Is Mark Zuckerberg an open book?

The 34-year-old Facebook founder has maintained an impressive level of privacy for one of the most well-known public figures on the planet, but a recent profile of Zuck in The New Yorker suggests he isn't as guarded as his public persona might suggest. Indeed, the seemingly emotionless tech entrepreneur who testified before Congress about Facebook's role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal draws a sharp contrast to the warm husband and father of two at his home in Palo Alto, California.

While Zuckerberg's life and career have been the subject of an Oscar-winning movie and endless media attention, several little-known details about his life help shed light on his character. Here are five things you may not know about Zuckerberg, as reported by The New Yorker.

1. He will go to great lengths to protect his privacy.

Zuckerberg spent $44 million to buy the houses surrounding his Palo Alto home, after a "feud with a developer" who planned to build a large house that would have looked into Zuckerberg's master bedroom. When it comes to sharing personal information with the public, Zuckerberg seems more concerned with choosing the right words than keeping details of his life private. 

"I'm not the most polished person, and I will say something wrong, and you see the cost of that," he said. "I don't want to inflict that pain, or do something that's going to not reflect well on the people around me."

2. He's obsessed with Rome and Augustus Caesar.

While attending high school at Phillips Exeter Academy, Zuckerberg developed a lifelong fascination with Ancient Rome and Augustus Caesar. He liked Latin for its similarities to coding, and was interested in Roman history for the morally complex historical figures. Zuck was so fascinated by Caesar that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, even named their second daughter August. They also spent their honeymoon in Rome in 2012. "My wife was making fun of me, saying she thought there were three people on the honeymoon: me, her, and Augustus," Zuckerberg told The New Yorker, adding that all the photos he took were of sculptures of Augustus.

3. He injured himself by working too much.

Asked how Zuckerberg responded to the recent criticism surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Chan mentioned the German term "sitzfleisch," which refers to sitting and working for long periods of time. She said that Zuckerberg would sit and work for so long that eventually "he froze up his muscles and injured his hip." Zuckerberg also broke his arm a few years ago during his first experience riding a road bike with racing pedals, when he forgot to unclip his shoes and tipped over. He hasn't ridden another racing bike since.

4. He worried about the impact of The Social Network.

Jesse Eisenberg's cold, ruthless portrayal of Zuckerberg in the 2010 film The Social Network had the Facebook founder concerned for how his workers would view him.

"First impressions matter a lot, and for a lot of people that was their introduction to me," Zuckerberg told The New Yorker. He primarily wondered how Facebook employees were going to be affected if they believed Eisenberg's portrayal of him was accurate.

5. He gets his news from aggregators.

Zuckerberg mostly reads news on aggregation apps that collect related content and organize lists of links. He told The New Yorker that he doesn't read any one specific newspaper, but that he does follow Techmeme, which aggregates headlines about the tech industry.

Published on: Sep 12, 2018