Darwins ‘On the Origin of Species’ Voted Most Influential Academic Book of All Time

More than 150 years after its original publication, Charles Darwin’On the Origin of Species has earned a new accolade. In a poll open to the public, readers voted Darwin’s classic text the most influential academic book of all time.

On the Origin of Species beat out a crowded field that included 19 other books on science, philosophy, government, and other subjects. UK Publishers drafted an original list of 200 titles that was later whittled down to 20 by a team that included librarians and academic booksellers.

Ultimately, though, it was the public that had the final say – and voters overwhelmingly supported Darwin’s book. An incredible 26% of voters chose On the Origin of Species, which is a far higher voting percentage than any other book received.

Second place went to The Communist Manifesto, and third went to The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Two philosophy texts, Plato’s Republic and Immanuel Kant’Critique of Pure Reason, rounded out the top five.

Academics praised the public’s choice. Professor Andrew Prescott of the University of Glasgow told the Guardian that Darwin’s work is “the supreme demonstration of why academic books matter.”


Main image courtesy of On The Origin of Species