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This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world and did Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators?Why did he have to fight his battle not against his enemies but against those who needed him most and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor — and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these uestions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story Tremendous in its scope this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life — from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy — to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction — to the philosopher who becomes a pirate — to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph — to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad — to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels You must be prepared when you read this novel to check every premise at the root of your convictionsThis is a mystery story not about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit It is a philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller of violent events a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense Do you say this is impossible? Well that is the first of your premises to check

10 thoughts on “Atlas Shrugged

  1. says:

    Ayn Rand makes my eyes hurt She does this not by the length of her six hundred thousand word diatribe but rather by the freuency with which she causes me to roll them Do you want to know what I’ve learned after spending nearly two months reading Ayn Rand’s crap? Here’s a brief rundown Breakfast of Champions styleSocialists are scary Socialists are frightening creatures who lurk in corners waiting to pounce on you They are unpredictable they have curvature of the spine and they often foam at the mouthThis is a socialist Capitalists on the other hand are calm and rational beings who never lose their tempers You can always trust a capitalist And they are super easy to spot too—just look for the hummingbirds who sew their clothes for themThis is a capitalist Ayn Rand’s characters come in only two flavors and which kind you get depends solely on the extent to which they embody her philosophical ideals The capitalists the “good guys” are the moral heroes of the story the ones who fight back against economic regulation This regulation is seen as unwanted intervention the government essentially trespassing on one’s property rights by means of unfair unfair to the capitalists I might point out legislation The “bad guys” are of course represented by the socialists—the ones passing the legislation although Rand does a good job of throwing anyone else into this category who while not active participants in passing these laws may not be totally opposed to them eitherThe problem with all of this is the fact that her characters are not at all believable They are robots who mechanically spew forth her inane drivel or if they are of the other flavor behave in a manner so utterly ridiculous as to demonstrate the rationality of the capitalist over the vicious gun toting socialist who’s come to rob your house rape your Ma and shoot your Pa Rand is so egregious in the maltreatment of her antithetic characters that it’s almost laughable Beyond that the narrative itself is monotonous and repetitive This is not exactly a beach readBut even if I were to put all of that aside I still wouldn’t be able to get over the fact that Rand’s argument here is to put an end to social collectivism of every form That means no social security no unemployment insurance no federally funded health care no public roads no public housing no public education no income taxes no property taxes—does this not sound insane? I get the whole “ooh” and “aah” aspect of libertarian freedoms but I’m betting there wouldn’t be a lot of volunteers willing to relinuish their adeuately funded public services on the basis of a free market economy And ultimately this is the fundamental principle on which Rand and I disagree Although I do believe and strongly that the government should have no authority to interfere in the private lives of its citizens do I think the government should also abstain from interfering in the regulation of the economy? Hellz no I want those corporate mother fuckers taxed and if that means Ima start foaming at the mouth then so be itUltimately this novel is absurdist fiction than dystopian fiction Rand takes an all in or all out approach to problem solving; there can be no moral ambiguity—either you’re with her or you’re not and I’m not But what does she care? Rand is an unabashed admirer of the wealthy industrialist and it is for him that she bats her eyes and licks her lips not for me

  2. says:

