A panel of academic booksellers, librarians, and publishers asked the public to vote on which academic book from a list of 20 is "the most influential." Charles Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" (1859) dominated with 26% of the vote, beating out the likes of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eight-Four," Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations," and Mary Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman." The top five also included "The Communist Manifesto," "The Complete Works of Shakespeare," Plato's "The Republic," and Immanuel Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason."
University of Glasgow humanities and English Language professor Andrew Prescott said that Darwin's text is "the supreme demonstration of why academic books matter."
"Darwin used meticulous observation of the world around us, combined with protracted and profound reflection, to create a book which has changed the way we think about everything – not only the natural world, but religion, history and society," Prescott said. "Every researcher, no matter whether they are writing books, creating digital products or producing artworks, aspires to produce something as significant in the history of thought as Origin of Species."