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Atlas Shrugged  
First edition cover.
Author Ayn Rand
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Philosophical novel, Science fiction
Publisher Random House
Publication date 10 October 1957
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 1368 (depending on edition)
ISBN ISBN 0-394-41576-0 (hardback edition)
OCLC Number 412355486

Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the United States. This was Rand's fourth, longest and last novel, and she considered it her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing.[1] As indicated by its working title The Strike, the book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by society. The protagonist, Dagny Taggart, sees society collapse around her as the government increasingly asserts control over all industry, while society's most productive citizens, led by the mysterious John Galt, progressively disappear. Galt describes the strike as "stopping the motor of the world" by withdrawing the "minds" that drive society's growth and productivity; with their strike these creative minds hope to demonstrate that the economy and society would collapse without the profit motive and the efforts of the rational and productive.

The novel's title is a reference to the mythical Titan, Atlas, who in the novel is said to hold the weight of the heavens on his shoulders.[2] At one point, the character of Francisco d'Anconia asks the character Hank Rearden what sort of advice he would give to Atlas. Rearden is unable to answer, so Francisco gives his own response: "to shrug" (with Atlas being a metaphor for the champions of industry who keep the world in place). The novel includes elements of mystery and science fiction,[3] and it contains Rand's most extensive statement of Objectivism in any of her works of fiction via a lengthy monologue delivered by the strike's leader, John Galt.[4]

The theme of Atlas Shrugged, as Rand described it, is "the role of man's mind in existence." The book explores a number of philosophical themes that Rand would subsequently develop into the philosophy of Objectivism.[5][6] It advocates the core tenets of Rand's philosophy of Objectivism and expresses her concept of human achievement. In doing so it expresses many facets of Rand's philosophy, such as the advocacy of reason, individualism, the market economy and the failure of government coercion.

Atlas Shrugged received largely negative reviews after its 1957 publication,[7] but achieved enduring popularity and consistent sales in the following decades. In the wake of the late 2000s recession, and the release of the popular videogame Bioshock (a game inspired largely by Rand's theories) sales of Atlas Shrugged have sharply increased, according to The Economist magazine and The New York Times. The Economist reported that the fifty-two-year-old novel ranked #33 among's top-selling books on January 13, 2009.[8] The novel has been seen as highly influential in conservative and libertarian circles.


Context and writing of Atlas Shrugged

Author Ayn Rand

Rand stated that the idea for Atlas Shrugged came to her after a 1943 telephone conversation with a friend who asserted that Rand owed it to her readers to write a nonfiction book about her philosophy. Rand replied, "What if I went on strike? What if all the creative minds of the world went on strike?"[9] Rand then set out to create a work of fiction that explored the role of the mind in man's life and the morality of rational self-interest,[10] by exploring the consequences when the "men of the mind" go on strike, refusing to allow their inventions, art, business leadership, scientific research, or new ideas to be taken from them by the government or by the rest of the world. Leonard Peikoff noted that "Atlas Shrugged did not become the novel's title until Rand's husband Frank O'Connor made the suggestion in 1956." The working title throughout her writing was The Strike. According to Barbara Branden, the change was made for dramatic reasons––Rand believed that titling the novel "The Strike" would have revealed the mystery element of the novel prematurely.[11]

To produce Atlas Shrugged, Rand conducted research on American industry, specifically the railroad industry, which forms a key element in her novel. Her previous work on a proposed (but never realized) screenplay based on the development of the atomic bomb, including her interviews of J. Robert Oppenheimer, was used in the portrait of the character Robert Stadler and the novel's depiction of the development of "Project X." In order to do further background research, Rand toured and inspected a number of industrial facilities, such as the Kaiser Steel plant, rode the locomotives of the New York Central Railroad, and even learned to operate the locomotive of the Twentieth Century Limited (and proudly reported that when operating it, "nobody touched a lever except me.")[9][12]

Rand's self-identified literary influences include Victor Hugo, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Edmond Rostand, and O. Henry.[13] In addition, Justin Raimondo has observed similarities between Atlas Shrugged and the 1922 novel The Driver, written by Garet Garrett,[14] which concerns an idealized industrialist named Henry Galt, who is a transcontinental railway owner trying to improve the world and fighting against government and socialism. In contrast, Chris Matthew Sciabarra found Raimondo's "claims that Rand plagiarized...The Driver" to be "unsupported,"[15] and Stephan Kinsella doubts that Rand was in any way influenced by Garrett.[16] Writer Bruce Ramsey observed, "Both The Driver and Atlas Shrugged have to do with running railroads during an economic depression, and both suggest pro-capitalist ways in which the country might get out of the depression. But in plot, character, tone, and theme they are very different."[17]

In order to persuade Rand to publish her novel with Random House, publisher Bennet Cerf proposed a "philosophic contest" in which Rand would submit her work to various publishers to judge their response to its ideas, so she could evaluate who might best promote her work.[18] Because of the success of Rand's 1943 novel The Fountainhead, the initial print run was 100,000 copies. It marked a turning point in her life, ending her career as novelist and beginning her tenure as popular philosopher.[19]



Atlas Shrugged is set in a dystopian United States at an unspecified time. Writer Edward Younkins noted, "The story may be simultaneously described as anachronistic and timeless. The pattern of industrial organization appears to be that of the late 1800s...the mood seems to be close to that of the depression-era 1930s. Both the social customs and the level of technology remind one of the 1950s."[20] Many early 20th-century technologies are available, and the steel and railroad industries are especially significant; jet planes are described as a relatively new technology, and television is a novelty significantly less influential than radio. While many other countries are mentioned in passing, there is no mention of the Soviet Union, no reference to World War II or the Cold War. It is implied that the countries of the world are converting to big government statism, along vaguely Marxist lines, in references to "People's States" in Europe and South America. Great Britain, for example, is now the "People's State of England", it is implied that the monarchy has been abolished, but Scotland is mentioned separately. There are also plot elements that refer to nationalization of businesses in these "People's States", as well as in America. The "mixed economy" of the book's present is often contrasted with the "pure" capitalism of 19th century America, wistfully recalled as a lost Golden Age.


