Atlas Shrugged

ISBN: 0452011876
ISBN 13: 9780452011878
By: Ayn Rand Leonard Peikoff

Check Price Now

Genres

Classic Classics Dystopia Favorites Fiction Literature Philosophy Politics Science Fiction To Read

About this book

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 questions 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 convictions.This 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.

Reader's Thoughts

Jason Pettus

Would you like to hear the only joke I've ever written? Q: "How many Objectivists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?" A: (Pause, then disdainfully) "Uh...one!" 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.

Ken

This book was the most overrated piece of crap of the twentieth century. It spars only with Dianetics and in its absolute absurdity.The characters are absolutely idealized 'heroes of capitalism' action figures. I wonder if Rand imagined some of these great barons of industry coming to her rescue when she immigrated away from the vile pit of communism that she left behind. You know, during the time where she forged her citizenship papers and depended on the generocity and kindness of a liberal, open society.If only she had us all her irritating, long winded, repetative tales of woe for the monied class of brilliantly handsome, powerful super geniuses.She bases all of this on her objectivist claptrap, claiming rationality as her own private high ground. But this is a general critique of her works. Specifically this book is completely overwritten and serves as flak cover for all the wrong people. The Jack Welch's and Phil Knights that imagine themselves to be the heroes of this book.This book has done more to create a generation of self interested greedy mindless zombies than any other book I can think of.

Richard

(Updates appended to the bottom, including a pointer to the best review ever of this book.)OK, I’ve got to explain this four-star rating, because I don’t want anyone to think I’d actually recommend this book...It has been many years since I’ve read either of Ayn Rand’s two doorstop books, and I can’t really recall the details of either. I’m pretty sure this is the one with John Galt had the absurdly long speech near the end, and all the cool kids smoked special cigarettes, and was mostly about railroads. This is that one, right? The other one has the architect?Anyway, I think folks should need permission to read this. Frankly, I think teenage experimentation with pot is trivial in terms of risk to a kid’s soul compared to experimentation with Ayn Rand. Her books can much more easily destroy a life.Let me explain. Rand’s philosophy, as near as I can tell, is that great people shouldn’t be encumbered by the not-so-great. Taxes, regulations, all that stuff: just the shackles the large number of mediocre folks force onto their betters: pure parasitism. Morality comes down to letting the best do what they want, and letting the rest starve. These books are her ideas about how that should work out, and as such are suffused with incredibly juvenile wish-fulfillment. The powerful are tormented by the weak, but through force of will rise above it all.I might not be remembering all this quite right — after all, it has been a long time. The above description is what my initial impression has distilled down to; your mileage may vary.So where’s the danger, and why the relatively high rating? Well, many teenagers look out at their world and feel victimized by the completely lame and restrictive world that adults impose upon them. It is clear to them that they are as smart and able as these authorities, yet those adults are so... clueless. Obviously, adult life somehow has turned them into a lesser breed of humanity, with all the vitality sucked out. Add Ayn Rand to this and you suddenly have the ingredients for a self-perpetuating sense of victimhood and entitlement.I think it is possible that too much Ayn Rand is to blame for the Tea Party movement. The circular logic that these poor folks are victims of the evil American system, while simultaneously the vanguard and representative of the noble American system.Most people have overcome their teenage angst and fantasies by, say, twenty-eight or so. At that point, Rand will have lost her magic and her books should be freely available. But between twelve and twenty-seven, a committee of wise elders should decide whether that kid is mature enough not to get sucked into it.Sounds unlikely? Yeah, well so does Rand’s puerile philosophy, but somehow we have self-righteous imbeciles getting elected left and right. Well, not so much “left” — mostly “right”.But then, why the good rating? Because Rand provided a window into the strange logic of the extremist libertarian. We might have seen Hitler’s deeds and learned of Nietzsche’s diktats, but we never saw the fantasies that drove them. I think most folks that believe along Rand’s lines are either too dumb to put pen to paper, or too smart to let the world see what sociopaths they really are.So: four stars for the opportunity to watch the slow-motion train wreck of Rand’s political philosophy in action, warning us of where we’re heading.       •       •       •       •       •       •Update, August 2012— Romney's selection of Ryan as his running mate has got folks chatting about Ryan's on-and-off obsession with Ayn Rand. Not having made a study of Rand's life, I was pleased to learn that while her extremely anti-collectivist views are still antithetical to civilization (which is definitionally a collectivist enterprise) she was actually quite the social liberal. Not sure that makes her any more pleasant — ideologues of any stripe are quite annoying, even those that suddenly appear more complex and harder to pigeon-hole — but nice to know. A few more details? Check out the NY Times op-ed piece, Atlas Spurned .Another Update, still August 2012— Everyone's talking about Ayn Rand, still. But one pointed to something especially juicy: the original 1957 review in the then-newish National Review by one of the world's most notorious flip-floppers, Whittaker Chambers himself! Scathing:Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal.Of course, although it wasn't what he ended up being famous for, he was a tremendously talented writer and editor. Click over and read it: Big Sister Is Watching You .­

