The novel was first published a year before I was born in 1957, Rand considered Atlas Shrugged her magnum opus.
The book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by government and politically correct society.
The protagonist, Dagny Taggart, sees society collapse around her as the government increasingly asserts control over all industry, while the world’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. In their efforts, these “men of the mind” hope to demonstrate that a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed, that civilization cannot exist where men are slave to society and government, and that the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society.
I saw the new movie yesterday, and my daughter Lauren and I were VERY disappointed. It does not deserve an association with the book. So many nuances were not portrayed and so many characters were undeveloped or misrepresented.
However, that does not discount the importance of the book for today. It is a powerful and more important read than ever for anyone who believes in capitalism, innovation, and free enterprise.
As a seventeen year old I discovered Atlas Shrugged on a library shelf, promptly took it home and devoured it. The minute I finished it, I turned to page one and re-read it. I was spellbound both times. The concepts gripped me as a young boy, and have continued to be a compass point for my life as an entrepreneur.
Fast forward twenty-six years and my seventeen year old daughter Lauren comes into the house and says, “Dad, I have to tell you about a book you will love! It is called Atlas Shrugged, I found it at the school library and could not put it down. As soon as I finished, I turned back to page one and re-read it in its entirety.”
Weird, huh? But true. Some things are far more than pure coincidence.
So, here are seven reasons I believe Atlas Shrugged is more important than ever:
1.) Cultural creatives are fleeing America and disappearing to more favorable environments. New Zealand, Canada and London, England are only a few of the places that are welcoming American creatives who cannot find a home in their own country.
2.) The American government continues to penalize successful businesses. Many businesses are now labeled monopolies that are simply the best at what they do.
3.) The American government continues to legislate free enterprise through socialistic mandates such as affirmative action. In the words of Michael Jackson, “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white”—in Rand’s words, it only matters if you work hard and earn your wage.
4.) Mediocrity continues to be celebrated and rewarded. When certain American minorities are led to believe that “beating the system” is more important than hard work, we have a major problem.
5.) Social equality is considered more important than free enterprise. Hard work is rewarding. It’s just the way we are made. If everyone would work hard, social equality would take care of itself for the most part.
6.) Innovation is repressed not rewarded. When farmers are paid to burn their crops, we have a big problem. When gas-saving car innovations are squelched because of big oil lobbyists, we have a big problem.
7.) Individuality is discouraged and conformity encouraged. When our own government renders us to a number, not our name, we have a big problem.
If these questions ring true to you—you must read Atlas Shrugged, click the title and order it now!
Question: Even if you have not read the book, do these seven reasons resonate with you? Or do you disagree?
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