Another interesting book list, this one from Super Scholar listing the ’50 Most Influential Books of the Last 50 (or so) Years’. It’s a big call!
Interestingly, the list includes a mix of self-help and pop-psychology titles, a diet book as well as fiction that reflects significant cultural trends. I have only read eight of these books cover-to-cover – a few others I have read parts of (some under a degree of sufferance at uni!).
The editors of the list were careful with their selections and tried to “…provide a window into the culture of the last 50 years…. Not all the books on this list are “great.” The criterion for inclusion was not greatness but INFLUENCE. All the books on this list have been enormously influential…. We also tried to keep a balance between books that everyone buys and hardly anyone reads versus books that, though not widely bought and read, are deeply transformative. The Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa never sold as many records as some of the “one-hit wonders,” but their music has transformed the industry. Influence and popularity sometimes don’t go together. We’ve tried to reflect this in our list.”
I like the fact that the editors have gone to some effort to qualify their choices. I also like their recognition of ‘influence and popularity sometimes don’t go together’.
Without question, my favourite book on the list is To Kill a Mockingbird – a story I will never tire of.