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Did you ever read....Atlas Shrugged?

Atlas Shrugged...

  • WORST BOOK EVER!!!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I read it and it is total crap...that woman should be shot if she were not already dead.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I read it and found it to be bad philosophy as well as bad writting.

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Blah...I read it and was neither moved nor totally bored.

    Votes: 2 6.9%
  • I read it and I enjoyed it a little.

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • I read it and found it a compelling philosophy for life that I can appreciate, but find unworkable i

    Votes: 3 10.3%
  • Ayn Rand's changed my life and is a God, but wait God doesn't exist...well you get my point.

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • I never read it, but I read the Fountainhead.

    Votes: 3 10.3%
  • I never have read any of her works, and I don't care too.

    Votes: 2 6.9%
  • I never have read any of her works, but I might pick up one or two.

    Votes: 5 17.2%
  • I have a different answer that is not available here, but is listed below.

    Votes: 2 6.9%
  • Huh?

    Votes: 9 31.0%

  • Total voters
    29

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
In another thread I linked to a book I read back in college because a literature professor told us it was the one book we couldn't review, "because it is the biggest collection of crap in print since the beginning of time." Along with my engineering physics I & II clasess, reading Atlas Shrugged changed much of my (very Catholic) way of viewing the world. After all that is what the college experience is all about, no?

So, what was/is your take on the Author, the book(s) and the whole Objectivist (Dare I say Positivist) paradigm? 8-!
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Atlas Shrugged was given to me as a farewell gift by my boss when I left my first public sector planning job.

I've read it twice since, and I still can't figure out why she gave me that particular book.

As for how I feel about the book and viewpoints today, I'll have to read it again and chime in about it later. :p
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
I started reading Atlas Shrugged a year or so after I got out of college for the first time. I wanted to read The Fountainhead (having seen the movie with Gary Cooper) but my small town didn't have that but they did haveAtlas Shrugged. I plowed through a hundred pages or so, wasn't enjoying it, so when it came time to renew the checkout I decided I didn't want to.

Some years later I did read The Fountainhead. Every time one of Roark's designs got rejected by the powers that be, I had to agree. The description of his designs sounded like really ugly buildings. The final straw for him when they changed his design with neoclassical touches and he and his girlfriend blow up the building was interesting. There again, sounded like the powers that be were just putting lipstick on a pig. And lipstick on a pig does not benefit the pig or the people who see it.

Count me down as one of the people who is not a fan of Ms Rand or her selfish philosophy.
 

Belle

Cyburbian
Messages
142
Points
6
Since the book is so long (my copy is to more than 1000 pages), perhaps a choice like "I started it, but couldn't get through it" (for me, twice) might be appropriate? I wasn't blown away by the 300 pages I read, but I do intend to finish it someday.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
my dad gave me this to read when i was in high school (atlas shrugged that is). I couldn't finish it because i couldn't stand the writing style. i'll have to check it out again.
 

simulcra

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
I polished off the Fountainhead in about a few days in high school, and that's when I found out that Atlas Shrugged was the more relevant Title. I thoroughly enjoyed the Fountainhead and many of the points it made (both in Architecture and as a philosophy of life in general), so I picked up Atlas Shrugged and read that in a week or two.

The question "Who is John Galt?" has forever been branded on my mind (and has become sort of an inside joke with anyone who has atleast read the first paragraph of the book). I found the story to be very interesting, although I had a bit of a beef with Ayn Rand's patronistic belief that a very romantic style of writing (read: dense and at times slow) is the only type of lucid writing that will survive in literature. She obviously has never heard of Hemingway or, on the flipside, Joyce or Faulkner. I also had a bit of a beef with the fact taht almost every signficant female character in her works has a rape complex. It gets tiring about the umpteenth time a female character is subjected to "domination in his wild hands."