The novel is divided into three parts consisting of ten chapters each. Robert James Bidinotto noted "the titles of the parts and chapters suggest multiple layers of meaning. The three parts, for example, are named in honor of Aristotle’s laws of logic...Part One is titled “Non-Contradiction”...Part Two, titled “Either-Or”...[and] Part Three is titled “A Is A,” symbolizing what Rand referred to as “the Law of Identity”.[21]

Plot summary

As the novel opens, protagonist Dagny Taggart, executive of Taggart Transcontinental, a giant railroad company originally pioneered by her grandfather, attempts to keep the company alive during difficult economic times marked by collectivism and statism. While Dagny runs the company from behind the scenes, her brother, James Taggart, the railroad's President, is peripherally aware of the company's troubles but will not make any difficult choices, preferring to avoid responsibility for any actions while watching his company go under. As this unfolds, Dagny is disappointed to discover that Francisco d'Anconia, a true genius and her only childhood friend, first love, and king of the copper industry, appears to have become a worthless playboy who is destroying his family's monopoly, which has made him into one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.

She meets Hank Rearden, a self-made steel magnate of great integrity, who has recently developed a metal alloy called Rearden metal, now the strongest and most reliable metal in the world. Hank chooses to keep the instructions to its creation a secret, sparking jealousy and uproar among competitors. Hank's career is hindered by his feelings of obligation toward his manipulative wife, mother, and ungrateful younger brother, who show no appreciation for everything he provides for them. Dagny also becomes acquainted with Wesley Mouch, a Washington lobbyist who leads the government's efforts in controlling all commerce and enterprise, intentionally destroying the common man's opportunity to build a largely successful, free market business. The reader also becomes acquainted with Ellis Wyatt, the sole founder and supervisor of the successful enterprise Wyatt Oil. He is a young, self possessed, hard working gentleman - one of the few men still loyal to Dagny and Hank's efforts in pushing for a system of business free of government meddling and control.

While economic conditions worsen and government agencies continue to enforce their control on successful businesses, the naive, yet weary mass of citizens are often heard reciting the new, popular street phrase, "Who is John Galt?" This sarcastic phrase is given in response to what tend to be sincere questions often imploring heavy subjects, wherein the individual can find no answer. It sarcastically means, "Don't ask important questions, because we don't have answers."

As the reader proceeds, Dagny begins to notice the nation's brightest innovators and business leaders abruptly disappearing, one by one, under mysterious circumstances, all leaving their top industrial businesses to certain failure. The most recent of these leaders to have vanished is Dagny's friend Ellis Wyatt, who, like the others, has suddenly dissolved into thin air, void of a single warning, leaving nothing behind except an empty office and his most successful oil well now spewing petroleum and fire high into the air. Each of these men prove to be absent despite a thorough search put on by the ever anxious politicians, who've now found themselves trapped within a government that has been "left-to-dry," by its leaders in business - utterly helpless without them.

Dagny and Hank find the remnants of a motor that turns atmospheric static electricity into kinetic energy, along with evidence that the "Atlases" of the world, its "prime movers", seem to be disappearing due to the actions of a figure she calls the "destroyer". While searching for the motor's creator, Hank and Dagny begin to experience the futility of their attempts to survive in a society that hates them and resents their motivation and their ability to create and achieve.

In the final section of the novel, Taggart discovers the truth about John Galt, who is leading an organized "strike" against those who use the force of law and moral guilt to confiscate the accomplishments of society's productive members. With the collapse of the nation and its rapacious government all but certain, Galt emerges to reconstruct a society that will celebrate individual achievement and enlightened self-interest, delivering a long speech (seventy pages in the first edition) serving to explain the novel's theme and Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, in the book's longest single chapter.[22]



The story of Atlas Shrugged dramatically expresses Rand's philosophy of Objectivism: Rand's ethical egoism, her advocacy of "rational selfishness", is perhaps her most well-known position. For Rand, all of the principal virtues and vices are applications of the role of reason as man's basic tool of survival (or a failure to apply it): rationality, honesty, justice, independence, integrity, productiveness, and pride—each of which she explains in some detail in "The Objectivist Ethics."[23] Rand's characters often personify her view of the archetypes of various schools of philosophy for living and working in the world. Robert James Bidinotto wrote that "Rand rejected the literary convention that depth and plausibility demand characters who are naturalistic replicas of the kinds of people we meet in everyday life, uttering everyday dialogue and pursuing everyday values. But she also rejected the notion that characters should be symbolic rather than realistic."[21] and Rand herself stated, "My characters are never symbols, they are merely men in sharper focus than the audience can see with unaided sight...My characters are persons in whom certain human attributes are focused more sharply and consistently than in average human beings."[21]

In addition to the plot's more obvious statements about the significance of industrialists to society, and the sharp contrast it provides to the Marxist version of the Labor Theory of Value, this explicit conflict is used by Rand to draw wider philosophical conclusions, both implicit in the plot and via the characters' own statements. Atlas Shrugged portrays fascism, socialism and communism – any form of state intervention in society – as systemically and fatally flawed, but, in addition, positions are expressed on a variety of other topics, including sex, politics, friendship, charity, childhood, and many others. Rand said that it is not a fundamentally political book, but a demonstration of the individual mind's position and value in society.[24]

Rand argues that independence and individual achievement enable society to survive and thrive, and should be embraced. But this requires a rational moral code. She argues that, over time, coerced self-sacrifice must cause any society to self-destruct.

Similarly, Rand rejects faith (that "short-cut to knowledge," she writes in the novel, which in fact is only a "short-circuit" destroying knowledge), along with any sort of a god or higher being. Rand urges the rejection of anything claiming "authority" over one's own mind - apart from the absolute of existence itself. The book positions itself against religion specifically, often directly within the characters' dialogue.

Sanction of the victim

The concept "Sanction of the victim" is defined by Leonard Peikoff as "the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the 'sin' of creating values."[25] This concept may be original in the thinking of Ayn Rand and is foundational to her moral theory: she holds that evil is a parasite on the good and can only exist if the good tolerates it. Atlas Shrugged can be seen as an answer to the question of what would happen if this sanction were revoked. When Atlas shrugs, relieving himself of the burden of carrying the world, he is revoking his sanction.

