Over 400,000 people visited Farnam Street last month to learn how to make better decisions, create new ideas, and avoid stupid errors. With more than 100,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub. To learn more about we what do, start here.

If the book we are reading does not wake us … why then do we read it?

In a 1904 letter to a friend, Franz Kafka asked a provocative rhetorical—and metaphorical—question: “If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?” And then he answered the question this way: A book should serve as an ice-axe to break the frozen sea within us.

I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like: A Comprehensive Compilation of History’s Greatest Analogies, Metaphors, and Similes