As a didactic work (which Ayn Rand intended all her works), Atlas Shrugged fails miserably. Fountainhead, while it did tend to hit you with a bat at times with its philosophy, still put a lot of emphasis on the plot and flow of characters. I sympathize with Roark's cause, while at the same time I don't have too much sympathy for Keating. Meanwhile, with Atlas Shrugged, she does nothing to make her arguments completely sound and lucid. I mean, her attacks on postmodern philosophy are semantic at best (paraphrased quote: "Can you question the existence of a bullet as it imbeds itself into your body?"), her praise of "enlightened selfishness" is more the naive impractical philosphy that it is, as oppossed to the simple, more existentialist message in Fountainhead. She kills off people whose only crime was caring about social welfare, putting them into the same category as people who are dangerously unskilled for their jobs (and are there because of some welfare program) and end up wiping out groups of innocents. Furthermore, the 50-some odd page monologue at the very end had a notable lack of tact. Oh yeah, it was really boring, too. If you couldn't figure out the message after 900 pages, a 50 page monologue doesn't help you out that much.

So, in conclusion of my ranting, Rand is ultimately someone who tried to develop a philosophy, which ultimately seems more like an extension of existentialism, but really failed in putting forth a cohesive reason for its existence.

EDIT: I voted for the choice along the lines of objectivism is a compelling philosophy I can appreciate, but it's ultimately unworkable. After reading the Fountainhead, I enjoyed a brief stint as an objectivist (but then against, this was also the time in my life I experimented as being a solipsist, so that's not saying much), but now I hold myself as an existentialist/relativist. I find it patronizing that one woman dictates what is the "right" way to live (aka "enlightened selfishness") and the "wrong" way to live (anything having to do with selflessness). Ironic (maybe hypocritical?) that I favor smart growth controls? :-D Oh yeah, her metaphysics and epistemology suck, too. (Sorry, objectivists for my bluntness.)
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
It's a good read -- but it seems like fiction rather than philosophy.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
My sister read it in college and recommended it to me. Since we were total opposites (her: science/math brain vs. me: English/history brain) (her: non-fiction always unless forced by a professor; me: always fiction), I blew it off. I still have no interest. And there are SO many other books to read that I know are more "me".
 

Doitnow

Cyburbian
Messages
496
Points
16
I voted:
I read it and found it a compelling philosophy for life that I can appreciate, but find unworkable in our reality.
I read Atlas Shrugged by mistake. That was around nine years ago and I don't remember most of it but do remember "Who is John Galt" and the Iron lady and the steel magnate and their relationship.
Everybody around me was reading or had already read Fountainhead( because it's about an acrhitect :-\ ) In anycase I was doing planning and just picked up what i found on the rack. Read the whole 1000 pages or so within two weeks. Found it boring but compelling. Very strong philosophy( whether you like it or not).somebody later told me that Ayn had had a tough life and that reflected on he writings and interpretations.
But I wanted to read her to know why there was so much raving about her.
I read Atlas Shrugged and that was the first and last book I read of hers. I think I got her point then. :)

Maybe I need to go thorugh it again to see how I react to it now.
 

Miles Ignatius

Cyburbian
Messages
368
Points
12
A Good Read But Little Else...

When I moved to Arizona in the early 70's, I encountered "Who Is John Galt?" spray painted on concrete culverts and on the back of road signs in the desert. Later, in my philosophy class readings at ASU, I ran across references to Rand's work. Arizona was a hotbed for conservative/libertarian theoreticians [as opposed to our current scene, where there's real no pursuit of original ideas; instead, just parrot and shout the other guy's philosophy.]

Naturally curious, I read "Atlas Shrugged" then "The Fountainhead." I had a few friends who did the same and took Rand's objectivism to heart who then ceased to be friends as, like rigid ahderence to other "isms" it tended to blot out everything else and reduced them to "zealots."
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
I read it a few years back. Not sure if it's a testament to the book or not, but I can barely remember it--and I can remember almost word for word almost every single book I've ever read. Having gone through a brief but intense phase where I read virtually everything Sartre and Camus had written, I thought Rand would be easy or at least interesting to plow through. It was neither. It does, however, make an excellent coaster. ;-)
 
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