Check out the (very brief) book review of Atlas Shrugged I wrote for my OAC class:
“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.”
Thus, the hero of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged chooses sides in an epic struggle for man’s soul – not in heaven, but on earth. The central plot of Atlas Shrugged is a mystery story: as Dagny Taggard, a successful railroad executive, watches the entrepreneurs and inventors of her society disappear one by one, she seeks to discover the source of the scourge that is destroying her world. She witnesses the consequences of the ethics of altruism and collectivism as her society descends into socialism, productive men are turned into slaves, and mooching beggars into her masters.
Throughout the novel, Ayn Rand presents clear examples of her philosophy in action through strong heroes and treacherous villains who demonstrate the importance of philosophy and the consequences of moral and immoral lives. Her characters ask and answer numerous important questions such as “Is reality independent of our minds or is it shaped by them? What is the result of basing our actions on emotions and what happens when we base them on reason? Why are so many successful individuals hated for their success? Should love be free or must it be earned? What is the proper role of government?” However, the most influential question Atlas Shrugged answered for me was “what kind of life must a man lead to achieve a state of guiltless happiness?”
The influence of Atlas Shrugged on my life has been so profound that I am still learning new applications of the philosophy Ayn Rand presented every day. This book is for everyone who has ever questioned the ethics of altruism and asked “what is the purpose of my life?”