Throughout Atlas Shrugged, numerous characters admit that there is something wrong with the world that they cannot identify; frequently, they are struggling with the idea of sanction of the victim. We first glimpse the concept when Hank Rearden feels he is duty-bound to support his family, despite their hostility towards him; later, the principle is stated explicitly by Dan Conway: "I suppose somebody's got to be sacrificed. If it turned out to be me, I have no right to complain." John Galt vows to stop the motor of the world by persuading the creators of the world to withhold their sanction: "Evil is impotent and has no power but that which we let it extort from us," and, "I saw that evil was impotent...and the only weapon of its triumph was the willingness of the good to serve it."

In Rand's view, morality requires that we do not sanction our own victimhood. She assigns virtue to the trait of rational self-interest. However, Rand contends that moral selfishness does not mean a license to do whatever one pleases, guided by whims. It means the exacting discipline of defining and pursuing one's rational self-interest. A code of rational self-interest rejects every form of human sacrifice, whether of oneself to others or of others to oneself.

Government and business

"In Atlas Shrugged, Rand tells the story of the U.S. economy crumbling under the weight of crushing government interventions and regulations. Meanwhile, blaming greed and the free market, Washington responds with more controls that only deepen the crisis. Sound familiar?"[26]

Yaron Brook, "Is Rand Relevant?"
The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2009

Atlas Shrugged endorses the belief that a society's best hope rests on adopting a system of pure laissez-faire. Rand's view of the ideal government is expressed by John Galt, who says, "The political system we will build is contained in a single moral premise: no man may obtain any values from others by resorting to physical force," and claims that "no rights can exist without the right to translate one’s rights into reality—to think, to work and to keep the results—which means: the right of property." Galt himself lives a life of laissez-faire capitalism as the only way to live consistently with his beliefs.

In the world of Atlas Shrugged, society stagnates when independent productive achievers began to be socially demonized and even punished for their accomplishments.[27] Independence and personal happiness had flourished to the extent that people were free, and achievement was rewarded to the extent that individual ownership of private property was strictly respected. This is in line with an excerpt from a 1964 interview with Playboy magazine in which Rand states "What we have today is not a capitalist society, but a mixed economy – that is, a mixture of freedom and controls, which, by the presently dominant trend, is moving toward dictatorship. The action in Atlas Shrugged takes place at a time when society has reached the stage of dictatorship. When and if this happens, that will be the time to go on strike, but not until then."[28]

Rand characterizes the actions of government employees in a way that is consistent with public choice theory, describing how the language of altruism is used to pass legislation that is nominally in the public interest (e.g., the "Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule," and "The Equalization of Opportunity Bill") but which in reality serves special interests and government agencies at the expense of the public and the producers of value.[29] In the novel, the "Anti-dog-eat-dog" rule, as passed by the National Alliance of Railroads, is an example of this type of dictatorship: "The Anti-dog-eat-dog Rule is the logical result of a mixed economy—one in the process of rejecting capitalism. When the government has the power to control and regulate private business, it’s in a position to dispense economic favors."[30]

In the novel, Wyatt Oil after Ellis Wyatt and Taggart Transcontinental and d'Anconia Copper are named after their founders (and, being family-held, their present owners). Nielsen Motors, Hammond Cars and Ayers Music Publishing are also presented as competent. Those who use their own names to name their companies become strikers, with the minor exception of Mr. Ayers of the Ayers Music Publishing Company. On the other hand, names which convey a sense of a collective, impersonal entity are those of "looter" companies: Orren Boyle named his government-dependent, influence-peddling company "Associated Steel." Another example is Mr. Mowen's "Amalgamated Switch and Signal Company, Inc."

Property rights and individualism

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter."[31]

Francisco d'Anconia, Atlas Shrugged

Rand's heroes must continually fight against "parasites," "looters," and "moochers" who demand the benefits of the heroes' labor. Edward Younkins describes Atlas Shrugged as "an apocalyptic vision of the last stages of conflict between two classes of humanity- the looters and the non-looters. The looters are proponents of high taxation, big labor, government ownership, government spending, government planning, regulation, and redistribution."[32]

"Looters" confiscate others' earnings by force ("at the point of a gun,") and include government officials, whose demands are backed by the implicit threat of force. Some officials are merely executing government policy, such as those who confiscate one state's seed grain to feed the starving citizens of another; others are exploiting those policies, such as the railroad regulator who illegally sells the railroad's supplies for his own profit. Both use force to take property from the people who produced or earned it.

"Moochers" demand others' earnings on behalf of the needy and those unable to earn themselves, however, they curse the producers who make that help possible and are jealous and resentful of the talented on whom they depend. They are ultimately as destructive as the looters— destroying the productive through guilt, and appealing to "moral right" while enabling the "lawful" looting performed by governments.

Looting and mooching are seen at all levels of the world Atlas Shrugged portrays, from the looting officials Dagny Taggart must work around and the mooching brother Hank Rearden struggles with, to the looting of whole industries by companies like Associated Steel and the mooching demands for foreign aid by the starving countries of Europe.

One of the novel's heroes, Francisco d'Anconia, indicates the role of "looters" in relation to money itself:

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?... Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or the looters who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil? ... Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into bread you need to survive tomorrow. ... Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values... Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes marked: 'Account Overdrawn.'"[31]

Social classes

The characters in Atlas Shrugged are portrayed based on their productive effort, respect for rights, intellectual honesty, and moral integrity independent of their wealth or social class. Among the heroes, John Galt and Hank Rearden are from working class backgrounds, while Dagny Taggart and Francisco d'Anconia are from wealthy families. Among the villains, Fred Kinnan is from a working class background, while James Taggart and Lillian Rearden are from wealthy families.

Theory of sex

"Through Dagny's associations...Rand illustrates what a relationship between two self-actualized, equal human beings can be...Rand denies the existence of a split between the physical and the mental, the desires of the flesh and the longings of the spirit."[33]

Mimi Reisel Gladstein, "Ayn Rand and Feminism: An Unlikely Alliance"

In rejecting the traditional altruistic moral code, Rand also rejects the sexual code that, in her view, is the logical implication of altruism. In Atlas Shrugged Rand introduces a theory of sex that is based in her broader ethical and psychological theories. Rather than considering sexual desire a debasing animal instinct, Rand portrays it as the highest celebration of human values, a physical response to intellectual and spiritual values that gives concrete expression to what could otherwise be experienced only in the abstract.

