I was checking out The Literature Network Forums, and found and old thread that asks for 10 most influential books, so I gave a shot in replying.
Content pasted below:
1) There is roughly 6B people around 1999-2000; now approaching 7B; given modern population explosion, what is widely read now definitely has some weight of being influential. 2) But influential
also has an aspect of being early, thus being able to influence many other readers AND AUTHORS of later times. 3) Lastly, usually shorter and lighter (i.e. easier to read) books get read most
(thus easier to be influential).
What would be on the scale of ~1B? Chinese, Indians, English speakers, Christians, Muslims
What would be on slightly smaller magnitue? Buddhists, Spanish, Communist
What would be early? Greeks
So, roughly, the list probably look something like: (not in order)
1. Confucius' Analects
2. Three Hundred Tang Poems
4. Shakespeare's Hamlet
7. Buddha's Samyutta Nikaya (and its corresponding northern recension)
8. Cervante's Don Quixote
9. Marx's Communist Manisfesto