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Customer Review

3,056 of 3,412 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read Philosophy, Do Not Fear It, July 27, 2005
This review is from: Atlas Shrugged (Mass Market Paperback)
I want to say from the beginning that one does not need to agree with a philosophy to appreciate it. Obviously most of the critics and some of the supporters have never read this work. One need not approve of communism to give the Communist Manifesto a high rating but it is certainly a must read.

Ayn Rand's philosophy is known as objectivism. It is essentially having a objective reason and purpose for every action you commit.

Atlas Shrugged is one of two major novels that outlines her entire philosophy while trying to show how it would be applied. That is why this book deserves a 5 star rating. Any philosopher can give generic ideas with no application. Rand puts it all on the line to show exactly how she means her philosophy to be interpreted.

The student of philosophy will be able to understand her philosophy quite clearly after reading this. If you agree with her philosophy you should encourage others to read this book. If this book is so clearly wrong then you should encourage others to read it so they will see how clearly wrong it is. Those that want it burned or object to others reading it know that she offers some very strong arguments for a position they clearly do not want to be true.

This book takes place probably around the 1950s. It is centered around the industrial sector of the U.S., the only government that has not become a People's State. The main character in this book is Dagny Taggart. She is a no-nonsense VP of Operations for the largest railroad in the world. She is intelligent and is solely driven to keeping her RR as the best.

The times are dim and getting dimmer. In the beginning the country is in a recession of sorts and it is up to Taggart and others like her to save the country. There are two problems that are preventing her from doing this. One, the government seeks more and more control when it should be stepping away. Second, the men of industry are disappearing one by one just when they are critically needed. No one knows where they go off to.

In the sense of a novel this is a good one. It is suspenseful and intriguing. Everyone can identify with the characters in this book. Most of the antagonists have been left rather shallow. That is on purpose. They are supposed to represent certain elements of society. This book can get dry at times. One man has a 60 page speech that can seem a little preachy at times but is wholly necessary within the context of the novel.

Ayn Rand is perhaps the best known and widest read philosopher of the 20th century. If you have any interest in philosophy or economics then this is a must read. Don't fear her teachings. An open mind is a dangerous thing to some people.

The most important thing to remember is not to take everything you read here as dogma. Think for yourself and apply whatever ideas make sense to you and ignore that which you don't like. Think for yourself. I think Rand would object to anyone blindly following her philosophy without actually believing in it. No one says you can't be charitable to others. Just make sure you do it of your own volition and not because it is expected of you or because you feel guilty.
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Showing 1-10 of 737 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 14, 2007 5:51:26 PM PST
J. Tetreault says:
I find it highly ironic that the above reviewer claims that Ayn Rand is the "best known and widest read philosopher of the 20th century". Anyone with a degree in Philosophy from a University can tell you that the vast majority of academia does not take this "philosophy" seriously at all.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2007 10:59:49 AM PST
TLJaguar says:
If you had read this book, you would realize that perhaps the reason "academia" doesn't like this philosophy is because of how those in "academia" are portrayed in this book. It would be extremely ironic if Academics loved and supported a philosophy in which academics are pretty much worthless.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2007 10:39:21 PM PDT
That depends on what type of acedemia you belong to. Atlas Shrugged is a honest portrayal of a honesty. Acedemics that don't find themselves the "dark alleys" of their own minds after reading this book, may find themselves in an alternate reality that is appreciated. Finding oneself is not an easy process, brutal though it may be. Atlas Shrugged is a great novel for those who seek reality rather than religion - academics be damned.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 19, 2007 7:16:39 AM PDT
You are right.

The vast majority of Academia takes itself too seriously.

In todays' University of Thought(s) Academia IS worthless.

They look in the mirror and see only empty clothes.

The Emperor re-versed.

Posted on May 12, 2007 7:54:41 AM PDT
I have to agree with others about Ayn Rand's status in philosophy: she is not highly regarded at all. That is why her views have been better expressed by other philosophers who were not also novelists. For the record, Rand's view is ethical egoism (the idea that everyone should only pursue one's self-interest and not altruistic purposes), not objectivism (the idea that some ethical values are objectively right and some objectively wrong). These two views are radically different and have little to do with each other. Objectivism may be at the basis of egoism, but it is otherwise unrelated. Just a heads-up. :)

Posted on Jun 1, 2007 10:56:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 1, 2007 12:15:05 PM PDT
Ezra says:
If Ayn Rands novels provide examples of her philosophy in action why are the stories so hard to believe? A philosophy that has to make up a alternate world unlike the world that we live in is not a good reality based philosophy. This is not trying to solve real world problems it is just making up cardboard characters for the philosophy work. It is like teaching a martial art using false scenarios just so the moves work...That is not proof of the martial art really working in a real world setting. Unlike Ayn Rand or her fans, I would not ask the world to change just so my flawed martial arts could work. A philosophy that is not good for the real world has no use. This is major reason why she is not taken seriously.

Posted on Jun 17, 2007 10:30:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 17, 2007 10:31:13 PM PDT
Erin says:
I have read several of Rand's books and find it very difficult to identify with her characters. They are far too cold. As an allegory I can appreciate the book, as human drama I cannot.

Just regarding the comments, it is also important not to mistake the role of academia. Academia does not exist to love and support an idea as much as it thrives to investigate and critically examine important works. If all professors lived their philosophy of study, you might suffer a shortage of professors teaching post-modernism or marxism.

Apart from her writings being recent and her ideas not being all that unique, Rand already has benefactors. It makes funding those academic inquiries a more difficult sell.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2007 4:48:01 AM PDT
Ezra says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2007 4:51:10 PM PDT
"J. Tetreault" states:

"Anyone with a degree in Philosophy from a University can tell you that the vast majority of academia does not take this "philosophy" seriously at all."

Perhaps this is due to the Philosophy Department maintaining a universal philosophical reputation for mimicking a horse show.

That is, a bunch of horses' behinds, showing off their horse's behinds to a bunch of horse's behinds.


QUESTION: What is a philosophy Ph.D.'s usual question in his or her first job?

ANSWER: "Would you like french fries with that, sir?"

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2007 6:50:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 14, 2007 6:55:48 PM PDT
She doesn't portray academia accurately at all. Philosophy is about reason, truth, and LOGIC (Modus Ponendo Ponens, Modus Tollendo Tollens, etc). She acts as if they are all idiots.

Further, some of you probably haven't taken any Philosophy courses and are not speaking from experience. It's pretty obvious from your replies.
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