’s Inflection Announces the Decade’s Most Influential Books in Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, Religious Studies & Social Work

FORT WORTH, Texas, July 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Books have the power to change lives. For centuries, texts and novels have been our primary source for groundbreaking thoughts, and revolutionary ideas. Books have the capacity to broaden our understanding of the world and impact society in profound and far-reaching ways.

Inflection, the opinion, editorial, and news analysis journal of selects the psychology, philosophy, sociology, religious studies, and social work books that matter most. Whether released 300 years ago or in just the last decade, these books continue to have a profound impact on their respective fields of study, from 2010 to today:

"Our data-driven approach to ranking offers a whole new way of looking at the books that have shaped, and continue to shape, human thought in so many critical areas," says Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of and professor of physics at Wake Forest University. "These are the books that have jolted society through their insights and ideas."

Using machine-learning analysis to index citations in a set of comprehensive online data repositories, the Inflection team measured and ranked the influence of these important books and writings. Each book was assigned an objective measure of influence within its discipline based on the number of citations in both the academic literature and the popular media. The outcome is a more unbiased, manipulation-resistant, and usable ranking.

A sampling of top titles selected:

  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt, 2012
  • Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Maria Konnikova, 2013
  • A Theory of Justice, John Rawls, 1971
  • Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1953
  • Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, Annette Lareau and Erik M. Conway, 2003
  • Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies, Charles Perrow, 1984
  • The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James, 1902
  • God: A Biography, Jack Miles, 1995
  • How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class, John Hope Bryant, 2014
  • Up the Down Staircase, Bel Kaufman, 1964

Visit the links above to view all 115 titles and their final ranking order.

"These books stand the test of time. Without them, the fields of knowledge they cover wouldn’t exist as we know them," says Macosko. "Anyone who wants to build a foundational understanding of philosophy, psychology, religious studies, social work, and sociology would do well to start with the key texts we’ve selected for each of these disciplines."

For additional resources in the fields of psychology, philosophy, sociology, religious studies, social work, and much more, consult the growing collection of conversations with today’s top thinkers at Academic Influence Interviews. is the preeminent technology-driven rankings site dedicated to students, researchers, and inquirers from high school through college and beyond, offering resources that connect learners to leaders. (Visit the About page for further details on the capabilities and advantages of this unique ranking technology and on the people who make it possible.) is a part of the EducationAccess group, a family of sites dedicated to lifelong learning and personal growth.


Jed Macosko, Ph.D.
Academic Director
(682) 302-4945