Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the second pick for his “book club.”: The Better Angels of Our Nature, by Steve Pinker. Zuckerberg made a resolution at the beginning of 2015 to read a book every other week and have a discussion on Facebook, as reported by ABC. His first choice was Moises Naim’s The End of Power, but in the case of The Better Angels of Our Nature, he is adjusting his requirements given its 800 page length and admits he might need a month to finish the book.
The much-praised yet controversial book’s thesis is that, while we are more aware of cruelty, violence and injustice around the globe, the world is more humane than in any time in history. Some critics ridicule this as a Panglossian view, while others say the world seems more dangerous because we are more aware of what goes on, thanks to the proliferation of media and social media sites such as Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg commented, “Recent events make it seem like violence and terrorism is more common than ever, so it’s worth understanding all that violence–even terrorism–is actually decreasing over time. If we understand how we are achieving this, we can continue our path toward peace, ” and he added, “A few people I trust have told me this is the best book they’ve ever read.”
Bill Gates rates the book as his favorite of the last decade. Pinker is a psychologist and linguist who is a professor at Harvard University. His previous two books, How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.
Zuckerberg has gotten some criticism over his marked preference for non-fiction books. Of the 13 books he has read recently, ten are non-fiction and others point out that all of the authors of these ten books are male.