Twelve Books That Changed the World

I was enthralled by a great TV programme over the Easter Weekend. (His lordship!) Melvyn Bragg, the eminent writer and broadcaster, has selected the 12 books that he contends have been agents of social, political, and personal revolution. The only work of fiction that made the cut was William Shakespeare’s first folio of 1623, with everything from Darwin’s Origin of Species through to the First Rule Book of the Football Association being on the list. You can see all 12 here.

As Bragg himself explains, “When people think of things that change the world, they tend to think of extraordinary events: the assassination of leaders, the invasion of countries, the havoc wreaked by natural disasters. There is something less attention-grabbing, but just as powerful, which changes the world—books. The series aims to show that the lives we lead have been formed as often as not by a single book.”

The closest we get to a ‘business’ book that makes the final 12 is Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, which set me thinking … would any of the great business books from the 20th and 21st centuries qualify for such an esteemed status? Which of them could we say, hand on heart, have truly changed the way we lead our business lives? What’s your nomination for the most influential business book since The Wealth of Nations? And what is your evidence of its impact?

Madeleine McGrath posted this on April 18, 2006, in News.
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