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Thread: Can't believe there's no thread for Atlas Shrugged [by Ayn Rand]

  1. #51
    Socialitest Bravo's Avatar
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    i agree that it shouldnt matter in the eyes of the law. and in a perfect system, we'd all just say "american citizen" on a census form.

    but it helps in determing the various income levels and social disparity w/in our country, a disparity that for a multitude of reasons is evident along racial lines.
    RIP

  2. #52
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Count me as another denigrator. Rand's books are like cowboy westerns; good things happen to good people, while bad things happen to bad people. It's formulaic. And sure, it's interesting once, in the way that Piers Anthony's Steppe sketches out Central Asian history with spaceships.

    When you scratch below the surface of the novels, there's nothing left. Everything is at the surface. So where is the messiness of life in its contradictions? When are the books going to grow and change as you grow and change?

    Philosophically, Rand failed to appreciate the importance of self-sacrifice, humility, grace. She didn't live in a real world where people of great ability do great evil. She treated martyrs as if they were suicides. She saw enlightened self-interest as absolute (technically, as the only ethical good) and failed to deal with the dark side of selfishness (tribalism and genocide come to mind).

    I don't hate the books, but I disagree with them and they certainly have their limitations.

  3. #53
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I have been following this thread and I know there are a lot of differing opinions on Rand's work. This got me interested since I've never read anything by Rand. I went to the book store and I got overzealous since I don't have anything by Rand and I ended up buying six: Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Anthem, Philosophy: Who Needs It, We The Living and The Virtue of Selfishness--gonna be a lot of laughs around my house . So obviously I won't read them all at once, but any suggestions on which book to start with in this Randian Orgy?
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  4. #54
    Socialitest Bravo's Avatar
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    So obviously I won't read them all at once, but any suggestions on which book to start with in this Randian Orgy?
    the fountainhead.
    RIP

  5. #55
    Lost in the Land of Giants Tienci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnolia42
    ...As far as I was concerned, she had already hammered her points to death by the time I got to the 60-page radio speech. All I could think was, Jeez, we got it already.
    That's how I felt too, but I think that was my only (main?) gripe. I absolutely loved this book and started reading it again right after I finished it (got halfway through the second time though). Overall, it was quite entertaining.
    "Will you won't you will you won't you, will you join the dance?"

  6. #56
    practical experience, FTW
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    Last edited by brutus; 06-22-2010 at 04:14 PM.

  7. #57
    practical experience, FTW erika's Avatar
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    What would Rand say about free will?

    Seems like a no-brainer. She'd say we all have choices and are free to choose which direction to take. But are human beings inherently selfish? And if so, are we really free? So how can you really villify the non-producers?

    I'm wondering how Ayn Rand would address human nature and the free will conundrum. I'm sure some of you are more familiar with Objectivisim than I and would like to know what you think.
    Erika
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  8. #58
    Great Scott Member James81's Avatar
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    Atlas Shrugged

    Anybody ever read this?

    I am currently reading it now, and I am about 2/3 of the way through it.

    I think this is one of the most powerful books I've ever read thus far. In fact, I've never read a book where I feel like the reading itself is not only an experience, but that by reading it I feel like there are things changing about me and who I am and that I am actually putting stuff in me that is solid and strong.

    Never had a book do that for me before, and I am not even finished it yet.

    I'm just at the 3rd Part of the book now and the scope of this book is fantastic. The writing is raw and real and the ideas are amazing. In fact, it's amazing how much a man can learn on BEING a man from this book...which is ironic because it's written by a woman. lol

    Plus, if I remember right, didn't a whole Philosophy come out of this book? Objectivism or something like that?

    For those who've read this, what'd you think of it?

    For those who haven't, put it on your list.
    Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. --Carl Jung

  9. #59
    practical experience, FTW Gary's Avatar
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    I read it many years ago, and while I thought the style was rather heavy, I loved the story.

  10. #60
    Revolutionize the World kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Yeah, Ayn Rand came up with a philosophy called Objectivism, which she's inserted into all of her books, more or less. Not the biggest fan of Objectivism--some really good ideas, but too cold and inhuman for my taste--but I liked this book. Great story. You have my permission to skip the 50-page radio speech.

    I can't wait for the movie they've recently cast. Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart? Hot. I can see Hugh Jackman as Hank Rearden, but I have no idea who they'll pick.

  11. #61
    Absinthe O'Malice TerzaRima's Avatar
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    For those who've read this, what'd you think of it?
    Not to be the bad fairy at the christening, but I didn't like it at all. It read more like a manifesto than a novel. While her thoughts about altruism were bracing when I first read them, the constant undertone of "screw those weaker than me" got old.