Greg

Excellent comparison using extreme socialism and extreme individualism/capitalism. The socialist side didn't want competition, preferred an even playing field which results in total breakdown of the economic and educational systems. Illustrates the error of a feel-good educational system that yields incompetence. The extreme capitalist is not only profit driven but pushes self and business to excel at all cost. Doesn't appear to be concerned with responsibilities toward providing for poor. Doesn't allow for compasion towards poor, widows/orphans.Of course the capitalists here did provide jobs to competent workers and loyalty existed between the owner and employees. From Rand's atheist perspecitve there is no higher authority than the individual. As a Christian we should encourage the unemployed/uneducated to be responsible citizens and make the changes in their lives to be productive. Care for widows/orphans and those truly unable to work is our responsibility as Christians. We should insist on an educational system to push students to expand their minds and develop the ability to think clearly, make decisions based on research and reading. eliminate the feel-good mentality and create a self confident student who "feels good" because of success in studies, understanding of history and how societies have been successful and how corruption caused their destruction. Also, develop the ability to sort through the political smoke so often heard or seen in print.

Manny

In some ways, this is a very bad book. The style is stiff and clunky, and the world-view she is trying to sell you has holes you could drive a train through. There is a nice putdown in One Fat Englishman. The main character has just been given a precis of Objectivism. He says "I bet I'm at least as selfish as you. But I don't why I need to turn that into a philosophy". Thank you, Kingsley Amis. But on the plus side, the book is a page-turner; it does a great job of helping people brought up in a left-wing tradition to understand the right as not just deluded or evil (my friend Gen said she had the same experience after reading it); and it is good at voicing the frustration that competent and honest people feel when they are surrounded by incompetent and dishonest ones. And the romance between Dagny and Hank is emotionally very satisfying. I was so disappointed when she... hm, no spoilers. But I fear the author's desire to push her philosophical agenda got in the way of the story._________________________________________OK, let's try again. I haven't exactly changed my mind on any of the above, but, as Jordan persuasively argues, it's kind of missing the point. And, with all due respect to the other reviews here, most of them are also missing the point.Why? Well, because we're answering the wrong question. Some people uncritically adore this book. Guys, dare I suggest that you might want to broaden your reading tastes just the tiniest amount, and see if you still feel that way? A rather larger group of reviewers can't stand Ayn Rand, and point out various obvious flaws: lack of feeling for English prose style, lack of character development, lack of realistic dialogue, interminable sermons on Objectivism, and sundry other charges. Of course. All of that's clearly true. But here's the question I find more interesting: if the book is so terrible, how come it's been such a gigantic success? It's been said that only the Bible has had a greater influence on 20th century American thought. It must have something going for it. What?So here's my second attempt. I think the book is dishonest, but it's dazzlingly dishonest, on a grand scale, and that's what readers find fascinating. As everyone knows, the basic thesis is that people should be more selfish, and that this will in some mystical way be good for society as a whole; a boldly paradoxical idea, and, at first sight, it's complete nonsense. I can well believe that my selfishness might be good for me personally, but why on Earth should it be good for anyone else? It flies in the face of at least two thousand years of Western ethical thought, which has been largely focused on making people less selfish, not more. As has been widely pointed out, Objectivism is pretty much the antithesis of Christianity. Which does suggest the question of why many people on the American Right claim both to be Christians and at the same time supporters of Rand's ideas, but let's not get into that right now. I don't really understand how the American Right thinks, so it'll be more productive to consider my own reactions to the book, which were by no means all negative. Okay: at risk of appalling many of my GR friends, I have to admit that I liked a good deal of Atlas Shrugged. In particular, I find Dagny a sympathetic main character. Yes, she's the Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues, but that's exactly it. Rand believes in her so completely