A Year of Books: 23 Book Recommendations from Mark Zuckerberg – Farnam Street

In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg did something a bit unusual for the CEO of a major tech company: he started a book club!

In that year, Zuckerberg ended up recommending and discussing 23 books with the group, about one every two weeks. we found a great list of interesting reading. let’s check it out.

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creativity, inc.

creativity, inc. is a book for managers who want to take their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first all-access trip to the nerve center of Pixar animation, in meetings, autopsies and “brain trust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made. It is, at heart, a book about building a creative culture, but it is also, as Pixar co-founder and chairman Ed Catmull writes, “an expression of the ideas that I believe make the best of us possible.” /p>


One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited the earth. however, today there is only one: homo sapiens. what happened to the others? And what can happen to us?

Most books on the history of mankind pursue a historical or biological approach, but dr. yuval noah harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins some 70,000 years ago with the rise of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events. within the context of larger ideas.

the rational optimist

In a bold and provocative interpretation of economic history, matt ridley, the new york times bestselling author of genome and the red queen, makes the case for an economy of hope, arguing that the benefits of trade, technology, Innovation and change, what Ridley calls cultural evolution, will inevitably increase human prosperity.

the structure of scientific revolutions

With the structure of scientific revolutions, kuhn challenged longstanding linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas do not emerge from the daily gradual process of experimentation and data. accumulation but that revolutions in science, those defining moments that upset accepted thinking and offer unanticipated insights, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Although Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas about how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that accumulate over time in research experiments remain instructive in our biotechnological age.

why nations fail

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson demonstrate conclusively that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack thereof). Korea, to take just one of its fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest in the world, while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the poorest. rich. The South forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to share in economic opportunity.

the end of power

In The End of Power, award-winning columnist and former foreign policy editor Moisés Naím illustrates the struggle between the once-dominant megaplayers and the new micropowers that they challenge them in every field of human endeavor. Drawing on provocative and original research, Naím shows how the micropowers’ anti-establishment drive can topple tyrants, dislodge monopolies, and open up remarkable new opportunities, but it can also lead to chaos and paralysis. naím deftly covers the seismic shifts taking place in business, religion, education, within families, and in all matters of war and peace.

the new jim crow

every once in a while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps fuel a national social movement. the new jim crow is one of those books. Praised by Harvard law professor Lani Guinier as “courageous and fearless,” this book directly challenges the notion that Barack Obama’s election signals a new era of colorblindness. With stunning candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we haven’t done away with racial caste in America; we just redesigned it.” By targeting black men through the war on drugs and decimating communities of color, the us uu. the criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, relegating millions to permanent second-class status, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, Chairman and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a “call to action.”

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Arguably the most important scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, longevity, and free will. questions that will affect the rest of your life.

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genome offers an extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. Picking a newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley tells the story of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington’s disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley investigates the scientific, philosophical, and moral questions that arise as a result of mapping the genome. she will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children and for humanity.

portfolios of the poor

Nearly forty percent of humanity lives on an average of two dollars a day or less. if you’ve never had to survive on such a small income, it’s hard to imagine. how would you put food on the table, pay for a house and educate your children? how would you handle emergencies and old age? Every day, more than a billion people around the world must answer these questions. Poor Portfolios is the first book to systematically explain how the poor find solutions to their everyday financial problems.

relations with china

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 is business really done there?

What are the best ways Western business and political leaders can work with, compete with, and benefit from China?

how can the u.s. Negotiating and influencing China given its authoritarian rule, huge environmental concerns, and relentless demands for economic growth and security from its huge population?

the varieties of religious experience

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature is a book by Harvard psychologist and philosopher William James. It comprises his edited Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology, which were delivered at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 1901 and 1902. The lectures dealt with the nature of religion and the neglect of science in the academic study of religion.

the best angels of our nature

Believe it or not, we may be living through the most peaceful time of our species’ existence today. In his gripping and controversial new work, new york times bestselling author steven pinker shows that, despite incessant news about war, crime, and terrorism, violence has actually been on the rise. decline over long periods of history. Exploding myths about humanity’s inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious book continues Pinker’s exploration of the essence of human nature, blending psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of a world increasingly illustrated.

