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Anthem

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  96,734 Ratings  ·  6,247 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)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Irina
Dec 04, 2007 Irina 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
Pete
Nov 08, 2007 Pete 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 Zora 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
Kamyar
Mar 25, 2007 Kamyar 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
Conrad
Apr 23, 2007 Conrad 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.
Danny Salinger
Aug 16, 2008 Danny Salinger 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
Dec 04, 2013 Daniel 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 at
...more
Heather
Dec 26, 2007 Heather 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
Jonathan
Aug 16, 2007 Jonathan 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
11
Sep 26, 2013 11 rated it it was ok
Shelves: woldview
How did I miss reviewing this book earlier? I must have been suppressing it.

Do you want to know who Ayn Rand is like? She’s like Rainman. Did you ever see that movie, with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman? Rainman (Hoffman) is an autistic savant, whom his brother Charlie (Cruise) wants to use to count cards in Las Vegas. And Rainman would be ideally suited to that too, if he could understand Charlie’s plan enough to cooperate effectively. But being an autistic savant, Rainman doesn’t really get it.
...more
Lyn
Jul 08, 2016 Lyn 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
TK421
Feb 01, 2012 TK421 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
Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 17, 2011 Jeffrey Keeten 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
Matt
Oct 30, 2012 Matt 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
Jill
Jul 27, 2007 Jill 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.
Rowena
Nov 10, 2013 Rowena rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, own, dystopia
“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
Amy
Feb 16, 2008 Amy 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
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
Phyllis
Sep 04, 2007 Phyllis rated it did not like it
ridiculous
Mads
Jul 01, 2007 Mads 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?
Debbie Zapata
Mar 14, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pg
We are not allowed to have our own thoughts. We are not allowed to dream, we are not allowed to BE. At age 15 we are told what we will be doing every day until we are 40, when we will enter the Home of The Useless. We are not allowed to think about anything other than what we are told to think. We ourselves are not important, the great collective WE is all that matters.

But not all of us are content to be simply part of the herd. Some of us think for ourselves even though we know it is a sin whic
...more
Kat
Feb 25, 2008 Kat 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
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 29, 2012 Mike (the Paladin) 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
Edward Park
Mar 14, 2007 Edward Park rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one really
Witless, styleless, and self-righteous. "1984" and "A Brave New World" are far more effective books. Although I can't say I agree that individualism is more important than collectivism, especially when people come together as a whole to do things positive in this world.
Erica
I was probably 13 when my aunt gave this to me to read during my summer break. I think I was having existential angst and wondering why I was the oddball and never the normal one and why other kids had it so easy/were so boring.

I'm assuming my aunt gave this to me in order to show me that individuality is a blessing, that if we were all the same, we'd be little better than robots, that our lives would be pointless. And I understood that message but that's not what made its impact on my tender li
...more
Alex
Jan 02, 2015 Alex 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
Stuart
Sep 26, 2015 Stuart rated it liked it
Anthem: Inferior to Big Three Dystopias: We, Brave New World, and Nineteen Eighty-Four
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
It’s incredible the number of thematic similarities between Ayn Rand’s Anthem (1938) and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1924), as well as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932). While there’s no direct evidence that Ayn Rand plagiarized those earlier works, it’s undeniable the debt owed to their dystopian future societies where the individual has been completely sublimated to the
...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
sologdin
Part I of a multi-part review series.

Standard libertarian dishonesty that seeks to conflate egalitarian doctrine generically with various unpleasant practices. For instance, the state holds back technological development--primitivism--wishing to punish narrator for the comically unlikely invention of an electrical light. State also keeps knowledge of the past secret, of "the towers which rose to the sky, in those Unemntionable Times, and of the wagons which moved without horses, and of the light
...more
Jodi Lu
Aug 21, 2007 Jodi Lu rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: suckers that don't suck as bad as the suckers that read her other books and pretend they like them
see i could DEAL with rand's writing this. she says what she's gotta, then ends it. she's like, "okay let's be honest, i'm not a novelist b/c i really don't write very well BUT i have this THING i really believe in and i wanna share it and gosh darnit people like parables so HERE." why ANYONE would want to read MORE about it and suffer through the out-of-her-element (yes donnie, i said it) torture of the other beasts is beyond me.
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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
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“My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.” 619 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.”
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