Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand


At last, Ayn Rand's masterpiece is available to her millions of loyal readers in trade paperback.

With this acclaimed work and its immortal query, "Who is John Galt?", Ayn Rand found the perfect artistic form to express her vision of existence. Atlas Shrugged made Rand not only one of the most popular novelists of the century, but one of its most influential thinkers.

Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man's body, but about the murder--and rebirth--of man's spirit.

* Atlas Shrugged is the "second most influential book for Americans today" after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club (Image and synopsis from

My Review:

The premise of this book is an interesting idea... what if the movers and the shakers of the world stopped moving and shaking? Well, what if? While I think some of Rand's points are extreme and she idealizes corporate figures and demeans the common worker for the sake of making her point, I do think she makes some excellent arguements and is definitely worthwhile reading.

Dagny Taggart runs Taggart Transcontinental, the largest railroad company in the U.S., in reality, although not in name.  Her brother Jim Taggart is the president of the company, while Dagny is Vice-President in Charge of Operations. Through her skills, intelligence, and hard work, Dangny manages to keep her railroad running in spite of the opposition and hatred of business found in Washington D.C.

The government is run by 'social'- minded people who care more for the human need than the greed of corporations.  This government continues to spew  out orders, directives, and laws that eliminate any freedom that businesses had, including the freedom to fire workers who are incompetent or not needed!

Along the way, we find the lost city of Atlantis. But I won't say anymore about that! :)

Atlas Shrugged is a political coming of age novel.  Not a coming of age in the sense of a character moving from childhood to adulthood but from ignorance to full acceptance of a political, spiritual, and realistic philosophy. Dagny must mature and grow to accept the philosophy that has ruled her life without her knowing it. 

While Atlas Shrugged is a long novel, it is compelling and keeps moving.  However, I must admit that I did skip one part towards the end, it was basically a reiteration of Rand's philosophy- which only the most dense reader would not have already recognized in the novel, so I saw no point to spend my reading time on 60 pages of what I had already learned. 

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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