Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Anthem” as Want to Read:
Anthem
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

Anthem

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  133,805 ratings  ·  9,332 reviews
Anthem has long been hailed as one of Ayn Rand's classic novels, and a clear predecessor to her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In Anthem, Rand examines a frightening future in which individuals have no name, no independence, and no values. Equality 7-2521 lives in the dark ages of the future where all decisions are made by committee, all people li ...more
Paperback, 105 pages
Published December 1st 1999 by NAL (first published May 1938)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Anthem, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jean-Baptiste It's impossible to answer. We don't know (from the book) what kind of society the heroes will build. But if we judge from other books by the same auth…moreIt's impossible to answer. We don't know (from the book) what kind of society the heroes will build. But if we judge from other books by the same author, the answer is yes. The author favors an extremely individualistic, inhumane society, where the law of the strongest prevails without constraints. History tells us these societies quickly disintegrate into totalitarian nightmares and people rebel...(less)
Sean Ferguson This is a required book for sophomores in my district

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  133,805 ratings  ·  9,332 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Anthem
Matthew
I cannot believe I just realized now I did not have this book marked as read! I read this back in high school and loved it!

For those thinking about trying Ayn Rand, this is a good intro book considering it is only a little over 100 pages and her other popular titles (mainly talking about Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead) are quite daunting in their length.

Now, in the past I have had trouble reviewing Ayn Rand because she is controversial. Usually this leads to people not being able to separat
...more
mark monday
a long day at work with a lot of that work left unfinished
+ happy hour drinks with colleagues, no they're more than that, with friends
+ I have to get around to reviewing a book by mutterfookin' AYN RAND of all things
=

DRUNK ЯEVIEW #?

so I've been on a hiring spree lately, just hiring people left and right because yay my work is actually getting multiple contracts and that means we can actually hire people instead of everyone doing two jobs per usual nonprofit social services type staffing patterns
...more
Irina
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
The book is about human identity and freedom, and how one can degrade under the chains of collectivism.

A lot of reviews on this book, which are posted on this site, use the word “futuristic” events. I intentionally put the quotes around this word as I tend to totally disagree with the choice of this word. I used to live under socialist regime, a collectivistic society. So I can relate and completely understand the events described in the book, where the word “I” doesn’t exist, when it is a shame
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
The baby version of Ayn Rand philosophy, heavy handed, unimaginative, and unfortunately assigned to my son for high school reading. I struggle with Ayn Rand because I agree with some of her points and I vehemently disagree with others. The point is that bad things happen when the left or the right gain too much control because we always seem to end up in the same place with the government oppressing individual freedoms. It is really stunning to think of the millions of copies of this book that h ...more
Pete
Nov 08, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: pretentious Ron Paul fans
Congrats, Aynnie! You've received my first single star rating! I read this in high school when I was reading a lot of dystopian future literature and thought it was by far the worst of the lot. Granted, if I'd read it when I was younger I might have liked it more, but saying that the even younger, less mature, more pretentious version of my teenage self would have liked something is hardly a glowing endorsement.

As such I've steered /way/ clear of her door-stoppers. I don't think you really need
...more
Zora
May 21, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: oblivious egotists
Shelves: gawdawful
The real tragedy of this book is that the billions of copies that have been printed could have been more appropriately used to build homes for people in third world countries. This book could not be more self indulgent if it came with a bottle of Absynthe and a membership to MENSA. Not only is it impossibly boring to read, the characters are so one dimensional that they put V.C. Andrews to shame. Do yourself a favor: set this on fire and use the fourteen hours that it burns to read Martin's Song ...more
Conrad
Apr 23, 2007 rated it did not like it
Definitely the only book by Ayn Rand I will ever need to read, unless I happen to be reincarnated as an asshole. When people start modeling their book covers after Mussolini-era Italian architecture, worry.
Kamyar
Mar 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Neither a science-fiction masterpiece, nor a futuristic predicament, ANTHEM is a personal reaction to the collectivist system, dominant in Soviet Union and its modernized colonies for more than seven decades. Assumed too much reactionary by leftist intellectuals for rather a long time, it depicts the apocalyptic chaos in a world ruled by collectivist thoughts in the same way that Orwell’s 1984 builds it (for instance, you can think of a world after a nuclear crisis and then come to the meaning o ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Anthem, Ayn Rand

Anthem is a dystopian fiction novella, by: Ayn Rand, written in 1937 and first published in 1938 in the United Kingdom.

The story takes place at an unspecified future date, when mankind has entered another Dark Age. Technological advancement is now carefully planned and the concept of individuality has been eliminated.

