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When the last time you read Atlas Shrugged?

Posted by minesayn 6 months, 3 weeks ago to Books
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After way too many years, I re-read Atlas Shrugged. I have probably read it 30+ times over the years and I always get something new out of it.
When was the last time you read it? Do you get something new out of it when you do, or is it just the same story with no revelations?


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  • Posted by $ Suzanne43 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    It's been a couple of years. I've read it three times and listened to it twice. I don't know that I get any thing that new out of AS as I do a reinforcement of what is stands for. For example, the part of the book where the so-called hobo on the train has dinner with Dagne is positively the best case against Communism that I have ever read. I do reread that section over and over. AOC should be required to read just that part alone. My AS t-shirt says, "Now no longer fiction." So that sums it up.
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  • Posted by $ pixelate 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    I first read AS 30 years ago. As an engineer, I found the text to be a compelling explanation for what I saw happening in the world. Since then, I have read the book another five times and think that another reading, after being away for 10 years, would be beneficial. I find that re-reading AS is effective in sharpening my mental acuity as it relates to understanding the fundamental differences between individualism and collectivism, both from a philosophical and pragmatic perspective.
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    • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      Pixelate...I had not read it in quite a few years, 10-15 or so, and I, like you, need the refresher every so often. That's why I chose to read it again because of all the turmoil the country seems to be in.
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  • Posted by $ jhannen 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    Just asked my wife, who read both books during a high school summer vacation, who I thought preferred The Fountainhead. She said that she enjoyed both however a slight edge to Atlas. I own an original printing of both. I have read Atlas many times and The Fountainhead perhaps twice. Atlas preferred here!
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      I like AS better. It moves faster.
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      • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
        Did you read AS first? Or The Fountainhead? Just curious.
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        • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 2 weeks ago
          I read The Fountainhead first. I believed I needed the philosophy of Objectivism, but I was afraid of it, as I wanted to believe in pre-destined soulmates, and it offered no such guarantees. (Note: I said "wanted to believe", but I couldn't really know that it was true; I just wished it to be true, and didn't want to be disillusioned). I was afraid of Atlas Shrugged; it was a long time before I would check it out of the library, though I did stop at the shelf, and read parts of Galt's speech. But, gradually, I grew less afraid of the truth, and eventually, I started reading it from the beginning (in the library). Eventually, I checked it out, and took it home. Eventually, I was all right. And A. S. is actually more fun; it moves along, like a machine.
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          • Posted by 6 months, 2 weeks ago
            You may be the first to have read one and then preferred the other, LibertyBelle. To read Galt's speech without having read the rest first, you are awesome. Did you study philosophy as a major, perhaps? I love the Objectivism philosophy, but it is slow going as every word has to be analyzed and comprehended.
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            • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 2 weeks ago
              No, I didn't go to liberal-arts college, though I have had a few tech courses (which didn't get me jobs). After I started learning about Objectivism, I looked up some philosophy in the library, and read some of Aristotle.
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              • Posted by 6 months, 2 weeks ago
                That is absolutely marvelous, that you studied on your own. I have read a little bit of Aristotle, but it sounds like you were motivated. .
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                • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 2 weeks ago
                  Yes. I was in geometry class (I did not much care for math, still less for geometry, although that teacher was very rational in his presentation and explanations; I thought I should have had him in elementary school. I even asked him once why he didn't teach elementary school, and I didn't mean it as a putdown; in fact, I think elementary school is where the best teachers are needed). We were told about the Reflexive Property, which is the same as the Law of Identity. I wondered how to actually prove it with certainty, so I got an Aristotle book from the library, and read where he validated it and showed that it was inescapable; if someone tried to defend the opposite, he would merely end up spouting gibberish. I had to read the explanation over (as I recall ) 6 times; I was starting to get a migraine when I was through. But then, I was reassured.
                  I was about 17 at the time.
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                  • Posted by 6 months, 2 weeks ago
                    Wow, impressive. Geometry gave me fits, but eventually I realized that part of the value of the course was learning to think logically. It took me time to figure out though.
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  • Posted by $ gharkness 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    It's been a few years. I have SO MANY things to read that I likely won't pick it up again, though I am certain there is still un-mined value in it for me.

