I also firmly believe that true ignorance is failing to look at all sides of the arguApparently I agree with Ayn Rand.
I also disagree with Ayn Rand.
I also firmly believe that true ignorance is failing to look at all sides of the argument and cognitive dissonance should be fought.
Given that, this book should probably have just been a series of essays since all the character interaction was simply as set up for another 10 page monologue for Ms. Rand's ideas.
Having said ALL of that, I still actually did like the book overall despite its lack of characters (there were two) since they were all either pro-objectivism or anti and if either they were just a base to go off on either premise.
I thought the ideas were thought-provoking and though she paints a picture that people can actually be as selfish as the main protagonists, which is absolutely crazy to me, I understand that it was more effective to write them that way to establish the points she's trying to make.
I tend to not get political here, but I do lean conservative (probably more libertarian) so that will explain enjoying the book more than others who are not as fiscally conservative as me. I do think freedoms for business should be preserved or else the failings of society that occurred in Atlas Shrugged could happen to us, but I also realize businesses need someone (government) to curb those tendencies to favor profits over the lives of people (read Sinclair's The Jungle).
Having a degree in economics, I learned that people operate on what they have the incentive to do. If money is your incentive, you will work harder for it. If others' welfare is your incentive, you will work hard for them. Bill Gates helped more people through his business endeavors than Mother Teresa. I have a hard time seeing the uproar about monetary inequality, which doesn't address poverty - a completely different issue. I want incentives to be high for people to create drugs that help the world, or technology that makes life better and easier. I don't want the incentives to create more people depending on those producing. That's where I agree with Rand.
Now, do I agree with Rand that if you're not producing or helping the world, you should just rot (at least what I get from it)? No, not at all. I think there are plenty of ways that people need assistance and we need to account for those individuals. Is it nearly the number that use assistance even now? I do not believe so. And on top of that why do we automatically assume that the government is the only way by which the poor can obtain that assistance?
There are a lot of reviewers that revile this book for its conservative ideals, but I was surprised to find there's a lot in here to support if you are progressive, especially regarding women's rights. Atlas Shrugged was published in the 50's and AS promotes the sexual freedoms of women almost as much as freedom of business. Dagney Taggart did what she want with whom she wanted and wasn't afraid to let the world know. I thought this was madly progressive for a book published at this time. Apparently, Rand doesn't just apply her laissez faire attitude solely to business.
Anyway, luckily my political rant is toward the middle so no one will read it anyway. :) Did I enjoy Atlas Shrugged? I did, mostly for the ideas, not so much for the characters or the writing. Do I think this book and its ideas are extreme? Definitely. Would I recommend it? Wholeheartedly (maybe on Audio though?) because I think those ideas are good to address in your own mind whether or not you end up agreeing with them. Is there a healthy middle ground? Yes. Is it the extremes that left us with Trump as president? I do believe so.
4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended to challenge your thinking)...more