The most influential academic book ever written is

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It’s a good choice. It really advanced and explained the notion that mindless processes can produce complex organisms, so no ‘designer’ was needed.

One of the really astounding things about it is that for a 19th century book of science, how much Darwin got right.


I was going to say Strunk & White, but hey, sure, Darwin’s good too.

The top 20 list has a few curious inclusions - are 1984 and Shakespear’s works really academic books? The linked article calls them “more surprising” and I accept that both are influential.


It also has a few curious exclusions. How about Newton’s Principia or Euclid’s Elements?


The methodology is ridiculously flawed, yet none of us should be surprised by that.

It’s rather sad that Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy is missing, given it’s importance in initiating the Enlightenment. But it’s even more sad how Eurocentric that list is. Though, again, why should I be surprised? Those who would venture to determine “the most influential academic book ever written” are likely not very inclusive people; that, or they’re clickbait algorithms.

I came to ask the same question. Just how do they define “academic?” Does it mean “highbrow?” Does it mean “made out of letters?” Lots of young teens read Shakespeare and Orwell.

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Principia Mathematica was my first guess.

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Written by academics?

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Some works to add - The Wretched of the Earth (or Black Skins, White Masks), The Black Jacobins, The Black Atlantic, The Souls of Black Folks… How about something by Spivak?

[ETA] This might be getting a bit too eurocentric again, but no Foucault, Harvey, Adorno, Benjamin, Arendt, Habermas, Heiddigger, Nietzsche, Stuart Hall…

Oh come on!

Every science, not just physics, was revolutionized by the methods introduced in Principia Mathematica.

or lot’s of academcial secondary literature - would be fitting for Orwell and Shakespear

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