100 Most Influential Books Ever Written

Other Great Books Lists

100 Most Influential Books Ever Written

By Martin Seymour Smith

This list is fascinating. I was stunned to discover I’ve actually read two of them. I’ve read bits and pieces of some and there are some books here that few people have read cover to cover. This would be a good starting place if you want to increase your knowledge of the older classics. The author of the website has created a number of lists for you to peruse.

How many have you read? Beat my total, not hard but have a go anyway.

1. The I Ching
2. The Old Testament
3. The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer
4. The Upanishads
5. The Way and Its Power, Lao-tzu
6. The Avesta
7. Analects, Confucius
8. History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
9. Works, Hippocrates
10. Works, Aristotle
11. History, Herodotus
12. The Republic, Plato
13. Elements, Euclid
14. The Dhammapada
15. Aeneid, Virgil
16. On the Nature of Reality, Lucretius
17. Allegorical Expositions of the Holy Laws, Philo of Alexandria
18. The New Testament
19. Lives, Plutarch
20. Annals, from the Death of the Divine Augustus, Cornelius Tacitus
21. The Gospel of Truth
22. Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
23. Outlines of Pyrrhonism, Sextus Empiricus
24. Enneads, Plotinus
25. Confessions, Augustine of Hippo
26. The Koran
27. Guide for the Perplexed, Moses Maimonides
28. The Kabbalah
29. Summa Theologicae, Thomas Aquinas
30. The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
31. In Praise of Folly, Desiderius Erasmus
32. The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli
33. On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Martin Luther
34. Gargantua and Pantagruel, François Rabelais
35. Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin
36. On the Revolution of the Celestial Orbs, Nicolaus Copernicus
37. Essays, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
38. Don Quixote, Parts I and II, Miguel de Cervantes
39. The Harmony of the World, Johannes Kepler
40. Novum Organum, Francis Bacon
41. The First Folio [Works], William Shakespeare
42. Dialogue Concerning Two New Chief World Systems, Galileo Galilei
43. Discourse on Method, René Descartes
44. Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes
45. Works, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
46. Pensées, Blaise Pascal
47. Ethics, Baruch de Spinoza
48. Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
49. Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Isaac Newton
50. Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke
51. The Principles of Human Knowledge, George Berkeley
52. The New Science, Giambattista Vico
53. A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume
54. The Encyclopedia, Denis Diderot, ed.
55. A Dictionary of the English Language, Samuel Johnson
56. Candide, François-Marie de Voltaire
57. Common Sense, Thomas Paine
58. An Enquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
59. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon
60. Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant
61. Confessions, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
62. Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke
63. Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft
64. An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, William Godwin
65. An Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Robert Malthus
66. Phenomenology of Spirit, George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
67. The World as Will and Idea, Arthur Schopenhauer
68. Course in the Positivist Philosophy, Auguste Comte
69. On War, Carl Marie von Clausewitz
70. Either/Or, Søren Kierkegaard
71. The Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
72. “Civil Disobedience,” Henry David Thoreau
73. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin
74. On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
75. First Principles, Herbert Spencer
76. “Experiments with Plant Hybrids,” Gregor Mendel
77. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
78. Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, James Clerk Maxwell
79. Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
80. The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud
81. Pragmatism, William James
82. Relativity, Albert Einstein
83. The Mind and Society, Vilfredo Pareto
84. Psychological Types, Carl Gustav Jung
85. I and Thou, Martin Buber
86. The Trial, Franz Kafka
87. The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl Popper
88. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, John Maynard Keynes
89. Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre
90. The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich von Hayek
91. The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
92. Cybernetics, Norbert Wiener
93. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
94. Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff
95. Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein
96. Syntactic Structures, Noam Chomsky
97. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, T. S. Kuhn
98. The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
99. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung [The Little Red Book], Mao Zedong
100. Beyond Freedom and Dignity, B. F. Skinner