    This book really makes you take a good hard look at yourself and your behavior which is why I think a lot of people don't like this book It's a lecture and most people don't like to get lectured I loved it It gave me a good swift kick in the ass While I've never been a looter I have made several irrational decisions in my life which this 1000 page lecture has helped me to stop doing It teaches you to think with your mind rather than your heart It doesn't make you an uncaring person You still feel with your heart but you think with your mind Use your mind instead of expecting to get the rewards of others who do all the thinking If everyone did this the world would be perfect that is the idea behind Ayn's story Of course this will never happen Ayn knew that She just wrote a story about her ideal world A lot of authors do that No need to get pissed off at her because of itYes the book is wordy but her words are genius in my opinion I loved the long radio speech Skip it if you are hating the book or better yet stop reading it Go out and smell the flowers instead Is the story black and white? Definitely Authors have different styles people complain If every author wrote in the same style people would complain I can't tell you how many co workers I've met who complain about how the CEO is making so much money and they should get some of that money Well go to college get a business degree and work you're way up the corporate ladder if you want the CEO's salary Don't sit around and expect those kinds of rewards because you work in accounts payable You know what it takes so do it and shut up If it wasn't for the person who created this company you wouldn't even have a job I'm an administrative assistant making less money than the people complaing about wanting money It just makes me sick But the people in Ayn's story didn't work for money They loved their jobs And she wasn't saying you had to be a rich corporate big shot to hold the world up There were teachers and stay at home moms in her little world in the mountains Ayn has extremely valuable points and if you are someone who is constantly looking for something to criticize in every book then don't read it If you can't handle looking at your imperfections don't read it If you have an open mind and are willing to learn something from every book and experience you have and grow as a person then you will benefit from reading this book

  3. says:

    Ayn Rand's characters are almost completely defined by the extent to which they embrace her beliefs A good guy by definition is someone who agrees with her; a bad guy someone who dares to have a different point of view For all the lip service Rand pays to individualism she brooks no dissent from her heroes; none of her so called individualists ever expresses a point of view significantly different from hersTo illustrate the gulf between Rand's characters and human reality consider this behavior When Dagny Taggart meets Hank Rearden she dutifully becomes his property for no other reason than that he's the most Randian male around When John Galt arrives ownership of the prize female transfers from Rearden to Galt because Galt is the Randian of the two Does it ever occur to Hank to be resentful or jealous? Does Taggart experience loyalty or regret? Might Taggart love Rearden despite his lesser Randness? No those are all things that human beings might feel In a related departure from reality sex in Randland is or less indistinguishable from rape Foreplay? Romance? Capitalists don't have time for that commie nonsense The real focus of Atlas Shrugged is to extoll Rand's philosophy Not to debate it since no one in Randland with any any intelligence or competence could have a different point of view About Rand's philosophy I'll just make two points which I'm not going to bother providing evidence for at the momentThe first is that like most social Darwinists Rand fell short in her understanding of natural selection Her philosophy was largely based on the false belief that nature invariably favors individual selfishness In reality evolution has made homo sapiens a social animal; cooperation and compassion are very human traits More importantly even if cold selfishness were man's nature in the wild it would not necessarily follow that that would be the best way for us to behave in our semi civilized modern conditionThe second point is that contrary to Rand's belief pure laissez faire capitalism never works; it invariably leads to exploitation of the poor and middle class and to environmental catastrophe The best economic system that has ever been devised so far is a mixture of capitalism and socialism

  4. says:

    The best way to understand Rand's message in this book is to simply close it and beat yourself over the head with it as hard as possible This is essentially what Rand does throughout it's ridiculous length I see no reason that a book with a strong lesson can't also have decent character development natural dialog and a believable plot Of course I also think that you can establish a theme with subtlety and trust that your reader will figure it out Ayn Rand writes as if the elements of fiction get in the way of her message and that reader's skull's are extraordinarily thick and reuire a firm beating over the head to absorb the theme Countless philosophers have said the same thing better and uickerI realize that I offend many atheists agnostics and free thinkers by writing this but as one myself I have to say that a passionate love of Ayn Rand is not reuired for membership in that particular club Save yourself a headache and pick up the much shorter Anthem It's just as overdone but weighing it at ounces rather than pounds it'll leave a smaller dent in your headOh and if you're only reading it to answer the uestion on geeky bumper sticker Who is John Galt? He's the hero and a symbol of the capitalism in it's conflict over what Rand saw as the oppressive and ultimately destructive forces of large government type societies you knowsocialism fascism etc It's usually stuck on the butt end of a car to express general disenchantment with big government and a lack of heroes Now you know so go read something worthwhile and if you insist on reading Ayn Rand hit her non fiction Stripped of an attempt at storytelling she doesn't do half bad

