Last week Moises Naim, a Carnegie Fellow and the former editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy Magazine, was also an author with nominal book sales. His literary fate turned a corner, however, after Mark Zuckerberg announced that Naim's 2013 book, The End of Power (Basic Books), would be the inaugural read in the tech CEO's new book club. We spoke to Naim about the selection, Facebook and what he means when he talks about the "end of power."
You’ve told the press that you had no idea Mark Zuckerberg was launching a bookclub, or that he’d selected The End of Power as its inaugural title. How, exactly, did you find out about the selection?
Like everyone else, I learned early on a Saturday morning that Mark Zuckerberg was starting a reading club and that my book The End of Power was his first selection. Naturally, I was surprised, delighted and overwhelmed.
Do you have a Facebook profile? Do you plan on joining any of the Facebook discussions about the book?
I do have a Facebook profile which is helping me interact with readers and get a sense of the reactions and comments about my book. I’m truly looking forward to engaging even more frequently with the Facebook community. I also did Q&A session on The End of Power yesterday on Facebook.
You’ve told the press that you never met Zuckerberg before. Have you spoken with him since the selection?
I have never met Mr. Zuckerberg, and I’ve not spoken to him about his selection. Needless to say, I’m immensely grateful to him and hope to one day meet and thank him in person.
Before I let you go, let’s talk for a second about the book itself. PW’s review of your book says that, in it, you contend it’s important we let go of antiquated notions of power. What are some of these notions, and why is it important for people to change them?
In the book I argue that traditional forms of power are being undermined by changes across every level of society – from how we live, where, for how long and how well. With greater competition for it, and more constraints on it, power is now easier to get but harder to use and easier to lose. The end of power as we know it can be positive for society when it leads to freer societies, more options for voters and greater choices for consumers, but it also can lead to paralysis, especially in government and international cooperation. It is important to recognize this shift in power so we can begin to reshape our institutions and allow them to thrive in this new landscape.