    Plus, the sex scenes were terribly grim--they read more like fights IIRC, but I can see that appealing to someone with Jolie's persona.
    Accio Zantac

  12. #62
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James81 View Post
    Anybody ever read this?

    I am currently reading it now, and I am about 2/3 of the way through it.

    I think this is one of the most powerful books I've ever read thus far. In fact, I've never read a book where I feel like the reading itself is not only an experience, but that by reading it I feel like there are things changing about me and who I am and that I am actually putting stuff in me that is solid and strong.

    Never had a book do that for me before, and I am not even finished it yet.

    I'm just at the 3rd Part of the book now and the scope of this book is fantastic. The writing is raw and real and the ideas are amazing. In fact, it's amazing how much a man can learn on BEING a man from this book...which is ironic because it's written by a woman. lol

    Plus, if I remember right, didn't a whole Philosophy come out of this book? Objectivism or something like that?

    For those who've read this, what'd you think of it?

    For those who haven't, put it on your list.
    I have heard SO MUCH about it that I FEEL like I've read it. I've recently read the first 50 pages or so (that's 1/6th of most books, but less than 1/20th of THIS one), and the President of the nationwide railroad whose steel rail supplier is a year late on delivery, causing great problems for the rail company and giving an edge to a competitor, this president still "believes" in this supplier ... well, that's the first and most blatant of several hard-to-believe characters and situations, at least so far...This could be a separate thread, perhaps we've had it already, "How in the world did THAT author get published?"

    Anyway, Rand's ideas definitely have an audience, and apparently that's how her books have sold so well, even if they've got "stuff" like I just described in them.

    But yes, I've heard about Objectivism. There are Objectivist groups around that adhere "strongly" to Rand's philosophies. From what I know of it (admittedly not a whole lot), it's rather strongly related to libertarianism and atheism.

    I recently joined this group: http://fellowshipofreason.com - it's a fairly nice group of "free thinkers", and the founder based it only "somewhat" on Objectivism, and Rand's name doesn't come up TOO often... anyway, the founder of that group is there at every "FORum" )monthly meeting). I've read his book "Fellowship of Reason," and despite it being self-published I think it's pretty good, at least better than what I've read from Rand so far (though it may not be fair comparing Cowen's non-fiction to Rand's fiction).
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  13. #63
    Great Scott Member James81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
    Yeah, Ayn Rand came up with a philosophy called Objectivism, which she's inserted into all of her books, more or less. Not the biggest fan of Objectivism--some really good ideas, but too cold and inhuman for my taste--but I liked this book. Great story. You have my permission to skip the 50-page radio speech.

    I can't wait for the movie they've recently cast. Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart? Hot. I can see Hugh Jackman as Hank Rearden, but I have no idea who they'll pick.
    The thought of Jolie as Dagny Taggart is hot as hell, and I think that she could pull it off.

    But the idea that they are going to take a thousand page book and whittle it down to a 2 hour movie? I predict massive failure.

    Now, if they were going to do a mini-series like they did with the North and the South (John Jakes), THAT would be great. But they are going to miss out on so much by making one movie out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    I have heard SO MUCH about it that I FEEL like I've read it. I've recently read the first 50 pages or so (that's 1/6th of most books, but less than 1/20th of THIS one), and the President of the nationwide railroad whose steel rail supplier is a year late on delivery, causing great problems for the rail company and giving an edge to a competitor, this president still "believes" in this supplier ... well, that's the first and most blatant of several hard-to-believe characters and situations, at least so far...This could be a separate thread, perhaps we've had it already, "How in the world did THAT author get published?"

    You read 50 pages and think you have any idea of what the premise of this book is? lol

    Try reading 500 pages and getting back to us and maybe you'll understand WHY that stuff happened.
    Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. --Carl Jung

  14. #64
    part of the human equation sheadakota's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerzaRima View Post
    Not to be the bad fairy at the christening, but I didn't like it at all. It read more like a manifesto than a novel. While her thoughts about altruism were bracing when I first read them, the constant undertone of "screw those weaker than me" got old.

    Plus, the sex scenes were terribly grim--they read more like fights IIRC, but I can see that appealing to someone with Jolie's persona.
    I have to agree with TerzaRima on this- I tried to get through this several times in high school and couldn'r finsh it due to the heavy handness of it, finally actually forced myself to finish it as an adult- just a few weeks ago- Perhaps it is just Rand's style but I still didn't like it I felt depressed whe I finished it- not how I want to feel when I finish a book-
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  15. #65
    Great Scott Member James81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheadakota View Post
    I have to agree with TerzaRima on this- I tried to get through this several times in high school and couldn'r finsh it due to the heavy handness of it, finally actually forced myself to finish it as an adult- just a few weeks ago- Perhaps it is just Rand's style but I still didn't like it I felt depressed whe I finished it- not how I want to feel when I finish a book-
    I can understand that. I absolutely LOVE this book, but I can understand why some people would hate it. I think it really is one of those books that you either love or you hate.

