The Best Thing About Zuckerberg’s Reading Program: He’s A Guy

Image - iStockphoto: Visivasnc
Image – iStockphoto: Visivasnc

Never Say ‘Men Don’t Read’

 It may be the publishing world’s most irrational lie.

I mean, would you leave half the population’s money on the table? Me, either.

But you’ve heard it, of course: “Men don’t read. Doesn’t matter what book you give them. They just don’t read.”

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

And every time that meme is repeated, the sound you hear next?  — whap! — is a book snapping shut in the hands of a kid who’s concerned, as all young males are, about what’s seen as okay for guys and what’s not.

The boy code is no laughing matter, as specialists including Michael Kimmel (Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men) and William Pollack (Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons From The Myths of Boyhood) have told us. It generally takes a lot of maturity for us guys to get past policing each other and being policed — the fear of “being different” runs deep in most of our masculinities.

So while there are many reasons to cheer Mark Zuckerberg’s new reading program at Facebook, my favorite is the gender factor. Seeing a young, stupendously wealthy celebrity tech entrepreneur get down with a book — and discuss it, no less, on the big platform?

Chris McCrudden
Chris McCrudden
 I’d like to shake Zuckerberg’s hand.

Chris McCrudden of London’s Midas PR, inThree Reasons To Be Cheerful About The Facebook Bookclubat Medium, was among the first to note the importance of the new initiative.

Here’s how he put it, in the widest terms:

Mark Zuckerberg promoting books (any books) as a content form is an unambiguously good thing. The people who have taken to the media (social or otherwise) to question his motives, scoff at his taste in books or dismiss the relevance of Facebook are missing the point. One of the most powerful people in technology, in charge of the biggest social platform the world has ever seen has just told people that reading books is an activity worthy of their time. This is a big deal.

Alison Flood
Alison Flood

Full agreement, full stop.

I appreciate it when Alison Flood at the Guardian writes: “The Facebook founder has since told members that he had been challenged to ‘beat the popularity of Oprah’s book club,’ and that he had ‘accepted that challenge.’” Sounds good to me.

McCrudden goes further, and I like how he parses Zuckerberg’s advocacy as wielding:

  1. An audience of millions of people who are under the age of 30 and comfortable with social media and technology — usually called millennials
  2. A strong following among young men
  3. A high degree of influence in the technology, business and finance communities

Zuckerberg has all three. So it means that the books he reads and recommends via his Book Club will reach audiences that the publishing industry doesn’t market to effectively because they don’t understand them. It may even serve to fill a much-needed gap in publishers’ knowledge about what younger demographics want from books.

I’d simply have moved the second point to the top spot. I think the gender factor here is even greater than the generational leadership: You don’t have to be under 30 to keep an eye on Zuckerberg with a combination of respect and envious bafflement at how he does it.

Read More

There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son

Writing on the Ether: The Best Thing About Zuckerberg’s Reading Program: He’s A Guy

Originally published by Thought Catalog at


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