I tackled this (very thick) book because I have always thought of it as a modern classic - something I should suck it up and read, just for the experience. Perhaps not surprisingly, I really did enjoy it, and found myself sucked into the philosophy behind it. I keep eyeballing it on my shelf and thinking that I should re-read it, after which I will probably post it. Very good.
The book is based on the not-too-farfetched premise that all of the producers of the world - producers in the sense that these are the hardworking, brilliant, movers and shakers and people of ideas in the world - get fed up with carrying the metaphorical burden of society. "What if Atlas shrugged?" A reference, of course, to refusing to carry the weight of the world on one's shoulders. The producers band together and agree as one to stop producing, stop letting the idle and useless benefit from their ideas, and society be damned. I won't give away any more, but I'd be willing to bet that if the idea intrigues you, you will be sucked in as well.
This is not an easy read! This book requires a commitment that I haven't given to a book in years. It is over a thousand pages and you will feel as though you just completed a marathon when you are through. A friend had told me that I must read this book. After a few hundred pages, I found myself skipping entire paragraphs of beautiful narrative just to get to the meat of the story. I did not want to give up. I am glad I didn't. Three-quarters of the way through, I was finally engrossed in the story. It made my head spin with possibilities and questions. Not about the book, but about the world. By the time you finish, you will look at things much differently. I have not bought the entire philosophy, but it has made me question many long-held beliefs. There is room in the world for many viewpoints. And there is lots of room in the middle of opposing views, too. I am glad that I finally read this book!
Who is John Gault? It's a question that continues to echo in my head many years after first reading those words. "Atlas Shrugged" is the best book I ever read. And my second favorite is "The Fountainhead", also by Ayn Rand. I would recommend reading the latter first, which can be viewed almost as a prequel to "Atlas Shrugged". Huge in scope, fearless and unapologetic, these are books for the ages. Read them both; you won't be sorry you did. You might even be transformed by them, as I was.
This book can change your life if you are ready for the ideas it presents. You won't believe, as you read parts of it, that it's over fifty years old, because it seems as though Rand was predicting our actual future. You can get a lot out of this book even if you don't agree with everything Rand personally believed in.
Of course this is a classic and though very long a good book nonetheless. Being about the move towards socialism/communism and written in the 1950's it may be a bit dated unless you are of a mind that we in the USA are slowly migrating that direction.
I enjoyed the story in this book. It was quite entertaining; I think everyone can agree that too much government interference in the private sector will cause nothing but catastrophe for everyone, including the poor.
However, Ayn Rand's atheistic philosophy was a real turnoff for me. She makes all conservatives look like cold blooded reptiles. The love of money is a virtue in Rand's world. Greed and selfishness are the greatest qualities one can possess. Even William F. Buckley, who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern day Conservatism, was not a fan of Ayn Rand atheistic views. He approved of an extremely scathing review of her book which he had printed in his National Review magazine. And from what I have read, Ms. Rand never forgave him for it.
As others have mentioned, some of the long winded rants are flat out too long. I confess, I skipped most of Mr. Galt's 50+ page rant toward the end. It was just ridiculous. One of the greatest speeches in the history of the world was Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. And guess what? It was short and to the point! Just because a speech lasts 3 hours doesn't mean it will have any impact on the listener or reader.
Something else I noticed about this book, not one of the heroic characters have children. Kids seem to be a waste of time, and no one committed to making money seems to care a lick about them. Perhaps others took note of that as well.
I would encourage everyone to read this book at least once in their lives, simply so they can say they can say,"I read it and survived to talk about it!"
I read this book as a young adult. It is not an easy read, it requires patience and commitment. Hang in, it delivers. I play to read it again in 2008. The site balktalk.org has it as it's selection of the summer. Cannot wait to read it again.
i know who John Galt is too. i have read this book several times because the firsst time i tried to understand her principals and the second time i read it for pleasure and the story it might just have been...LOL
it is good to read The Fountainhead first as it sort of sets up her philosophy,making it easier to get thru Atlas Shrugged.
I wish I could say I read the entire book before I gave it a rating but I just couldn't get through it and that alone says something. I wanted to just power through it because it's a 'classic' by a modern philosopher. It's unenlightened utter nonsense written by a hypocrite who, later in life, collected from the same social system she riled against throughout her life. Her ideas are merely a justification for being an ass.
I wish I had read this book when I was young, but would I have understood it then? If I had, my ex-husband would never had a chance of becoming my husband!
This was a marathon read and it was well worth getting from page one to the end. You won't be disappointed by this book and you will find your mind twisting at times when the small things that didn't seem so bad on their own are shown to be HUGE as they lead to more and more controls by those grasping for power they can only have if we yield it to them.
At times I felt like the destruction described here is nipping at my heels here in 2012. I have to hope there are brave and smart rational men and women ready to rebuild from the ashes settling at our feet.
It took me a little while to adjust to Rand's writing style, as I have never read anything she has written before. Once I got into "Atlas Shrugged," however, I tore through it pretty quickly, up until a certain point in the novel, very close to the end. There is a certain long speech by a certain character near the end, and anyone who has read the book knows exactly what I'm talking about. I found the speech to be long, repetitive and preachy, which is unfortunate because I had highly enjoyed the book up to that point. After you muscle through the speech, however, it gets pretty good again. (I did feel bad about the fate of one poor character, but then again dystopian novels aren't supposed to be filled with sunshine and rainbows, are they?)
They say to write only what you know. If this is the case, it's not clear that Rand has ever been to Earth or met a human being. There is not a shred of realism in anything that happens, from characters who drop everything to give absurdly long speeches, to court proceedings in which blatant contempt of court is grounds for an acquittal. The term "unreliable narrator" does not even begin to describe the ridiculous lengths Rand goes to in attempting to bludgeon her views into the reader's head, or for that matter all the blatantly obvious problems in everything she proposes. If you already love yourself way too much and think most of humanity is a bunch of losers who could die for all you care, this is the book for you. For anyone with a trace of morals, this is a morally repulsive snoozefest to be avoided unless you have a really bad case of insomnia. One star given since, in case of an emergency, your copy can be used in place of toilet paper.
Oh, good, we can raise a new generation of precocious, know-it-all college graduates with no life experience. At least they will get hired by conservative think tanks, when I was a precocious know-it-all without life experience, having read this book, all I did was talk to inanimate objects.
I enjoyed the premise of the book but found some of the monologues went on far to long without adding anything to the characters or the thrust og the story.I read the book without a political bent coming in and enjoyed the book as a novel.
I ordered this book primarily because of the publicity it got during the 2012 Presidential campaign. It's unnecessarily long, but it gives insight into the minds of the radical Right Wing of the Republican Party. I skipped over or skimmed through large sections of philosophical "discussions" and speechifying, but the gist of the message is this: caring and sharing is bad, selfishness is good. Regulations are evil and business shouldn't have to pay taxes because they are the engines of the economy. It's fairly interesting in a terrifying sort of way, but should be kept out of reach of anyone under the age of 30. They might actually believe it.
If I had known this book was 1074 pages printed in 6 point font I wouldn't have bothered getting it.
Who the heck wants to read 1074 pages in tiny type?
It's like watching a 9 hour foreign movie with subtitles. You like that kind of thing? You're welcome to it.
Me? No thanks.