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Ayn Rand (1905–1982)

Author of Atlas Shrugged

247+ Works 70,216 Members 1,057 Reviews 287 Favorited

About the Author

Ayn Rand, 1905 - 1982 Novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was born Alice Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905 in St. Petersburg, Russia. She graduated with highest honors in history from the University of Petrograd in 1924, and she came to the United States in 1926 with dreams of becoming a screenwriter. In show more 1929, she married actor Charles "Frank" O'Connor. After arriving in Hollywood, Rand was spotted by Cecil B. DeMille standing at the gate of his studio and gave her a job as an extra in King of Kings. She also worked as a script reader and a wardrobe girl and, in 1932, she sold Red Pawn to Universal Studios. In the 1950's, she returned to New York City where she hosted a Saturday night group she called "the collective." It was also during this time that Rand received a fan letter from a young man, Nathaniel Branden. She was impressed with his letter, and she wrote him back. Her correspondence with him eventually led to an affair that lasted over a decade. He became her chief spokesperson and codified the principles of her novels into a strict philosophical system (objectivism) and founded an institute bearing his name. Their affair ended in 1968 when Branden got involved with another one of Rand's disciples. According to Rand, people are inherently selfish and act only out of personal interest making a selfish act, a rational one. It is from this belief that her characters play out their lives. Rand's first novel was "We the Living" (1936) and was followed by "Anthem" (1938), "The Fountainhead" (1943), and "Atlas Shrugged" (1957). All four of her novels made the top ten of the controversial list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century. On March 6, 1982, Ayn Rand died in her New York City apartment. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Series

Works by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged (1957) 22,549 copies
The Fountainhead (1943) 19,293 copies
Anthem (1938) 10,663 copies
We the Living (1936) 4,172 copies
The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) 2,539 copies
Philosophy: Who Needs It (1982) 1,021 copies
Night of January 16th (1934) 610 copies
The Journals of Ayn Rand (1997) 240 copies
Letters of Ayn Rand (1995) 179 copies
The Ayn Rand Reader (1999) 177 copies
Ideal (2015) 113 copies
Three Plays (2005) 94 copies
The Fountainhead [1949 film] (2003) — Screenwriter/Original novel; Original book — 50 copies
Atlas Shrugged: Part One (2014) — Author — 50 copies
Ayn Rand Letter 1971-1976 (1979) 42 copies
The Objectivist: 1966-1971 (1986) 42 copies
The Ayn Rand Sampler (2002) 33 copies
Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? [2014 film] (2015) — Author — 19 copies
We The Living and Anthem (2000) 9 copies
A Revolta de Atlas - V.2 (2019) 5 copies
Los que vivimos, Vol I (1900) 5 copies
The End of the Road (2009) 4 copies
Kildens utspring 2 (1982) 3 copies
¡Vivir! (1901) 3 copies
Ben (1999) 3 copies
The Objectivist 3 copies
The Objectivist Ethics (2011) 3 copies
Red Pawn (2021) 3 copies
Bencilligin Erdemi (2022) 2 copies
Yeni Entellektüel İçin (2022) 2 copies
Ihtiyacimiz Olan Felsefe (2022) 2 copies
Cultural Update 2 copies
Ayn Rand (Tapes) (1969) 2 copies
Ego 2 copies
What is Capitalism? (1965) 2 copies
A Virtude Do Egoísmo (2023) 1 copy
İdeal 1 copy
Gimn: [: ] (2009) 1 copy
Think Twice 1 copy
Good Copy 1 copy
Escort 1 copy
Apollo and Dionysis (1993) 1 copy
Meaning of Money (1984) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Fourth Science Fiction Megapack (2012) — Contributor — 70 copies
Calumet "K" (1901) — Introduction, some editions — 59 copies
Ayn Rand's Anthem: The Graphic Novel (2011) — Original author — 56 copies

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Common Knowledge

Members

Discussions

Ayn Rand in Legacy Libraries (July 2014)
Ayn Rand in Political Conservatives (May 2012)

Reviews

Overview:
There are many strikes of labor. This is a story about the strike of the mind. When those with a mind are persecuted and blamed for all problems while still forced to be productive, they have a few options. They can continue letting their brain to be looted, or can stop thinking, or leave to use their skills elsewhere. Some cannot help but work harder, even as the outcomes of that effort is looted. Others cease to think for themselves, and start to just take orders, and then blame the decision makers for the problems caused. But over time, many of the decision makers vanish. It is as if a mysterious destroyer keeps taking away those with the ability to think. Leaving only those who loot, and do not take responsibility.

