Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species has been voted the most influential academic book ever written, hailed as “the supreme demonstration of why academic books matter” and “a book which has changed the way we think about everything”.
After a list of the top 20 academic books
was pulled together by expert academic booksellers, librarians and publishers to mark the inaugural Academic Book Week
, the public was asked to vote on what they believed to be the most influential. With titles in the running including A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, Darwin’s explanation of his theory of evolution was the public’s overwhelming favourite, with 26% of the vote, said organisers.
On the Origin of Species was followed in the public vote by The Communist Manifesto and The Complete Works of Shakespeare, with Plato’s The Republic fourth, and Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason fifth - a choice heralded by the Booksellers Association’s Alan Staton. “We seem to be governed by expediency and doublethink and it’s reassuring to know that Kant’s Categorical Imperative is known and thought important,” he said.
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