In Atlas Shrugged, characters are sexually attracted, usually subconsciously, to those who embody or seem to embody their values, be they higher or lower values by Rand's standards. Characters who lack clear purpose find sex devoid of meaning. This is illustrated in the contrasting relationships of Hank Rearden with Lillian Rearden and Dagny Taggart, by the relationships of James Taggart with Cherryl Brooks and with Lillian Rearden, and finally in the relationship between Dagny and John Galt.

Feminist author and critic Camille Paglia and the contributors to 1999's Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand have noted Dagny Taggart as an example of Rand's "fiercely independent—and unapologetically sexual" heroines who are unbound by "tradition's chains ... [and] who had sex because they wanted to."[34]

Fictional technology & Atlas as science fiction

Technological progress and intellectual breakthroughs in scientific theory both figure prominently in Atlas Shrugged, leading some observers to classify Atlas in the genre of science fiction. Writer Jeff Riggenbach notes, "Galt's motor is one of the three inventions that propel the action of Atlas Shrugged," the other two being Rearden Metal and the government's sonic weapon, Project X.[35] Other fictional technologies included in the story are refractor rays (Gulch mirage), a sophisticated electrical torture device (the Ferris Persuader), voice activated door locks (Gulch power station), palm-activated door locks (Galt's NY lab), and a process for extracting oil from shale. Riggenbach adds, "Rand's overall message with regard to science seems clear: the role of science in human life and human society is to provide the knowledge on the basis of which technological advancement and the related improvements in the quality of human life can be realized. But science can fulfill this role only in a society in which human beings are left free to conduct their business as they see fit."[36]


Atlas Shrugged debuted on The New York Times Bestseller List at #6 three days after its publication date.[9] It remained on the list for 21 weeks, peaking at #4 for a six-week period beginning December 8, 1957.[9]

Atlas Shrugged was generally disliked by critics, despite being a popular success. Helen Beal Woodward, reviewing Atlas Shrugged for The Saturday Review, opined that the novel was written with "dazzling virtuosity" but that it was "shot through with hatred."[37] This was echoed by Granville Hicks, writing for The New York Times Book Review, who also stated that the book was "written out of hate."[38] The reviewer for Time magazine asked: "Is it a novel? Is it a nightmare? Is it Superman––in the comic strip or the Nietzschean version?"[39] In the conservative magazine National Review, Whittaker Chambers called Atlas Shrugged "sophomoric" and "remarkably silly," and said it "can be called a novel only by devaluing the term".[40] Chambers argued against the novel's implicit endorsement of atheism, whereby "Randian man, like Marxian man is made the center of a godless world."[41] Chambers also wrote that the implicit message of the novel is akin to "Hitler's National Socialism and Stalin's brand of Communism" ("To the gas chambers go!").[41]

The negative reviews produced responses from some of Rand's admirers, including a letter by Alan Greenspan to The New York Times Book Review, in which he responded to Hicks' claim that "the book was written out of hate" by saying, "...Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should."[42] In an unpublished letter to the National Review, Leonard Peikoff wrote, "... Mr. Chambers is an ex-Communist. He has attacked Atlas Shrugged in the best tradition of the Communists - by lies, smears, and cowardly misrepresentations. Mr. Chambers may have changed a few of his political views; he has not changed the method of intellectual analysis and evaluation of the Party to which he belonged." National Review did not publish the letter. However, the letter will appear publicly for the first time in Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.[43]

Positive reviews appeared in a number of publications. Richard McLaughlin, reviewing the novel for The American Mercury, compared it to Uncle Tom's Cabin in importance.[44] Well-known journalist and book reviewer John Chamberlain, writing in The New York Herald Tribune, found Atlas Shrugged satisfying on many levels: science fiction, a "Dostoevsky" detective story and, most importantly, a "profound political parable."[45][46] However, Mimi Reisel Gladstein writes that reviewers who have "appreciated not only Rand's writing style but also her message" have been "far outweighed by those who have been everything from hysterically hostile to merely uncomprehending."[47]

Psychological criticism

Former Ayn Rand associate Nathaniel Branden, to whom the book was originally dedicated, argues that Atlas Shrugged "encourages emotional repression and self-disowning" and that her works contain contradictory messages. Branden claims that the characters rarely talk "on a simple, human level without launching into philosophical sermons." He criticizes the potential psychological impact of the novel, stating that John Galt's recommendation to respond to wrongdoing with "contempt and moral condemnation" clashes with the view of psychologists who say this only causes the wrongdoing to repeat itself.[48] Rand herself, however, would not have regarded a novel as needing to portray such "ordinary" human interaction at all, even if an entire philosophy of life does need to address this.[49]

Praise and influence

According to a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club, Atlas Shrugged was second to the Bible as the book that made the most difference in American readers' lives.[5] Modern Library's 1998 three-month online poll of the 100 best novels of the 20th century[50][51] found Atlas rated #1 although it was not included on the list chosen by the Modern Library panel of authors and scholars.[52] The list was formed on 217,520 votes cast.[53]

In 1997, the libertarian Cato Institute held a joint conference with The Atlas Society, an Objectivist organization, to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged.[54] At this event, Howard Dickman of Reader's Digest stated that the novel had "turned millions of readers on to the ideas of liberty" and said that the book had the important message of the readers' "profound right to be happy."[54]

The C-SPAN television series American Writers listed Rand as one of twenty-two surveyed figures of American literature, though primarily mentioning The Fountainhead rather than Atlas Shrugged.[55]

Rand's impact on contemporary libertarian thought has been considerable, and it is noteworthy that the title of the leading libertarian magazine, Reason: Free Minds, Free Markets is taken directly from John Galt, the hero of Atlas Shrugged, who argues that "a free mind and a free market are corollaries."

