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Top 10 Small-Paged But Highly Influential Books of Ages

Updated on June 23, 2016

For centuries, books have shared knowledge, imparted inspiration, and unveiled discoveries that have taken humanity to a whole new level of growth and advancement. Often times, they cause about-turns that changed the complete perspective and belief system of a whole race, and spurred untold people into action. The following listed books have done just that: changed opinions, sprouted a movement, and a renaissance unto of a new way of living and thinking. Although small-paged, around a hundred or less, a number considered by many as not standard, yet what lay in the pages are both legendary and cross-culturally imparting, making them very influential books in world history.

The Metamorphosis By Franz Kafka

Studied in colleges and universities across the western world, this epic work by Frank Kafta is regarded as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century. It was an amazing story about a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa who woke up from his sleep only to discover that he had been transformed into a large, monstrous, insect-like creature. The cause of the metamorphosis was never revealed and neither did Kafka give the reason why. The rest would reveal wittingly, Gregor’s multifarious attempts to adjust to his new conditions after visibly becoming a burden to his parents and sisters who abhorred the horrible creature he had turned into. It is a legendary epic, absolutely thrilling, yet short-paged.

The Art Of War By Sun Tzu

Just sixty eight pages, yet who has not considered this legendary book by Sun Tzu? The cunning, yet ruthless ancient Chinese military handbook has proved has been a master instructor for ages to countless people. The book, “The Art of War,” is a 5th century ancient Chinese military treatise attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu with thirteen chapters each devoted to a specific aspect of warfare. The text is an outstanding work on military tactics and strategies and it is the most influential strategy text in the whole of East Asia. On the other hand, it also had a great influence on Western military thinking, legal strategy, business tactics, and so on. A lot of global leaders have drawn inspiration from it.

We Should All Be Feminist By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A wonderful book that will go down in history as one of the greatest piece that took on the world by storm with its perspective on Feminism. The adapted from Adichie’s 2012 TEDx talk of the same name, gave a well-received definition to feminism in the 21st century. Audio from the talk was included in Beyonce’s 2013 song “Flawless” and Adichie was credited with a featured role on the track. The Telegraph selected it as a book of the year for “it would be the book I'd press into the hands of girls and boys as an inspiration for a future world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves.” In December 2015, it was revealed by the book will be distributed to every sixteen-year-old high school student in Sweden.

Animal Farm By George Orwell

Who does not know animal farm and the wonderful animal and human characters it employed? Snowball, Muriel, Napoleon, etc. have all become famous names forever etched unto the memory of young and old. The novella was allegorical and dystopian and was first published in England on august 17th, 1945. It reflected on the events leading up to the Russian revolution of 1917 and then to the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Orwell described the book in a letter to Yvonne Davet as a satirical tale against Stalin and he admitted it was the first book he had unleashed all his consciousness into what he was doing. Time magazine chose it as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923-2005) and the book a host of other leading awards too.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe

A book that encouraged President Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, and a runaway bestseller that sold 10,000 copies in the US in its first week of release and 300,000 in the first year; and in the Great Britain, 1.5 million copies in a year. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an 1852 novel that forever changed how Americans viewed slavery and the system that treated people as property. The book demanded that the US deliver on the promise of freedom and equality, galvanized the abolition movement, and contributed to the Civil War outbreak. It has been credited for changing the views of slavery in the north and continues to serve as a vivid reminder of effect of slavery and inhumane acts.

The Communist Manifesto By Karl Max and Friedrich Engels

Written by German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, commissioned by the communist league, and published in London, “The Communist Manifesto” was recognized as arguably the world’s most influential political manuscript. It was written just as the revolutions of 1848 began to gather storm. It was a powerful book that presented an analytical approach to historical and then-present class struggles, the quagmire of capitalism, and the capitalist mode of production, rather than a mere prediction of the potential future turn-out of communism.

A notable edge while the book had been so revered around the world is the feature of ideas that shows how communism of the time would eventually slither and swayed by socialism.

Self-Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-reliance is an 1841 essay written by American transcendentalist philosopher and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. It was first published in his 1841 collection, Essays: First Series and the book was a proponent to the start of the Transcendentalist movement in America. The essays compiled into a book contain the most thorough statement of one of his recurring themes which is the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow their instinct and ideas. The self-reliance message was arguably his most famous essay, with immortal quotes as, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass By Frederick Douglass

The narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, the famous orator and former slave, is a book heralded as one of the most influential pieces of literature to fuel the abolitionist movement of the early nineteenth century in the United States. The memoir was written in 1845 and is generally held to be the most famous narratives written by former slaves during the same period. The memoir is believed to have documented and describes the events of his life as a slave and his ambition to become a free man. It is always referred to as one of the epic books written in the United States of America.

A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens

The immortal influence Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was revealed when a young girl from London asked a question. It was in 1870 after Dickens just died. She asked, “Mr. Dickens is dead? Then will Father Christmas die, too?” That was a demonstration of the extent to which how strong dickens writings were associated with the holiday season and modern Christmas tradition. It ended up making a permanent mark on how Christmas is viewed, and every time this amazing piece of literature is displayed on the silver screen, it reminds us of a vision of Christmas that has little to do with displays of wealth, and instead focuses on loved ones and the joy of an act of charity. The powerful book was written when the British were examining and exploring Christmas tradition from the past as well as new customs such as Christmas cards and trees. The book has remained very popular till today, never been out of print, and adapted many times to film, stage, opera, and other media.

The Prince By Nicholo Machiavenni

Although very short in length, the book is heralded as arguably the first work of modern philosophy, especially political philosophy, because in it as it were, effective truth is taken to be far more important than as it any abstract idea. The book, “The prince” is most responsible for bringing the word “Machiavellian” into usage as a pejorative and helped make “Old Nick” an English term for the devil. It contributed also has the revered honor to have contributed to modern negative connotations of the world “politics” and “politician” in western countries. The political treatise, written in 1513 offers enriching advice on how an aspiring prince can get to the throne and how an incumbent one can avoid an overthrow.


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