In discussing Dreams from My Father, Toni Morrison, a Nobel Laureate novelist, has called Obama "a writer in my high esteem" and the book "quite extraordinary." She praised
"his ability to reflect on this extraordinary mesh of experiences that he has had, some familiar and some not, and to really meditate on that the way he does, and to set up scenes in narrative structure, dialogue, conversation—all of these things that you don't often see, obviously, in the routine political memoir biography. ... It's unique. It's his. There are no other ones like that."
In an interview for The Daily Beast, the author Philip Roth said he had read Dreams from My Father "with great interests," and commented that he had found it "well done and very persuasive and memorable."
The book "may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician," wrote Time columnist Joe Klein. In 2008, The Guardian's Rob Woodard wrote that Dreams from My Father "is easily the most honest, daring, and ambitious volume put out by a major US politician in the last 50 years." Michiko Kakutani, the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for The New York Times, described it as "the most evocative, lyrical and candid autobiography written by a future president."
The audiobook edition earned Obama the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2006. Five days before being sworn in as President in 2009, Obama secured a $500,000 advance for an abridged version of Dreams from My Father for middle-school-aged children.
Time Magazine Top 100 List
In 2011, Time Magazine listed the book on its top 100 non-fiction books written in English since 1923.