Although the looters want to keep looting other, they hate being looted. They do not perceive themselves as looters, for all their actions are claimed and justified as being for the higher good. Taking the moral high ground and gaining the support of the public, which the public suffer the consequences of the looting. With social support, they keep looting which enriches themselves. But what happens when there is no one left to loot? No one left to think or produce? Whom are they to blame? Within the story, such questions that have uncertain answers are themselves answered with the question: Who is John Galt?

There is a lot of economics and philosophy weaved within this book. The narrative is more background for the economics. Seeing the impact of policies. The impact of competition has consequences for those unwilling to compete. For some, rather than compete, they write laws to remove the better competitors. Claiming that it is for competition, and what is best for society. With the irony of creating a monopoly that destroys the services the public needed.

There are many characters in this book, some of which appear to act inconsistently. But those contradictions only appear like contradictions, as the reader is asked to check the premises in making those character judgments.

Caveats?
The book is polarizing. Although many of the consequences of public policy in this book have historic precedents, they are exaggerated for effect. But they also hint at the authors views on public policy. The protagonists are major industrialists who are persecuted for their greed, but do not seem to be willing to engage politics. With the implication that it is their greed that causes them to be productive. There are fallacies within the economics presented.

The world in this book has different cultural values, which the protagonists seem not to understand. It seems that the protagonists have not been engaging with the culture for that long. They seek to understand that culture, and when that understanding comes, they gain power.

To embed the philosophy, there are very long speeches that people make, within the conversations. These long speeches are more essays on particular topics, and reduce the flow of the narrative. The long speeches seem to ask a lot of the listeners, and the reader, but have more succinct meanings.
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Eugene_Kernes | 397 other reviews | Jun 4, 2024 |
A staggering portrait of emptiness. If only someone had remembered to tell the author.

Atlas Shrugged is breathtaking empty. Devoid of morality, depleted of literary skill, deprived of sensible plot, deserted of dialogue. Philosophy textbooks disguised as novels are rarely appealing, but especially not when the underlying philosophy is so absurd. Like much throat-slitting libertarianism (which Rand chose to call "objectivism"), the views make minimal sense in regard to their actions, but make no sense whatsoever in regard to the consequences of those actions. Take a few logical steps down the line and see what kind of world you'll end up in if you follow these instructions.

(If you're reading this on the cusp of the 2020s, you won't have to do too much guessing; Rand's principles underwrite some of our most prominent world politicians and thinkers.)

Run. Take your children and your pets, grab that wad of cash from under grandma's mattress, and head for the hills. A world awaits you there of kindness and compassion, and - for that matter - genuine literature. Maybe you'll enjoy [a:Lawrence Durrell|8166|Lawrence Durrell|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1463722118p2/8166.jpg] or [a:Sally Rooney|15860970|Sally Rooney|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1534007127p2/15860970.jpg]? Perhaps you're a [a:Toni Morrison|3534|Toni Morrison|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1494211316p2/3534.jpg] type, a [a:Kazuo Ishiguro|4280|Kazuo Ishiguro|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1424906625p2/4280.jpg] acolyte, mad for [a:John Barth|8113|John Barth|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1222685060p2/8113.jpg] or eager for [a:George Eliot|173|George Eliot|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1596202587p2/173.jpg]. Whatever you choose, it's got to be better than this. As Robinson Jeffers famously said, "when the cities lie at the monster's feet, there are left the mountains".
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therebelprince | 397 other reviews | Apr 21, 2024 |
What I like (and dislike) about Anthem is that, as a dystopian novel, it gets to the point. When it comes to dystopias, who're all too similar to one another, I'm notoriously picky about characterization and plot and am forever in search of some moral, which is why I'm not overly fond of Nineteen-Eighty Four or Brave New World. Anthem, however, doesn't screw around wasting your time with particulars but gives you the gist of what's going on in a single sitting. It's a simple book with a simple purpose, and that's exactly what I think a book like this should be.… (more)
 
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TheBooksofWrath | 206 other reviews | Apr 18, 2024 |
I went into reading this book thinking I would love it. By the end, I found myself answering "who cares" every time the book spouted the mantra "who is John Gault."

I was able to read the whole book and did find it interesting enough to finish. I don't think I would be so disappointed if I hadn't gone in with such high expectations for my enjoyment level.
 
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Loolaw-Reads | 397 other reviews | Apr 1, 2024 |

Lists

1950s (1)
1930s (1)

Awards

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Statistics

Works
247
Also by
5
Members
70,216
Popularity
#186
Rating
½ 3.7
Reviews
1,057
ISBNs
1,026
Languages
29
Favorited
287

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