Well I could be obvious and suggest The Bible (King James version) or I could throw in things like the Encyclopaedia but the books that probably had most influence on me were the books I read on photography as I was growing up.
At that time there were books on technique but I didn’t have too many of these probably because they were expensive. I had one very slim volume called something like How to take better pictures that I read from cover to cover. But it was the books by Ansel Adams that really gave an insight into what was possible with black and white film. Books by John Hedgecoe were a good bet if you wanted to learn but Harry Evans’ book Pictures on a Page was probably the one I turned to most. Photojournalism at it’s best as exemplified by The Sunday Times.
Over the years I’ve bought a lot of books on the subject of making better images and I am grateful to all those prepared to share their knowledge. At the moment I am not reading any one book, I have both GQ and a photo magazine to read each month and the excellent Intelligent Life quarterly. I have no time for books just now but I might have a go at some Dickens soon.
So I’m sorry if you were hoping for some great insight, I can’t name any one book that has changed my life. But if I think of one after I have published this I promise I will update it.