A formula for Success:
Quantity plus Quality times Longevity equals Success.
A quantity is a number. One is a number. Zero is not. Quantity is completely objective. Dependent upon the means used to collect the data the numbers will tell a story, a history. The truth of the number may be subverted but the fact of the numbers cannot be changed.
Quality, almost wholly subjective, is not so easily evaluated. One person's shoddy is another's excellence. In order to be valid the standard used must, therefore, be determined by a source standing outside of, or separate from, those subjective evaluators.
Multiply the above equations by Longevity. How long does a thing last. The longer it lasts the more successful it is. The implication is: some things can be more, or less, successful, than other things. We need not limit to things. Ideas, philosophies or theologies, can be deemed successful when they are recognized as universal, supported by a quantity of people and a quality of lifestyle.
A successful thing, idea, philosophy or theology is determined by quantity times how long the quantity lasts, plus quality times how long the quality lasts.
There are books which have been before the public's life for thousands of years. Would we not consider these successful? There are other books which strike with a bright flash and fade just as quickly. I have a hard time calling these successful.