Another 10 Books That Changed The World

This is the third installment of our “books that changed the world” series. Be sure to read the previous two so that you don’t think we have missed important books off the list. If you can think of books that are not on any of the three lists that deserve a mention in future, be sure to tell us about it in the comments. Here are the original two lists: Top 10 Books That Changed The World, and 10 More Books That Changed The World. These are in no particular order.

10 Dictionary of the English Language

By Samuel Johnson

The Wealth of Nations ... Smith, Adam Best Price: $1.99 Buy New $2.87 (as of 02:05 EST - Details) Why it changed the world: This book (though not the first dictionary) was the first to use literary quotations to illustrate the meanings of words. It set the stage for the scholarly study of language.

Published on 15 April 1755 and written by Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, sometimes published as Johnson’s Dictionary, is among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language. There was dissatisfaction with the dictionaries of the period, so in June 1746 a group of London booksellers contracted Johnson to write a dictionary for the sum of 1,500 guineas, equivalent to about £220,000 as of 2009.

Johnson took nearly nine years to complete the work, although he had claimed he could finish it in three. Remarkably, he did so single-handedly, with only clerical assistance to copy out the illustrative quotations that he had The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger Best Price: $0.10 Buy New $5.45 (as of 07:30 EST - Details) marked in books. Johnson wrote several revised editions during his life. Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary, 150 years later, Johnson’s was viewed as the pre-eminent English dictionary.

9 The Wealth of Nations

By Adam Smith

Why it changed the world: It virtually created modern economics – the free market and competition. In it, Smith proposes the invisible hand of the market: the pursuit of self-interest can be beneficial to society at large: for example, the Butcher, the Baker, and the Brewer provide goods and services to each other out of self-interest; the unplanned result of this division of labor is a better standard of living for all three.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist Adam Smith. It is a clearly written account of economics at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, as well as a rhetorical piece written for the generally educated individual of the 18th century – advocating a free market economy as more productive and more beneficial to society. Moby-Dick (Dover Thrif... Herman Melville Best Price: $1.60 Buy New $3.59 (as of 05:00 EST - Details)

The work is credited as a watershed in history and economics due to its comprehensive, largely accurate characterization of economic mechanisms that survive in modern economics; and also for its effective use of rhetorical technique, including structuring the work to contrast real world examples of free and fettered markets.

8 If this is a Man 

Check Amazon for Pricing. By Primo Levi

Why it changed the world: This book on Levi’s time in Auschwitz changed man’s understanding for suffering and gave us an awareness of our unlimited ability to work for good or evil.

If This Is a Man (United States title: Survival in Auschwitz) is a work of witness by the Italian author Primo Levi. It was influenced by his experiences in the concentration camp at Auschwitz during the Second World War. It can be described as a memoir or a personal narrative, but it goes beyond mere recollection by seeking to consider the human condition in all its extremes through the narrative form.

The first manuscript for If This Is a Man was completed by Levi in December 1946. However, in January 1947, the manuscript was refused by Einaudi. Despite this, Levi managed to find another, smaller publisher who printed 2,500 copies of the book. 1,500 of these were sold, mostly in his home town, Turin. It was not until 1956 that Einaudi published the work in a revised form. On this occasion, the book had major worldwide success, being translated into English by Stuart Woolf in 1958, and into German by Heinz Reidt in 1959.

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