50 Most Influential Books of the Last 50 (or so) Years. In compiling the books on this list, the editors at SuperScholar have tried to provide a window into the culture of the last 50 years. Ideally, if you read every book on this list, you will know how we got to where we are today. 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.
The books we chose required some hard choices. 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. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 45. The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish - Rebecca J. Rosen. A book published during the presidency of Chester A.
Arthur has a greater chance of being in print today than one published during the time of Reagan. Paul J. Heald Last year I wrote about some very interesting research being done by Paul J. Heald at the University of Illinois, based on software that crawled Amazon for a random selection of books. At the time, his results were only preliminary, but they were nevertheless startling: There were as many books available from the 1910s as there were from the 2000s.
The number of books from the 1850s was double the number available from the 1950s. Heald has now finalized his research and the picture, though more detailed, is largely the same: "Copyright correlates significantly with the disappearance of works rather than with their availability," Heald writes. The graph above shows the simplest interpretation of the data. Heald says the picture is still "quite dramatic. " This is not a gently sloping downward curve! Print - The 75 Books Every Man Should Read.