99 a month, so I can afford to use Rosetta Stone every time I travel without dipping into my wanderlust savings. For travelers looking to make the most out of their trip, I can't recommend Rosetta Stoneenough. Their engaging app with short lessons is the reason I've learned to explore the world confidently. My improved language confidence has led to close friendships, discovering hidden sunset perches, eating one-of-a-kind delicacies, and memories that will last a lifetime.

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