Atlass Shrugged – Ayn Rand

Atlass Shrugged – Ayn Rand

662Atlass Shrugged

(Must Read)

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

Quotes

“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.”

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The Sorrows of Young Werther – Goethe

sorrows-young-werther-johann-wolfgang-von-goethe-paperback-cover-art The Sorrows of Young Werther

(Would recommend, not because I enjoyed it, but because it is one of those books that everyone should read)

It was a difficult book to read, even though it’s quite short it felt like a struggle. However, there are moments of brilliance which are not worth missing. It struck me on a personal level and it felt easy to relate to the main character.

Goodreads Wikipedia PDF File

The suffering of loving someone who does not love you. In retrospect it feels silly. When you are in the middle of it, the word ‘sorrow’ describes it brilliantly.

Werther made the classic mistake of falling in love with an idea, not a person.

Quotes

“Must it ever be thus,—that the source of our happiness must also be the fountain of our misery? The full and ardent sentiment which animated my heart with the love of nature, overwhelming me with a torrent of delight, and which brought all paradise before me, has now become an insupportable torment, a demon which perpetually pursues and harasses me.”

” “Human nature,” I continued, “has its limits. It is able to endure a certain degree of joy, sorrow, and pain, but becomes annihilated as soon as this measure is exceeded. The question, therefore, is, not whether a man is strong or weak, but whether he is able to endure the measure of his sufferings. The suffering may be moral or physical; and in my opinion it is just as absurd to call a man a coward who destroys himself, as to call a man a coward who dies of a malignant fever.” ” (It is thoughts like this one that got the guy dead…)

“It is as if a curtain had been drawn from before my eyes, and, instead of prospects of eternal life, the abyss of an ever open grave yawned before me. Can we say of anything that it exists when all passes away, when time, with the speed of a storm, carries all things onward,—and our transitory existence, hurried along by the torrent, is either swallowed up by the waves or dashed against the rocks? There is not a moment but preys upon you,—and upon all around you, not a moment in which you do not yourself become a destroyer.”

“No: it is not the great and rare calamities of the world, the floods which sweep away whole villages, the earthquakes which swallow up our towns, that affect me. My heart is wasted by the thought of that destructive power which lies concealed in every part of universal nature. Nature has formed nothing that does not consume itself, and every object near it: so that, surrounded by earth and air, and all the active powers, I wander on my way with aching heart; and the universe is to me a fearful monster, for ever devouring its own offspring.”

“In vain do I stretch out my arms toward her when I awaken in the morning from my weary slumbers. In vain do I seek for her at night in my bed, when some innocent dream has happily deceived me, and placed her near me in the fields, when I have seized her hand and covered it with countless kisses. And when I feel for her in the half confusion of sleep, with the happy sense that she is near, tears flow from my oppressed heart; and, bereft of all comfort, I weep over my future woes.”

“Unhappy being that I am! Why do I thus deceive myself? What is to come of all this wild, aimless, endless passion? I cannot pray except to her. My imagination sees nothing but her; all surrounding objects are of no account except as they relate to her. In this dreamy state I enjoy many happy hours, till at length I feel compelled to tear myself away from her. Ah, Wilhelm, to what does not my heart often compel me! When I have spent several hours in her company, till I feel completely absorbed by her figure, her grace, the divine expression of her thoughts, my mind becomes gradually excited to the highest excess, my sight grows dim, my hearing confused, my breathing oppressed as if by the hand of a murderer, and my beating heart seeks to obtain relief for my aching senses. I am sometimes unconscious whether I really exist.”

“I sometimes cannot understand how she can love another, how she dares love another, when I love nothing in this world so completely, so devotedly, as I love her, when I know only her, and have no other possession than her in the world.” – Let her go, dude…