The 12 Most Influential Books Ever

This week’s blog post is dedicated to 12 of the most influential books ever.


Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Albert Einstein – First published in 1916, this three part book not only explains the theory of relativity, it also gives an insight into one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century.

The Art of War by Sun TzuWritten around 500 B.C., The Art of War gives advice on how to win wars. The book has been embraced by a host of military strategists down the years, in addition to business leaders looking to vanquish their competitors.

The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine – Paine, a fervent supporter of the French Revolution, wrote The Rights of Man in 1791.  This influential book argued revolution is permissible when a government does not protect the rights of its people.

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau – Thoreau argued that governments generally do more harm than good, and that the government that governs least is the best. The book influenced many important leaders, including Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Leo Tolstoy.

The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin – No work of scientific literature has been more influential than The Origin of Species. Its premise that evolution is a result of natural selection is still controversial to this day, over a hundred and fifty years after it was written.

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – In this, one of the most influential books ever written about politics, Machiavelli argued that the end justifies the means. Evidence of The Prince’s influence is the fact that the term ‘Machiavellian’ has been incorporated into the English language.

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – Published in 1848, The Communist Manifesto analysed the class struggle and argued against capitalism. Not only was it a founding document of Communism, it is regarded as one of the most important works of the 20th Century.

The Republic by Plato – Written by arguably the greatest philosopher to ever live, The Republic, Plato’s most important work, is concerned with the notion of justice. This iconic text, which has played an integral role in the development of Western culture, continues to influence philosophers to this day.

Mao’s Little Red Book by Mao Tse-tung – Mao’s Little Red Book consists of selected quotes from the founder of Communist China, Mao Tse-tung. It was required reading for the Chinese nation, and is considered to be one of the most printed books in history.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher StowePublished in 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an anti-slavery novel that changed the way many Americans living in the north perceived the practice of slavery. The book became a bestseller, and no doubt contributed to the ensuing Civil War.

Qu’ran by Mohammed – Muslims believe that the Qu’ran was verbally revealed to Mohammed through God, via the angel Gabriel. Its teachings quickly spread. Today Islam is the World’s second largest religion, with over a billion followers.

Bible by various authors – It is difficult to argue that any book has been more influential than the Bible. Written over a period of about 1,500 years, this two part book is responsible for spawning a religion that has over two billion adherents.

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