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Author Topic: Top 5 (non-Bible) most influential books of all time
katharina
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What are your nominations for the top-5 most influential books of all time? Any language, any time, any people.

I was thinking of the following:

1. I, Ching
2. Qu'ran
3. The Iliad and the Oddysey
4. City of God
5. Collected works of Nietzsche

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Storm Saxon
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No, you Katharina.

*rimshot*

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advice for robots
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Das Kapital
Origin of Species
Wealth of Nations

[ March 09, 2004, 03:05 PM: Message edited by: advice for robots ]

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sndrake
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Not sure about order, but here's four that had an impact on large numbers of people:

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Little Red Book by Mao Tse-Tung

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin

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Alexa
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This is a hard question to answer or comtemplate. Since all works have their inspiration in other works, I would think it impossible to rate.

Lets take Homer's epic...surely he read something somewhere and was inspired to write the Illead. Maybe a good poetry book inspired him to be a writer and what he came up with in the Illead was completely different then what inspired him to be a write.

Using the butterfly affect, how could we say the illead is more influential than other works that inspired Homer?

I would venture the older the book, the more influence it has had. Some of those books may not even be around. Are we even going to consider written word that was never published?

How about the top five most influential books in our times as they relate to todays events?

Or better yet...the top 5 most influential books in our individual lives.

1. Book of Mormon
2. Sweet Valley High
3. Crime and Punishment
4. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead ( a play...I know)
5. Animal Farm

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katharina
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How about listing both, then? I really am interested in what Hatrackers think have affected humanity at large.
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gwan
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I find it interesting, that you said, we couldn't sight the bible, yet the qu'ran was included.
[Confused]

[ March 09, 2004, 03:12 PM: Message edited by: gwan ]

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vwiggin
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I would also add...

The Republic
The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud)

Edited to add:

Beyond Good and Evil (Nietzsche)
Treatises on Government (Locke)
Social Contract (Rousseau)
Federalist Papers (not really a book)

[ March 09, 2004, 03:18 PM: Message edited by: vwiggin ]

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katharina
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*pat pat* You could put the Bible if you want. I was just trying to free up a spot.

How about...include the Bible, but list the top six?

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Rhaegar The Fool
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The Communist Manifesto
The Wealth of Nations
The Collective Works of William Shakespeare
1984 (Revolutionized writing in that very few books before then had a message, or allowed the hero to fail)
The Lord of The Rings (It made fantasy into the genre that it is)

Religious Books or Anti Religion Books

The Qu'ran
The Bible
Hindu Scriptures (Don't know name)
The Torah
The Origins of the Species: Darwin

[ March 09, 2004, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: Rhaegar The Fool ]

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Zalmoxis
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EDIT: Kat already said it.

Here's a further breakdown I'd be interested in seeing --

5 (or 6) works that most influenced society(ies)

5 that influenced the history of ideas/art

[ March 09, 2004, 03:17 PM: Message edited by: Zalmoxis ]

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Elizabeth
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Not really books, per se, but:

The writings of Locke and Rousseau

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pooka
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I think the writings of Aristotle were pretty influential. Or is it Plato? Which one was actually responsible for the persecution of Gallileo?

Oedipus Rex

The Communist Manifesto

Umm. Yeah, anything by Ayn Rand [Razz] Just kidding. Remember when the Randian cabal packed the 100 greatest books list?

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Dan_raven
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The Prince by Machiavelli
Plato's Republic
The Annalects of Confusious
The Koran
The Bahgavita (sp?)

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vwiggin
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Hmmm... can't forget the foundation of my own society.

The Analects (Confucious)
Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu)

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Rhaegar The Fool
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Oh terribly sorry, forgot this one.

The Art of War: Sun Tzu <-- I love that book, read it every year.

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skillery
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As long as we're allowing religious books, how about The Urantia Book ...It will fry your mind.

[ March 09, 2004, 03:33 PM: Message edited by: skillery ]

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Elizabeth
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OK, I'm pushing it now, but the Iroqois Five(and then Six) Nations pact, which formed much of the basis for our democracy, but which I am unsure was ever written down.
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LockeTreaty
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My opinion of top 5 books that have affected western society for good or bad (either is debatable). In no particular order.