that I can't help being swept along. I am aware that few real women are hypercompetent technical and managerial geniuses, who think nothing of working 48 hours straight and then looking drop-dead gorgeous in a designer gown. (If the movie ever does get made, though, you must admit that Angelina Jolie was a shrewd piece of casting). Even if Dagny doesn't exist, I want her to, and I've seen many worse role-models for young women. That mixture of beauty, intelligence and passion is appealing. And sure, most of the other characters are one-dimensional stereotypes, but, when you're as self-centered as Ayn Rand was, that's how you see things. It's a subjective view, and I find it interesting to look at the world through her eyes.Now that I've admitted that I love Dagny - I must admit that I can't decide whether I want to be her or sleep with her; probably a bit of both - let's get on to analyzing Rand's big con. A large part of the book is a lavish, over-the-top, melodramatic romance. Will Dagny get her guy? She's hopelessly in love with Hank, who feels just the same way about her. But Hank's ghastly wife, Lillian, seems to be an insuperable obstacle to their happiness. Hank's got all these mistaken principles, see, which mean he has to stay with Lillian, who doesn't appreciate him one bit, rather than go off with his true love. The best scene in the book is the confrontation at the party. Hank has created his new miracle alloy, which is a thousand times stronger than steel and a cool blue-green color to boot. The very first thing he makes from is it a bracelet for Lillian. And is she grateful? Of course not! She's actually going around complaining to the other women about this ugly thing her dumb husband has given her to wear on her wrist. Why couldn't he give her a diamond bracelet like a normal guy? But Dagny, in a blazing fury, goes up to her, and in front of everyone says that she'll be so happy to swap her own diamond bracelet for Hank's unappreciated present. Honestly, if you're not on Dagny's side at this point, I fear you have no heart at all. I was certainly cheering her on, and given the general success of the novel I assume I was one of millions.Rand has stacked the deck, but she's not exactly the first author to do so. The reasonable point she's making here is that, in romantic matters, people should often do what they want to do, rather than than what they feel they ought to do. Straightforwardly selfish behavior is better for everyone; people need love, which makes them happy, rather than pity, which ultimately makes them miserable. At least, it's true in this particular case. You're sitting there willing Hank to understand what's so blatantly obvious. And, once she's got you to buy into her idea, she switches the cards right under your nose. In just the same way, she argues, people should always act selfishly! See, if you're given something you haven't truly earned (whatever that means), it won't make you happy. Moreover, the people who are actually entitled to it will feel hurt and frustrated, just like Dagny, and in the end they'll lose their motivation. And thus, um, if you tax multi-billionaires at more than whatever the fashionable rate is, civilization will collapse. QED. I may have condensed the argument a little, but I think that's roughly it.As already mentioned, this is nonsense, and shows that romance authors, even quite good ones, shouldn't try their hand at political philosophy. But that needn't stop you from appreciating their romances, and I certainly did. Next week, I will be reviewing Barbara Cartland's commentaries on Kant. To be continued.

Nandakishore Varma

I read this book as a teenager while recovering from a long bout of viral fever which had left me bedridden for almost a month: I had exhausted all my other books and forced to rummage through old shelves in my house. (Ironically, I read The Grapes of Wrath also at the same time.) My teenage mind was captivated by the "dangerous" ideas proposed by Ayn Rand. At that time, India was having an inefficient "mixed" economy comprising all the negative aspects of capitalism and socialism, and Ms. Rand seemed to point a way out of the quagmire.Almost thirty years hence, I find the novel (if it can be called that - Ayn Rand's idea of fiction is a bunch of pasteboard characters put there as her mouthpieces) to be silly beyond imagination. The premise is laughable; the characters entirely forgettable; and the writing, abyssmal. The idea that governments governing the least and allowing a "winner-take-all" economy to flourish will solve all the world's woes ("Social Darwinism", a word I've heard used to describe her philosophy) will not wash anywhere today, I would wager - even with the hard-core adherents of the GOP in the USA. Especially when we look at Europe, where capitalism has gone into a downward spiral.Ms. Rand, sorry to say, Atlas didn't shrug: Atlas collapsed!

