Last updated: February 2023

Franz Kafka once wrote: “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

In my podcast episode “Ice and Axes – What Makes a Favorite?”, I gave Kafka’s words some lengthy thought and concluded they make a lot of sense.  I’ve since abandoned having “favorites” and resolved to evaluate books in this new light.  When I read now, I see if a book a) gives me a new idea, b) causes me think about an old idea in a new way, or c) changes my life in some other way.  This is how I personally define an “axe” book.

The books below comprise a partial list of my “axes.”  Some of them are carryovers from my old favorites list, while others – not quite fitting the “favorite” label – have still impacted me.

My “Axe” Books – a non-exhaustive list in no precise order:

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