Poll: the most influential books in the world

In 2012, we asked leading scholars across 14 disciplines to nominate the most important, influential and game-changing books and papers in their fields.

A total of 100 active university faculty participated in the survey, resulting in a list of 250 titles, some of which have been analysed in Macat iLibrary. See the results below.

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Now is your chance to take part in our poll and tell us which you think is the world’s most influential book. Take part in the poll here

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Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagos of Melanesian New Guinea – Bronislaw Malinowski

Anthropology

  1. Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An Account of Native Enterprise and Adventure in the Archipelagos of Melanesian New Guinea – Bronislaw Malinowski
  2. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies – Marcel Mauss
  3. Race, Language and Culture – Franz Boas
  4. Structural Anthropology – Claude Lévi-Strauss
  5. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo – Mary Douglas
  6. Stone Age Economics – Marshall Sahlins
  7. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays – Clifford Geertz
  8. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography – James Clifford
  9. Outline of a Theory of Practice – Pierre Bourdieu
  10. The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People – E. E. Evans-Pritchard
  11. American Kinship: A Cultural Account – David Schneider
  12. Society Against the State – Pierre Clastres
  13. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and its Implications – Louis Dumont
  14. Political Systems of Highland Burma: A Study of Kachin Social Structure – Edmund Leach
  15. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation – Arjun Appadurai
  16. Language, Thought and Reality – Benjamin Whorf
  17. Genealogies of Religion – Talal Asad
  18. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance – James Scott
  19. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution and Epistemology – Gregory Bateson
  20. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed – Jared Diamon
Competitive Strategy: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance – Michael Porter

Business

  1. Competitive Strategy: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance – Michael Porter
  2. Administrative Behavior – Herbert Simon
  3. The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective – Jeffrey Pfeffer & Gerald Salancik
  4. Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases – Amos Tversky, Daniel Kahneman & Paul Slovic
  5. Capitalism and Freedom – Milton Friedman
  6. Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and the Organizational Advantage – Janine Nahapiet & Sumantra Ghoshal
  7. Intergrating the Individual and the Organization – Chris Argyris
  8. Markets and Hierarchies – Oliver Williamson
  9. Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs, and Capital Structure – Michael Meckling & William Jensen
  10. Out of the Crisis – W. Edwards Deming
  11. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant – W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
  12. The Practice of Management – Peter Drucker
  13. A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation – Ikujiro Nonaka
  14. Managing the Resource Allocation Process: A Study of Corporate Planning and Investment – Joseph Bower
  15. Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach – R. Edward Freeman
  16. Multinational Enterprises and the Global Economy – John Dunning
  17. A Behavioral Theory of the Firm – Richard March & James Cyert
  18. The Core Competence of the Corporation – C. K. Prahalad & Gary Hamel
  19. Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage – Jay Barney
  20. The Concept of Corporate Strategy – Kenneth R. Andrews
Iliad – Homer

Classics

  1. Iliad – Homer
  2. Alexander the Great – Robin Lane Fox
  3. The Odyssey – Homer
  4. Black Athena: The Afro-Asiatic Roots of Classical Civilisation  – Martin Bernal
  5. Homer on Life and Death – Jasper Griffin
  6. The Greeks and the Irrational – E. R. Dodds
  7. The Oresteia – Aeschylus
  8. On Greek Religion – Robert Parker
  9. Rituals and Power: the Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor – S. R. F. Price
  10. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Edward Gibbon
  11. The Aeneid – Virgil
  12. The Greeks and Greek Civilisation – Jacob Burckhardt
  13. The Roman Revolution – Ronald Syme
  14. Christianity and Classical Culture: A Study of Thought and Action from Augustus to Augustine – Charles Norris Cochrane
  15. Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture – Werner Jaeger
  16. Horace – Eduard Fraenkel
  17. The Three Theban Plays – Sophocles
  18. Tacitus – Ronald Syme
  19. Pagan and Christian in an Age of Anxiety – E. R. Dodds
  20. The Making of Homeric Verse – Milman Parry
The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith

Economics

  1. The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith
  2. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money – John Maynard Keynes
  3. The Road to Serfdom – Friedrich von Hayek
  4. The Role of Monetary Policy – Milton Friedman
  5. Principles of Political Economy – John Stuart Mill
  6. Principles of Political Economy and Taxation – David Ricardo
  7. Business Cycles – Joseph Alois Schumpeter
  8. Inequality Reexamined – Amartya Sen
  9. Principles of Economics – Alfred Marshall
  10. Why Doesn’t Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries? – Robert E. Lucas
  11. The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism – George Akerlof
  12. An Essay on the Principle of Population – Thomas Robert Malthus
  13. The Theory of Money and Credit – Ludwig von Mises
  14. The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto – Walt Whitman Rostow
  15. Econometric Policy Evaluation: A Critique – Robert E. Lucas
  16. A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 – Milton Friedman, Anna Jacobson Schwartz
  17. Elements of Pure Economics – Leon Walras
  18. International Trade – Bertil Ohlin
  19. The Economics of Welfare – Arthur Cecil Pigou
  20. The Problem of Social Cost – Robert H. Coase
The Limits to Capital – David Harvey

Geography

  1. The Limits to Capital – David Harvey
  2. Silent Spring – Rachel Carson
  3. Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth – Mathis Wackernagel & William E. Rees
  4. The Tragedy of the Commons – Garrett Hardin
  5. The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change Under Population Pressure – Ester Boserup
  6. Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition – Stephen Graham & Simon Marvin
  7. The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
  8. Geography and Trade – Paul Krugman
  9. The World is Flat: The Globalized World in the Twenty-First Century – Thomas L. Friedman
  10. Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth – James Lovelock
  11. The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World – Stephen Castles & Mark J. Miller
  12. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection – Charles Darwin
  13. Development as Freedom – Amartya Sen
  14. Globalization: The Human Consequences – Zygmunt Bauman
  15. The Production of Space – Henri Lefebvre
  16. The Practice of Everyday Life – Michel de Certeau
  17. Questions on Geography – Michel Foucault
  18. Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference – David Harvey
  19. Explanation in Geography – David Harvey
  20. The Competitive Advantage of Nations – Michael E. Porter

 

The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II – Fernand Braudel

History

  1. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II – Fernand Braudel
  2. The Making of the English Working Class – E. P. Thompson
  3. The Making of the Middle Ages – Richard W. Southern
  4. Lineages of the Absolutist State – Perry Anderson
  5. The Body and Society: Men, Women, and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity – Peter Brown
  6. The Coming of the French Revolution – Georges Lefebvre
  7. On Some Aspects of the Historiography of Colonial India – Ranajit Guha
  8. Before European Hegemony – Janet L. Abu-Lughod
  9. Religion and the Decline of Magic – Keith Thomas
  10. Nations and Nationalism – Ernst Gellner
  11. The Significance of the Frontier in American History – Frederick Jackson Turner
  12. The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848 – Eric Hobsbawm
  13. What is History? – E. H. Carr
  14. The New England Mind – Perry Miller
  15. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution – Bernard Bailyn
  16. War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War – John W. Dower
  17. The Invention of Tradition – Eric Hobsbawm & Terence Ranger
  18. The King’s Two Bodies – Ernst H. Kantorowicz
  19. Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 – Linda Colley
  20. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made – Eugene D. Genovese

 

The Order of Things – Michel Foucault

Art History

  1. The Order of Things – Michel Foucault
  2. The Formation of Islamic Art – Oleg Grabar
  3. The Shape of Time – George Kubler
  4. Meaning in the Visual Arts – Erwin Panofsky
  5. Art and Illusion – Ernst H. Gombrich
  6. Camera Lucida – Roland Barthes
  7. Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style – Michael Baxandall
  8. Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form – Robert Venturi, Steven Izenour & Denise Scott Brown
  9. Likeness and Presence – Hans Belting
  10. Women, Art and Power and Other Essays – Linda Nochlin
  11. Monumentality in Early Chinese Art and Architecture – Wu Hung
  12. Vision and Difference: Feminism, Femininity and Histories of Art – Griselda Pollock
  13. The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths – Rosalind E. Krauss
  14. Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Later Art – Heinrich Wolfflin
  15. Illuminations – Walter Benjamin
  16. Real Spaces: World Art History and the Rise of Western Modernism – David L. Summers
  17. Ways of Seeing – John Berger
  18. Renewal of Pagan Antiquity: Contributions to the Cultural History of the European Renaissance – Aby Warburg
  19. The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response – David Freedberg
  20. Art in China – Craig Clunas

