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.
Atlas Shrugged is one of the best books I've ever read. It changed my life. It changed a lot of people's lives. So I won't go into how amazing it is -- you can read plenty of that elsewhere. I do, however, want to point out a few details specific to my experience with it:
--It is a big book, and it starts out really slow. If you're just picking it up, it would be easy to get discouraged with it 50 or 100 pages in. But trust me, once you get past page 200 or so, you won't be able to put it down. The story is really interesting and the characters really engaging. A thousand pages is a long journey, but it goes by fast once you're into it.
--I don't consider myself to be a devotee of Ayn Rand's philosophy, objectivism. I think it certainly has its merits, but it also has its drawbacks. Having grown up in Russia during the Soviet Revolution, and emigrating to the US as a young woman, she has some interesting and insightful perspectives on capitalism vs communism, individualism vs collectivism. As you are reading Atlas Shrugged, though, remember that the collectivist characters she creates are cartoons. They're exaggerated examples of the traits and mindsets she is vilifying. Similarly, the heroes of the book are cartoons of independent industrialists. They possess none of the faults that flesh and blood humans possess, nor are there ever any negative consequences to their actions, save what the nefarious collectivists have subverted and sabotaged.
Overall, Atlas Shrugged is amazing and has an important message. But if you ignore the exaggerations on both sides of the story, and take every word to heart as gospel, you'll pretty much turn into a big, unrealistic jerk.
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.
Magnificent read! Rand has woven an epic story with razor sharp insight into the human condition. Her character development and ability to tell a riveting tale is only surpassed by her intelligence. "Atlas Shrugged" is a fine novel, but is far more than this. Rand's philosophy of "Objectivism" is the glue holding this fascinating story together. Yes, she is didactic and, at times, is repetitive regarding her ideology via her protagonists as well as antagonists. Yet, she writes so well, that I found it an interesting education, as well a peek into the mind of a genius. I am not a proponent of "Objectivism", yet some of her beliefs make a great deal of sense in this age of entitlement. She clearly believed in, and expected humankind to exhibit the virtues of personal responsibility, hard work, courage, honesty, love and honor. Rand had little use for those who would cheat their way to high levels of power and corruption, as well as the cruelty and incompetence that accompanies them. In spite of some hard-nosed disgust at those she coined "looters" of society, Rand is deeply romantic. Her ability to unfold a beautiful love story is unparalleled. The love displayed in this novel is not sugar sweet, but rather, possesses an iron backbone. Her lovers are passionate, strong and devoted. While you may (as I) disagree with a number of her philosophical tenets, this novel is a 'must read'. Without a doubt, "Atlas Shrugged" deserves the title of "classic." If you do not fear a 1200 plus page tome, you will not be sorry to have read this monumental novel.
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.
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 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.
While this is surely a noteable attempt at a magnum opus, and while the writing is good and the story creative, the message and intent of this book is both misguided and excessive. It ends up saying little more than does the much shorter and more accessible _Fountainhed_. Also, the message regarding the primacy of the individual over any group is taken to an absurd extreme and begins to smack of fascism. While the protagonists are admirable insofar as they are each driven and creative, she attempts to skew these virtues by placing them at odds with social interest. It is, in essence, an homage to social darwinism. If you're a libertarian, enjoy! For the rest of us, ignore it entirely or read _The Fountainhead_ for a much shorter homage to the greatness of the individuals for whom we, the masses, should be living.
I was a bit hesitant about reading this book, and part 1 wasn't too good. It does set up the characters and provide background information. Once I started reading part 2, it was much better and by part 3 I couldn't put it down. Though this is a fiction book, the events and such could be used to describe the world we currently live in. This is the first book I've read by Ayn Rand, and after reading this one I am curious about her others. This book is a classic and should be read.
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.
Quite honestly, this book has changed my life and how I live it. If there is someone who can get through this book living in our world today and not cry because of the truth written by Miss Ayn Rand, then they have not grasped what she is saying. Everyone should at some point in their lives read this book.
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.
This is one of those books that has the very first line grab your attention and carry it all throughout the book ... Who is John Galt?
I enjoyed Part One better than the other two parts. It was interesting to follow Dagny's quest to find the inventor of the motor they discovered. There is a lot of profound meaning in this book. But I can't help but think it could have been said in less than 1000 pages ... then maybe more people would read it. Some of the lectures were long and drawn-out ... to the point of boring. I came close to rating it with a 5 except for how long it was.
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 read this book so I could enter an essay contest. It was part philosophy and part suspenseful story. It's a good read if you have the discipline and desire to finish Ayn Rand's greatest work. Though a good book, it could have been a lot shorter, for Rand repeats her philosophy many times through different characters. But still, even if you do not agree with the philosophy the story alone is worth the read.
Wow! Wow! and Wow. That pretty much sums up this book. I purchased this book about two years ago with the intent to read it quickly. Boy was I in for a big shock.
1168 pages and NOT large print.
