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Mark Zuckerberg Recommends 23 Books On New Cultures, Beliefs, Histories, and Technologies

As many of us have undoubtedly done in the past, Mark Zuckerberg made a New Year's resolution to read more. The Facebook CEO set a goal to read a book every two weeks in 2015 (or 26 books that year in total). Thus began his Facebook-based book club, A Year of Books, which focussed on "learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies." 

Unlike many of us, however, Zuckerberg seemed to have actually stuck to his resolution, and only ended his year just shy of the 26 book goal due to the birth of his daughter. 

Below are the 23 books Zuckerberg read that year and why he thinks you should read them.

The End of Power

"It's a book that explores how the world is shifting to give individual people more power that was traditionally only held by large governments, militaries and other organizations. The trend towards giving people more power is one I believe in deeply, and I'm looking forward to reading this book and exploring this in more detail."

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The Better Angels of Our Nature

"It's a timely book about how and why violence has steadily decreased throughout our history, and how we can continue this trend.

Recent events might make it seem like violence and terrorism are more common than ever, so it's worth understanding that all violence -- even terrorism -- is actually decreasing over time. If we understand how we are achieving this, we can continue our path towards peace.

A few people I trust have told me this is the best book they've ever read. It's a long book, so I plan on taking a month to read it rather than two weeks."

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Gang Leader for a Day

"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. Similarly, the more we benefit from global commerce and the services others provide us, the greater our incentive is to keep each other safe as it improves our lives.

Gang Leader for a Day is loosely related to the themes Better Angels in that it explores what life is like for those who don't live under effective governance."

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On Immunity

"Vaccination is an important and timely topic. The science is completely clear: vaccinations work and are important for the health of everyone in our community.

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.

This book was recommended to me by scientists and friends who work in public health. It’s also a relatively short book — one that you should be able to read in a few hours. I encourage you to check it out and to join the discussion."

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Creativity, Inc.

"This book is written by the founder of Pixar and is about his experience building a culture that fosters creativity.

His theory is that people are fundamentally creative, but many forces stand in the way of people being able to do their best work.

I love reading first-hand accounts about how people build great companies like Pixar and nurture innovation and creativity. This should be inspiring to anyone looking to do the same, and hopefully there will be lessons we can apply to connecting the world!"

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

"It's a history of science book that explores the question of whether science and technology make consistent forward progress or whether progress comes in bursts related to other social forces.

I tend to think that science is a consistent force for good in the world. I think we'd all be better off if we invested more in science and acted on the results of research. I'm excited to explore this theme further."

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Rational Ritual

"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.

This is an important idea for designing social media, as we often face tradeoffs between creating personalized experiences for each individual and crafting universal experiences for everyone. I'm looking forward to exploring this further."

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Dealing with China

"This book is about Paulson's experience working with Chinese leaders over two decades as US Secretary of the Treasury and as head of Goldman Sachs.

Over the last 35 years, China has experienced one of the greatest economic and social transformations in human history. 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.

I've been personally interested as a student of Chinese culture, history and language. I'm looking forward to reading Paulson's perspective on what China's rise means for the world."

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Orwell's Revenge

"Many of us are familiar with George Orwell's book 1984. Its ideas of Big Brother, surveillance and doublespeak have become pervasive fears in our culture.

Orwell's Revenge is an alternate version of 1984. 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."

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The Muqaddimah

"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."

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Sapiens

"This book is a big history narrative of human civilization -- from how we developed from hunter-gatherers early on to how we organize 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."

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Energy

"This book is about physical rather than social sciences. It explores important topics around how energy works, how our production and use might evolve, and how this affects climate change.

Vaclav Smil's works have been highly recommended by Bill Gates and others. I'm also planning to read his book Making The Modern World when I get a chance."

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Genome

"This book aims to tell a history of humanity from the perspective of genetics rather than sociology. This should complement the other broad histories I've read this year, as well as follow Energy well in focusing on science.

I've wanted to read Matt Ridley's books for a while. His recent book The Rational Optimist about how progress and the economy evolve is also near the top of my ever-growing pile of books to read."

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The Rational Optimist

"Two of the books I've read this year -- The Better Angels of Our Nature and Why Nations Fail -- have explored how social and economic progress work together to make the world better.

The Better Angels argues for that the two feed off each other, whereas Why Nations Fail argues that social and political progress ultimately controls the economic progress a society makes. This next book argues the opposite -- that economic progress is the greater force is pushing society forward. I'm interested to see which idea resonates more after exploring both frameworks.

This is also the second one of Ridley's books I've read this year."

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The Three-Body Problem

"It's a Chinese science fiction book that has gotten so popular there's now a Hollywood movie being made based on it.

This will also be a fun break from all the economics and social science books I've read recently."

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The Idea Factory

"I'm very interested in what causes innovation -- what kinds of people, questions and environments. This book explores that question by looking at Bell Labs, which was one of the most innovative labs in history."

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World Order

"My next book for A Year of Books is Quantum Physics for Babies!

Just kidding. It's actually World Order by Henry Kissinger -- about foreign relations and how we can build peaceful relationships throughout the world. This is important for creating the world we all want for our children, and that's what I'm thinking about these days."

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Egyptian-American food enthusiast born in Chicago, raised in Beirut, and living in Dublin. Regional Ambassador at Bookwitty. Intimately familiar with the term "identity crisis".

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