Reviews

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

spacestationtrustfund's review against another edition

Go to review page

1.0

Fuck Ayn Rand for coming up with such a cool concept and title and then proceeding to be the worst person imaginable.

This quote from John Rogers which is so so mean but not wrong:
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

kahale's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

This book should be read in schools today because it talks how a woman is fighting against men in industry to get her railroad running.

mochila03's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

3.5 stars--I enjoyed it even if it was unnecessarily long. Her philosophy can at some times seem very powerful and at other times fantastical and naïve. My biggest issue is she takes the position of the rational/intellectual superior, which is convenient for her since that means she can just dismiss any counter-arguments or opposing opinions as anti-intellectual and thus "wrong."

korey's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

Only thing that got me excited was to finish it.

jacobsponga's review against another edition

Go to review page

2.0

Dogma

tincan6's review against another edition

Go to review page

mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

0.25

This book is about genius CEOs and inventors (heroes) and the government/people (villains) being a drain on the heroes. Some of the heroes of the series wish to form their own utopia where they invented a ton of magic technology that could solve all the world's problems, they just never could before because all the government regulations held them back. Other of the heroes wish to help everyone but are incompetently stopped every step of the way by government officials. This premise is laughable and over-the-top. 

I read this book primarily as a work of philosophy to understand Rand's perspective. Given her actual work of philosophy is primarily a polemical work going through the history of western philosophy showing an extreme lack of reading comprehension, there's not too much to expect here. While Rand's works could be a good philosophy introduction for the young, her reprehensible views make it very hard to recommend.

Rand seems to support in this book a form of Virtue Ethics in which society should be set up so those who are superior and industrious are allowed to do what they wish in the American capitalist system with no regulation by the governmen (being kept down by their inferiors). Along with this comes a form of capitalist apologism, where what almost everyone takes to be the negatives of capitalism she takes to be good. She views selfishness (and other things along with it like greed) to be good, and generosity to be bad. The only philosopher Rand ever liked was Aristotle, and what Aristotle would have to say about her work is she is a vicious person and completely lacking in the virtues of generosity and magnanimity. This means she has vices which make her view bad things as the correct thing to do, part of Aristotle's psychological view that our habits form our moral character and if one is entrenched in bad habits related to a vice, their view becomes warped where they are unable to gauge right from wrong in relation to that vice. As explored in Origin of Greek Thought by Jean-Pierre Vernant, ancient Greek philosophy was heavily influenced by the politics of its time. The Polis system promoted viewing other citizens in your city-state as extended family you must be loyal to. While Aristotle puts individuals and their virtue first in his Nicomachean Ethics, he puts forward virtues that promote a harmony in the Polis. Rand's political influence meanwhile is reactionary, seeing Soviet problems and American capitalism, she promotes a black and white love of capitalism as solution to all problems where anything that seems like Soviet system is evil and anything that seems American is good. 

Epicureans promoted an often selfish worldview of hedonism, but they prized friendship and virtues which came with it. Among philosophers like Xunzi who viewed humans as inherently evil, he saw selfishness as something to overcome. Her views are the egoism of sociopath CEOs, they work together  to get their own ends, but there is no warmth or true friendship involved even among those with the same goals as them.

slowgreenturtle's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

Read it again for the 60th anniversary. Never fail to find something new and interesting about the book.

anoushkat's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

marneme's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging informative inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

kmjesina's review against another edition

Go to review page

reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

This book isn’t particularly well-written but it’s a classic for a reason. Showcasing a dystopian past where inflation is high and government takes over private business, it’s a cautionary tale even for the present day.