Zuckerberg’s New Year’s challenge prompts online book club

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Zuckerberg welcomes future book suggestions after the community’s first title, The End of Power by Moisés Naím (Photo Credit: MacKenzie Cahill).

MacKenzie Cahill, Associate Editor-in-Chief

Many people have stopped making difficult New Year’s resolutions; however, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg continues to set an annual personal challenge.  His previous challenges include learning Mandarin, only eating meat he has personally slaughtered, and wearing a tie every day.  This year, Zuckerberg took to Facebook for ideas.

“I’m crowd-sourcing ideas for my next year’s personal challenge,” Zuckerberg posted on Dec. 30.  “For background, every year I take on a challenge to broaden my perspective and learn something about the world beyond my work at Facebook.”

Three days after Facebook user Cynthia Greco suggested reading a new book every month that another person selects, Zuckerberg announced via Facebook that his 2015 challenge is to read a new book every other week.  Zuckerberg announced he is excited to expand his media repertoire through reading.

“I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling,” Zuckerberg wrote.  “Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today.  I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.”

Zuckerberg created the Facebook page called “A Year of Books,” where selected titles will be posted.  The page states that chosen books “will emphasize learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories, and technologies.”

Like a book club, the page will host literary discussion approximately every other week.  Zuckerberg asks that only relevant comments are posted from those who have read the book.  The page will be moderated to enforce relevancy.

Zuckerberg was immediately compared to Oprah Winfrey upon the announcement.  Oprah’s Book Club was integrated into The Oprah Winfrey Show from 1996 until the last episode in 2011.  Oprah’s endorsements turned many minor works into best sellers.  Analysts predict Zuckerberg could have the same effect.

Senior Jacqueline Welday, co-founder and co-leader of Sisters That Are Reading Stories (STARS), says she believes Zuckerberg will positively impact others.  Welday says reading is always beneficial, regardless of who is promoting it.

“I think Mark Zuckerberg will definitely have a positive effect [on others],” Welday said. “The encouragement of reading should always be stimulated no matter the source or the book.  Any reading is good.”