In his PR team’s latest attempt to sell Mark Zuckerberg as an actual hu-mon, Terran-spawned and raised (just like your and me!), the Facebook CEO launched a book club and invited everyone on Facebook to join.
Reading a new book every other week is Zuckerberg’s personal challenge for 2015, and the first one to be crowdsourced. “I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Monday Facebook post, using words in a combination approximating actual communication.
Zuckerberg’s communique—which the alien species monitoring our planet might have translated as “I’ve adjusted my mental soylent consumption to include these classic word digests”—invites all life forms to harvest facts from these random-access knowledge artifacts.
“If you want to follow along on my challenge and read the same books I do, I’ve created a page, A Year of Books, where I’ll post what I’m reading,” wrote the Oprah of Silicon Valley. “Please only participate in the discussions if you’ve actually read the books and have relevant points to add. The group will be moderated to keep it focused.”
Each year, the Harvard dropout famously challenges himself with a new goal. In 2009, Zuckerberg wore a tie every day. In 2010, he started to learn Chinese, a skill he demonstrated to mixed reviews in October when he took part in a Q&A at China’s Tsinghua University Q&A, speaking only Mandarin. Though his fluency was greatly exaggerated by the U.S. media, according to Chinese media, learning Mandarin is an impressive task.
Still, it’s not nearly as messy as killing everything you eat, Zuckerberg’s fulfilled goal for 2011. That’s when the 20-something billionaire ingratiated himself to the masses by extolling his new, “healthier” diet. “I just killed a pig and a goat,” he declared on Facebook in May 2011. “I’m eating a lot healthier foods. And I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals,” Zuckerberg told Fortune back then.
Now, Zuckerberg is encouraging us to keep up the learning, this time in book form. And like Oprah Winfrey before him, Zuck’s recommendations are reverberating through the publishing industry. His first recommended read, The End of Power by Moisés Naím, is already sold out on Amazon.
For 2015, Zuckerberg took suggestions on Facebook for his latest annual goal. He credits Cynthia Greco for suggesting, “I read one book a month that another person chooses.” Greco’s idea garnered 1,900 “likes,” he wrote.
“Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today,” Zuckerberg wrote. No more shall the reading of books remain firmly in the domain of elders and Luddites. Zuckerberg has given this seemingly archaic pastime a try and discovered there’s actually something to it! Move over, LeVar Burton. “I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books” is the new “Butterfly in the sky! I can fly twice as high!”
On the one hand, yay reading. On the other hand … yeah, books. They’re a thing! Who knew?
Lead photo by TechCrunch