1. To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

Props to Lee for setting out to own the Racial Controversy space and succeeding. By tapping into ongoing justice conversations, she found her fan base where they live and made Scout, Atticus, and the entire Finch family major influencers in the anti-prejudice realm. Talk about a black and white issue.

2. The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Almost a century later, Fitzgerald’s anthemic and passionate ode to opulence is still buzzing with tastemakers, who see it as the ultimate style guidebook. Are we surprised it’s achieved virality in high schools nationwide? Not a bit.

3. 1984
by George Orwell

Transparency. Engagement. Complete media integration. 1984 capitalized on fantasy scenarios that would tantalize any consumer (real-time thought sharing and universal Wi-Fi, anyone?). The strong messaging paid off, as this content transcended the intended audience and continues to receive high traffic. Big Brother? More like “Big Win”.

4. The Sound And The Fury
by William Faulkner

Faulkner increased visibility by writing in four distinct voices that represent four coveted demographics:

  • Males 18-24, college educated
  • Males 32-42, heads of household
  • Males 30-32, famous authors
  • Males 25-34, mentally challenged

Binge-readers can enjoy all four parts in one sitting, while those who prefer short bursts of content will appreciate that it’s broken into four short, digestible pieces. Does anyone know four different ways to say “absolute genius”?

5. Grapes Of Wrath
by John Steinbeck

Don’t say Steinbeck didn’t know how to capitalize on trending ideas. When he produced Wrath, economic depression and abject hunger were at the forefront of consumer consciousness. Though many of the references may seem dated now (manual labor, anyone?), points of interest like parenting and breastfeeding will always bring in views. Put that in your crop and harvest it.

6. Lord of the Flies
by William Golding

Consumers want to authentically recognize themselves in their content, which is what makes Flies such a media rockstar. The savagery of the boys resonates with the audience, especially in emerging markets, where violent behavior has already gone from underground to mainstream. Straight. Up. Killing. It.

7. Catcher In The Rye
by J.D. Salinger

Though Catcher didn’t initially meet goals for return on investment, Salinger made the right choice by releasing it in print. Print is a native platform for longform content and a favorite of the 14-18 male virgins demographic. Sha-wing!

8. Ulysses
by James Joyce

Is there anything more awesome than disrupting the ongoing hero-based conversation? We don’t think so. By exploiting consumer expectations of what a hero can be (bye-bye cape and tights) and throwing away the script for how content should be written (stream of consciousness, anyone?), Joyce became a key influencer, pushing alternative content for almost a century. This is anything but basic, bitch.