In an answer to a reader question on how to choose popular non-fiction books to read, Tyler Cowen says:
The first open up a whole new world to you where previously none had existed. Many people felt this way when they read Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene for the first time. For obvious reasons, books like this are increasingly hard to find as you continue your reading career.
It would be fun to make a list of such books. The interesting thing is that in many cases books in this category can provide you with an important new way of seeing things even if you wind up rejecting a lot of what’s in them. Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent fell into this category for me. I’m going to think about making a longer list.