atlas shrugged – it never really goes away, does it?

I just read in the Economist that sales of Ayn Rand’s classic, Atlas Shrugged, are spiking again – and have been since Obama’s inauguration.

Like many, I read Atlas Shrugged in college, and, like many, it completely changed my life. It’s one of those rare books that comes along and forever changes the lens through which you see the world.

The premise of the book, in brief (especially compared to the 1,000+ pages of the book), is what would happen if all of the talented, motivated achievers of the world just decided they were done being taken for granted, scorned and unappreciated and decided to all disappear. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to tell that by disappear, I mean they all find a place where they can live together, free from the dependents who continually took from them with no give-back or appreciation.

No book has remained a part of me as much as this one, and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. We’re living the first half of the book right now. What I wonder is if the achievers decided to check out, where would they go? (I’m thinking California will be ripe for the taking, soon… just a thought).

Even if you don’t think you can make it through the entire book, read the first 100 pages. The opening scene on the train will strike a chord with you immediately.

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4 responses to “atlas shrugged – it never really goes away, does it?

  1. I find it difficult to believe that all the “talented, motivated achievers” of the world would be so whiny (or paranoid) and have sufficiently low self-esteem as to actually believe that they were being taken for granted, scorned and underappreciated, or care if that in fact was true. But if they were and they did disappear, I assume that two things would happen: 1) They would all go broke because there wouldn’t be any “dependents” around to shop at their businesses, buy their inventions or be their employees, and 2) Some of the aforementioned dependents would fill the void created by them leaving and become a new generation of talented, motivated achievers. I didn’t read the book, though. Is that how it ends?

    • I don’t think they are whining, and they certainly have no deficiency of self-esteem. But they ARE taken for granted and ARE underappreciated. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be making them the enemy in every speech about their jets and lavish events. And we wouldn’t be trying to make them pay even more of the taxes (which will be hard to accomplish).

      They wouldn’t go broke in their own community. They’d sell to each other. Because it’s not the money that motivates them, it’s the producing and being self-sustaining (generally speaking, of course).

      Depending on how complete and thorough the great achiever move-out would be, I think if there were any left, they would move to the top and function as the new leaders. But no, the book has neither ending you suggest. You should read it and find out (quite a tease, huh?).

  2. Sorry for the delay in my response. I may take you up on that book-reading. Anyway, I know I’m not your typical liberal (or stereotypical liberal, anyway), but I believe most people currently deriding those who are having lavish events and flying around in jets are doing so because they happen to be the people who f*cked up the economy (and/or their company) and are taking bailout money. If you do such things, you should not hold lavish events and fly around in private jets. I, for not, do not at all decry successful people who did not f*ck up the economy or their company or accept bailout money. I wish I was one of them. I would like a yacht.

    • Even if they did, and I think the government (specifically Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac) did far more damage, to make them stop spending money is only to punish those who are losing their jobs because of the slowdown in business.

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