Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 2015 New Year’s resolution was to read an important book every two weeks and discuss it with the Facebook community.
Zuckerberg’s book club, A Year of Books, has focused on big ideas that influence society and business. For his 12th pick, he’s gone with “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Hebrew University of Jerusalem historian Yuval Harari.
First published in 2014, “Sapiens” is a critically acclaimed international best-seller. Harari uses his book to track the evolution of Homo sapiens from hunter-gatherers into self-empowered “gods” of the future.
“We control the world basically because we are the only animals that can cooperate flexibly in very large numbers,” Harari told NPR in February to promote the book’s US publication.
“And if you examine any large-scale human cooperation, you will always find that it is based on some fiction like the nation, like money, like human rights,” he said. “These are all things that do not exist objectively, but they exist only in the stories that we tell and that we spread around. This is something very unique to us, perhaps the most unique feature of our species.”
Zuckerberg explains his latest book-club pick on his personal Facebook page:
This book is a big history narrative of human civilisation — from how we developed from hunter-gatherers early on to how we organise our society and economy today.
Following the Muqaddimah, which was a history from the perspective of an intellectual in the 1300s, Sapiens is a contemporary exploration of many similar questions. I’m looking forward to reading these different perspectives.
Zuckerberg’s book club is growing into an introduction to sociology, with an emphasis on the potential of technology to take humanity into the next stage of its evolution.
A Year of Books so far:
- “The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be” by Moisés Naím
- “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” by Steven Pinker
- “Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets” by Sudhir Venkatesh
- “On Immunity: An Inoculation” by Eula Biss
- “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
- “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas S. Kuhn
- “Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge” by Michael Chwe
- “Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower” by Henry M. Paulson
- “Orwell’s Revenge: The 1984 Palimpsest” by Peter Huber
- “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
- “The Muqaddimah” by Ibn Khaldun
- “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari
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