 

Law’s Empire – Ronald Dworkin

Law

  1. Law’s Empire – Ronald Dworkin
  2. Elements of the Philosophy of Right – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
  3. The Concept of Law – H. L. A. Hart
  4. Of Laws in General – Jeremy Bentham
  5. A Theory of Justice – John Rawls
  6. The Morality of Law – Lon L. Fuller
  7. The Morality of Freedom – Joseph Raz
  8. Laws – Plato
  9. The Mencius – Mencius
  10. Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress – Raphael Lemkin
  11. Fundamental Legal Conceptions as Applied in Judicial Reasoning – Wesley Newcomb Hohfeld
  12. Le Droit et les Droits de l’Homme – Michel Villey
  13. On Human Conduct – Michael Oakeshott
  14. The Social Contract – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  15. The Province of Jurisprudence Determined – John L. Austin
  16. Taking Rights Seriously – Ronald Dworkin
  17. Pure Theory of Law – Hans Kelsen
  18. Natural law and the separation of law and morals – Neil MacCormick
  19. A Matter of Principle – Ronald Dworkin
  20. Between Facts and Norms – Jurgen Habermas

 

Race, Writing and Difference – Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Literature

  1. Race, Writing and Difference – Henry Louis Gates Jr.
  2. Preface to the Lyrical Ballads – William Wordsworth
  3. The Sacred Wood – T. S. Eliot
  4. The Defense of Poesy – Philip Sidney
  5. The Dialogic Imagination – Mikhail Bakhtin
  6. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act – Fredric Jameson
  7. Areopagitica – John Milton
  8. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness in the American Literary Imagination – Toni Morrison
  9. Death of the Author – Roland Barthes
  10. A Defence of Poetry – Percy B. Shelley
  11. What is an Author? – Michel Foucault
  12. The Critic as Artist – Oscar Wilde
  13. To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature – Eric J. Sundquist
  14. The Location of Culture – Homi K. Bhabha
  15. An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness – Chinua Achebe
  16. The Lonely Crowd – David Riesman
  17. Epistemology of the Closet – Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
  18. The Painter of Modern Life – Charles Baudelaire
  19. Of Grammatology – Jacques Derrida
  20. Orientalism – Edward Said

 

Republic – Plato

Philosophy

  1. Republic – Plato
  2. Metaphysics – Aristotle
  3. Nicomachean Ethics – Aristotle
  4. Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
  5. Essay Concerning Human Understanding – John Locke
  6. Meditations on First Philosophy – René Descartes
  7. Leviathan: Or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil – Thomas Hobbes
  8. On the Soul – Aristotle
  9. Monadology – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
  10. The Phenomenology of Spirit – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
  11. Philosophical Fragments – Søren Kierkegaard
  12. Being and Time – Martin Heidegger
  13. Enneads – Plotinus
  14. Principia Ethica – G. E. Moore
  15. Symposium – Plato
  16. Philosophical Investigations – Ludwig Wittgenstein
  17. On Sense and Reference – Gottlob Frege
  18. Discourse on Method – René Descartes
  19. On the Genealogy of Morals – Friedrich Nietzsche
  20. Phaedo – Plato

 

