9 books Mark Zuckerberg thinks everyone should read

Mark zuckerbergDavid Ramos/GettyFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made a tradition of dramatic New Year’s resolutions. This year, he decided that he’d read a book every two weeks, focusing on tomes “about different cultures, beliefs, histories, and technologies.”

“Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today,” Zuckerberg wrote on his personal Facebook page. “I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.”

To that aim, he started a book club called “A Year of Books,” in which he discusses the books he’s reading with members of the Facebook community.

We’ve put together a list of his picks and why he thinks everyone should read them.

'The End of Power' by Moisés Naím

Zuckerberg launched his book club with this lofty title from Naím, former executive director of the World Bank and senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

It's a historical investigation of the shift of power from authoritative governments, militaries, and major corporations to individuals. This is clearly seen in what's now become a Silicon Valley cliché, the disruptive startup.

'The trend towards giving people more power is one I believe in deeply,' Zuckerberg writes.

Buy it here >>

'Creativity, Inc.' by Ed Catmull

'Creativity, Inc.' is the story of Pixar, written by one of the computer animation giant's founders, Ed Catmull.

Catmull intersperses his narrative with valuable wisdom on management and entrepreneurialism, and argues that any company should consciously avoid hampering their employees' natural creativity.

'I love reading first-hand accounts about how people build great companies like Pixar and nurture innovation and creativity,' Zuckerberg writes.

Buy it here >>

'The Better Angels of Our Nature' by Steven Pinker

Zuckerberg admits that this 800-page, data-rich book from a Harvard psychologist can seem intimidating.

But the writing is actually easy to get through, and he thinks that Pinker's study of how violence has decreased over time despite being magnified by a 24-hour news cycle and social media is something that can offer a life-changing perspective.

It should be noted that Bill Gates also considers this one of the most important books he's ever read.

If you'd like to save some time, check out our summary of the book.

Buy it here >>

'On Immunity' by Eula Biss

Zuckerberg says that Biss' investigation into the benefits of vaccination is necessary to read, considering the anti-vaccination movement in the US and parts of Europe.

'The science is completely clear: vaccinations work and are important for the health of everyone in our community,' Zuckerberg writes, adding that this book was highly recommended to him by scientists and public health workers.

'This book explores the reasons why some people question vaccines, and then logically explains why the doubts are unfounded and vaccines are in fact effective and safe.'

Buy it here >>

'Gang Leader for a Day' by Sudhir Venkatesh

Venkatesh is a Columbia University sociology professor who, in a radical sociological experiment, embedded himself into a Chicago gang in the '90s.

Zuckerberg says that Venkatesh's story is an inspiring one of communication and understanding across economic and cultural barriers.

'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 writes.

Buy it here >>

'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' by Thomas S. Kuhn

If there was ever a philosophy book to read by a physicist, it's probably 'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.'

Since its initial publication in 1962, this look at the evolution of science and its effect on the modern world has become 'one of the most cited academic books of all time,' according to Stanford. Zuckerberg thinks that being aware of how scientific breakthroughs are the catalysts for social progression can be a 'force for social good.'

Kuhn's book is best known for introducing the phrase 'paradigm shift,' representing instances in scientific history when a perspective was fundamentally shifted, like when quantum physics replaced Newtonian mechanics.

Buy it here >>

'Orwell's Revenge' by Peter Huber

Zuckerberg wants to distance himself from 'Big Brother,' the symbol of an omniscient authoritarian government in George Orwell's '1984,' and so he's turned to this unofficial sequel from 1994. It imagines a world in which citizens use the technology that once enslaved them to liberate themselves.

'After seeing how history has actually played out, Huber's fiction describes how tools like the Internet benefit people and change society for the better,' Zuckerberg writes.

Buy it here >>

'Dealing with China' by Henry M. Paulson

Zuckerberg has been intensely fascinated with Chinese culture over the past several years and has stated that one of his longterm goals is convincing the Chinese government to let its people use Facebook.

He recommends 'Dealing with China,' from former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, because he thinks that China's recent rise in global influence affects the entire world.

'Over the last 35 years, China has experienced one of the greatest economic and social transformations in human history,' Zuckerberg writes. 'Hundreds of millions of people have moved out of poverty. By many measures, China has done more to lift people out of poverty than the whole rest of the world combined.'

Buy it here >>

'Rational Ritual' by Michael Chwe

Zuckerberg thinks this book from UCLA economist Michael Chwe can help its readers learn how to best utilise social media.

'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 writes.

Chwe's idea may sound complicated, but it's essentially a breakdown of the psychology behind individuals' interactions with others in public settings, and how they use these communities and rituals to help form their own identities.

Buy it here >>

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