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Book Review of Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged
Author: Ayn Rand
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on
Helpful Score: 8

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.

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