Atlass Shrugged is a dangerous book. I read it 6 years ago and it is one of the books that changed my life. Both for better and worse. This book has as much potential to be misinterpreted as The Bible.
Before you read it, however, make sure you get to know a little bit more about its author, Ayn Rand. Born in Russia, she was very much against the communist ideas and she pretty much makes sure that everyone in the world knows how much communism in Russia sucked. She successfully predicts how the Soviet Union will collapse in her book by describing the way poor incentives can lead to economic decline.
There are a lot of ideas in this book and I am not up for the task to analyze or even summarize. I will simply state how it made me feel and what it made me believe in.
It made me believe in a world where my own strength and will-power are the only things that matter. In relying on myself rather than seeking help and alms from friends and families. It made me certain that I am my own man and that I will shape my life with my own efforts and no external help. That truth matters more than popular opinion. That I am the only person to blame for my failure.
The book gave me the strength to pursue my own ideas when the people around me went into a totally different direction. It made me respect my own opinions about how things are or should be.
It also alienated me from my friends and family.
A lot of the ideas in this book are dangerous, a lot are simply bullshit, a lot are brilliant. Be critical when reading Ayn Rand. I can empathize with her anger and ways of viewing the world, however, she takes some of her ideas to the extreme.
Atlass Shurgged is a must read book. Don’t be scared of its length, as it is quite an easy read. Just, just read it… I will even make it easier for you: PDF Link
“If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”
“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”
“If men understand that reality is an absolute not to be faked, that lies do not work, that the unearned cannot be had, that the undeserved cannot be given, that the destruction of a value which is, will not bring value to that which isn’t. The businessman who wishes to gain a market by throttling a superior competitor, the worker who wants a share of his employer’s wealth, the artist who envies a rival’s higher talent—they’re all wishing facts out of existence, and destruction is the only means of their wish. If they pursue it, they will not achieve a market, a fortune or an immortal fame— they will merely destroy production, employment and art. A wish for the irrational is not to be achieved, whether the sacrificial victims are willing or not. But men will not cease to desire the impossible and will not lose their longing to destroy—so long as self-destruction and self-sacrifice are preached to them as the practical means of achieving the happiness of the recipients.”