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List of books recommended by Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is a co-founder of Facebook, and currently operates as its chairman and chief executive officer. His net worth is estimated to be above 50 billion dollars and is ranked by Forbes as the fifth richest person in the world.

Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard University dormitory room on February 4, 2004. Facebook expanded rapidly, reaching one billion users by 2012. In December 2012, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced that over the course of their lives they would give the majority of their wealth to “advancing human potential and promoting equality”.

These are some of the books recommended and favoured by Mark Zuckerberg.

  • The End of Power by Moisés Naím

Summary: In 1977, eighty-nine countries were ruled by autocrats while today more than half the world’s population lives in democracies. CEO’s are more constrained and have shorter tenures than their predecessors. Modern tools of war, cheaper and more accessible, make it possible for groups like Hezbollah to afford their own drones. In the second half of 2010, the top ten hedge funds earned more than the world’s largest six banks combined.

Those in power retain it by erecting powerful barriers to keep challengers at bay. Today, insurgent forces dismantle those barriers more quickly and easily than ever, only to find that they themselves become vulnerable in the process. Accessible and captivating, Naím offers a revolutionary look at the inevitable end of power—and how it will change your world.

Quote: “We know that power is shifting from brawn to brains, from north to south and west to east, from old corporate behemoths to agile start-ups, from entrenched dictators to people in town squares and cyberspace.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker:

Summary: We are much less likely to die at someone else’s hands than ever before. Even the horrific carnage of the last century, when compared to the dangers of pre – state societies, is part of this trend. Debunking both the idea of the ‘noble savage’ and an over – simplistic Hobbesian notion of a ‘nasty, brutish and short’ life, Steven Pinker argues that modernity and its cultural institutions are actually making us better people.

Quote: “The theory that religion is a force for peace, often heard among the religious right and its allies today, does not fit the facts of history.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh:

Summary:  Gang Leader For A Day captured the world’s attention when it was first published. The writer studied a Chicago gang that dealt with crack from the inside. How he entered the gang, what he learned and the methods that he used created a wave in the academic establishment.

Venkatesh first decided to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty. A graduate in his first year, he wanted to impress his professors with his daring tactics. And so, he entered an abandoned building that was located in one of the most notorious housing projects in Chicago. What he didn’t know was that he would become friends with JT, a gang leader. Under JT’s protection, Venkatesh spent almost a decade inside the projects, documenting all that he saw there.

Quote: “Today’s champions of globalization are so busy celebrating the wondrous wealth and the charming artifacts of food and music produced by international interchange that they have little time for the plight of the invisible underclass that helps make it happen.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • On Immunity by Eula Biss: (Bill Gates also recommended it)

Summary: Eula Biss addresses our fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in our children’s air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, she suggests that we cannot immunize our children, or ourselves, against the world. As she explores the metaphors surrounding immunity, Biss extends her conversations with other mothers to meditations on the myth of Achilles, Voltaire’s Candide, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond.

Quote: “Wealthier countries have the luxury of entertaining fears the rest of the world cannot afford.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Summary: Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation Studios—into the story meetings, the postmortems, and the ‘Braintrust’ sessions where art is born. It is, at heart, a book about how to build and sustain a creative culture—but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull writes, ‘an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best in us possible.’

Quote: “If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a brilliant team, they will either fix it or throw it away and come up with something better.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn:

Summary: A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were-and still are. “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. And fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation, but that revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it.

Quote: “Normal science, the activity in which most scientists inevitably spend almost all their time, is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • Rational Ritual by Michael Chwe:

Summary: Why do Internet, financial service, and beer commercials dominate Super Bowl advertising? How do political ceremonies establish authority? Why does repetition characterize anthems and ritual speech? Why were circular forms favored for public festivals during the French Revolution? This book answers these questions using a single concept: common knowledge.

For instance, people watching the Super Bowl know that many others are seeing precisely what they see and that those people know in turn that many others are also watching. This creates common knowledge, and advertisers selling products that depend on consensus are willing to pay large sums to gain access to it. Remarkably, a great variety of rituals and ceremonies, such as formal inaugurations, work in much the same way.

Quote: “Common knowledge depends not only on me knowing that you receive a message but also on the existence of a shared symbolic system which allows me to know how you understand it.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • Dealing With China by Hank Paulson:

Summary: In ‘Dealing with China’, Paulson draws on his unprecedented access to modern China’s political and business elite, including its three most recent heads of state, to answer several key questions: How did China become an economic superpower so quickly? How does business really get done there? What are the best ways for Western business and political leaders to work with, compete with, and benefit from China? How can the West negotiate with and influence China given its authoritarian rule, its massive environmental concerns, and its huge population’s unrelenting demands for economic growth and security?

Written in an anecdote-rich, page-turning style, Dealing with China is certain to become the classic and definitive examination of unlocking, building, and engaging an economic superpower.

Quote:  “China has become as much a source of concern as a source of awe. We find ourselves at cross purposes with an ever more competitive China as it flexes its newfound muscles in a world of markets and in bitter territorial disputes with its neighbours, while it seeks to challenge the US-led order in Asia and in aspects of the system of global governance that has prevailed since World War II,”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • Orwell’s Revenge by Peter W. Huber:

Summary: In an extraordinary demonstration of the emerging supermedium’s potential to engender new forms of creativity, Huber’s book boldly reimagines 1984 from the computer’s point of view. After first scanning all of Orwell’s writings into his personal computer, Huber used the machine to rewrite the book completely, for the most part using Orwell’s own language. Alternating fiction and non-fiction chapters, Huber advances Orwell’s plot to a surprising new conclusion while seamlessly interpolating his own explanations and arguments. The result is a fascinating utopian work which envisions a world at our fingertips of ever-increasing information, equal opportunity, and freedom of choice.

Quote: “But sharing the wealth threatened power-hungry elites in every nation, and these reactionaries blocked society’s natural progress toward humane socialism. Capitalist societies became fascist; socialist ones became communist.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

Summary: Praised as “brave and bold,” this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control relegating millions to a permanent second-class status even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.

Quote: “All people make mistakes. All of us are sinners. All of us are criminals. All of us violate the law at some point in our lives. In fact, if the worst thing you have ever done is speed ten miles over the speed limit on the freeway, you have put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy of his or her living room. Yet there are people in the United States serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses, something virtually unheard of anywhere else in the world.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun:

Summary: The Muqaddimah, also known as the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun or Ibn Khaldun’s Prolegomena was written by the Arab, North African Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun in 1377 which records an early view of universal history. Some modern thinkers view it as the first work dealing with the philosophy of history or the social sciences of sociology, demography, historiography, cultural history, and economics. The Muqaddimah also deals with Islamic theology, political theory and the natural sciences of biology and chemistry. The Muqaddimah is also held to be a foundational work for the schools of historiography, cultural history, and the philosophy of history and it laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history.

Quote: “Throughout history many nations have suffered a physical defeat, but that has never marked the end of a nation. But when a nation has become the victim of a psychological defeat, then that marks the end of a nation.”

Find it on Amazon, Kindle

  • Sapiens by Yuval Harari:

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  • The Player of Games by Iain Banks:

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  • Energy: A Beginner’s Guide by Vaclav Smil:

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  • Genome by Matt Ridley:

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  • The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James:

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  • Portfolios of the Poor by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, and Stuart Rutherford:

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  • Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemolu and James A. Robinson

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  • The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley:

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  • The Three-Body Problem by Lio Cixin:

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  • The Idea Factory by Jon Gertner:

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  • World Order by Henry Kissinger:

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  • The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch:

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