10 Book Recommendations From Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg made it big when he created Facebook in 2004 while attending Harvard. Not long after, he dropped out of school to focus on his app that would change the internet. In 2012 Facebook went public, and now Zuckerburg is one of the wealthiest people in the world. Yet, like many busy CEOs, he finds time to read and stay sharp! Keep reading to see what billionaire Zuckerberg has to say about recommendations from his Year of Books list.
Zuckerberg’s progression in his career has gone alongside his interest in philanthropic adventures. Curious to know more about poverty, Zuzkerburg added Why Nations Fail to his Year of Books list. Authors Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson explore what 15 years of research shows regarding poverty. They answer the questions many ask like, “why are some nations face higher rates of poverty,” and “is there a solution to end poverty altogether?” Everyone could benefit from reading Why Nations Fail to understand what we can do towards closing the gap in poverty.
Who would have thought they’d see the day where there would be commercials on TV advertising how you could find out more about your ancestors by having your genome’s tested? Genome goes into the details of what knowing more about the human genome can do for mankind. “This book aims to tell a history of humanity from the perspective of genetics rather than sociology,” Zuckerberg writes. “This should complement the other broad histories I’ve read this year.” Everyday science makes progress in medicine where society is close to finding remedies for diseases, and learning more about the human body’s 23 pairs chromosomes is helping scientists get there. In Genome, Matt Ridley discusses all of this, including the way how knowing too much about the human genome in the wrong hands, could result in eugenics.
Since its publication in 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the most cited academic books of all time. Thomas Kuhn looks at the evolution of science and how it has shaped society. The effect scientific breakthroughs have on the world is an important thing to always be aware of, according to Zuckerburg.
In 1984 by George Orwell, he described a bleak future where humans are watched through telescreens by “big brother.” With the way social media has taken over our lives, society is heading in the direction Orwell predicted in his bestselling fiction novel. Peter Huber took a lesson from Orwell and had half of his book, Orwell’s Revenge, written by a machine by scanning original documents Orwell wrote. The chapters alternate between fiction and nonfiction, making it a good compromise for anyone conflicted on what genre to read next.
Zuckerberg led the way of social media, but the intentions of how society uses social media vary. If you recall, Facebook began as a platform for classmates to connect and get to know one another. Now, people use it beyond being “just friends,” companies use it to recruit others (and vice versa), and marketers drive up business with carefully targeted ads. “The book is about the concept of ‘common knowledge’ and how people process the world not only based on what we personally know, but what we know other people know and our shared knowledge as well,” Zuckerberg says. Michael Suk-Young Chwe explores this and more as he researches a better way to use social media.
The Muqaddimah (which translates to “The Introduction”) was written in 1377 by Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun. Khaldun documents the foundations of knowledge of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics, as seen in the 14th century. Most of what Khaldun wrote then has been disproven, but it is still an interesting read to see what people knew to be history so many years ago.
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull (Author), Amy Wallace
Do you remember the first time you saw a film by Pixar? Pixar paved the way for a new form of animation well before Disney’s, “Toy Story.” The company has roots that date back to 1979 when George Lucas was looking for a new type of computer graphics for his films. Lucas approached Ed Catmull (author) who at the time was working at the New York Institute of Technology. Catmull discusses that companies should let their employees be creative versus doing what they should be doing, something that Zuckerburg wholeheartedly agrees with. Zuckerburg says, “I love reading first-hand accounts about how people build great companies like Pixar and nurture innovation and creativity.” A developer reading a developer’s book, makes sense!
In an extreme experiment, Columbia University’s first-year graduate student, Sudhir Venkatesh, becomes a part of a gang in the 1990s. What Venkatesh finds is not what he’d expected. “The more we all have a voice to share our perspectives, the more empathy we have for each other and the more we respect each other’s rights,” Zuckerberg says. Venkatesh details what it was like to be within the hierarchy of a gang as they start a drug-dealing ring. Gang Leader for a Day shows how two people from opposite upbringings can become friends.
When Zuckerburg is looking for a break from nonfiction, he enjoys sci-fi novels. The famous book and movie, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card tells the story of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, who trains to become a part of an army to help defend earth from an alien race. This is just one of the books in the exciting Ender’s series!
A sci-fi favorite of both Zuckerburg and Elon Musk, The Player of Games, is yet another book that imagines what life would be like if technology surpassed the capabilities of humans. The narrative is poetic, humorous, and terrifying all at the same time. It’s always fun to see what authors published 30+ years ago imagined what life in the future would be like.
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