    I think the thing for me is the honesty of the book. There is a scene where "Hank" tells Dagny that he doesn't love her, he's going to treat her like an object, and that he expects her to just be there everytime he has his "animal desire" for her. She in turn answers him by saying "Hey, you know, I know you have that desire" and that she is his for the taking and that she expects nothing but sex when he wants it and blah blah blah. Then, the last scene of that section is absolutely VIOLENT love-making between the two of them.

    I laughed for about 10 minutes at that. I know it seemed "misogynistic" by our society's standards, but I REALLY loved the fact that two characters were just straight up honest with each other like that.

    And knowing that scene, I really want to see Jolie do that one now that you mention it.
    Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. --Carl Jung

  16. #66
    Cultured vulture Albedo's Avatar
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    Liked Atlas Shrugged? Now read the sequel.

  17. #67
    Prof. Dale Baskets maxmordon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albedo View Post
    Liked Atlas Shrugged? Now read the sequel.
    Hehehe, loved that
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  18. #68
    practical experience, FTW
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    I thought the story was very well conceived, but poorly executed. Philosophical criticisms aside, there were many minor characters included from time to time merely to prove the author's points, and as such they were less than human and could not function to prove the author's points at all. These segments (such as the poor people with the pot boiling-over on the stove) were for me very irksome failures.

    There were also quite a few clumsy scenes, the most notable being the train ride Dagney and Hank took once the bridge was complete. People of skill and genius ("creators"), such as they were, would not likely marvel at the wonders they have created, as having conceived them should already have established absolute confidence. Yet here we have a long-winded and flowery passage about how exhilarating it was for them to have triumphed. This is out of character: both of them would have considered their moment of triumph to have occurred long before the train ride. I suspect they more likely would have spent that ride thinking about their next projects.

    Factors like that definitely contribute to the heavy handed feel. I consider it inelegance. Which is a shame considering how many elegant turns-of-phrase Rand employed in its making.

  19. #69
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James81 View Post
    The thought of Jolie as Dagny Taggart is hot as hell, and I think that she could pull it off.

    But the idea that they are going to take a thousand page book and whittle it down to a 2 hour movie? I predict massive failure.

    Now, if they were going to do a mini-series like they did with the North and the South (John Jakes), THAT would be great. But they are going to miss out on so much by making one movie out of it.



    You read 50 pages and think you have any idea of what the premise of this book is? lol

    Try reading 500 pages and getting back to us and maybe you'll understand WHY that stuff happened.
    Okay, that President has lead poisining or some other mental deficiency, or he's getting paid off big bucks under-the-table by Reardon to run his own company into the ground, or whatever.

    I know the book is all about money, and while I'm strongly pro-capitalism myself and WANT to like the book, I'm finding a hard time doing so.
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  20. #70
    Great Scott Member James81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    Okay, that President has lead poisining or some other mental deficiency, or he's getting paid off big bucks under-the-table by Reardon to run his own company into the ground, or whatever.

    I know the book is all about money, and while I'm strongly pro-capitalism myself and WANT to like the book, I'm finding a hard time doing so.
    The book isn't all about money at all.

    The book, or at least as I am interpretting it as I read it, is more about the murder of a man's spirit.
    Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. --Carl Jung

  21. #71
    Bananas, good sir. Bananas. freezer burned's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James81 View Post
    I think this is one of the most powerful books I've ever read thus far. In fact, I've never read a book where I feel like the reading itself is not only an experience, but that by reading it I feel like there are things changing about me and who I am and that I am actually putting stuff in me that is solid and strong.

    Never had a book do that for me before, and I am not even finished it yet.
    Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf did that to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by James81 View Post
    Plus, if I remember right, didn't a whole Philosophy come out of this book? Objectivism or something like that?
    Artists should leave philosophy to the philosophers and philosophers should leave art to the artists. Ayn Rand created a pseudophilosophy called Objectivism.
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  22. #72
    Stand in the Place Where You Live KTC's Avatar
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    This book is on my once-a-year reading list. I love it. I think Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart would be great casting.

    My only problem with the book is the coldness. They seem a bit perfect. I guess that's why I can see Angelina playing Dagny. Otherwise...I just love the book.
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  23. #73
    I can do this... CBumpkin's Avatar
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    I'll be the wet blanket, I guess. Gak! I HATED this book!
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  24. #74
    Stand in the Place Where You Live KTC's Avatar
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    Hey man...to each his own. I think others said they weren't thrilled with it either, though...you'll have to share that blanket. (-;
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  25. #75
    figuring it all out Shar-Jan's Avatar
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    Atlas Shrugged is completely devoid of any merit, literary or political.

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