Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a single mission: to connect people around the world.
It’s one reason why he decided to launch a Facebook-based book club last year, with a reading list that focused on “different cultures, beliefs, histories, and technologies.”
Although the birth of his daughter, Max, kept him from hitting his goal of a book every two weeks, he ended the year with 23 selections in his A Year of Books reading group.
We’ve put together a list of his picks and why he thinks everyone should read them:
‘The Muqaddimah’ by Ibn Khaldun
“The Muqaddimah,” which translates to “The Introduction,” was written in 1377 by the Islamic historian Khaldun. It’s an attempt to strip away biases of historical records and find universal elements in the progression of humanity.
Khaldun’s revolutionary scientific approach to history established him as one of the fathers of modern sociology and historiography.
“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,” Zuckerberg writes.
‘The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alexander
Alexander is a law professor at Ohio State University and a civil-rights advocate who argues in her book that the “war on drugs” has fostered a culture in which nonviolent black males are overrepresented in prison, and then are treated as second-class citizens once they are freed.
“I’ve been interested in learning about criminal justice reform for a while, and this book was highly recommended by several people I trust,” Zuckerberg writes.
‘Why Nations Fail’ by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
“Why Nations Fail” is an overview of 15 years of research by MIT economist Daren Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist James Robinson, and was first published in 2012.
The authors argue that “extractive governments” use controls to enforce the power of a select few, while “inclusive governments” create open markets that allow citizens to spend and invest money freely, and that economic growth does not always indicate the long-term health of a country.
Zuckerberg’s interest in philanthropy has grown alongside his wealth in recent years, and he writes that he chose this book to better understand the origins of global poverty.