The poster for the film “The Social Network,” based on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg read, “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.” When it comes to Zuckerberg though you could add, you don’t get to Harvard University and becoming CEO of one of the most influential technology companies in the world without being theoretically motivated. Zuckerberg, like others who are high theoreticals, has a thirst for learning. It is evident not only in his very successful past, but also in how he continues to carry himself today. Last month he announced his New Year’s Resolution for 2015, resolving to read a book every other week and posting his selections on the page “A Year of Books” on Facebook so that others can follow along. Call it a Facebook Book Club.
“I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook note announcing his resolution. “Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today.”
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has set an intellectual pursuit as a resolution. He previously set a goal to learn Mandarin and gave an interview in the language last year.
Theoretically motivated individuals love to learn. These individuals need to learn something new every day and, depending on their behavioral style, they may want to share what they have learned with others. Zuckerberg is doing this by sharing what books he is reading this year and many people are following along with him. The first selection he chose, “The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States: Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be,” by Moises Naim quickly sold out in paperback versions on Amazon.
Do you know someone in your life who could be considered a high theoretical? Chances are they are big readers, enjoy playing games like Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit and may watch a lot of television that has intrinsic educational value, especially PBS programming, Jeopardy or National Geographic. If you need to know how to work or communicate more effectively with people who are highly theoretical, focus on your knowledge, learning opportunities for them and remaining objective in your discussions with them. You can learn a lot from a high theoretical and they likely expect you to do just that.
Do you know anyone who is theoretically motivated? What are your best practices for communicating effectively with them?