In a survey of influential books, the Bible garnered 37% of public vote, while On the Origin of Species received 35%, followed by works by Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and George Orwell.
Together, the Bible and On the Origin of Species are the two most valuable books for humanity, according to a survey of the British public, with the religious text narrowly edging out one of the most important works in the history of science.
The Folio Society’s survey asked members of the public to name the books of most significance for the modern world.
Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time (17%) crept ahead of Einstein’s seminal Relativity (15%) to take third place, with just two novels making the top 10 of the “books voted most valuable to humanity”: Nineteen Eighty-Four (14%) and To Kill a Mockingbird (10%). Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, in which Isaac Newton derives the laws of classical mechanics, took 12% of the vote, with the Qur’an (9%), Adam Smith’s foundation of modern economics The Wealth of Nations (7%) and James Watson’s account of the discovery of DNA, The Double Helix (6%), rounding out the top 10.