Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Thoughts on Atlas Shrugged

In January I discovered Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand on Wow... incredible book.

In fact, it was so incredible that I immediately listed to it again. All sixty hours of it. That translates to over 1,000 pages if you read the book.

I have heard it said that Atlas Shrugged is the second most influential book next to the Bible. I can believe it. I wish I had read it 20 years ago. It helped me to define various concepts that I have struggled with in building my own philosophy. I highly recommend it!

If you haven't read the book, but think you hate it, Ayn Rand and everything they have to say - go read it before you make up your mind based on what others have said.

If you watched the movie, let me tell you they cut out so much of the book I have no clue what conclusions you may have drawn. Don't let the movie, which I assume left you very confused, dissuade you from reading the book.

If fact, if you have a commute at all I highly recommend you get the audio book read by Scott Brick. His rendition of the book is phenomenal. He's a great voice actor.

Of note, some of the concepts I enjoyed exploring the most were:
  • the sanction of the victim - we allow people to make us feel guilty
  • what money really represents - it is a symbol of the value we offer to others
  • going on a mental strike - I think this may link to the modern day "disengaged employee" 
  • rational selfishness - by being selfish you put yourself in a position where you can help others
I cannot recommend this book enough. It has changed my outlook on life. I have read a lot of great books, but this one really spoke to me.

After listening to it twice, I then followed up with Diana Hsieh's podcasts about the book - there are 20 of them. Also highly recommended!


  1. I started reading this at a very busy time in my life, so I was not able to finish it. I believe I will have to give it a go again in the near future!

  2. Wow...what a glowing rec! I have picked it up a few times over the years and put it down. Perhaps the audio is the way to go. I'll let you know!

  3. I am so glad you liked this book. I almost didn't click on the twitter link when I saw you post. I am used to people trashing the ideas in this book simply because they are so different from what is considered to be socially acceptable. It appears you got much the same out of it I did.
    I have been chastised often for claiming Steve Jobs is an Ayn Rand poster child, but if you have really read the book, you would have to agree.
    I am glad you liked it. I look forward to reading this again. I actually prefer Fountainhead, and if you haven't read that you should. Much the same, but (IMHO) a better story.

  4. I know what you mean Mingus and I agree with you about Jobs! I have purchased The Fountainhead on audio, but haven't listened to it yet. Looking forward to it though :)

    My only regret about Atlas Shrugged is that I didn't read it 20 years ago!

  5. as an architecture student I was sort of cajoled into reading The Fountainhead, to which, at the time I said a resounding, MEH. Perhaps 20 years on I should give Rand another chance.