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Books that promise to inspire, fall under no particular category. They could be philosophical, they could be inspirational, they could be fictional, or rooted in reality. However, they do have one thing in common - the ability to swing opinion, and the gift of making you believe. The best influential books can change your life. The list below comprises some of the popular names; if you're a non-believer, then you do not have to follow them at all. You can simply read them and see what they are all about. You never know when you will be inspired.

The Secret ~ Rhonda Byrne
When The Secret came out, it created a sudden furore, sales went through the roof, and the world was inundated with whispers. This book has the capacity to greatly influence your life. It talks about the Law of Attraction and the philosophy that it teaches, that we create our world based on our own thoughts and nothing else. It is also available in the form of a short movie. It is one of the most influential books in America for a reason.

The Alchemist ~ Paulo Coelho
Perhaps what's charming about The Alchemist is the simple manner in which it's told. It's a simple story, but a profound one, and the tremendous wisdom on each page is sure to move you in some way. The Alchemist is one of those books that you read over and over, and each subsequent read reveals a little more.

To Kill a Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee
Occasionally, a book will strike a chord within you, make a place in your heart, and speak to your soul. These are the books one clings to, and as you move through life, they accompany you, as constant silent companions that make sense of the world and reinstate a belief system that reality often causes you to question. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books - and it will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Oh! The Places You Will Go ~ Dr. Seuss
When you discount a children's book as 'childish', you do yourself and the author a grave injustice. Some children's books are all the more profound because of their simplicity - in thought, language, and style. Dr. Seuss is a genius in every sense of the word, and this book, illustrations and all, has been a constant source of inspiration - it may not be part of a list of classic books that everyone should read, but it certainly has the power to influence and inspire you.

The Lord of the Rings ~ JRR Tolkien
Despite the fact that this story is fantasy, or perhaps because it is, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is probably included in many lists of influential books. Not only did it raise the bar for the genre, it probably set the standard for any fantasy writer to even aspire towards. Tolkein's work remains, to this day, one of the best books of all time that has influenced many.

It's fairly obvious that religious books make it to the top of the list of the 100 most influential books of all time. The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Quran, The Bhagwad Geeta, and many other such scriptures exert an influence that is age-old, and understandably so, since these are the tenets that many of us base our lives on. Assuming that these feature in a given list, the following is a list of some must read books, for their influence, their intelligence, and their brilliance.
  • I Ching - Chinese Scripture
  • Iliad - Homer
  • The Divine Comedy - Dante Alighieri
  • Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Origin of Species - Charles Darwin
  • War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
  • The Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald F. Scott
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
These were some popular books that qualify as the most influential reads of all time. Opinions differ, just as people do, but should you be willing to expand your horizons, and give these books a read. You may just be surprised, or rather, influenced.