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 17th pick, he’s gone with “Portfolios of the Poor” by researchers Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orlanda Ruthven.
First published in 2009, the book is the culmination of 10 years of research into the financial lives of the lowest classes of Bangladesh, India, and South Africa.
The researchers discovered that some of the poorest people in the world have sophisticated financial planning techniques that lets them and their families survive.
A fundamental finding in “Portfolios of the Poor” is that extreme poverty flourishes in areas not where people live dollar to dollar or where poor purchasing decisions are widespread, but instead is where they lack access to financial institutions to store their money.
The authors’ research has inspired them and their respective organizations to find ways to bring banking to the world’s least fortunate.
Zuckerberg explains his latest book-club pick on his personal Facebook page:
It’s mind-blowing that almost half the world — almost 3 billion people — live on $2.50 a day or less. More than one billion people live on $1 a day or less.
This book explains how these families invest their money to best support themselves.
I hope reading this provides some insight into ways we can all work to support them better as well.
Zuckerberg has an estimated net worth of $41.6 billion, according to Wealth-X, and has taken Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s “Giving Pledge,” a promise to donate half of his wealth before his death. He and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have already donated hundreds of millions of dollarsto healthcare, education, technology, and immigration reform initiatives.
A Year of Books so far:
- “The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be” by Moisés Naím
- “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” by Steven Pinker
- “Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets” by Sudhir Venkatesh
- “On Immunity: An Inoculation” by Eula Biss
- “Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
- “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas S. Kuhn
- “Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge” by Michael Chwe
- “Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower” by Henry M. Paulson
- “Orwell’s Revenge: The 1984 Palimpsest” by Peter Huber
- “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
- “The Muqaddimah” by Ibn Khaldun
- “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari
- “The Player of Games” by Iain M. Banks
- “Energy: A Beginner’s Guide” by Vaclav Smil
- “Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters” by Matt Ridley
- “The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature” by William James
- “Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day” by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orlanda Ruthven