Why Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone to read this book about religion


the varieties of religious experience


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. For his 16th pick, he's gone with "The Varieties Of Religious Experience" by William James (1842-1919).

During his tenure at Harvard, James became the most famous American philosopher and psychologist of his time, and is still "considered by many to be the most insightful and stimulating of American philosophers," according to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy from the University of Tennessee.

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From 1901-1902, James gave a series of lectures at the University of Edinburgh on why humans adhere to religion, and these were collected as "The Varieties of Religious Experience."

His writings explore the religious consciousness and the mechanics of how people use religion as a source of meaning, compelling them to move onward through life with energy and purpose.


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

When I read Sapiens, I found the chapter on the evolution of the role of religion in human life most interesting and something I wanted to go deeper on.

William James was a philosopher in the 1800s who shaped much of modern psychology.

Zuckerberg added that he's currently on vacation with his wife Priscilla and that James' lectures on religion seemed like "some light vacation reading!" Considering the heaviness of nearly all of his other book-club picks, it's hard to tell if he's being sarcastic.

A Year of Books so far:

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