The Most Influential Books Of The 21st Century

Thinking about the books that have shaped our cultural landscape over the last two decades is exciting and daunting. From novels to non-fiction works, these groundbreaking books have impacted readers worldwide, teaching us new ways of thinking, inspiring us with their content, or entertaining us for hours. 

Throughout this period of change and transformation, a selection of books rose above the rest in terms of influence and breakthrough potential. We look back at some of the most influential books from the 21st century thus far, chronicling how each helped shape culture during its respective era.

The Most Influential Books Of The 21st Century

The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown (2003)

This mystery thriller was an international best-seller and inspired a film adaptation directed by Ron Howard. It follows protagonist Robert Langdon as he attempts to uncover the secrets behind the mysterious death of a Louvre curator and decipher coded messages hidden within works of art. The book has spawned a devoted following and ignited debate over religion and history.

Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou

Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou (2019) is a powerful, thought-provoking novel relevant to today’s society. The story follows Luc Mukendi, a Paris immigrant trying to make his way. He finds employment as a night watchman and begins to experience challenges related to racism, economic unfairness, and other struggles facing him due to his outsider status. Despite these difficulties, he perseveres and eventually discovers the strength within himself that others fail to recognize. 

By exploring themes of identity and belonging, Broken Glass offers readers an intimate look into the life of one man determined to find success despite the odds stacked against him. Through vivid descriptions and poetic language, Alain Mabanckou paints a realistic yet hopeful portrait of Luc’s journey that will stay with readers for years. 

Broken Glass is an engaging read that captures the unique complexities of being an immigrant while prompting introspection into our lives. It offers an important reminder of the power and necessity of resilience in times of adversity. With its powerful story and timely themes, Broken Glass has become a must-read book for this generation. It is a testament to how literature can open dialogue about difficult topics and foster group understanding.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (2005) has become a global phenomenon. The novel tells the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander as they investigate a family’s missing-person case in Sweden. Along the way, they uncover dark secrets from the past that threaten them both. 

The book inspired two feature films and spawned two sequels, making its mark on popular culture with its gripping plotline and complex characters. It also deals with strong themes of justice and morality, exploring how far one can go to gain retribution against those who have wronged them. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is an unforgettable read that captivated readers worldwide and pushed the boundaries of modern crime fiction. 

It is a must-read for anyone interested in suspenseful stories, intense characters, and thrilling plot twists. Its success has cemented Stieg Larsson’s legacy as one of the greatest writers of the 21st century. With its powerful message and lasting appeal, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo stands out among recent literature as an influential book that will be remembered for years.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (2000) is one of the most beloved books ever. It follows teen wizard Harry Potter as he competes in an international tournament full of dangerous tasks. Along the way, he encounters old enemies and makes new allies on his quest to save himself and his friends from harm. 

It was so successful that it spawned a movie adaptation starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, which was just as popular as its source material. The book’s innovative plotline has made it a timeless classic; its themes of loyalty, courage, and friendship continue to inspire generations of readers worldwide. 

With its captivating characters and magical setting, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is an unforgettable read that entertains and teaches. It has become one of the most influential books of the 21st century, leaving its mark on popular culture with its unique storytelling and powerful message. As JK Rowling continues to write more Harry Potter stories, this book will remain a timeless classic for readers everywhere.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015) is a heartbreaking, gripping novel about a group of friends navigating adulthood in New York City. The book follows Jude St Francis, an ambitious lawyer with a troubled past he keeps hidden from his friends. As the story progresses, Jude’s dark secret slowly unravels, forcing him to confront his childhood trauma and its effects on his present life.

This emotionally intense novel delves deep into friendship, love, suffering, and identity themes. A Little Life has been praised for its vivid characters and raw descriptions of pain, which stay with readers long after they finish the book.

 It was so well-received that it won several awards and was even longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. A Little Life is an unforgettable read that will move readers to tears while simultaneously inspiring them with its message of resilience and hopes in the face of adversity.

 It is a novel that has become a staple of 21st-century literature, leaving its mark on our culture as one of the most influential books of this era. Its power lies in its ability to touch readers’ hearts and ignite powerful conversations about mental health and trauma. With its timeless themes and gripping story, it is no wonder that A Little Life has become so beloved by readers everywhere.

Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan

Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan (2004) is a captivating memoir that offers an intimate look into the life of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It chronicles his rise to fame in the 1960s, providing insights into his music and inspirations while exploring themes of creativity, identity, and success. 

The book was widely praised for its honest depiction of Dylan’s struggles with fame and his warm reflections on people he encountered throughout his career. Chronicles: Volume One is also noteworthy for its unique style; it blends personal accounts with philosophical musings, creating a narrative, unlike any other memoir.

 Its candidness and self-reflection have made it one of the most beloved books in recent memory; it won several awards and has been praised by fans and critics alike. Chronicles: Volume One is a must-read for any Bob Dylan fan and inspiring for anyone interested in memoirs and creativity.

It offers readers an intriguing glimpse into the life of a musical legend, reminding us of the power of art to transcend time and place. With its impactful story and timeless themes, Chronicles: Volume One will remain an iconic book long into the future.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell 

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell (2000) is an international bestseller that explores the phenomenon of “tipping points” in society. Through anecdotes and research, the book examines how small changes can lead to dramatic shifts in behavior. With its accessible writing style and powerful insights, The Tipping Point has become one of the most influential books of the 21st century. 

It has spawned numerous imitators and is praised for its ability to explain complex social phenomena in simple terms. The overarching message of The Tipping Point is that minor changes can have major impacts in both positive and negative ways. Its prescient analysis has made it a must-read for anyone interested in understanding how trends emerge, grow, and die. 

From entrepreneurs to politicians, readers have found it an invaluable guide as they strive for success in the modern world. The Tipping Point is an engaging read that has stood the test of time and will continue inspiring generations of innovators for years to come. Its timeless message and captivating style make it a book no one should miss.


What is the most-sold book in the world?

The Bible is the most sold book in the world, with estimates ranging from 2.5 billion to 6 billion copies sold worldwide. Other popular books include Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (900 million copies), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (107 million copies), and A Tale of Two Cities (200 million copies).

What is the oldest book known to man?

The oldest book known to man is The Epic of Gilgamesh, which dates back to around 2100 BC. It is an ancient Mesopotamian poem written in cuneiform script on clay tablets. Other notable ancient books include the Egyptian Book of the Dead (c. 1550 BC) and the Chinese Classic of History (1045 BC).

Who wrote the first book ever?

The first book is unknown, as books have been written in some form for thousands of years, and it’s impossible to pinpoint the very first one. However, some of the earliest known works include Homer’s Iliad (c. 8th century BC), The Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 2100 BC), and the Chinese Classic of History (1045 BC).

Which country invented books?

The invention of the book is believed to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq. Early books were written on clay tablets and featured cuneiform script, which eventually evolved into more recognizable forms of writing. Over time, the use of books spread to other parts of the world, with China inventing paper around 100 BC and Europe developing the codex format in the 6th century AD. Books are now ubiquitous across the globe, thanks to advances in printing technology and literacy rates.

Which country has read the most books?

The countries that read the most books include Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Denmark. According to UNESCO figures for 2016, these countries have the highest literacy rates in the world and the highest number of books per capita. The United States ranks tenth, with an estimated 300 million book readers.


The 21st Century has seen an amazing array of influential books, each filled with invaluable knowledge and insight. From fiction to non-fiction, these works have captured the minds of their readers in unforgettable ways. Undoubtedly, the authors behind each title had a tremendous impact on their respective fields. One can only imagine what other literary gems are left to be discovered in this new century. Whether looking for valuable life lessons or just entertainment, these most influential books of the 21st century offer something for everyone.

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