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If you want to be a billionaire, learn Latin - by Harry Mount

Blog | By Harry Mount | Mar 19, 2024

Ambitious mummies, throw away your children's iPad. Stop young Timothy's Mandarin lessons. And get him learning his Latin conjugations and declensions pronto.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook supremo, confessed to a love of Roman history. And all because of the Latin language, which, he says, is 'very much like coding or math; so I appreciated that'.

He's spot on. I've often found when I'm tutoring children in Latin that the ones who are good at it are also good at maths.

Latin requires you to understand the architecture of language: those conjugations and declensions; a strange word order, with the verb at the end; and endless clauses which have to be separately translated before a whole sentence clicks together. Fitting all these things together is very like the mental tricks needed to understand trigonometry or quadrilateral equations.

If you can understand the difference between the gerund and the gerundive – let alone the diabolical ablative absolute – then setting up a multibillion dollar internet business is easy-peasy.