The Second Treatise of Government (John Locke)
The Bible
The Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith)
Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes)
Versailes Treaty(sp?)

I know the last one isn't a book, but the Versailes treaty completly destroyed Germany and was the true cause of World War II. And without the treaty we (meaning the North Americans) would not have dropped two nuclear bombs, or for that matter made them. The other four books primarily just helped to form people into a society, especially a democracy, and to start off capitalism.

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Teshi
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quote:
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
My most favourite play [Big Grin] [Smile] .
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PSI Teleport
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I have never read almost all the books listed.

Here are the top six for me. [Big Grin]
Does it have to be fiction?

1. The Bible
2. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
3. A Separate Peace
4. Invitation to the Game (my first SF)
5. Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care
6. The Financial Guide for Young Couples

Hmm...most of my most influential books are How-to's of some sort.

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katharina
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oooo... I love A Separate Peace.
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Jon Boy
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Dan, I think the name you're looking for is Bhagavad Gita.
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Da_Goat
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Influential in my life...

1. The Bible
2. Are You My Mother? (It was the first time a form of media had moved me to tears, and the first book I willfully read)
3. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the fact that grown-up fiction books don't -have- to be smarmily depressing or mind-numbingly technical still surprises me today)
4. Webster-Merriam Dictionary
5. 14,000 Things To Be Happy About
6. The Hobbit, I suppose, being the first novel I ever willfully read.

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Annie
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The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
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sndrake
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I just realized that no list like this is complete without the following trilogy:

Where God Went Wrong, Some More Of God's Greatest Mistakes, and Who Is This God Person Anyway? by Oolon Coluphid.

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T_Smith
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Yurtle the Turtle
Cat in the Hat
Green Eggs and Ham
The Lorax
Beowulf

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Plain Jane
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quote:
2. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

This was the book that made me realize I was capable of art school. I never thought I'd see it on the same list as the Bible though. [Smile]
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Jon Boy
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I would just like to take this opportunity to say that T_Smith r0x0rs. I'm not even quite sure what that means, but I'm sure it must be good.

So, Nathan, want to help me with my Beowulf translation?

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Dan_raven
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I want to suggest to everyone that they should read both Sun Tzu's Art of War and Machiavelli's, The Prince.

And do so in public.

Anyone who has heard of these books will give you new respect just because you are reading them.

Best of all, its the respect based on fear. As Machiavelli said, of fear and love, fear is better--it lasts longer.

and Jon Boy, you are correct. Thanks

[ March 09, 2004, 04:34 PM: Message edited by: Dan_raven ]

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Chaeron
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I'm going to mention some that I think have been neglected thus far in the thread. (I'm taking book to mean written work.)

Principia Mathmatica
Luther's 95 Theses
Code of Hammurabi
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Politics (Aristotle)

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T_Smith
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Beowulf WAS written by Dr. Seuss, right?
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BannaOj
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Are You My Mother?
always made me cry too.
Go Dog Go
and
Ten Apples Up On Top
are also classics

Are You My Mother? was directly responsible for me being carried out of the theater as a two year old while watching The Fox and The Hound, screaming "Where's his mother?? HE NEEDS HIS MOTHER!!!"

I didn't make it through the rest of the movie, and still haven't seen the end.
[Big Grin]

AJ

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Jerryst316
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1. The Enquiry and Treatise by Hume. (pretty much set up Kant to be one of the greatest philosophers of all time)
2. Tao Te Ching and The Art of War (both good eastern philosophy books)
3. The Lord of the Rings
4. Aquinas's Summa Theologica (one of the most influential books about the relgion)
5. The Bible and Qu'ran.
6. Aristotle's whole works-(for over 1000 years he was referred to as The Philosopher)

This is a really interesting list.

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Jon Boy
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Of course it was, Nathan. I mean, just look at this:
quote:
HwŠt! We Gardena in geardagum,
■eodcyninga ■rym gefrunon,
hu ­a Š■elingas ellen fremedon!