Conservative commentators Neal Boortz[56], Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh[57] have offered high praise of the book on their respective radio and television programs. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas cites Atlas Shrugged as among his favorite novels.[58]

The award-winning 2007 dystopian video game BioShock was heavily influenced by this book, with the in-game location Rapture being a version of Galt's Gulch,[59] a character named Atlas,[60] and the name of another character, Andrew Ryan, being a play on Ayn Rand's name.[61]

Renewed popularity

In the wake of the late 2000s recession, sales of Atlas Shrugged have sharply increased, according to The Economist magazine and The New York Times. The Economist reported that the fifty-two-year-old novel ranked #33 among's top-selling books on January 13, 2009 and that its thirty day sales average showed the novel selling three times faster than during the same period of the previous year. With an attached sales chart, The Economist reported that sales "spikes" of the book seemed to coincide with the release of economic data. The reason given by Republican Congressman John Campbell was: "People are starting to feel like we’re living through the scenario that happened in [the novel]... We're living in Atlas Shrugged," echoing Stephen Moore in an article published in The Wall Street Journal on January 9, 2009, titled "Atlas Shrugged From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years."[62] Subsequently, on April 2, 2009, Atlas Shrugged ranked #1 in the "Fiction and Literature" category at Amazon and #15 in overall sales.[63][64][65] Total sales of the novel in 2009 exceeded 500,000 copies.[66]

Film and television adaptations

A film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged has been in "development hell" for over 35 years.[67] In 1972, Albert S. Ruddy approached Ayn Rand to produce a cinematic adaptation of Atlas Shrugged. Rand insisted on having final script approval, which Ruddy refused to give her, thus preventing a deal. In 1978, Henry and Michael Jaffe negotiated a deal for an eight-hour Atlas Shrugged television miniseries on NBC. Michael Jaffe hired screenwriter Sterling Silliphant to adapt the novel and he obtained approval from Rand on the final script. However, in 1979, with Fred Silverman’s rise as president of NBC, the project was scrapped.[68]

Rand, a former Hollywood screenwriter herself, began writing her own screenplay, but died in 1982 with only one-third of it finished. She left her estate, including the film rights to Atlas, to her student Leonard Peikoff, who sold an option to Michael Jaffe and Ed Snider. Peikoff would not approve the script they wrote, and the deal fell through. In 1992, investor John Aglialoro bought an option to produce the film, paying Peikoff over $1 million for full creative control.[68]

In 1999, under Aglialoro’s sponsorship, Albert Ruddy negotiated a deal with Turner Network Television for a four-hour miniseries, but the project was killed after the AOL Time Warner merger. After the TNT deal fell through Howard and Karen Baldwin obtained the rights while running Phillip Anschutz's Crusader Entertainment. The Baldwins left Crusader and formed Baldwin Entertainment Group in 2004, taking the rights to Atlas Shrugged with them. Michael Burns of Lions Gate Entertainment approached the Baldwins to fund and distribute Atlas Shrugged.[68] A two-part draft screenplay written by James V. Hart[69] was re-written into a 127-page screenplay by Randall Wallace, with Vadim Perelman expected to direct.[70] Potential cast members for this production have included Angelina Jolie,[71] Charlize Theron,[72] Julia Roberts,[73] Anne Hathaway,[73] Russell Crowe,[74] and Brad Pitt.[69] Subsequent developments have cast doubt on the participation of some of these individuals, although the resurgence of public interest in the novel appears to be attracting additional funding.[75]

