I'm not sure I buy into memes, at least in many contexts in which the concept is used. However, as one blogger put it, economist Tyler Cowen started a meme asking bloggers to post the 10 books that have most influenced their view of the world. Following Cowen, I'll give a "gut list," i.e. one that I don't put a lot of time into thinking about, but that comes from, well, the gut. And these are in no particular order:
1. The Bible. For a Christian theist, this one is "supposed" to be there, but it has shaped my view as the ideas of this book have been a part of my life for my entire life.
2. Christianity and Power Politics, by Reinhold Niebuhr. Niebuhr's views of human nature and the implications for politics and pacificism are as relevant today as they were when first written. And in my estimation, his ideas are largely true as well.
3. Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview, Albert Wolters. This book broadened my view of what a fully Christian view of reality entails, and that it is about much more than "saving souls" and the afterlife. It is about redeeming all of creation, including the many unjust social structures that are in place.
4. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll. The scandal is (or was) that there is no evangelical mind. This honest assessment by an evangelical of the anti-intellectualism present in the movement was part of what motivated me to study philosophy at the graduate level.
5. The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard. A brilliant work, and his discussion of the Sermon on the Mount alone is worth the price.
6. Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster. Foster's book has influenced millions to recover a deeper way of life that goes beyond superficial spirituality to genuine moral and spiritual growth.
7. Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle. A classic that has shaped my view of ethics and moral philosophy in a variety of ways.
8. Scaling the Secular City, J.P. Moreland/The Existence of God, Richard Swinburne. Two books that are similar in their evidentialist approach to the faith. They contain many of the arguments that have been behind the fact that I have remained a Christian over the years in the face of the challenge of the problem of evil and other arguments given against Christian theism.
9. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis. A classic.
10. The Right and the Good, W.D. Ross. Like Aristotle, he wasn't always correct, but the notion of prima facie duties and the centrality of relationships for discerning one's moral duty, all things considered, are crucial insights as far as I'm concerned. Ross is underappreciated.
Here's what I don't like about the above list.
First, only one book has a female author or co-author, while the rest are by men. There are women who have written work that is influential for me, but these have been in the form of journal articles and chapters of edited collections, rather than an entire book. This is still troubling to me, however.
Second, it is all either philosophy or religious literature. Why no fiction, or poetry, or other genre? I suppose the list shows why I'm a philosopher, and not an English professor, as my interests led me into this career path.