Ian

I only gave this book 3 stars because it was so tedious and repetitive. I actually have some things to say in defense of the usual criticisms, but more on that in a minute. Whether or not you agree with her philosophy, Ayn Rand does make some good points in favor of her argument. I can forgive it for it's exaggerated depiction of socialism as a system which rewards the weak and lazy and parasitizes the intelligent and productive. Honestly, if you install any system which allows people to thrive as parasites, plenty of people will take advantage of it. It's just human nature. Unfortunately, this book only seems to be aware of human nature where it guarantees the failure of the system it's trying to shoot down. It never takes into account the inevitable abuses of capitalism by fallible human beings. Special interest groups, politicians making laws which favor corporations they hold stock in, sweat shops, the whole military industrial complex, etc. While the author's point of view is understandable given the communism she came to america to escape, and the fact that the issues I listed above probably weren't in the news as much back then as they are now, I still don't think her long long long argument holds up. The brilliant, attractive, articulate, morally perfect industrialist heroes of Atlas Shrugged are not real people. Ayn Rand herself said, in defense against her critics, they are not man as he is, rather man as he should be. Which would be great in another book, I have no objection to admittedly portraying non-existant ideals if it makes a good point. If such people really existed capitalism could work. Ayn Rand seems perfectly aware of the shortcomings of human nature when they manifest themselves under communism, but then offers as an alternative another system which could only actually work for the non-existant ideal men she made up. So as a piece of propaganda, It doesn't fully convince me. I suppose if I were completely on the nurture side of the nature vs. nurture debate on human behavior, I could have simply bought the idea that installing an economic system based on moral principles could create a better culture and thus better people. Though if there's anything history shows us over and over again it's that no new belief or set of rules has ever succeeded on that front. As a novel, well, it's full of excessively long-winded monologues and drags on. But, it did keep me interested enough to see it through to the end, and forced me to think so I have to give it some credit.

Rob

If you're into sprawling, barely coherent I-are-mighty anti-Communist rants then this is for you. I suppose in our moments of weakness, we can look to Ayn Rand's philosophy to bring out our inner-super-humans. Except that really it's just a polarized response to Marx and Lenin (whom I have found equally unpalatable).What's that? You want me to separate the aesthetic elements from the philosophy? Sure thing. This book reads like an instruction manual for drawing right angles.----See also:• http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.c...• http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/a...

Eleanor

It took me damn near forever to get through it (just to arrive at an unsatisfying ending) but I enjoyed the bulk of Rand's writing in Atlas Shrugged. This was Ayn Rand's magnum opus designed to demonstrate her philosophy "objectivism." Long story short this book is about mid-20th-century American industrialists in a world dying of moral decay. Her heros are the honest and ambitious businessfolk, industralists, artists, creators; her villains are those that leech from them, stealing ideas, time, property, money, usually via the notion that able men should be forced to sacrifice themselves for the unable, unwilling, and/or undeserving. The book is a good piece of romantic fiction by itself except for its unnecessary length, and sometimes two dimensional characters. In essence a reaction against communism, her philosophy holds that [the following quoted from Rand:] Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; reason is man's only means of perceiving reality which exists as an objective absolute.I gather a lot of wisdom and strength from this in terms of indivduality, freedom and endurance in the face of peer/societal pressure, however I have my differences with it (in addition to the cynicism, elitism, and general contempt it tends to elicit from its ardent followers):-I don't believe in abolishing all taxes-I do believe in abstract art -I don't believe the world is overrun by moral cannibals and even if it were the solution isn't to 'run away to a secret village in the mountains'-I think she could have had a few characters with more realistic life situations, i.e. heros with children or a close group of friends who could demonstrate that one's self-interest extends to those which s/he loves.But I am all about rational, non-victimizing self-interest, and capitalism, baby. A lot of people like to bash her work as the bible of selfish assholes and I'm sure many people do misinterpret it as such, but when taken with a grain of salt, her works are inspiring to anyone who creates, values intellectual property, and aspires to greatness of utmost integrity. If you're interested in Rand's philosophy I recommend starting with The Fountainhead. That book changed my life. Atlas was my 30,000 mile checkup.

deanna

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 require a firm beating over the head to absorb the theme. Countless philosophers have said the same thing better (and quicker).I 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 required 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 head.Oh, and if you're only reading it to answer the question 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, know. . .socialism, 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.