See also


  1. ^ Rand, Ayn. Journals of Ayn Rand, edited by David Harriman. (1997) Dutton. ISBN 0-525-94370-6 p.704 Harriman quotes from a 1961 interview in which Rand says, "Atlas Shrugged was the climax and completion of the goal I had set for myself at the age of nine. It expressed everything that I wanted of fiction writing."
  2. ^ As recorded in Hesiod's Theogony, Atlas holds the sky in punishment for waging war against Zeus.
  3. ^ Gladstein, Mimi (1999). The New Ayn Rand Companion. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 42. ISBN 0-313-30321-5. 
  4. ^ For more on Atlas Shrugged, see Robert Mayhew, Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Lexington, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Michael Shermer. The Mind of the Market. (2008). Times Books. ISBN 0-8050-7832-0, p. XX
  6. ^ "Scandals lead execs to 'Atlas Shrugged'" USA Today, September 23, 2002
  7. ^ See, retrieved August 9, 2006, for a list of reviews and bibliographical information.
  8. ^ "Ayn Rand: Atlas felt a sense of déjà vu". The Economist. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  9. ^ a b c d "History of Atlas Shrugged". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  10. ^ Rand, Ayn. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. (1986) Signet. ISBN 0-451-14795-2 p.150
  11. ^ Branden, Barbara (1986). The Passion of Ayn Rand. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company. p. 291. ISBN 0-385-19171-5. OCLC 12614728. 
  12. ^ David Harriman, edit., Journals of Ayn Rand, pp. 311-344, 566-578, 617; Michael Berliner, edit., Letters of Ayn Rand, pp. 311,378, 381-383, and 457-459, and "letter to Isabel Paterson," Feb. 7, 1948, pp.188-193.
  13. ^ Rand, Ayn, "Favorite Writers," reprinted in Schwartz, Peter, edit., The Ayn Rand Column, Second Renaissance Books, 1991, pp. 113-115.
  14. ^ Raimondo, Justin (1993). Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement. Center for Libertarian Studies. ISBN 1-883959-00-4. 
  15. ^ Sciabarra, Chris Matthew (March/April 1999). "Books for Rand Studies". Full Context 11 (4): 9–11. 
  16. ^ Kinsella, Stephan (October 2, 2007). "Ayn Rand and Garet Garrett". Mises Economics Blog. Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved 2009-10-07. 
  17. ^ Ramsey, Bruce (December 27, 2008). "The Capitalist Fiction of Garet Garrett". Ludwig von Mises Institute. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  18. ^ "History of Atlas Shrugged - Development". Ayn Rand Institute. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  19. ^ Younkins, Edward (2007). "Preface". Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Aldershot: Ashgate. p. 1. ISBN 0754655490. "Atlas Shrugged … is the demarcation work and turning point that culminated [Rand's] career as a novelist and propelled her into a career as a popular philosophizer" 
  20. ^ Younkins, Edward Wayne. Ayn Rand's Atlas shrugged: a philosophical and literary companion. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007 ISBN 0-7546-5549-0, 978-0-7546-5549-7. 414 pages. pp. 9-10.
  21. ^ a b c Robert James Bidinotto. "Atlas Shrugged as Literature". The Atlas Society. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  22. ^ Atlas Shrugged, Centennial Edition, Signet, 1992.
  23. ^ On Rand's normative ethics see also Smith, Tara, The Virtuous Egoist: Ayn Rands Normative Ethics Cambridge University Press, 2006 ISBN 978-0521860505 .
  24. ^ Peikoff, Leonard. "Introduction to the 35th Anniversary Edition," in Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1996/1957) Signet. ISBN 0-451-19114-5 p. 6-8.
  25. ^ Leonard Peikoff, “The Philosophy of Objectivism” lecture series (1976), Lecture 8. [1]
  26. ^ Brook, Yaron (March 15, 2009). ""Is Rand Relevant?"". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  27. ^ The concept of societal stagnation in the wake of collectivist systems is also central to the plot of another of Rand's works, Anthem.
  28. ^ "Ayn Rand interviewed by Alvin Toffler". Playboy Magazine. 1964. Retrieved 2009-04-12.  Playboy Magazine, 1964.
  29. ^ Caplan, Bryan. Atlas Shrugged and Public Choice: The Obvious Parallels.. Ashgate Publishing.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  30. ^ "Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - Chapter Summaries and Commentaries". Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  31. ^ a b Atlas Shrugged, p. 410-413
  32. ^ Younkins, Edward W.. "Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Masterpiece". Ashgate. p. 10. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  33. ^ Gladstein, Mimi Reisel. "Ayn Rand and Feminism: An Unlikely Alliance" In: Feminist interpretations of Ayn Rand by Mimi Reisel Gladstein, Chris Matthew Sciabarra. Penn State Press, 1999 ISBN 0-271-01831-3, 978-0-271-01831-7. p. 52.
  34. ^ McLemee, Scott. ""The Heirs of Ayn Rand."". Retrieved 2006-04-03.  originally in Lingua Franca, September 1999.
  35. ^ Riggenbach, Jeff (2007). "Atlas Shrugged as a Science Fiction Novel". in Younkins, Edward W. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing. p. 124. ISBN 0-7546-5549-0. 
  36. ^ Riggenbach, Jeff (2007). "Atlas Shrugged as a Science Fiction Novel". in Younkins, Edward W. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion. Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing. p. 126. ISBN 0-7546-5549-0. 
  37. ^ Woodward, Helen Beal, "Non-Stop Daydream," Saturday Review 12 Oct. 1957, p. 25.
  38. ^ Hicks, Granville, "A Parable of Buried Talents," The New York Times Book Review 13 Oct. 1957, pp. 4-5.
  39. ^ Time, "Solid Gold Dollar Sign," 14 Oct. 1957, p.128.
  40. ^ Chambers, Whittaker (December 8, 1957), "Big Sister is Watching You", National Review: 594–596, 
  41. ^ a b Chambers, Whittaker. "Big Sister Is Watching You." National Review. December 28, 1957.
  42. ^ Greenspan vs. Atlas Shrugged critic
  43. ^ Peikoff vs. Chambers
  44. ^ McLaughlin, Richard, "The Lady Has a Message...," The American Mercury, Jan. 1958, pp.144-146.
  45. ^ Chamberlain, John, "Ayn Rand's Political Parable and Thundering Melodrama," The New York Herald Tribune, 6 Oct. 1957, sec. 6, p.1.
  46. ^ See also: [2], retrieved August 9, 2006, for a list of reviews and bibliographical information.
  47. ^ Gladstein, Mimi Reisel, The Ayn Rand Companion, Greenwood Press, 1984, p. 98.
  48. ^ Branden, Nathaniel. "The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand: A Personal Statement". 1984.
  49. ^ Rand, Ayn, Romantic Manifesto, Revised Edition, p. 26
  50. ^ Subject of article: Headlam, Bruce. "Forget Joyce; Bring on Ayn Rand." The New York Times July 30, 1998, G4 (Late Edition, East Coast).
  51. ^ Subject of article: Yardley, Jonathan. "The Voice of the People Speaks. Too Bad It Doesn't Have Much to Say." The Washington Post August 10, 1998, D2 (Final Edition). Retrieved from ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  52. ^ "100 Best Novels". Retrieved June 20, 2006.
  53. ^ "100 Best"
  54. ^ a b "Hundreds Gather to Celebrate Atlas Shrugged". Cato Policy Report. November/December 1997. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  55. ^ "C-SPAN American Writers: Ayn Rand". Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  56. ^ "How About A Mini Atlas Shrugged? - Nealz Nuze On". 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  57. ^ Yaron Brook, "Is Rand Relevant?" Wall Street Journal March 15, 2009 [3]
  58. ^ Thomas, Clarence, My Grandfather's Son, Harper Collins, 2007, p. 62, 187; 60 Minutes, "Interview with Clarence Thomas," 30 Sept. 2007; Bidinotto, Robert James. "Celebrity 'Rand Fans' – Clarence Thomas". Retrieved May 26, 2006
  59. ^ Bray, Hiawatha (27 August 2007). "BioShock lets users take on fanaticism through fantasy". Boston Globe. Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  60. ^ Gaudiosi, John (12 October 2007). "Head Deep Into Bioshock". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  61. ^ Hodges, Gary (28 August 2007). "Atlas Drowned". Village Voice. Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  62. ^ Atlas Shrugged': From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years The Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
  63. ^ [4] The New York 3/9/09. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
  64. ^ [5] The Economist, 2/26/09. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
  65. ^ [6] The Washington 3/4/09. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
  66. ^ "Atlas Shrugged Sets a New Record!". Ayn Rand Institute. January 21, 2010. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  67. ^ Britting, Jeff (2009). "Bringing Atlas Shrugged to Film". in Mayhew, Robert. Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-7391-2780-3. 
  68. ^ a b c Brown, Kimberly (January 14, 2007). "Ayn Rand No Longer Has Script Approval". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  69. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (April 26, 2006). "Lionsgate Shrugging". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  70. ^ Fleming, Michael (September 4, 2007). "Vadim Perelman to direct 'Atlas'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  71. ^ "Angelina Jolie set to star in Atlas Shrugged". 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  72. ^
  73. ^ a b "Charlize Theron Could Topline Atlas Shrugged Mini-Series | /Film". 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  74. ^ Paris, Susan (February 25, 2008). "John Aglialoro on the Atlas Shrugged Movie". Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  75. ^ Zeitchik, Steven. "With 'Atlas Shrugged,' Hollywood may have its first anti-bailout movie". Risky Business Blog. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 