  5. says:

    Would you like to hear the only joke I've ever written? How many Objectivists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A Pause then disdainfully Uhone And thus it is that so many of us have such a complicated relationship with the work of Ayn Rand; unabashed admirers at the age of 19 unabashedly horrified by 25 after hanging out with some actual Objectivists and witnessing what a holes they actually are and also realizing that Rand and her cronies were one of the guiltiest parties when it came to the 1950s Red Scare here in America Here in Rand's second massive manifesto slash novel we follow the stories of a number of Titans of the Industrial Age the big powerful white males who built the railroad industry the big powerful white males who built the electrical utility companies as well as a thinly veiled Roosevelt New Deal administration whose every attempt to regulate these Titans according to Rand is tantamount evil wise to killing and eating babies even when it's child labor laws they are ironically passing Ultimately it's easy to see in novels like this one why Rand is so perfect for late teenagers but why she elicits eye rolls by one's mid twenties; because Objectivism is all about BEING RIGHT and DROPPING OUT IF OTHERS CAN'T UNDERSTAND THAT and LET 'EM ALL GO TO HELL AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED without ever taking into account the unending amount of compromise and cooperation and sometimes sheer altruism that actually makes the world work Recommended but with a caveat; that you read it before you're old enough to know better

  6. says:

    As Ayn Rand's immortal opus Atlas Shrugged stands as a tome to a philosophy that is relevant today as it was in her time Basically the major moral theme is that there are two types of people in the world the Creators and the LeechesThe Creators are the innovators who use the power of their will and intelligence to better humanity The first person to create fire is often referenced as the paradigm for these people In the book each of the major protagonists also represent Creators improving the human condition with their force of willThe Leeches my word are the people who create nothing but thrive off feeding on the Creators In Rand's view they are the bureaucrats politicos regulators etc Throughout human history she tells us these people have benefited through no ingenuity of their own but merely from piggybacking on and often fettering the success of the CreatorsWhere the conflict in this book arises is when the Creators decide they have had enough and revolt I won't spoil the book by describing specifics but let's just say it causes uite the societal drama For Leeches can't feed where there's no bloodAll that is fairly significant and involved and worth the read to begin with but where this book really stimulates me is in the fact that it is still relevant Today we have Creators and we have Leeches Some titans of industry and technology move our culture forward and others hold it back to their own benefit I work in Silicon Valley and I see this all the time That's why in many ways I consider this voluminous novel to be as important to a business education as Art of WarTo cite other readers' posts you don't have to agree with what Rand is extolling but I think you'd be foolish to try and deny the existence of this struggle since it is ingrained in humanity Yes Ayn does get long winded and arrogant in parts as she draws the battle lines but I don't think an author could have crafted such a powerful conflict without copious uantities of ego to accentuate the differences

  7. says:

    This book as much as I detest it is actually rather useful Those who have read it tend to be those whom I most especially desire to avoid Because those who have read it are invariably proud of the fact ostentatiously so it is even easier for me to keep my life free and clear of delusional egomaniacs Thank you Ayn Rand

  8. says:

    Absolutely terribleImagine an analogous situationA white supremacist writes a book in which all the white characters are great and all the black characters are awful If you were to read that book and as a result buy into white supremacy; that would make you an utter utter foolAnd yet Rand writes a book where anyone who is a raging capitalist is a veritable super hero and anyone who pauses for half a second to consider that maybe such a system is sub optimal is a sniveling lunatic and lo the mindless prols think it's a masterpiece and a template for how the world should be runThe most annoying book I have ever read

  9. says:

    I was visiting an old friend for the past few days and she showed me this cover of Atlas Shrugged I made for her when we lived in Ukraineimage error

  10. says:

    UPDATE 825 This blog debunks some of the Aynholes' major misunderstandings about the bookPretentious poseur writes pseudophilosophical apologia for being a sociopath Distasteful in the extreme