The Folio Society Survey | The most influential books of the moment

Folio recently undertook a survey with YouGov looking at the most influential books of the moment – books which answer fundamental questions of human existence or highlight issues which we are dealing with in society today. We gave a very eclectic list of titles, but there are of course numerous others which are just as pertinent.

The results of the survey highlighted some interesting dynamics, with Darwin equalling the Bible in perceived significance; the Qur’ân introduced to the top ten; A Brief History of Time on the list (surely one of the most under-read bestsellers ever written); relatively little on economics despite the financial climate; and only two, overtly political, fiction titles in the list.

How different might the survey have looked a hundred, or even thirty years ago? How might it look in another thirty years – will Darwin have taken over, or will the worrying rise of Nineteen Eighty-Four’s relevance continue? Might the Qur’an continue to rise in significance in the UK, or might advances in DNA technology mean that The Double Helix grows in stature?

The top ten results were as follows:

Top Ten Books

1)      The Bible (37%)

2)      On the Origin of Species (35%)

3)      A Brief History of Time (17%)

4)      Relativity (15%)

5)      Nineteen Eighty-Four (14%)

6)      Principia Mathematica (12%)

7)      To Kill a Mockingbird (10%)

8)      The Qur’ân (9%)

9)      The Wealth of Nations (7%)

10)    The Double Helix (6%)

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