MJ Nicholls

This really is a thumping good read. And ultimately, we're all on this earth to please ourselves. So hey . . . pass the dessert trolley and make mine a double.

Dustin

In early 1945, Ayn Rand embarked on the work which would eventually be considered her literary masterpiece. With a working title of The Strike, she diligently filled numerous notebooks, detailing her characters, plot, and theme, amongst others. Not for an audience, "but strictly for herself--that is, for the clarity of her own understanding," writes her literary executor, Leonard Peikoff. "These journals are also a fascinating record of the step-by-step birth of an immortal work of art." The opening sentence is one of sheer brilliance. The question, "Who is John Galt?," reels the reader in instantaneously, and is very reluctant to let up. The question really resonates. Partly due to its simplicity, Rand's detail orientated, incredibly vivid prose kept me reading, completely in awe of her skillful way with with words. More importantly, the classic inquiry is voiced time and again, which serves to further elevate the overall mystery and suspense, without becoming tedious. The novel is populated with several diverse, well-developed characters. One such individual, Dagny Taggart, is a personal favorite. Superficiality aside, I love her for her unwavering convictions and determination, despite the fact that her somewhat shady actions oftentimes prove detrimental to her reputation (not that she cares.) I truly admire her, not solely for her bravery, but also for her flaws. According to Rand's notes, "..the prime movers going on strike" is "the actual heart and center of the novel." (Per her husband's suggestion in 1956, she changed the title to Atlas Shrugged.) With that in mind, I wholeheartedly agree with her estimation. Its basic premise revolves around the industrialists, or 'prime movers,' and their stand against the nation's greedy politicians. Throughout my reading of Atlas Shrugged, I was consistently amazed by its relevance, even today, 56 years after publication. For instance, there's an almost overwhelming darkness to Rand's world. Much of that bleakness stems from a declining economic state. There are no middle-class; employment is scarce; only the elite can afford new automobiles (I don't even think that new vehicles are in production.) All in all, a general sense of hopelessness. Despair. Fear. With the discovery of a motor, dubbed "the motor of the world," the story takes a drastic change in Part II, an essential change for the better, IMO. Additional characters are introduced, older ones are further developed, and more intrigue abounds. Virtually every aspect seems to be in a perpetual downward spiral. Then, in Part III, things grow increasingly worse, while coming full-circle all at once. As captivating as that all sounds, Rand blatantly ignores the most basic rule of good writing: "Show, Don't Tell." She breaks the cardinal rule, on countless occasions. For the most part, this is done to inform the reader of the deteriorating state of her world. If she had "shown" every significant event happening throughout the U.S., the novel would have become bogged down, and as a result, drag on an additional 200 pages. I am, however, a firm believer in summarization. She could have, perhaps should have, refrained from "telling" through dialogue. As interesting as said dialogue is, much of it should have been omitted. A significantly less verbose prose would have resulted in an easier, smoother-flowing story, thus strengthened the novel drastically. I really wish she would have been less wordy, and by doing, incorporate additional, more telling scenes. Particularly in Parts II and III, Rand is very didactic. This is also a big literary no-no. She uses multiple characters to express the author's personal beliefs, commonly known as Objectivism. Essentially, she believed in selfishness as virtue. Incredibly, her characters don't read as caricatures to me. They are clearly voicing the author's beliefs (as mentioned above,) but at the same time, they felt completely real. I cared about them, grieved alongside them, rooted for them. In essence, I joined their epic journey. I don't know if I've ever gotten to know such characters, in quite the same way. Here's a helpful link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectiv... For further insight into Rand's mind-set and philosophy, check out the complete Mike Wallace interview, conducted in 1959, two years after the publication of Atlas Shrugged. Thank you, again, to my good friend, Jessa Caliver.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ooKsv... Now, prior to arriving at the denouement, I admittedly had my reservations in regards to a satisfying ending. This epic tome is wholly unpredictable, and so it really could have ended in a variety of ways. Fortunately, the final three chapters (90 pages) literally catapults everything into full disarray. There were even a few jaw-dropping moments. I wasn't a bit disappointed. I found the final section to be utterly breathtaking. Beautiful. It's a very suiting ending, one I wouldn't change for the life of me. Just take a look at the first paragraph, and judge for yourself. "The music of Richard Halley's Fifth Concerto streamed from his keyboard, past the glass of the window, and spread through the air, over the lights of the valley. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that has ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance." Beautiful, isn't it?I'm kind of going through withdrawals, in a way that hasn't saddened me in quite the same way before.... I miss the characters so very much.. It's like severing a lifelong friendship...

