These books were created with certain motives in mind and have influenced people in the past and continue to do so.
1. The Bible
The Bible has undoubtedly changed the world and deserves the first spot in this list. It allowed Christianity to become the largest in terms of religious followers. The Bible has been divided into two volumes- The New Testament and the Old Testament. It has been written by a number of authors and was the first book that was published with the help of the printing press.
2. The Qur’an
This holy book is followed by those who a part of the Islamic religion. Muslims follow each verse and text in the book religiously and live their lives according to the teachings of the founder of Islam.
3. The Summa Theologica
The content of this book is divided into a number of volumes and the text speaks about the Christian beliefs. It is a part of the curriculum in Roman Catholic seminaries and has influenced the Christian world greatly.
4. The Rights of Man
This book has been written by Thomas Paine who managed to influence the idea of Democracy with his writing. He talks about how it is the job of the Government to protect human being which is only possible if their fundamental rights are protected as well. Those nations that do not follow this philosophy are illegitimate and their practices are unlawful.
Either/Or has been written by Søren Kierkegaard who talks about two ways of living- one can either be hedonistic or ethical and responsible. Each view point is supported with the help of fictional characters and topics like seduction, drama and music also find mention in the text.
6. Communist Manifesto
This book was the brainchild of both Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx who wrote it after the Communist League told them to do so. Their communist theories have influenced a number of political ideologies over the years. The book talks about how it would be easier to survive if the social order was eliminated and instead we were to live in a stateless and classless society.
7. Experimental Research in Electricity
This book has been written by Michael Faraday who was both a physicist and a chemist. He tampered with the idea of electricity and carried out a number of experiments through his life. He ultimately invented the electromagnetic rotary devices which eventually lead to the development of electric motor technology. This book talks bout his research and investigations.
8. On the Origin of Species
Written by Charles Darwin, this book talks about evolutionary biology. It explains the concept of natural selection and how species evolve through time. When it was released, the author faced a lot of controversies because his text contradicted certain religious views that existed at the time. The book is quite interesting and will make you understand certain aspects related to religion, science and philosophy at the same time.
9. The Second Sex
Simone de Beauvoir is celebrated till date for creating this masterpiece. The book revolves around the treatment and status of woman in society over time. It is thought to be laced with elements of feminism and her arguments are based on the fact that women are constantly referred to as the ‘other’ sex.
10. Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand wrote this work of art just before she decided to delve into the world of philosophical writing. The themes that are found in this book have been associated with Objectivism. It was not critically acclaimed but was greatly appreciated by the common man.
Atlas Shrugged is the best book I’ve ever read.
I never disliked a book more than “Atlas Shrugged”.
I respectfully submit that any “Top 10” book list that does not include Isaac Newton’s “Principia Mathematica” is in desperate need of revision. With the possible exception of the Bible, no book has had a greater impact on the entirety of human civilization since its publication in 1687.
Take a look around you right now. Virtually every man-made artifact you see is a product of technologies that ultimately owe their existence to the integration of physical science that was embodied in Newton’s Principia.
BTW, kudos for your inclusion of “The Rights of Man”. Like the rest of Paine’s works, it has been suppressed by the religious and political dogmatists who fear the truths it so eloquently speaks. It will outlive them.