A young man known as Equality 7-2521 rebels by doing secret scientific research. When his activity is discovered, he flees into the wilderness with the girl he lov
...more
Danny Salinger
Jul 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: emotionally mature people interested in a good laugh.
Shelves: half-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel
Nov 02, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Daniel by: Erica
Mocking, Childish Review

The ending, with the Statue of Liberty emerging from the beach, was a nice twist. "You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" As it turns out, it was Earth all along.

And, yes, for those keeping score at home, I do intend to use this exact same review for every dystopian novel I read. At least I amuse myself and, really, isn't that what matters most?

Slightly Less Childish Review

Look, I fully appreciate how Ayn Rand and her family suffered
...more
Steven Godin
I have never really been a fan of anything dystopian, but just thought, 'what the hell, let's give it a go'. Although the concept for Anthem sounded promising, on the whole I felt it was poorly executed. Being relatively short I had nothing to lose, unfortunately by the time I reached the last page, put the book down on the table, went to make a coffee, before gazing out the window, Anthem had already started it's super quick journey of escaping my thoughts, scampering off to the nearest forest. ...more
Lea
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
A dystopian novella set in the world where totalitarian collectivism has triumphed to the greatest extent. I did see Rand's potential as a writer, but in this book, her ideas are underdeveloped, and far too simplistic for my taste, and for her to be considered a philosopher, at least at this stage. Book did have some quotable passages but nothing fascinating or invigorating. Also, Rand’s objective is not only simplistic but troubling at times. I’m all up for the quality critique of collectivism ...more
Heather
Dec 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: old-favorites
This book really helped me get my self esteem back together. This was my mantra going into college.... I think it got me through a lot of BS. It is not bad to remind yourself of the following things every once in a while.....

"I am. I think. I will.

My hands . . . My spirit . . . My sky . . . My forest . . . This earth of mine. . . . What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer.

I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and
...more
Lyn
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Compared to the voluminous Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Anthem is a chapter.

But Rand may have been better adapted to writing shorter fiction because this one packs a lean, economical and hungry punch. Dystopian but told like a fable, this is a serious work that works on multiple levels. Very good.

Of the three works, I liked them in this order:

The Fountainhead
Anthem
Atlas Shrugged

description
...more
Jonny
Jul 05, 2007 rated it did not like it
Of all the dystopian novels I have read, this one felt like one of the least inspired. The characters are one-dimensional, the story lacks context altogether, and is entirely made to support Rand's liberal philosophies. Sure, it's really short--so is Animal Farm, but that is a story with depth. Ironically, they both claim to be about Soviet Russia--or at least the author's experience with such. I hope I can claim that my reasoning for disliking this book has more to do with its content, and less ...more
Jill
Jul 25, 2007 rated it did not like it
Ayn Rand was the most overrated writer (I can't even call her a philosopher) of the 20th century, and a great gaping asshole to boot. This book is yet another to support those facts. ...more
Amy
Feb 07, 2008 rated it liked it
A truly interesting read, Ayn Rand's book holds a captivating narrative. But as I watched the character swerve from the absolute collective to an absolute, egocentric conclusion, I ended up pitying the hero and his hapless companion for stumbling upon the wrong conclusion upon which they would base the rest of their existence. And what happened to "The Golden One" (his much less assertive true love)? All I could see was that for all the hero's self realization, his mate was merely a follower and ...more
Roman Struass
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. I think it conveys Rand's message better that he more well known books. The characters and the story are far more interesting. Very inspiring.
This is the best edition of it available at Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Anthem-General...
...more
TK421
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
First off, let me say this: SHAME ON YOU AMAZON! You have prohibited a great cover of this novel from showing here on goodreads. The cover I speak of looks like this: five ghostly apparitions stand forlornly, one is reaching toward a light that looks as if it is an exploding star; they all have chains on their wrists; the far right figure, the only woman, is tenderly reaching for the hand of the man trying to grasp the light; a pitch black background acts as a backdrop. It is the perfect cover f ...more
Kevin Kuhn
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I actually read a recently printed graphic novel version of Anthem adapted by Jennifer Grossman and illustrated by Dan Parsons (did many Star Wars graphic novels). Rand originally wrote this dystopia sci fi novella back in the late 1930's. It's given a beautiful, but somewhat dark and gritty visual interpretation by Parsons, that made it easy and fun to read. I've read Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in the past, both good, but somewhat laborious reading. I read this in about thirty minutes and ...more
Becky
I should say right up front that I'm not at all familiar with Ayn Rand. I own a couple of her books, but I never read any of them until now. I never studied her in school and I'm not familiar with her philosophies, though I know that they are somewhat controversial and polarizing. And I am not a philosophical type person... so take this review with a grain of salt.

