Mark Zuckerberg’s childhood, parents and upbringing

Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and CEO of Facebook, is one of the most influential people in the world today. He is a self-made billionaire whose rise to success has been remarkable. From a young age, he was exposed to the power of technology by his parents and this was the foundation to him becoming one of the richest people in the world.


Mark Zuckerberg’s childhood

Mark Zuckerberg grew up as one of four children in the state of New York. Mark’s father, Edward Zuckerberg, ran a dental practice attached to the family’s home. His mother, Karen, worked as a psychiatrist.

From How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids:

Zuckerberg developed an interest in computers at elementary school and, at the age of ten, discovered that the world was split into programmers and users. He was taught how to program by his father and when he was twelve he used Atari BASIC to create a messaging program he named ZuckNet. His father used the program in his dental office so that the receptionist could inform him of a new patient without yelling across the room. The family also used ZuckNet to communicate within the house.

“The dentists and hygienists needed to share data on the patients. So I built a system where he could communicate with folks across rooms, and also communicate with me and my sisters upstairs—and I called it ZuckNet.”

Together with his friends, he also created computer games just for fun. ‘I had a bunch of friends who were artists,’ he said. ‘They’d come over, draw stuff, and I’d build a game out of it.’


Mark Zuckerberg’s parents

Dr. Edward Zuckerberg talks about how having computers around the house sparked his son’s interest in technology.

“My kids all grew up around the office and were all exposed to computers. There are advantages to being exposed to computers early on. That certainly enriched Mark’s interest in technology.

“Rather than impose upon your kids or try and steer their lives in a certain direction, my wife and I suggest to recognise what their strengths are and support the development of the things they’re passionate about.”

In a radio interview with Edward Zuckerberg, he talks about some rules he followed when raising his family that led to their entrepreneurial behaviour:

  1. Model working for yourself.
  2. Provide security for them.
  3. Discover and encourage their interests.
  4. Show them you’re proud of them.
  5. Set limits and enforce them.
  6. Make sure they play, too.


Mark Zuckerberg showed ingenuity from a young age as a result of his environment and his parents’ support in the development of his passions, which led onto greater things for his future. Undoubtedly, having the skills to bring his ideas to life was the foundation for exploring opportunities during school and college and making Facebook the huge company it is today.


How Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire

In 2004, Mark and his roommates at Harvard University launched the website “TheFacebook”, which eventually became Facebook. The website quickly gained popularity, and by 2006 it had over six million users. In 2007, at age 23, he became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. 

By 2012, the social network hit one billion users, the same year in which Zuckerberg took the company public, still holding majority shares. His net worth in 2023 is estimated at $84 billion.


If you’re interested in the story of how Facebook came to be, the movie “The Social Network” is a must-watch. Jessie Eisenberg portrays young Mark Zuckerberg as an intelligent but cold and ruthless founder, something Zuckerberg has broadly criticised.

You can also check out the incredibly popular book, “An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination“, available on Amazon and Audible.


An Ugly Truth book cover. Mark Zuckerberg's story and that of Facebook


I you liked this, you’ll also enjoy reading:

How Tony Robbins was raised,

How Jeff Bezos was raised,

Elon Musk’s upbringing,

Richard Branson’s childhood, and

The childhood of Ray Dalio