Further reading


  • Rand, Ayn (1992) [1957]. Atlas Shrugged (35th anniversary ed.). New York: Dutton. ISBN 0-525-94892-9. 
  • Branden, Nathaniel (1962). "The Moral Revolution in Atlas Shrugged". Who is Ayn Rand?. Book co-authored with Barbara Branden. New York: Random House. pp. 3–65. OCLC 313377536.  Reprinted by The Objectivist Center as a booklet in 1999, ISBN 1-57724-033-2.
  • Gladstein, Mimi Reisel (2000). Atlas Shrugged: Manifesto of the Mind. Twayne's Masterwork Studies. New York: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-1638-6. 
  • Hunt, Robert (1983). "Science Fiction for the Age of Inflation: Reading Atlas Shrugged in the 1980s". in Slusser, Robert; Rabkin, Eric S. & Scholes. Coordinates: Placing Science Fiction and Fantasy. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press. pp. 80–98. ISBN 0-8093-1105-4. 
  • Mayhew, Robert, ed (2009). Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-2780-3. 
  • Michalson, Karen (1999). "Who Is Dagny Taggart? The Epic Hero/ine in Disguise". in Gladstein, Mimi Reisel & Sciabarra, Chris Matthew. Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. Re-reading the Canon. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-534-57625-7. 
  • Wilt, Judith (1999). "On Atlas Shrugged". in Gladstein, Mimi Reisel & Sciabarra, Chris Matthew. Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand. Re-reading the Canon. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0-534-57625-7. 
  • Younkins, Edward W., ed (2007). Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion (paperback ed.). Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0-75465-549-0. 

Foreign language translations

  • Chinese:阿特拉斯耸耸肩, 2 vol., published by Chongqing Publishing Group, October 2007, ISBN 9787536686397, Translator: 扬格.
  • Dutch: Atlas in Staking, published by the "De Boekenmaker", (Krommenie, 2006).
  • French: La révolte d'Atlas, 2 vol. (Paris 1958 et 1959, Editions Jeheber)
  • German: Wer ist John Galt? (Hamburg, Germany: GEWIS Verlag), ISBN 3-932564-03-0.
  • Italian: La rivolta di Atlante, 3 vol. (Milano, Corbaccio, 2007), ISBN 88-797-2863-6, ISBN 88-797-2878-4, ISBN 88-797-2881-4. Translator: Laura Grimaldi
  • Japanese: 肩をすくめるアトラス  (ビジネス社), ISBN 4-8284-1149-6. Translator: 脇坂 あゆみ.
  • Norwegian: De som beveger verden. (Kagge Forlag, 2000), ISBN 82-489-0083-5 (hardcover), ISBN 82-489-0169-6 (paperback). Translator: John Erik Bøe Lindgren.
  • Polish: Atlas Zbuntowany (Zysk i S-ka, 2004), ISBN 83-7150-969-3 (hardcover). Translator: Iwona Michałowska.
  • Portuguese: Quem é John Galt? (Editora Expressão e Cultura), ISBN 85-208-0248-6 (paperback). Translator: Paulo Henriques Britto.
  • Russian: Атлант расправил плечи (Издательство Альпина Бизнес Букс, 2007 г.), ISBN 978-5-9614-0603-0. Translator: Ю.Соколов, В.Вебер, Д.Вознякевич.
  • Spanish: La rebelión de Atlas. (Editorial Grito Sagrado), ISBN 987-20951-0-8 (hardcover), ISBN 987-20951-1-6 (paperback).
  • Swedish: Och världen skälvde. (Timbro Förlag, 1986), ISBN 9905849041. Translator: Maud Freccero.
  • Turkish: Atlas Silkindi. (Plato Yayınları, 2003), ISBN 975-96772-6-1. Translator: Belkıs Çorapçı.
  • Hebrew: מרד הנפילים, (Tel Aviv, Israel: S. Fridman, 1999), 2 vol., Danacode 113-138 (hardcover). Translator: Itzhak Avrahami.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?

Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the United States. It was Rand's fourth, longest, and last novel, and she considered it her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing.


Part One: Non-Contradiction

Chapter One: The Theme

  • "Who is John Galt?"
    • Opening line, repeated throughout

Chapter Three: The Top and the Bottom

  • She was twelve years old when she told Eddie Willers that she would run the railroad when they grew up. She was fifteen when it occurred to her for the first time that women did not run railroads and that people might object. To hell with that, she thought—and never worried about it again.

Chapter Four: The Immovable Movers

  • There is no necessity for pain—why, then, is the worst pain reserved for those who will not accept its necessity?—we who hold the love and the secret of joy, to what punishment have we been sentenced for it, and by whom? . . .

Chapter Five: The Climax of the D'Anconias

  • "It is not advisable, James, to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener."

