Atlas Shrugged

Apparently this went straight to DVD so thats probably not a good sign...

It is by far one of my favorite books. So is the Fountainhead. READ ATLAS SHRUGGED IF YOU HAVE NOT. It is not just a book, its a way of life.

I am going to try and get my hands on this DVD and see if the movie is any good by comparison (doubtful).

Someone once said people who have read the book should probably never see the movie because it will always be a let down and they are probably right.

pharren 11 years ago
I was *SO* disappointed by this book. I really liked Anthem (granted, I was like 10 years old when I read it) so I was expecting this to... I don't know... not be a nine-thousand page love letter to unbridled capitalism? And calling it "unbridled capitalism" is actually unfair to all the "honest" capitalists out there; this book is more like an Ode to Greed. Really, this book disgusted me. John Galt's radio broadcast or whatever at the end... that shit was like 30 pages long. I had the patience to read the entire Old and New Testaments - twice - including Leviticus and Numbers, and I am not even a Christian. I couldn't force myself to read Galt's entire speech. It was just too much. If you've ever read the book of Numbers, then you know how boring old-timey Census data can be. THIS IS WORSE.

I did enjoy some parts of Dagny's struggle against her incompetent brother to keep Taggart Transcontinental or whatever the company was called afloat, but parts of it were just, wow. Way out there. Her weird S&M love affair thing freaked me out; I expected them to start defecating on each other at any moment. Actually, they may have, at one point, or maybe homeboy just talked about wanting to do it. The whole aspect of wanting to degrade each other and be degraded in turn seemed so jarring against the backdrop of self-determination and blah blah rhetoric that the characters' personalities were supposed to be built on. Maybe it was an attempt to make them seem more realistic... I don't know. Whatever it was, it didn't work with me, unless the goal was to make the reader want to wash their hands after reading. Although... looking at today's politicians that still espouse this sort of fairy tale belief in utopia - any utopia, not necessarily one based upon greed - and their personal lives, maybe it really does make the characters realistic.

It's much quicker to just read the Wikipedia article on Objectivism, which will hopefully present the philosophy in a way less prone to leading to desires for a resurrection of Rand for the sole purpose of stabbing her in the face for the crime of writing Galt's radio-broadcast-speech-thing.

tl;dr - If you think greed is awesome, believe Barack Obama is a Communist, want to be convinced that "reality" is a thing "out there" waiting to be discovered and just so happens to include a code of ethics that basically amounts to "ME!", or if you think "I do things for the lulz" is a viable, justifiable way of life, then this may be the book for you.

tl;dr part 2 - This book was one of the biggest pieces of shit I have ever read, and I have read quite a few books.

tl;dr part 3 - If this post was too long for you to read, this is most definitely NOT the book for you.
Miralyssa Viamorte 11 years ago
I enjoyed the story.

I am a big fan of capitalism with a moral compass. I don't value in any circumstance profit over human welfare which is unfortunately commonplace in today's society.

I don't recall anything they were doing in this book that would violate moral compass. I will also say, I don't recall the S&M or sexual connotations in the book, but that stuff generally doesn't phase me so I probably glossed over it.

The core definition of this book for me was the definition and difference between producers and consumers. Both lead characters in the story from my recollection were surrounded by people and family who were not content just with living off the producers sucess and accomplishments like leeches, but wanted to then dictate terms, rules and regulations and even prop up failed competitors to benefit from the more succesful producers hard work. Through whatever means they could muster including government control they ruined the most successful railroad and the most important raw material, steel.

Do I think that resonates in society today? Yes. Do I think the government can't manage it's way out of a paper bag? I would say that is pretty evident.

Eventually these producers become fed up and take their ideas and their inventions away from the consumers and form their own self sufficient town which operates more on a barter system while the rest of the world is on the rails to destruction because instead of valuing production and hard work they chose to value GREED and DEPENDANCE on producers. They felt greater than the producers and that they were ENTITLED.

