Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Zuckerberg eats what he kills: crazy or great?

May 31, 2011: 9:40 AM ET

Readers have been ravenous for "Mark Zuckerberg's new challenge: Eating only what he kills." Thursday's Postcard continues to generate huge traffic and a never-ending debate: Is Facebook's founder and CEO crazy or is he the most rational billionaire in Silicon Valley?

No surprise, the name-calling given Zuckerberg's "personal challenges," as he describes them--from the Year of the Tie to learning Chinese to eating meat only from creatures he kills. The 27-year-old Internet billionaire is "a freak"…"a moron"…"a total flake"…"a meathead," readers told us.

Among the 500+ comments (yes, I read 'em all), here are a few of my favorites:

"Wonder how MySpace tasted?" a reader named Svscnn asked.

"Does he Friend the animals when he acquires them, and then UnFriend them when he whacks them?" wrote Josephus Blow.

"OK, who would of thought sarah palin would have rubbed off on mark zuckerberg?" asked Hoaggy.

"Oh great, it's Howard Hughes 2.0," said Gobnait.

Many of you branded Zuckerberg one of the "idle rich." One reader, Bobiii, recommended a book to help analyze Zuckerberg:  The Authenticty Hoax: How We Get Lost Finding Ourselves, which attributes the fetish for "authentic" lifestyles—from organic produce to ecotourism to the cult of Oprah--to self-absorbed individualism and status-seeking.

Only Zuck knows the truth about himself (click here to read his private Facebook page comment about killing what he eats). The real surprise to me is that a lot of readers "get" Mark Zuckerberg. At least half of those who wrote in showed sympathy for the guy. From James Asbury: "I think if a man of his intelligence and wealth suddenly decides that he's going to slaughter and consume a variety of farm animals, then one has to assume that he's a bit paranoid about his food and considering who he is and how he's gotten to where he is, perhaps he has good reason."

Others commended the kid who was Time's 2010 "Person of the Year" because, as Japes Macfarland wrote, "he found a way to feel really grateful for something as simple as his food again."

If the Facebook boss was hoping to "friend" farmers and hunters, now he surely has. "Both of my parents were raised on farms and lived that way," a reader named Jeeperz wrote. "My now 80 year old mother laughs and says 'I was raised organic and didn't even know it'…When you're completely responsible for your subsistence, you end up being a person completely responsible in other ways.

UpstartMedia offered this support: "Zuckerberg actually creates a goal each year to improve himself...Read the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. It was because he created his own 13 virtues that he changed himself (over the years) from a literal gluttonous slob (who people actually moved away from in a crowd) to one of the most respected and influential leaders in modern history."

Enough Zuck?! Perhaps, but if you're still hungry for more about the Internet billionaire's dietary plan, you can watch this piece that aired on ABC's (DIS) Good Morning America this weekend. And click here to watch a CNBC interview with me on the topic.

For now I leave you with what's next for Mark Zuckerberg…Hunting, I hear.

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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