This is my first experience reading any of her work, and... I'm not really all that impressed. I got the lack of individuality theme
...more
Rowena
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, dystopia, own
“It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil.” - Ayn Rand, Anthem

Before my Goodreads days, before I knew anything about Ayn Rand, I kept spotting her name on booklists and decided to buy a few of her books. It took me a while to learn that Rand was persona non grata.I did read Atlas Shrugged and surprisingly found it quite fascinating despite not ascribing to her philosophy of objectivism in t
...more
Matt
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Quick read with a lasting impression. Released over a decade before George Orwell's '1984', this is Rand's objection to the idea of Socialist unity and embraces the idea of the human ego and individualism.

Rand herself described this story as a poem, allowing the story to flow. She is able to enforce her philosophy of 'objectivism' without the challenge of a long winded novel (Atlas Shrugged, anyone?)

Although her writing in 'Anthem' is more transparent then her norm, the book still captivates an
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Ayn Rand is I think deserving of the appellation "an odd duck". One of her dearest ideas (and I would suppose ideals) is the the right, willingness and ability to think for one's self. But she functioned in her life with the approach, "my way or the high-way".

This book is worth reading and I think there are valuable things to take away from this little novella. But you need to be able to think. Ms. Rand is a classic case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water." I'd say, read and learn, b
...more
Mads
Jul 01, 2007 rated it it was ok
I never quite figured out why my highschool lit teacher made this required reading. It's something I've always wondered about. Anthem struck me as too much "anti-communist." Somewhat propaganda material for the anti-communist forces. I've always been skeptical of rabid anti-communism. In the novella, the characters have serial numbers instead of names, isn't that what's happening in the capitalist system as well, with our identity cards and employee numbers? ...more
Alex
Feb 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
When dystopian novels - or any science fiction novels - are useful, it's not because they predict the future in any exact way. It's fun when they happen to get it right, but it's beside the point. They're not about the future; they're about now. So Zamyatin's We (1921) shows a future in which individuality has been willfully destroyed in order to point out the shortcomings of the post-revolution Soviet state. Huxley's Brave New World (1931) takes Henry Ford's philosophy to its logical extreme no ...more
Maciek
With the subtlety of a falling safe, Ayn Rand delivers this short treatise on the subject of egotism masquerading as science fiction with only the barest rudiments of a setting, story and plot set out for the reader to classify it as a "novel".

Anthem is set in a world where individualism is dead and collectivism is the only way to live; a complete social, cultural and industrial overhaul has been conducted, and the word "I" has been eradicated from vocabulary. The story is narrated by Equality 7
...more
Brad Lyerla
Nov 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
Give her credit. Rand was an effective spokesperson for the libertarian branch of conservatism for a time, before her eccentricities caused people to stop taking her seriously and others had to step up to defend libertarianism.

The defense is ongoing, but doomed, I suspect. Libertarianism feels too much like a utopian scheme that inevitably must fail in actual practice. It is too narrow, focusing on only a few things that make human lives valuable while ignoring a host of others.

I am not qualifi
...more
Kat
Feb 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: precocious 3rd graders
Futuristic society that doesn't recognize individuals -- everyone's name is "Equality" followed by a number. Cute, huh? One day, Equality-some-number-or-another stumbles across a cave with books in it and discovers the word "I" and immediately realizes what it means even though his cultural and linguistic backgrounds have in no way equipped him to understand but whatever, it's a novella and Rand doesn't have time. Anyway, now Equality-### has an "I" and so he lives in the cave forever and is fre ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Gato Gatuno BC: Anthem 1 1 Jan 09, 2021 01:01PM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Dystopian. Book probably inspired by We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. [s] 5 41 Dec 01, 2020 10:54PM  
Anthem Synopsis and Summary 1 5 Sep 20, 2020 12:04PM  
Anthem Summary 2 11 Sep 01, 2019 06:05PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand
  • Anatomy of the State
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Understanding Objectivism: A Guide to Learning Ayn Rand's Philosophy
  • Choice in Currency: A Way to Stop Inflation
  • Ayn Rand's Anthem: The Graphic Novel
  • A Study Guide for Jack Finney's Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets
  • Of Mice and Men
  • The Crucible
  • Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets
  • The Law
  • Ahlâk Felsefe ve Allah
  • Ayn Rand and the World She Made
  • The Waste Land & Prufrock and Other Observations (AmazonClassics Edition)
  • Animal Farm
  • Gouster Girl
  • Хөгшин чоно ульсан нь
See similar books…
7,935 followers
Alisa Rosenbaum was born in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city (renamed Leningrad) to attend the university, but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sa ...more

Related Articles

Danielle Evans was just 26 when she released her short story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self in 2010, a multi-award-winning...
15 likes · 1 comments
“My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.” 730 likes
“The word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.

What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree and to obey?

But I am done with this creed of corruption.

I am done with the monster of "We," the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.

And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.

This god, this one word:

"I.”
237 likes
More quotes…