Monday, June 22, 2009

The New York Times Where's Luke? Book Review: Atlas Shrugged

First of all, I apologize for not having posted much recently. I've been in the midst of a genuinely enlightening experience and, as such, I pushed off all non-essential activities in order to complete it. The enlightening experience in this case happens to be the reading of this book, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Now, you may be asking, if you know about Ayn Rand and her accompanying philosophy, "Since you have read 'Atlas Shrugged' and you say it was an enlightening experience, you have now become an objectivist, haven't you?" The answer is no. I would hope that one wouldn't make such a decision based on reading only one book. And a novel at that. But anyway, let me backtrack a minute in order for us all to be on the same page (pun war, anyone?).

I'm not going to tell you the story of this book, but the main premise is that all the people of ability in America go on strike. America is turning slowly into a socialist state and everything kinda sucks. That's basically the whole plot anyway, except it's clearly a lot more intricate in order to make up an 1100 page book. The plot of the book acts as a backdrop for Ayn Rand to espouse her philosophy, which is known as objectivism. As a whole, objectivism makes up an entire philisophy complete with ideas on the nature of existence, human nature, how people should conduct themselves and so on. As the book unfolds, the philosophy unfolds, until it finally reaches a climax in which the philosophy is spilled out in a metaphoric orgasm of rhetoric.

In reading this book, I was struck by two things. First, I have never read a book which has set out to accomplish something in particular and has accomplished it so clearly and without doubt. The basic premise, the philosophy, and the plot of the novel all mesh in together seamlessly. The introduction of her ideas and the logical arguments leading up to them just fall like dominoes as she makes each progressive point. It's astounding to see the whole thing come together and to see the direct line of logic that flows from page 1 to page 1100.

The second thing that struck me was how closely Ayn Rand's philosophy matched with my own personal philosophy. I don't believe I've ever really heard anything I would consider to be a personal philosophy put into words, and it really consolidated my ideas about the way things are. I wouldn't say there is a one to one correlation between the two, and I'm not particularly interested in the entire philosophy at this point, but I'm intrigued to read more about it.

In summary, this book is amazing. If you have a couple of free months. I would suggest you read it.

PS - After this period of inactivity, it's clear that my personal guarantee is not in any danger of being violated.


Side Bar said...

1. I will read it this summer.

2. I watched an episode of Mad Men last night where the boss tells Don Draper to read Atlas Shrugged, and I assume that the plot of the episode had some references to the book, but I'll watch it again after I read the book.

3. Hate to admit it, because it was such a reckless issuance of the guarantee, but it seems you are right.

Anonymous said...

Is that why you never get your friends' back in a fight? I didn't realize Ayn Rand was such a pussy! Oh wait, yes I did.

ChuckJerry said...


thecostofliving said...

I love this book. That's all.

Side Bar said...

(a) why are you being a dick?

(b) why are you being a dick anonymously?

(c) when did they get wireless internet in the frost valley van?