London: Charles Darwin’s famous book On the Origin of Species has been overwhelmingly voted the most influential academic book ever written in an online poll.

The famous tome on evolution that was first published in 1859 has been hailed as “a book which has changed the way we think about everything." The biology bombshell, which founded evolutionary biology, was the undisputed winner with over a quarter of the votes submitted by the public.

With titles in the running including A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, Darwin’s explanation of his theory of evolution was the public’s overwhelming favourite, with 26% of the vote, orginisers said.

“Darwin used meticulous observation of the world around us, combined with protracted and profound reflection, to create a book which has changed the way we think about everything – not only the natural world, but religion, history and society," said professor Andrew Prescott of the University of Glasgow.

On the Origin of Species was followed in the public vote by The Communist Manifesto and The Complete Works of Shakespeare, with Plato’s The Republic fourth and Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason fifth, The Guardian reported.

“I am gratified that the Critique of Pure Reason, which must be surely one of the most difficult works of philosophy ever written, should have been chosen as among the most influential of all academic books," said Philosopher Roger Scruton of the 18th-century text.

The public was asked to vote on what they believed was the most influential book after a list of top 20 academic books was pulled together by expert academic booksellers, librarians and publishers to mark the inaugural Academic Book Week.

The poll took place on the Academic Book Week website and kicked off a weeklong event hosted by The Academic Book of the Future project. The project looks at how scholarly work in the arts and humanities will be produced, read, and preserved in coming years.

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