Chapter Seven: The Exploiters and the Exploited

  • "I'll give you a hint. Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong."
    • Francisco d'Anconia to Dagny Taggart

Chapter Eight: The John Galt Line

  • She thought: To find a feeling that would hold, as their sum, as their final expression, the purpose of all the things she loved on earth... To find a consciousness like her own, who would be the meaning of her world, as she would be of his... No, not Francisco d'Anconia, not Hank Rearden, not any man she had ever met or admired... A man who existed only in her knowledge of her capacity for an emotion she had never felt, but would have given her life to experience.
    • Dagny Taggart
  • Wasn't it evil to wish without moving- or to move without aim?
    • Dagny Taggart

Chapter Nine: The Sacred and the Profane

  • "Do you know what that banquet was like? It's as if they'd heard that there are values one is supposed to honor and this is what one does to honor them—so they went through the motions, like ghosts pulled by some sort of distant echoes from a better age. I . . . I couldn't stand it."
    • Hank Rearden

Part Two: Either-Or

Chapter Two: The Aristocracy of Pull

  • "So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?"
    • Francisco D'Anconia
  • "But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made - before it can be looted or mooched - made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced."
    • Francisco D'Anconia
  • "Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it. Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another - their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."
    • Francisco D'Anconia
  • "Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not yet discovered; That no man may be smaller than his money. Is that the reason why you call it evil?"
    • Francisco D'Anconia
  • "It's not a sacrifice to renounce the unwanted. It is not a sacrifice to give your life for others, if death is your personal desire. To achieve the virtue of sacrifice, you must want to live, you must love it, you must burn with passion for this Earth and for all the splendor it can give you - you must feel the twist of every knife as it slashes your desires away from your reach and drains your love out of your body. It is not mere death that the morality of sacrifice holds out to you as an ideal, but death by slow torture."
    • Francisco D'Anconia
  • "Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns--or dollars. Take your choice - there is no other - and your time is running out."
    • Francisco D'Anconia

Chapter Three: Anti-Greed

  • "People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person's view requires to be faked. And if one gains the immediate purpose of the lie - the price one pays is the destruction of what the gain was intended to serve. The man who lies to the world is the world's slave from then on."
    • Hank Rearden

Chapter Four: The Sanction of the Victim

  • "Who is the public? What does it hold as its good? There was a time when men believed that 'the good' was a concept to be defined by a code of moral values and that no man had the right to seek his good through the violation of the rights of another. If it is now believed that my fellow men may sacrifice me in any manner they please for the sake of whatever they believe to be their own good, if they believe that they may seize my property simply because they need it - well, so does any burglar. There is only this difference: the burglar does not ask me to sanction his act."
    • Hank Rearden
  • "I refuse to accept as guilt the fact of my own existence and the fact that I must work in order to support it. I refuse to accept as guilt the fact that I am able to do it better than most people - the fact that my work is of greater value than the work of my neighbors and that more men are willing to pay me. I refuse to apologize for my ability - I refuse to apologize for my success - I refuse to apologize for my money. If this is evil, make the most of it. If this is what the public finds harmful to its interests, let the public destroy me. This is my code - and I will accept no other."
    • Hank Rearden

Part Three: A is A

Chapter Seven: This is John Galt Speaking

  • "You propose to establish a social order based on the following tenets: that you're incompetent to run your own life, but competent to run the lives of others -- that you're unfit to exist in freedom, but fit to become an omnipotent ruler -- that you're unable to earn your living by use of your own intelligence, but able to judge politicians and vote them into jobs of total power over arts you have never seen, over sciences you have never studied, over achievements of which you have no knowledge, over the gigantic industries where you, by your own definition of capacity, would be unable successfully to fill the job of assistant greaser."
    • John Galt
  • "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."
    • John Galt

Chapter Nine: The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt

  • "Get the hell out of my way!"
    • John Galt, on international television

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

This annotated text both summarizes and analyzes Ayn Rand's epic novel, Atlas Shrugged. In addition, the Appendix singles out the significance of certain Characters, Companies, Concepts, Places, Technologies, and other Things in the novel.


Analyses and summaries

Atlas Shrugged is divided into three parts, with ten chapters in each part. Chapters are divided into any number of sections.

Part 1 - Non-Contradiction

  1. The Theme
  2. The Chain
  3. The Top and the Bottom
  4. The Immovable Movers
  5. The Climax of the D'Anconias
  6. The Non-Commercial
  7. The Exploiters and the Exploited
  8. The John Galt Line
  9. The Sacred and the Profane
  10. Wyatt's Torch

Part 2 - Either-Or

  1. The Man who Belonged on Earth
  2. The Aristocracy of Pull
  3. White Blackmail
  4. The Sanction of the Victim
  5. Account Overdrawn
  6. Miracle Metal
  7. The Moratorium on Brains
  8. By Our Love
  9. The Face without Pain or Fear or Guilt
  10. The Sign of the Dollar

Part 3 - A Is A

  1. Atlantis
  2. The Utopia of Greed
  3. Anti-Greed
  4. Anti-Life
  5. Their Brothers' Keepers
  6. The Concerto of Deliverance
  7. "This is John Galt Speaking"
  8. The Egoist
  9. The Generator
  10. In the Name of the Best within Us

All quotes are taken from Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged (New York: Penguin 1992.).

The author of this book is Ayn Rand. Other works by Ayn Rand include The Fountainhead, Anthem and We the Living.


External links

Simple English

Atlas Shrugged is a long book by the Russian-American philosopher Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the United States. It was a very important book which sold a lot. It was her last fiction book she wrote before beginning to write non-fiction.


Atlas Shrugged says that if people cared about themselves, the world will be better.

If we did not make other people give up what they want for what we want, the world would be better.


Atlas Shrugged is a philosophical novel in the form of an exciting mystery and romantic love story. Its main protagonist is Dagny Taggart, a young woman who actually (although not in name) runs the country's pre-eminent transcontinental railroad. The story takes place before the era of commonplace air travel, when trains were the main means of interstate commerce and travel.

Dagny becomes alarmed to find that the country's great minds are disappearing. The men who are the giants of industry and science are abandoning their fields and physically vanishing. She sets out to find out who "the Destroyer" is, the man she believes is seducing them away from their lifes work. She begins searching for him.

During her search, the state of the country and of the world declines greatly. Without the men of genius, industries grind to a halt. The economy falters and recedes.

Finally Dagny finds the man who she had termed the Destroyer. In reality he is a man of high integrity and principle. He lured the industrialists and scientists away from their work by convincing them that working for a world which despises them, and which takes their efforts without adequate compensation, is not only counter-productive but immoral as well. He has formed a secret community with them, in a hidden valley.

In the end, Dagny is won over to this view. She joins this man (his name is John Galt) both philosophically and romantically. Their goal is to bring down society as it exists, so that a new society can be reborn which truly respects genius, hard work, and integrity. Signs are seen at the end of the novel that people are slowly realizing, as the old world crumbles around them, the virtue of living a life of responsibility and respect for the ideas and hard work of others.

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