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. His selections so far have been mostly contemporary, but for his eleventh pick he’s chosen “The Muqaddimah,” written in 1377 by the Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun.
“The Muqaddimah,” which translates to “the introduction,” is an early attempt at stripping away biases of historical records and finding universal elements in the progression of humanity.
Ibn Khaldun’s revolutionary scientific approach to history has established him as one of the foundational thinkers of modern sociology and historiography.
The influential 20th century British historian Arnold J. Toynbee described “The Muqaddimah” as “a philosophy of history, which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Zuckerberg explains his latest book-club pick on his personal Facebook page:
It’s a history of the world written by an intellectual who lived in the 1300s. It focuses on how society and culture flow, including the creation of cities, politics, commerce and science.
While much of what was believed then is now disproven after 700 more years of progress, it’s still very interesting to see what was understood at this time and the overall worldview when it’s all considered together.
The majority of Zuckerberg’s book club selections have been explorations of issues through a sociological lens, so it makes sense that he is now reading the book that helped create the field.
A Year of Books so far:
- “The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being In Charge Isnt 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 Sud hir 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