Mark Zuckerberg, Regular Dude

The Facebook CEO talks about the people who influenced him most.

Sometimes, Mark Zuckerberg gets pinned with a bad reputation -- something along the lines of "ever the jerky visionary," as the New York Times described his character in their review of the 2010 "fictionalized" movie about Facebook's founding, The Social Network. Even though the movie didn't claim to tell an accurate story of how the company got started, it did imply many things about Zuckerberg's character, tempting the public with suggestions that he is calculating and dishonest.

But in an interview with Atlantic Editor in Chief James Bennet in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Zuckerberg didn't come off that way -- he seemed like a regular guy who has been deeply influenced by the people around him. 

In particular, he spoke about the person who made him start caring about immigration reform: an undocumented high schooler who was unsure whether his immigration status would keep him from going to college. Especially over the past six months, Zuckerberg has been pushing for immigration reform, including pathways to citizenship for undocumented people, and this week, he will meet with Congressional leaders to discuss their efforts.


 

But Zuckerberg also worked hard to seem like a "regular guy" in his everyday life. "You have enough money to afford any product or experience the world has to offer," Bennet pointed out. Is it really possible for the 29-year-old to lead a "normal" life?

Zuckerberg frowned at the question. "I try not to do a lot of things you'd only be able to do if you had a huge amount of money," he said.


 

The most "regular guy" thing Zuckerberg admitted, though, was that his wife occasionally "keeps him grounded" with zingers about his husband duties, such as "listening." Watch the billionaire tell the story of his marital smackdown in the video above.

Emma Green is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also writes about religion and culture.

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