I enjoyed the book after I got through Part I. This part of the book sets up all that occurs in Parts II and III. Once I began Part II, I was "hooked", I found it difficult to put it down. Ayn Rand has written several books, but I've been told, by several people, that Atlas Shrugged is the climax of her work in Philosophy.
In reading the book I can see the events in the book happening around the country today, although you have to maintain a perspective that the book is FICTION.
Considering that the book was written in 1957, it is incredible that Ayn Rand was perceptive enough to see these events play out in our modern (2013) world today.
I may read this book again, but it won't be for at least two more years.
If Part I would have been a little less wordy and more exciting I would have given this book 5 stars, but it wasn't (for me), so I didn't.
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?)
Atlas Shrugged challenges thousands of years of altruism and collectivism in human civilization. It is a mystery novel, not about the murder of a man, but the murder of mankind's spirit and the struggle to bring it back. The novel unites metaphysics, ethics, economics and romantic love. These elements, combined with the novel's scope and depth, lead the reader into Ayn Rand's world, where he discovers and enters the lost Atlantis, a world of moral giants.
AMAZON.COM READER'S REVIEW
When Ayn Rand wrote this book few people had more than a eighth grade education. At the time the message was timely and helped pave the way for the tremendous growth and development of the mid-nineteenth century. I understand this is Alan Greenspans favorite book and he reads it repeatedly.
But that was a different day and the message is antiquated though fiercely held to by many of today's leaders. The message was that the masses needed strong leaders that would guide us in the right direction. Without them, things could easily fall apart. Remember, the vast majority of people were not well educated, so a few well educated leaders made since in that scenario. Today, far more people have advanced degrees so developing consensus is a far more productive strategy.
For that reason I cannot recommend this book to anyone but those who view it as an interesting side note to history. As someone before me has said, you should read this like you eat a popover; "swallow only what is nutritious...and blow out the hot air."
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.
The astounding story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world -- and did.
Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, ATLAS SHRUGGED is unlike any other book you have ever read. It is a mystery story,not about the murder of a mans' body, but about the murder--and rebirth of a man's spirit.
If you're a logical/rational person, and you have ambition, passion, drive, and you value the individual - then this book is for you. If you're a socialist/communist/etc., you will hate this book ... or it will change your mind.
In a nationwide study back in the 90s, this novel was ranked second as "most influential novel of all time." The first was the Bible - so ironic, considering the nature of Atlas Shrugged. Or maybe so apt.
I think this book is a must read. It changed my life.
This is fiction for anarchists (or libertarians) - what is not to love?! I must admit, I did skip a lot of Galt's speeches (Rand can really go on and on and on and on through Galt). The plot is great, though, and I do love the characters. It's also the kind of book I love, but also love to make fun of ... not in a negative way.
Rand' timeless classic; the story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world -- and did. Her ideals on objectivism translate through her words page after page and inspire the reader to aspire to greater moral heights.
I want to say from the beginning that one does not need to agree with a philosophy to appreciate it. Obviously most of the critics and some of the supporters have never read this work. One need not approve of communism to give the Communist Manifesto a high rating but it is certainly a must read.
Ayn Rand's philosophy is known as objectivism. It is essentially having a objective reason and purpose for every action you commit.
Atlas Shrugged is one of two major novels that outlines her entire philosophy while trying to show how it would be applied. That is why this book deserves a 5 star rating. Any philosopher can give generic ideas with no application. Rand puts it all on the line to show exactly how she means her philosophy to be interpreted.
The student of philosophy will be able to understand her philosophy quite clearly after reading this. If you agree with her philosophy you should encourage others to read this book. If this book is so clearly wrong then you should encourage others to read it so they will see how clearly wrong it is. Those that want it burned or object to others reading it know that she offers some very strong arguments for a position they clearly do not want to be true.
This book takes place probably around the 1950s. It is centered around the industrial sector of the U.S., the only government that has not become a People's State. The main character in this book is Dagny Taggart. She is a no-nonsense VP of Operations for the largest railroad in the world. She is intelligent and is solely driven to keeping her RR as the best.
The times are dim and getting dimmer. In the beginning the country is in a recession of sorts and it is up to Taggart and others like her to save the country.
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.
This book is very large (over 1000 pages) but it is so worth it. One of the key phrases from the book that may ring a bell in today's world is "From each according to their ability. To each, according to their need."
This details the failure and downfall of the US (and the world) caused by government overreach. (i.e. the answer to every problem is for the government to pass a law that resolves it). The problem is that every law creates it's own version of an inequality, which requires a new control, which causes additional problems.
Throw in the issue of power grabbers and you have a very scary book. We can learn from it's 60+ year old message.
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.
This supposedly great book by This "great Ayn Rand" is nothing but trash in my oppinion.
any book that has as it's only curse words using the Lord's names in vane is not worth my time. It maybe could have been with out the use of that word that just shows a contempt of God.I will not read another Ayn Rand book.