And compare it to this:
quote:
At the far end of town
where the Grickle-grass grows
and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows
and no birds ever sing excepting old crows...
is the Street of the Lifted Lorax.

There's no doubt that they're the same author.

[ March 09, 2004, 06:37 PM: Message edited by: Jon Boy ]

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Zemra
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I think
1."Angels and Demons" and
2."Da Vinci code" both of these books were writen by Dan Brown
On of my favorite books of all time is
3."Ender's game" and
4."Ender's shadow" from Orson Scott Card and of course how can we forget
5."Harry Potter"

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fallow
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Timbuktu!!!!
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graywolfe
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Nice point on the, "Federalist Paper's," V. Wiggin, quite a few people have suggested that the collected Federalist Papers might be the most important political documents published in the past 500-1000 years.

Henry David Thoreau's, "Civil Disobedience," was absolutely HUGE in the 20th century, the modern Civil Right's Movement, and Ghandi's movement in India were directly inspired and based directly and indirectly to what Thoreau wrote about one hundred years previously. That's a writing that fundamentally impacted what, half a billion people this past century? Maybe more? How many people are in India?

Anyway, I'm just ruminating, and now it's time for bed. Great topic, Katharina, I hope more people come up w/thought provoking ideas.

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Frisco
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I think you elitist snobs are forgetting Atlas Shrugged on purpose just to piss me off. [Wink]

I mean, it's had such a big influence on me that my brain won't recognize Dagonee as being male.

[ March 12, 2004, 02:34 AM: Message edited by: Frisco ]

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Ryuko
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quote:
2. Are You My Mother? (It was the first time a form of media had moved me to tears, and the first book I willfully read)

That was the first book I ever read. [Smile] Ahhh... memories.
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Slash the Berzerker
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No one is mentioning Penthouse Letters?

Wow, I learned so much from them:

*All men have nine inches
*All sexy single women next door sunbath topless
*Whenever a woman knocks on your door, no matter what she says she is there for, she is really there to have sex with you
*No one ever thinks they will write a letter to penthouse until they do

That's important stuff to know!

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fallow
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firsts as favs?

[Cry]

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Taalcon
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Something Under The Bed Is Drooling, by Bill Watterson.

It changed my world.

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katharina
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Personal (fiction) influences:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Ender's Game
3. Gone with the Wind (I didn't say all the influences were good.)
4. A Separate Peace
5. The Hero and the Crown

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The Pixiest
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The Prince
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Scott R
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Blackberry Witch
Princess Lemonade
Sonny Day
Angeltown
Lord of All Fools
Shipmate

These six novels will revolutionize the modern science fiction/fantasy novel.

As soon as I write them. . .

[Big Grin]

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Xaposert
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Qu'ran
Origin of Species
Wealth of Nations
Communist Manifesto
Second Treatise on Government

Also.... listing the "Collected works of" whoever as a book shouldn't count!

[ March 12, 2004, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: Xaposert ]

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vwiggin
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Personal influences

1. Speaker for the Dead (morality of inclusion)
2. Common Ground (political hypocrisy)
3. A Civil Action (the joy of litigation)
4. The Great Gatsby (definition of self worth)
5. The Annalects of Confusious (duty to community)

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sndrake
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Personal influences:

1. Rules for Radicals - A pragmatic primer for realistic radicals by Saul D. Alinsky
2. The Conquest of Mental Retardation by Burton Blatt (it's not what you might think)
3. Behind the Door of Delusion by "inmate ward 8" (Marion Woodson)
4. No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement by Joseph P. Shapiro
5. Prescription: Medicide by Jack Kevorkian

(Clarification - the last book on the list was a negative sort of inspiration. The contents disgusted me and the fact that the media hadn't given any attention to it alarmed and disgusted me. Reading the book played a major role in the choices I've made in my life since reading it.)

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eslaine
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I'd like to nominate The Five Rings and The Art of War.

Lord of the Rings created an entire subculture on it's own.

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