Seth

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.

Ian Paganus

"Shagged at Last (The Sequel)"Written while she was still alive, but published posthumously after her death in 1982, "Shagged At Last" is the posthumous sequel to Ayn Rand's greatest achievement and last work of fiction, "Atlas Shrugged" (not counting "Shagged At Last"). In this novel, she dramatizes the shortcomings of her unique Objectivist philosophy through an intellectual mystery story and magical mystery tour that intertwines sex, ethics, sex, metaphysics, sex, epistemology, sex, politics, sex, economics, sex, whatever and sex.Reconsidering her worldview, she concludes that, in order to be truly beneficial to society individuals, sex must not be just the fun bit between the serious parts, it requires serious love action between the private parts.In this sequel (which is the equal of the prequel to the sequel), Ayn Rand abandons Objectivism and embraces Sex Activism, without endorsing either Active Sexism or Subjectivism.Likewise, she urges us to abandon the Protestant Work Ethic and embrace the Catholic Sex Ethic.Her motto: No Safety Net, No Protection. Where Have All the Objectivists Gone? Set in the near-future [30 years after the time of writing in 1982] in a U.S.A. whose economy has collapsed as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators, industrialists, bankers, auditors, entrepreneurs, Republicans, bond-holders, futurists, financial advisers, chartered accountants and middle management after the re-election of a Democratic President, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life:...from the playboy genius who becomes a worthless and unproductive executive in charge of a global television network......to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction as well as that of all those around him in rural China......to the intellectual property pirate and paedophile who becomes a neo-conservative philosopher and born-again, forgive-again tele-evangelist......to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad into the ground and under the river via the world's longest, most expensive architecturally-designed and least utilised tunnel......to the lowest paid track worker in her train tunnels who can't afford to come to work by private or public transport, and must walk 20 miles and swim across the river for the privilege of a fair day's work and an unfair day's pay so that his wife can be treated for inoperable cancer and herpes, and each of their children can afford an iPad and unlimited cable access so they can watch the film of the book online on the website of a global television network managed by a worthless and unproductive executive... ...all because they have fallen victim to the political philosophy of Objectivism and have not discovered the pleasures of unprotected tantric sex.SpoilerIf you want to know who the female protagonist has deep and meaningless sex with, read the book or open the following spoiler at your own peril (to avoid disappointment, don't view the spoiler. Now.):(view spoiler)[Shouldn't it be "If you want to know with whom the female protagonist has deep and meaningless sex"? Anyway, read the book. (hide spoiler)]Get Your Copy Free or Pay for It and Get a 200% Tax DeductionPeopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, charged with larger than life accoutrements, struggling with towering questions of good and evil, and an adolescent's curiosity and enthusiasm for sex, "Shagged At Last" is a philosophical revolution told in the form of a soft-focus, hard-core action thriller with conveniently positioned tax-deductible PowerPoint slides explaining Objectivism from an historical point of view and revealing the correct use of all body parts from an hysterical point of view.Disclaimer:The televisualisation of the hysterical perspective is currently subject to the formalisation of contractual relations with Manny and Jessica Rabbit.Ayn Rand Plays Lady MacbethYou won't find in meThe milk of human kindness,Just dire cruelty.Only Her Self to BlameRand's philosophyFucked a whole generationWith its selfishness. Turn Me On and Turn Me OffYour fans are turned onBy Sex ObjectivismBut it turns me off. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Mike