    Considering that I read it probably 4 or 5 times already, and that I was frustrated/verging on angry at what I saw missing in the movie, I figure I have most of the "gist" of it by now, though there's still more to learn, just as I mentioned in my other comment.

    I have about 2 hours per day max, with some exceptions, that I can reasonably spend reading. I have to mete it out among all the books I haven't read yet, so time for AS is going to be hard to come by.
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  • Posted by Katrina41 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    I read AS just a few months ago--again. Also watched the movie -- again. It never gets old or stale with all that's erupting out there. I find another hidden gem or three each time. BTW, glad to be back after too long away from active participation.
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    • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      I just re-read it a few weeks ago, and I have recently watched the movies again.

      Having read it first, the movies really don't do justice to the book, but then I know it wouldn't be easy to put all the details in the movie and in the order that and wrote it.
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      • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 3 weeks ago
        It could have been better as a mini-series. That Winston Tunnel incident could have made a very good episode in itself. (In fact, as novels sometimes have excerpts in high school English books--for instance, "The Bishop's Candlesticks" from "Les Miserables"--that incident could have been put in an English book that way, with a short preliminary explanation in brackets. With questions for students afterwards, such as "What do you think of Dave Mitchum's behavior?" or "Do you agree with Bill Brent's decision?",etc.)
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        • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
          I think so, too. The movies were decent, but the switching of actors between the various movies was a bit disconcerting especially the extreme age differences between the three actors who portrayed Francisco d'Anconia. With a mini-series there could have been a better rounding out of the story. I read once where Rand was working on a mini-series right before she died. Alas...we will never know what she would have done.
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  • Posted by $ sgijantopaeth 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    Usually re-read once every 12-18 months (it's a commitment, as we all know). Only read The Fountainhead two times, but finished it recently as well. I find that when the world becomes too insane, I re-read Atlas to find some sanity.
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  • Posted by floreo 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    two years ago. Yes, always more to learn.
    I have multiple copies of it and Anthem.

    If I give a copy of Anthem and there is a response, then I give a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

    Spread the word!
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    I may have read it (again) straight through about 10 or 15 years ago. I have looked in it also without reading it all the way through. I don't remember the total number of times I read it through; it may have been about 7 or 8 times. I have also read parts of it in For the New Intellectual.
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  • Posted by jchristyatty 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    I have only read Atlas Shrugged three times. Once in high school, once in my late thirties and lastly about 8 years ago.
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    • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      It is a lot to take in, but once I start re-reading it, I am just as involved as the first time.
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      • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
        Me, too. I have read and re-read all of these since I was 18. I had our library book group read Anthem this year when the regularly scheduled book did not arrive in time. Some got it; others not so much.

        Have you read Ideal, an earlier book and play of Rand's that was recently released a couple of years ago?
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  • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    Informal poll here:

    Which is your favorite: Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead?

    Which did you read first?
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    • Posted by jdg 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      AS -- but I think Part 3 of the movie improved it a lot by cutting the excess verbiage out of that huge speech. YMMV.
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      • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
        Agreed about the speech; the essence of the philosophy was there. I must admit that I find it is difficult to read that chapter; I do, at least most of it, but in order to find more readers, I often suggest the new-to-Rand reader read the first ten pages and the last five pages unless they are huge fans of philosophical text. They will get the gist of her philosophy.
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  • Posted by GaryL 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    Do we really have to read and re-read what we are well aware of once your read it the first time?
    I really did enjoy the DVD movies which reinforced what I read back as a senior in HS in 1969. That teacher would be tarred and feathered today!
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    • Posted by $ gharkness 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      Of course you don't have to do anything! I read AS the first time at 17, in 1967, while I was also a senior in HS. Since then, my additional readings (of AS as well as Fountainhead and treasure-troves of her nonfiction) have garnered me a lot more understanding and nuance. But that may not be the case for you at all. (I did not have the benefit of a teacher who intro'd me to any Rand writing. Rather, it was a friend.)

      It's also possible you have more "room" in your brain than I do (that's a GOOD thing), which in my case, it isn't much. It's always full. In my career as a CPA people were always expecting me to remember numbers for some reason. I would always tell them "that's what computers and pencils and papers are for, and if it's not written down, numbers coming in one side pushes a similar quantity of numbers right out the other side!" But for concepts, thank goodness I have a bit more room. Still - for me - a reminder and an enjoyment of Rand's unique way of wording concepts - is a good thing. If you are happy with your enjoyment of it all, then there's nothing to change.
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      • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
        I read it first as a senior in high school (1973), then read The Fountainhead and the rest of her fiction before reading her nonfiction. Yet, have always gone back to reading Atlas Shrugged the most although I have read all of her fiction that I have able to get my hands several times.
        Depending where I was in my career, I saw things differently as I read it (re-read). Even with my recent re-reading, I found more in the text than I had seen earlier. She was quite a wordsmith considering that English was NOT her first language.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    I found it six years ago, right after I found Fountainhead. Now some plot elements of the two stories get confused in my mind. I would benefit from reading it again.
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    • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      My own informal poll then: which did you prefer? The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged?

      Yes, you probably would benefit from reading them again. I always discover something new (profound) each time I re-read them. I don't know if it is due to the fact that I am older and with different life experiences, I see something different in the text.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 6 months, 3 weeks ago
        I liked Fountainhead slightly more, but I found it first, so that might have made me appreciate it more. I loved how Roark was not as plugged into the media and he ends up doing menial jobs because he won't compromise his beliefs, but he comes out on top over his more politically -minded college friend. Despite looking good, Keating turns out to be pathetic, not evil but pathetic. The media magnate turns out to be an intelligent guy willing to sell out his beliefs to make sure no one hurts him as they did when he was boy. Wynand is angry at Roark for not selling out, yet he admires Roark. They all seem tragic, except for Toohey, who really is evil.
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        • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
          I agree with your assessments of the characters.

          This is my observation over years of asking people who read both which they preferred (liked better). Whichever one the person read first (in your case The Fountainhead) tends to be their favorite. I read in the reverse order from you, and I like Atlas Shrugged more. I have read both numerous times, but Atlas Shrugged is the one I return to again and again.
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          • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 2 weeks ago
            I read The Fountainhead first, but I definitely liked Atlas Shrugged better. It moves faster; like a machine; and there is no rape in it.
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            • Posted by 6 months, 2 weeks ago
              Yes, it appears to be consensual throughout Atlas Shrugged as opposed to the first time Roark and Dominique have sex.
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              • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 2 weeks ago
                Well, I read in a compilation, Letters of Ayn Rand, one answer she wrote to someone's question about whether Roark had violated Dominique's personal rights, Ayn Rand's answer:[memory quote] "Of course not. Roark did not actually rape Dominique. It was a symbolic action which Dominique practically invited." And maybe she did; when she asked him why he had not come to fix the fireplace, (instead of Pasquale Orsini), he said that he had thought it wouldn't make any difference who came. "Or did it, Miss Francon?" and then she hit him with a whip or a stick she had been carrying. And that was a physical assault. Ayn Rand also said,[another memory quote] "An actual rape of an unwilling victim would be a horrible crime."
                She also said elsewhere that some people thought [another memory quote] "that the lesson of The Fountainhead is that a man should force himself on a woman, and that she would like him for this..." which implies that that was not what she had been saying.
                But,from what I understand, men have often used some excuse like that. I'm not blaming Ayn Rand for that, however.
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  • Posted by $ 25n56il4 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    Last week! "Shall is mandatory". "May" is optional. In a City Ordinance anyway!
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    • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
      You read it last week? That is fantastic.
      I understand the difference in May and Shall, but Rand uses the word frequently enough that it was apparent that the capital A stood out. The same for the Wayne-Falkland, which is used throughout the novel.
      One of my biggest observations is how often the various characters SHRUGGED, SHRUG, or are SHRUGGING in the novel. With my Nook I could highlight it, and I didn't even start highlighting until I was a few days into the book.
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  • Posted by 6 months, 3 weeks ago
    By the way, since I was reading it with my Nook, I noticed among other things that the Wayne-Falkland and the word 'may' were almost always written as WAy ne-Falkland and mAy.
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