The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is reported to have said: 'There are only two powers in the world, sabre and mind; at the end, sabre is always defeated by mind'.
Of course he was defeated by being imprisoned by the British on a damp island in the middle of the Atlantic but his idea that a great mind can do more than violence holds true.
You could argue that the religious texts have the honour of being the instigator of both great ideas and
unimaginable violence, inspiring love and hatred in equal measure but undeniably influencing on a grand scale.
Charles Darwin's own literary efforts then came along and immediately tore down everything religion had built up over thousands of years, taking God away again and changing our perceptions of everything we thought we knew about how and why we are here.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 'The Social Contract' helped inspire the French Revolution and Thomas Paine who was inspirational in the Americans Revolution against the British and set into motion the USA of today.
Other contenders for books which have proved able to have an overwhelming influential role in where we are today include Adam Smith's 'Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations' who put forward the Capitalist ideal that dominates the economic systems of the majority of the Globe, Karl Marx's 'Communist Manifesto' dominated the thinking of large swathes of the World for the 20th Century and a Socialist ideology that still thrives today.
Isaac Newton's 'Principia Mathematica' gave us the knowledge that led to landing on the moon almost 400 years later.
What is noticeable is that all the books above, which seeded new theories and ideas or encouraged a new way of thinking were all written a long time ago and i am not sure that anyone could today write the next amazing book that influences such massive change as these.