10 people can read a book and take away 10 different opinions. I like hearing other opinions and I think yours was very well stated.

I do see alot of parallels in this book to today's society. I think career politians are a joke, I don't think Obama is a communist. I am not motivated by greed, but by achievements. Do you think Reardon or Dagny cared more for piles of money and power (GREED) or seeing her train roar to new speeds and efficiency on his track? It was their families and the politicians who were motivated by greed and had to create ways to get at the success both created in order to wet their beaks and eventually take control and run it into the ground. That is generally what happens when the US GOVT takes over isn't it?

I don't believe either character was very narcisistic either. They were certainly not extroverts but they were both looking out for their fellow man at every opportunity, unlike the protagonists in the story who were only looking to "get over" on everyone.

We are a society of consumers now, and we are not even the largest market for goods and services any more. China is. If you turn your head and look behind you, you can see the high water mark for the US Economy while the tide is going back out to sea. We don't value education, we don't value production, we value disposable ipods and reality TV whores.
Miralyssa Viamorte 11 years ago
I also don't recall Galt's speech at the end very well. The Galt character is not really what resonated with me anyways, it was Taggart and Rearden.

I am going to reread Galt's speech now
Miralyssa Viamorte 11 years ago
did you read Fountainhead? I enjoyed that story as well and it was less capitalist than Atlas
Miralyssa Viamorte 11 years ago
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged


pharren 11 years ago
I don't think Dagny or Reardon were greedy at all. Only the leeches were greedy... whiny, sniveling, incompetents whose only motivation was "take everyone else's stuff". The capitalists were the epitome of the American ideal; hard-working survivalists, frontiersmen in their own right. Their employees were the embodiment of loyalty. Everyone was paid and treated fairly, and they were honored to work for such righteous men (and women).

That's part of why the story is BS. Everyone is a caricature. Real people encompass the whole spectrum of Taggart-ness. They aren't 100% Dagny or 100% her brother. Entrepreneurs aren't all like that, politicians aren't all like that. Who has ever heard of a company where everyone is paid fairly and feels that loyalty because their employers are honest red-blooded Americans who treat them with respect and pay them what they deserve? You might see it in small companies, and rarely in large ones, but those quickly turn into modern corporations. Home Depot is a good example; once the company founders sold the place, it quickly went downhill. Go to a Home Depot now and try to find a happy employee who loves his or her job, feels they are paid what they deserve, and is proud to work there. Good luck!

And if all politicians, or even just all socialists, were the weak, blood-sucking parasites portrayed in this book, the world would be in even worse shape than it is. "Socialism = bad" is the mindset that leads to such statements as "get your government hands off my Medicaid!" The world simply isn't black and white like that. That's why Utopia will never exist except as a pretty idea. "If only people were more/less ____________, it would work" isn't a good foundation for government or... or anything. People aren't more/less ________, and wishing won't make it so.

Also, nobody is likely to do the things in this book, like explore some land, discover oil, plant a flag and declare "I claim this land in the name of Pharren Enterprises, a limited liability company!" (or purchase the land from whatever government owned it). Nobody is likely to go to work in a steel mill, and- wait, do they still have those? An office, then. Nobody is likely to go to work in an office as assistant janitor and end up owning the place through hard work and penny-pinching. Not that it CAN'T happen; after all, people win the lottery. The world has moved on and these things simply aren't going to happen.

At an abstract level, control is always about energy consumption (or destruction) regardless of whether it's the US government taking control, or the douchebags who run Home Depot. Someone will eventually run the place into the ground, as when they assume control they find that too many others have occupied niches and now also consume energy, leaving not enough to fulfill their need or their hunger for more. Really, though, the US doesn't have a bad track record lately; check out the banks they took over.

Eventually the little Utopia in Atlas Shrugged would have succumbed as well, unless they militarily enforced strict population laws and total isolationism, and even then, with their magic engine and everything, they would eventually have to relocate to find more natural resources, until Galt invented 100% efficient recycling by way of frictionless perpetual motion machines.