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the three body problem

Against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to make contact with aliens. an alien civilization on the verge of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade earth. meanwhile, on earth, different camps begin to form, planning to receive the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or fight the invasion. the result is a sci-fi masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

gang leader for a day

When first-year graduate student sudhir venkatesh walked into an abandoned building in one of chicago’s most notorious housing projects, he expected to find some people willing to take a multiple-choice survey on urban poverty and impress his students. teachers with their audacity. He never imagined that as a result of this assignment he would befriend a gang leader named JT and spend the better part of a decade embedded within the projects under JT’s protection. From a vantage point of unprecedented access, Venkatesh watched JT and the rest of his gang as they operated their crack business, made amends with their neighbors, evaded the law, and rose or fell through the ranks of the complex structure. gang hierarchy. .

energy: a beginner’s guide

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as einstein pointed out in his famous equation, e=mc2, all matter can be described as energy. it is everywhere; It’s all in this engaging book, prolific author and academic Vaclav Smil provides an introduction to the powerful term and gives the reader a greater understanding of energy’s place in society past and present. Starting with an explanation of the concept, he goes on to cover such exciting topics as the inner workings of the human body and the race for more efficient and environmentally friendly fuels. With global warming becoming a major political issue, this guide will help shed light on the science behind it and the efforts to prevent it, and how our seemingly insignificant daily decisions affect energy consumption. Whether you’re looking for information or tabletop conversation, “Energy: A Beginner’s Guide” will surprise and inform you, uncovering the science behind one of the most important concepts in our universe.

orwell’s revenge

In an extraordinary demonstration of the potential of the emerging supermedium to spawn new forms of creativity, Huber’s book boldly reinvents 1984 from the point of view of the computer. After first scanning all of Orwell’s writings into his personal computer, Huber used the machine to rewrite the entire book, mostly using Orwell’s own language. By alternating fictional and non-fictional chapters, Huber advances Orwell’s plot to a stunning new conclusion while seamlessly interpolating Orwell’s own explanations and arguments. the result is a fascinating utopian work that imagines a world at our fingertips with ever-increasing information, equality of opportunity, and freedom of choice.

rational ritual

why do the internet, financial services and beer commercials dominate super bowl advertising? How do political ceremonies establish authority? Why does repetition characterize hymns and ritual speech? why were circular shapes favored for public festivals during the french revolution? this book answers these questions using a single concept: common knowledge.

the muqadimah

the muqaddimah, often translated as “introduction” or “prolegomenon”, is the most important Islamic story of the pre-modern world. Written by the great fourteenth-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406), this monumental work laid the foundations for various fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics. The first complete English translation, by the eminent Islamist and interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal, was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen series and received immediate acclaim in the United States and abroad. An abridged one-volume version of Rosenthal’s masterful translation first appeared in 1969.

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the game player

culture, a symbiotic society between humans and machines, has spawned many great players, and one of the biggest is gurgeh. jernau morat gurgeh. the game player. master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the cruel and impossibly rich empire of Azad to try his fabulous game…a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, nearly killed, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life, and quite possibly his death.

about immunity: an inoculation

In this bold and compelling book, Eula Biss addresses our fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in our children’s air, food, mattresses, medications, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, she suggests that we cannot immunize our children, or ourselves, against the world. While exploring the metaphors surrounding immunity, Biss extends her conversations with other mothers to meditations on the myth of Achilles, Voltaire’s naive, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the silence by rachel carson spring, helps and their metaphors by susan sontag, and beyond. On Immunity is an inoculation against our fear and a moving account of how we are all interconnected: our bodies and our destinies.

the beginning of infinity

In this groundbreaking book, award-winning physicist David Deutsch argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe and that improving them is the basic governing principle of all successful human endeavor. Taking us on a journey through all the fundamental fields of science, as well as the history of civilization, art, moral values, and the theory of political institutions, Deutsch traces how we form new explanations and discard bad ones, explaining the conditions under which progress—which, according to him, is potentially unlimited—can and cannot happen. Hugely ambitious and highly original, the beginning of infinity explores and establishes deep connections between the laws of nature, the human condition, knowledge and the possibility of progress.

world order

henry kissinger offers world order a profound meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era — advising presidents, traveling the world, observing and shaping the pivotal foreign policy events of the last few decades — Kissinger now reveals his analysis of the ultimate challenge. for the 21st century: how to build a shared international order in a world of divergent historical perspectives, violent conflict, proliferating technology, and ideological extremism.

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

From its beginnings in the 1920s until its demise in the 1980s, Bell Labs (officially the research and development wing of AT&T) was the world’s largest and arguably the best laboratory for new ideas. From the transistor to the laser, from digital communications to cell phones, it’s hard to find an aspect of modern life that hasn’t been touched by Bell Labs. In The Idea Factory, Jon Gertner traces the origins of some of the most important inventions of the 20th century, offering a fascinating and hitherto untold chapter of American history. At its core, this is a story about the life and work of a small group of brilliant and eccentric men: Mervin Kelly, Bill Shockley, Claude Shannon, John Pierce, and Bill Baker, who built their careers at Bell Labs. today, when the drive to invent has become a mantra, bell labs offers us a way to enrich our understanding of the challenges and solutions to technological innovation. this, after all, was where the fundamental ideas about innovation management were born.

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