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Why Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone to read the 14th-century Islamic book 'The Muqaddimah'

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 2015 New Year’s resolution was to read an important book every two weeks and discuss it with the Facebook community.

Zuckerberg’s book club, A Year of Books, has focused on big ideas that influence society and business. His selections so far have been mostly contemporary, but for his 11th pick he’s chosen “The Muqaddimah,” written in 1377 by the Islamic historian Ibn Khaldun.

“The Muqaddimah,” which translates to “The Introduction,” is an early attempt to strip away biases of historical records and find universal elements in the progression of humanity.

Khaldun’s revolutionary scientific approach to history has established him as one of the foundational thinkers of modern sociology and historiography.

The influential 20th-century British historian Arnold J. Toynbee described “The Muqaddimah” as “a philosophy of history, which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Zuckerberg explains his latest book-club pick on his personal Facebook page:

It’s a history of the world written by an intellectual who lived in the 1300s. It focuses on how society and culture flow, including the creation of cities, politics, commerce and science.

While much of what was believed then is now disproven after 700 more years of progress, it’s still very interesting to see what was understood at this time and the overall worldview when it’s all considered together.

Most of Zuckerberg’s book club selections have explored issues through a sociological lens, so it makes sense he is now reading a book that helped create the field.

Resource: Business Insider, June 02,2015

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