In September Mark Zuckerberg, creator and founder of Facebook, was interviewed by The New Yorker contributor Jose Antonio Vargas. Zuckerberg said that he liked the Aeneid and later he texted Vargas a few of his favorite lines from the book.
“Fortune favors the bold.” was one of the lines Zuckerberg enjoyed.
A few weeks after the article was published the movie The Social Network was released. The movie depicted Mark Zukerberg’s life at Harvard and his rise to internet fame. Zuckerberg ultimately came off as a tragic hero–smart and deserving, but also socially stunted and brutally mean. On the screen it looked like fortune favored friendless, detached, types who would do anything to fit in.
But that’s the movies. For all of Zuckerberg’s flaws, tics, and documented use of profanity, he was nonetheless bold. He stole or adapted the idea for Facebook from fellow classmates, dropped out of Harvard to move to Palo Alto, and took loans out to keep everything moving.
He might not have made monumental sacrifices, but they were still bold moves for a college student.
Fortune favoring the bold is a good thing and the cornerstone to our idea of humanism. It means we can all have a say in shaping our own destinies–we can all work hard hard to gain favor. It’s not always easy and, as Zukerberg’s story illustrates, it’s not always a job that lets you have friends. But that might not be the whole truth. “Fortune befriends the bold” says Emily Dickenson.