The following 25 books have contributed to the evolution of ideas and influenced modern culture:
25. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code stoked interest in early Christian texts that were suppressed by the Catholic establishment.
24. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange is a violent dystopian commentary about psychiatry, social conditioning and youth gangs.
23. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
Popularized the term Emotional Intelligence: a concept that has challenged traditional measurements of intelligence such as IQ.
22. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
This book may seem obvious to modern readers because its ideas have become deeply ingrained in popular culture.
21. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Written by a German veteran of World War I. Captures the extreme mental and physical stress of warfare and the difficulties of returning to civilian life after combat experience. Banned by the Nazis during World War II for being demoralizing.
20. Animal Farm by George Orwell
A anti-Stalinist book published in 1945 when Russia was still an ally of the US and UK.
19. Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus
Introduced the concept of Microcredit. Microcredit involves granting very small loans (microloans) to the poor to spur entrepreneurship.
18. Uncertainty Principle by Werner Heisenberg
Introduces the Uncertainty Principle: certain pairs of physical properties, such as position and momentum, cannot be simultaneously known to exact precision.
17. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Examines human nature and individual welfare versus the common good.
16. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
A hedonistic future where books are outlawed. The title refers to the supposed temperature required to burn a book.
15. General Theory of Employment Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes
Credited with shaping modern macroeconomics.
14. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Siddhartha is a novel steeped in Indian philosophy. It helped to popularize several Buddhist concepts in the West.
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Captures the spirit of teenage angst, confusion and alienation.
12. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Reignited interest in Nihilism.
11. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Popularized the terms paradigm and paradigm shift.
10. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Highlighted the plight of the working class and led to vast improvements in US labor laws.
9. Unsafe at any Speed by Ralph Nader
Attacked the automobile industry for its resistance to safety features and pollution controls. Led to improvements in car safety such as seatbelts.
8. The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
Considered to be Freud's most important contribution to psychology.
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A vision of a future where advances in reproductive technology and sleep-learning have dramatically transformed society.
6. The God of the Machine by Isabel Paterson
Presents the case for individualism and libertarianism.
5. Catch 22
A critique of war, bureaucracy and the human condition in general.
A visionary 1984 novel that coined the term cyberspace.
3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
A semi-autobiographical tale of drugs and misadventure that captures the disillusionment that followed the decline of the hippie sub-culture in the early 1970s.
2. Ninteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
A stark warning about the future written in 1949. The world in 1984 is one of perpetual war, invasive government surveillance, and public mind control.
1. Relativity by Albert Einstein
Forced the revision of all fundamental thinking about time and space. Provides the scientific foundation for everything from atomic energy to space travel.