Saturday, December 14, 2019

What Are The Most Influential & Popular Books Of All-Time?

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The book, printed in English by moveable type, has been around for nearly six centuries.  Digital books have been around for just a decade or so, with other versions dating back to the late 20th century.  So which books have impacted the world -- and which ones have sold huge numbers of copies?  How many books will be on both lists?

The world has been penning books for thousands of years, though many of these earlier scrolls and tablets did not survive war, disaster, nature, accidents, politics, weather, or religion.  But of all the books ever written, published, and sold, the biggest sellers have come mainly from writers of the 20th century.

Why is that?  Simple, more people are alive now -by far – than in other eras.  The marketplace, via store, mail, and Internet has never been bigger.  Literacy rates have never been higher than now.  Thus, we live in an era of inexpensive, readily available books by great writers so of course some authors will sell over 100 million copies of their books, worldwide.

Five of the best-selling novelists alive today have sold huge sums of books.  Danielle Steele, James Patterson, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Jeffrey Archer are machines.  Now dead, but not forgotten, these writers are mega sellers: Agatha Christie, Barbara Cortland, Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robbins, and Georges Simenon.

I didn’t even discuss people like E.L. James (50 Shades of Grey) or J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), both of whom have successful book and movie franchises that will mint money for years to come.

But a lot of these books are entertainment and don’t leave our society or culture much different than before.  However, here are some HUGE books that have shaped nations and society:

·         King James Bible of 1611
·         The Koran of 632.
·         First Folio – William Shakespeare of 1623.
·         The Wealth of Natias by Adam Smith of 1776
·         Philosophia Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Sir Isaac Newton of 1687.
·         The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx in 1848.
·         On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin 1859.
·         The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud in 1900.

More recent books to impact society would be 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, A Brief History of Time and Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

Just imagine.  So many important books – and popular ones – have been circulating for many generations.  Our lists will change over time, of course, but it’s nice to know that some books and authors have truly left their mark long after the time they were penned has passed.

There are plenty of lists out there – and books – that list dozens and hundreds of books that are popular, important, or historically crucial to society, but we don’t all agree on all entries.  Reading is a personal experience and each of us will decide which books and authors shaped our views, impacted our lives, and created the world we occupy.

Which ones are the most meaningful to you?  Which ones do you enjoy the best?  Perhaps the book that will mean the most to you hasn’t been read by you yet – or it hasn’t even been written.  Maybe you will write it!

Did You Know?
The English alphabet in America comes from England. The English took their alphabet from the Greek alphabet, which was derived from the Phoenician alphabet, which has been around since the 11th century B.C. How will our language continue to evolve and what impact will the world, technology and cultural diversity have on it?

“Life must be lived forward, however, it can only be understood backward.”
--Soren Kierkegaard

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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