Politics – Aristotle

Politics

  1. Politics – Aristotle
  2. Capital – Karl Marx
  3. Two Treatises of Government – John Locke
  4. The Prince – Niccolò Machiavelli
  5. The Prison Notebooks – Antonio Gramsci
  6. The Communist Manifesto – Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels
  7. On Liberty – John Stuart Mill
  8. The Federalist Papers – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison & John Jay
  9. Democracy in America – Alexis de Tocqueville
  10. Politics as a Vocation – Max Weber
  11. Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch – Immanuel Kant
  12. The Spirit of Laws – Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
  13. The Concept of the Political – Carl Schmitt
  14. Common Sense – Thomas Paine
  15. The Rights of Man – Thomas Paine
  16. Utilitarianism – John Stuart Mill
  17. Political Liberalism – John Rawls
  18. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere – Jürgen Habermas
  19. A Disquisition on Government – John C. Calhoun
  20. Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

 

The Ecology of Human Development – Urie Bronfenbrenner

Psychology

  1. The Ecology of Human Development – Urie Bronfenbrenner
  2. Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory – Albert Bandura
  3. The Mathematical Theory of Communication – Claude E. Shannon
  4. The Principles of Psychology – William James
  5. The Evolution of Cooperation – Robert Axelrod
  6. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance – Leon Festinger
  7. Thought and Language – Lev Vygotsky
  8. Theory of Games and Economic Behavior – John von Neumann & Oskar Morgenstern
  9. The Organization of Behaviour: A Neuropsychological Theory – Donald O. Hebb
  10. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception – James J. Gibson
  11. The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information – George A. Miller
  12. The Nature of Prejudice – Gordon W. Allport
  13. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain – Antonio Damasio
  14. Working Memory – Alan Baddeley
  15. Syntactic Structures – Noam Chomsky
  16. Cognitive Therapy of Depression – Aaron T. Beck
  17. Human Problem Solving – Allen Newell & Herbert A. Simon
  18. Social Identity and Intergroup Relations – Henri Tajfel
  19. Science and Human Behaviour – B. F. Skinner
  20. The Interpretation of Dreams – Sigmund Freud

 

Suicide – Émile Durkheim

Sociology

  1. Suicide – Émile Durkheim
  2. The German Ideology – Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels
  3. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism – Max Weber
  4. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life – Erving Goffman
  5. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison – Michel Foucault
  6. Distinction – Pierre Bourdieu
  7. The Souls of Black Folk – W. E. B. Du Bois
  8. Folk Devils and Moral Panics – Stanley Cohen
  9. The Theory of Communicative Action – Jürgen Habermas
  10. There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack – Paul Gilroy
  11. Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity – Ulrich Beck
  12. Postmodern Ethics – Zygmunt Bauman
  13. The Philosophy of Money – Georg Simmel
  14. Elementary Forms of the Religious Life – Émile Durkheim
  15. The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction – Michel Foucault
  16. The Sociological Imagination – C. Wright Mills
  17. The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration – Anthony Giddens
  18. The Rise of the Network Society – Manuel Castells
  19. Madness and Civilization – Michel Foucault
  20. The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan

 

Confessions – St. Augustine of Hippo

Theology

  1. Confessions – St. Augustine of Hippo
  2. Church Dogmatics – Karl Barth
  3. The Smalcald Articles – Martin Luther
  4. Fear and Trembling – Søren Kierkegaard
  5. Cur Deus Homo? – Anselm of Canterbury
  6. The Cost of Discipleship – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  7. The Rule of Saint Benedict – St. Benedict of Nursia
  8. Letters and Papers from Prison – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  9. The Apocalyptic Imagination – John J. Collins
  10. The City of God – St. Augustine of Hippo
  11. Old Testament Theology, Volume 1 – Gerhard von Rad
  12. The Epistle to the Romans – Karl Barth
  13. Western Mysticism – Dom Cuthbert Butler
  14. On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers – Friedrich Schleiermacher
  15. The Stripping of the Altars – Eamon Duffy
  16. A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation – Gustavo Gutiérrez
  17. The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys – Andrew Louth
  18. Mere Christianity – C. S. Lewis
  19. The Interior Castle – St. Teresa of Ávila
  20. The New Testament and the People of God – N. T. Wright

We hope you enjoyed the list! Vote for what you think should be the influential title on our poll here.