Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged

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Finally finished reading ‘Atlas Shrugged‘ by Ayn Rand. I say ‘finally’ because I’ve had to abort the attempt to finish this book a couple of times before. Much as I loved (& still love, ofcourse) Rand’s Fountainhead (which  incidentally I’ve read more than a couple of times), I just couldn’t go beyond first few pages of this 1000+ page tome, maybe it was the small print that got me or maybe I don’t connect with the story of Atlas Shrugged in the way I connected with Howard Roark of Fountainhead…I’ve mentioned at more than one place in this blog as to why I just love Roark:

Howard Roark from Fountainhead -tends to be much more interested in what he’s doing than in anybody else’s opinion of what he’s doing. He’s not the part of the crowd but stands majestically alone. An individualist in the truest sense of the word. A man who does things his own way n never anything to please others.He is never out there to win a popularity contest. He is his own man and lives by his own rules. He refuses to join any fraternity. He is not anti-social so much as asocial. He never learned the process of thinking about other people. Nor does he care to. He achieves his top values: self-esteem, happiness, pride, Independence, Egoism, and Achievement.

The Fountainhead portrays individualism versus collectivism, not in politics, but in man’s soul.

Having admired Fountainhead for so long, it’s obvious that I wanted to finish this book too. So when I didn’t see that happening, I caught hold of the Audio book version, put it on my Ipod & listened to the book on my walks & while making lunch.

The book gets it’s title from the Greek God Atlas who literally holds the world on his shoulders…what would happen if one day, he being tired of this burden refuses to keep on doing this??

“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders—what would you tell him to do?”


“I…don’t know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?”

“To shrug.”

This is the premise of the novel…in the novel the world is divided into two types of people: The Producers who have the finest minds & abilities & willingness to put efforts into making things happen, the people who really make the world go round..These people are represented by John GaltOwen Kellogg,  Ellis Wyatt,  Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden,  & few others; The looters: those who want to live their life off the fruits of producers’ abilty & efforts while at the same time labeling them as greedy, money hungry & selfish. The looters consist of James Taggart, Orren Boyle, Weasley Mouch & their cohorts. Tired of the way the looters are shifting things in their own favor to enjoy eating the cake that producers are baking, by  means of  variety of irrational, absurd laws like Anti-Dog-Eat Dog Rule, Equalization of opportunity bill etc, the producers , led by John Galt ( Galt organizes and leads the strike of the mind. He is   the inventor & the destroyer of the revolutionary motor) (having had enough of this nonsense which is just coming in the way of their productivity) decide to do the shrugging a la Atlas by quitting one by one (with the exception of Dagny & Rearden). 

One of the Best things in the entire 1000+ pages is the John Galt’s Oath which basically summarize Ayn Rand’s philosophy (morality): 

“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.”

In her books , We the Living (1936) , Anthem (1946), The Fountainhead (1943) &  Atlas Shrugged (1957),  Ayn Rand  speaks about the philosophy of objectivism ( that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness or rational self interest).

Now waiting to catch the recently released movie based on this book.

Must See:

My Take on the Fountainhead

Other Book Reviews on my Blog:

English Movie Revies on my Blog:

Hindi Movie Reviews on my Blog:

My List of Must Watch Movies (With Reviews)

Know More About Me:


April 14, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Book Review, Books, Fountainhead, Inspiration, Meaning of Life, My lifestyle, My Values, Reflections/Musings, Wisdom.


  1. IRFANUDDIN replied:

    though not read this book, but read some where n do remember that…..
    “…the sight of an achievement was the greatest gift a human being could offer to others.”

  2. ritusthoughtcatcher replied:

    Hmmmm…Irfan I’m not sure that I agree with all things Rand…esp her over emphasis on Work, achievement, money etc…here I tend to go more with Lin Yutang which I’m going to discuus shortly in a new blog post. :-)..I admire Rand only for her assertion that Humans are not a means to an end for other people..we exist as an end to ourselves…Altruism is unnecessarily glorified as a virtue.

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