For The Faecbook Book Club, Mark Zuckerberg Announces 'The Better Angels Of Our Nature' By Steven Pinker As His Next Pick
If you're still waiting to see if the Facebook book club A Year of Books is really for you, sit up and take note because the second book has been announced. So without further ado: Mark Zuckerberg has announced The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker as the next book for the Facebook book club. So will this make people more or less likely to get on board with this new phenomenon?
The Better Angels of Our Nature is a nonfiction title in which psychology professor Steven Pinker argues that human beings are growing less violent overall as time goes on (the title is a reference to Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address). The book was a New York Times Notable Book and was short-listed for the Samuel L. Johnson Prize for non-fiction, and received a great deal of praise when first published in 2011 — though it was not without critics, either.
Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook that the book came highly recommended by several friends, and that he considered it's message "timely."
"Recent events might make it seem like violence and terrorism are more common than ever," he wrote in the post announcing the book, "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."
Although it's certainly hard to get a sense of the Facebook book club's direction after only two titles, so far both of Zuckerberg's picks have been non-fiction (the first being Mosés Naím's The End of Power ). And both have dealt with overarching phenomenon, played out on a global scale. They're also both written by white men, though again, after only two titles, it's a bit soon to be drawing any conclusions about the ultimate character of the Facebook Book Club.
My guess is that Zuckerberg will branch out more going forward — though I suppose he wouldn't have to if he doesn't want to; there are more than enough books by white men talking about their view of the world to fill a book club. Still, while Zuckerberg is as entitled as anyone to read books by and about people like himself, trying to follow in the footsteps of Oprah's Book Club with nothing but nonfiction books about global problems, and all written by white men, is a terrible idea. So I'm assuming that future titles will not just be more of the same.
In the meantime, Zuckerberg is aware that The Better Angels is a long book, so he's giving himself and everyone else a full month to finish it, instead of the usual two weeks. A shorter book will be announced in two weeks to compliment it.