5 Books Mark Zuckerberg Thinks You Should Read

Your perspective might shift

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It’s a plain fact that Mark Zuckerberg knows a thing or two about success. The multibillionaire CEO of the world’s most popular social network, Facebook, has essentially turned a college pipe dream into one of the most valuable companies ever. Over the years Zuck has revealed some of the books he has read, his takeaway from them and how they’ve shifted his perspective on life or a particular issue. He recently started a book club called A Year of Books, which focuses on big ideas that influence society and business.

Here are five of those selections from over the years:

1. ‘Why Nations Fail’ by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson


As mentioned above, Zuckerberg’s book club, A Year of Books, focuses on big ideas that influence society and business. Business Insider reported that, for his 18th pick, he’s gone with Why Nations Fail by MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist James A. Robinson, first published in 2012.

As one reviewer puts it, “Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?”

You can pick this up on Amazon for $15.

2. ‘Portfolios of the Poor’ by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford and Orlanda Ruthven

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The next recommendation is Portfolios of the Poor.

“It’s mind-blowing that almost half the world—almost 3 billion people—live on $2.50 a day or less. More than 1 billion people live on $1 a day or less,” Zuckerberg writes. “I hope reading this provides some insight into ways we can all work to support them better as well.”

The book is described as year-long interviews with impoverished villagers and slum dwellers in Bangladesh, India and South Africa, and records that track penny by penny how specific households manage their money. The stories of these families are often surprising and inspiring.

This book is sure to give some insight into poverty and open up your overall perspective.

Grab this from Amazon for $19.

3. ‘The Muqaddimah’ by Ibn Khaldûn

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Third, we have The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun.

“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 world view when it’s all considered together,” Zuckerberg writes.

This book is for the history buffs. According to Amazon, The Muqaddimah, often translated as “Introduction” or “Prolegomenon,” is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by the great 14th-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406), this monumental work established the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography and economics.

You can grab this from Amazon for $18.

4. ‘The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves’ by Matt Ridley

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Zuckerberg says he chose The Rational Optimist because “it argues that economic progress is the greater force that’s pushing society forward. I’m interested to see which idea resonates more after exploring this framework. This is also the second one of Ridley’s books I’ve read this year.”

Author Matt Ridley is a favorite among tech entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates. Business Insider reports that Gates is a prominent reader of Ridley’s work and writes on his blog that although he strongly disagrees with some of Ridley’s ideas on charitable ventures and scientific innovation, his fundamental ideas regarding the evolution of ideas through markets and the concept of rational optimism “are very important and powerful.”

Grab this from Amazon for $7.

5. ‘The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World’ by David Deutsch

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The last book on this list is The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World. It’s described on Amazon as “a groundbreaking book, where award-winning physicist David Deutsch argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe—and that improving them is the basic regulating principle of all successful human endeavor.”

“It’s about everything: art, science, philosophy, history, politics, evil, death, the future, infinity, bugs, thumbs, what have you,” Columbia University philosopher David Albert writes for The New York Times.

Zuckerberg says, “Reading has given me more perspective on a number of topics—from science to religion, from poverty to prosperity, from health to energy to social justice, from political philosophy to foreign policy, and from history to futuristic fiction.”

You can pick it up on Amazon for $16.

Related article: 4 Books Warren Buffett Recommends You Read

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