** spoiler alert ** Mike Reads Rand, Ep. 1I've always felt that you shouldn't take positions on things you don't know anything about. So while I'd heard plenty of people talk about Ayn Rand's phonebook-sized novel, they were always conversations I'd had to stay out of. Finally my curiosity got the best of me, and I picked up Atlas Shrugged on a trip to Barnes & Noble. When dealing with a book I know nothing about, I open it up to a random page, read it and, if it's enjoyable, I'll give the book a shot.I opened up on a page of John Galt's speech.I did not leave the store with a copy Atlas Shrugged that day.Several years later, my nagging curiosity finally overwhelmed my better judgement and I started off. It's a relatively easy read despite the size, mainly because of the straight-forward nature of the story, but don't let that fool you - this book can be one of the most torturous slogs you'll ever endure for the simple reason that Rand doesn't have any characters in Atlas. Instead, she populates her book with a series of shambling automata that spout three-page long lectures supporting whatever ideology they're meant to represent at the drop of that hat. Ignoring all the other problems with her characters, people simply do not act this way. Every conversation tangents off into lectures thinly veiled as dialog, and it gets progressively more ridiculous every time it happens. Galt's 50-page speech (no, really) is the most egregious example, but Francisco is another common violator - get ready to settle in for a symposium any time he shows up. I realize that this is a philosophical novel, but first and foremost a philosophical novel should be a novel. Plot and writing should never be sacrificed for you to make your point. If you can't manage that and your book devolves in to simple pedagoguery, then maybe non-fiction is the format for you? Rand may as well use the naming scheme from The Pilgrim's Progress for all the subtlety she displays here. Everyone in Atlas is either pure as the driven snow, righteous and good-natured beyond reproach, or ridiculously evil cartoons, twirling their moustaches while they tie Capitalism and Liberty to the railroad tracks. It also goes without saying that all the good guys are to a person handsome, athletic supermen, while the bad guys are all balding and overweight or cringing weaklings. And of course, when Dagny finally makes it to the striker's hide-out in Galt's Gulch, both the town and its inhabitants are flawlessly perfect and happy.Which ties directly to the next problem - Rand never shows, she tells. By which I mean to say that even beyond the characterization, she always leads you by the nose. You're never allowed to infer anything; instead, she spells it all out in big crayons so you're sure to get it. If it's tiresome in her characters, it gets even more so when it's drawn out in to her writing in general. For someone who's based her entire philosophy on the intelligence and ability of the individual, she seems amazingly unwilling to trust us to figure things out on our own. She also undermines her own case by beating you over the head with her ideas so constantly. After awhile you start to dread hearing someone talk about personal responsibility or the sanction of the victim.Which is all a shame, because there are the bones of what could have been a really great book here. The concept of all the creative, productive members of society going on "strike" and abandoning civilization is an interesting one. Rand doesn't do too bad of a job setting the scene either. She manages to create a surprisingly pervasive sense of despair in the book - this is a world that's grinding to a halt and it shows. Also, she does an impressive job of not tying the book to any definable time period. Sure, the prevalence of passenger rail travel and the fact that TVs appear only briefly towards the end is something of a give-away to people reading it today, but otherwise it's a story with remarkably little to demarcate when it should take place. I also have to give her credit for the first half of the book, where Dagny and Rearden start to piece together what's going on and try and to find the inventor of the discarded, revolutionary motor they find. This section actually reminded me somewhat of The Crying of Lot 49 - there's the same sense of a grand conspiracy just beyond view and the nagging suspicion that the conspirators are all around them. And the entire book does move briskly when people aren't speechifying - there's always some new scheme or plot twist going on. But then the last half ruins what little goodwill the book may have eked out in the beginning, as the book slams to a halt for Galt's speech and the "moochers" (groan) ratchet up their vaudevillian evil to even greater heights. It's genuinely funny to watch as they progressively screw things up worse and worse every time they try to solve a problem, but it's the loud abrasive humor of a pulp novel, not the bitting satire Rand so clearly intended it to be. Which is a good metaphor for the story in general - it reads like a pulp. And while I love pulps, they're not the vehicle for getting across arguments about the nature of truth and beauty. Like I said earlier, I feel that these sorts of works should be novels first, and I'm rating her novel, not her philosophical arguments. Rand's ideas are certainly interesting and she does make her case here, but her book pays a huge price to do so.Also, Rand has some weird ideas about sex and that's all the farther I'm going to touch that one.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *