Which books have moved and shaped the human race the most? What are the influential books that have had such an impact, that without them the world would be a completely different place?
This is very profound. The books on this list have shaped the world in which we live to such a degree, that without their existence, the course of human history would be very different, for better or for worse, we may never know. This list includes religious texts, works of fiction that have shaped the way we think and see the world (not referring to the religious texts), and books written by the greatest minds in our history that shaped our understanding of the world.
This list could be the most profound that we’ve ever published.
Here are the most influential books in human history.
The 10 Most Influential Books Ever Written
1. Holy Bible: King James Version – Various Authors
The Bible was written over a period of approximately 1,500 years and by over 40 different authors. The writing started about 1600 B.C. and continued to approximately 100 A.D. The Bible, arguably the most influential book in human history, has possibly done more to change the world than any other book. Containing two books, the Old Testament and the New Testament, the book is a compilation of stories that describe creation, genealogy, the persecution and freedom of chosen groups, the creation of God’s laws for man in the 10 Commandments, the coming of Jesus Christ, his teachings as recounted from stories told by his Apostles, his crucifixion and resurrection, and much, much more.
2. The Qur’an
Muslims believe the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel over a period of 23 years. Muslims regard the Quran as the most important miracle of Muhammad, a proof of his prophethood, and the culmination of a series of divine messages that started with the messages revealed to Adam and ended with Muhammad. They consider the Quran to be the only revealed book that has been protected by God from distortion or corruption. As the main book for over 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, the Quran has been and is still a very influential book.
3. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx
The Communist Manifesto summarizes Marx and Engels’ theories about the nature of society and politics, that in their own words, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. It briefly features their ideas for how the capitalist society of the time would eventually be replaced by socialism, and then finally communism.
4. The Republic – Plato
Plato’s Republic is unparalleled in its coverage of all areas of life. While Plato addresses metaphysical issues, he does so with language and analogies that most people can grasp with studious reading. But Plato talks about much more than metaphysics. Marriage, music, war, kings, procreation and more are all topics of discussion for Plato’s dialog. In addition to the teachings about life, this book also offers a great introduction to philosophy.
5. Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith
Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations brilliantly analyzes how a nation’s living standards can be raised. Using a vast historical database and plenty of everyday examples, he lays the foundations of modern economics without the formalization which would come later.
6. Origin of Species – Charles Darwin
The Origin Of Species is one of the very few truly visionary works. Darwin has laid the foundations of the only process known in nature capable of creating information ; the closest we’ll ever get to violating the second law of thermodynamics. His work is today more actual than ever.
7. Relativity – Albert Einstein
There is no doubt that Albert Einstein has been one of the most brilliant minds of the past century. His major contribution to science was the special and the general theory of relativity, which gave a new dimension to what we call “Modern Physics”.
8. A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
Most people know that Hawking is a brilliant physicist, but after reading this book, one develops a respect for his other talents as well. Most noticeable is Stephen Hawking’s ability to make very complicated ideas seem quite clear through good explanations, clear comparisons to real life events, and a soft humor. His explanation of the history of the universe, from the big bang to where we are now, was as seminal work and one of the most influential books on history.
9. The Rights of Man – Thomas Paine
Paine’s book states that the government’s role is to protect the rights of its citizens, and when the government cannot do so, it should be overthrown. This book was written to defend the French Revolution and was an inspiration for democracy.
10. Mein Kampf – Adolf Hitler
Mein Kampf is an interesting look into the mind of this man, his plans for the future of Germany and ultimately, the world. Although his aspirations did not pan out the way he intended, the effects of his philosophy shaped the world and the future of many countries, making it one of the most influential books in history.