I’ll give you a second to come up with a guess first. I’ll wait.
Got one? Well if you guessed On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, then way to go.
Evidently there’s something called Academic Book Week. It either just ended or it’s just beginning. To kick off the first ever Academic Book Week the the Academic Book of the Future Project came up with 20 finalists to be considered the most influential. Then the public was called in to decide the winner, and Darwin’s work was the overwhelming pick.
I have an interesting story about Darwin and this book. Evolution may not be taught at the elementary level, but it’s definitely taught in middle and high school. I remember learning about evolution during multiple years in school. I remember thinking about how Darwin had managed to open everyone’s eyes to see a little into our past as humans. I was under the impression that everyone else thought the same. Whoops.
One day during my senior year of high school we were having a discussion before class about these sorts of things. So I decided to win the argument by conducting a little poll of those present to see who did and didn’t “believe” in evolution. The quotations are there because it’s fact no matter what you think god did. Anyway, so I just asked who believed it. To my surprise there were only a handful of students raising their hands. I was baffled.
That was likely the first time I realized that my viewpoint on both evolution and religion was not what others thought. That little poll sent me on a path toward atheism that took me years to figure out. But I ultimately did.
All that to say that this book definitely deserves the top spot in this poll. It changed quite a bit for me and countless others.
I won’t ask what you think of evolution or religion because it’s not relevant. But I will ask which academic book has influenced you the most?