So...What is Atlas Shrugged?

Posted by awebb 7 years, 5 months ago to Entertainment
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*** SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet read the book, you may want to skip this post. ***

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When asked "What is Atlas Shrugged?", how do you typically respond? An epic novel by Ayn Rand? A story of a dystopian society where the best among us are disappearing? The greatest book ever written?

We're looking for the clearest, most concise, and most compelling answers to help promote the message of Atlas and the film.

So Gulch... what exactly is Atlas Shrugged? Submit a comment on this post with your answer or vote on the answer you think is best. The best answers just might be used on upcoming ASP3 promotional materials and, if your answer is used, you’ll get a special thanks in the credits of the film “Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?”

This is your chance to not only help spread the word about Ayn Rand and what Atlas Shrugged symbolizes but also... to forever be a part of Atlas Shrugged history.

How long should your answer be? No longer than 15 seconds to say/read. Think of it as an “elevator pitch.” Submit as many answers as you like but please submit them as individual comments.

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  • 17
    Posted by JoesGmail 7 years, 5 months ago
    In 1961 at age 24 while starting a career in Wall Street banking, I was floundering intellectually in a rented basement apartment struggling desperately to make sense of basic philosophy and the obvious contradictions in politics when I saw a physically small woman challenging the physically large titans of American Industry and National Media Men on a TV public affairs panel. I did not recognize her name but watched her grow physically before my eyes as she questioned and answered the challenges and criticisms of these men who seemed to shrink in size before her robust responses. She spoke with clarity, simplicity, profundity and strength without wasting a word. By contrast they waffled and garbled unintelligible explanations of their points of view. They were only clear in their distaste of this woman.
    That moment changed the direction of my life. I called the station to find her name. I rushed to the library to read Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, both non-stop. Those novels changed my life. It was for me already true that I admired capitalism and its entrepreneurism, its incentives and rewards for individual excellence and effort. But it was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged that codified the principles and explained how and why they work and are a benefit to all. Atlas Shrugged gave me the foundation to understand and to articulate the meaning and importance of independent rational thinking, of acting on one’s own reasoning in pursuit of one’s own happiness, and the meaning of pride and the pleasure in doing one’s best whether it was well enough or not.
    Atlas Shrugged provided me with the fuel to strive to succeed, to continue when I didn’t, with the explanation of why dedicated effort in one’s career was a worthy ideal, and with the knowledge and understanding of how and why critics of individual effort will never understand and never experience the pride and joy of self-achievement. In a nutshell, Atlas Shrugged is not only one hell of an inspiring story but the concrete portrayal of a complete systemic and very livable philosophy. Thank you, Ayn Rand.
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  • Posted by stadler178 7 years, 5 months ago
    "Atlas Shrugged" is a story about the greatest mystery there is--man himself, and why the individual is the most precious thing there is. It's a book about me, you, and freedom--the freedom to think and to trade the best of my efforts for the best of yours.
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  • Posted by $ stargeezer 7 years, 5 months ago
    The original title of Atlas Shrugged, The Strike, gives us a clue to what Ayn Rand saw as the theme of the book. It is a period of time when the men and women of ability purposely withheld their labor of mind and body in order to set our nation back on the path a few men who had gained political power had diverted it from. This is the story of how the strike played out over 12 years.
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  • Posted by SolitudeIsBliss 7 years, 5 months ago
    I tell people Atlas Shrugged is a philosophical mirror that reflects the reality of Humanity. It doesn't have to be past, present or future. The story is relevant for all the Ages. There will always be takers, users, moochers, looters and there will always be those that work hard, that produce, that strive to succeed. The real question is: Do we let people fend for themselves, sink or swim, or do we allow government to enslave some to support others?
    Atlas Shrugged is a way to understand Human Nature, Government and in the end, Oneself !
    After reading Atlas Shrugged you WILL know what side you're on.
    I am John Galt !
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    • Posted by jrichter 7 years, 5 months ago
      Great summary. I just wish that the book wasn't a million pages so I could start reading it now.
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      • Posted by Ob1 7 years, 5 months ago
        Remember, it's about the journey to be savored, not just a "destination" just like anything worthwhile in life. (Do you not enjoy reading? Hard for me to comprehend that-) I do recommend reading it in hardbound, got one from abebooks at a better rate than amazon. While in my opinion she could have benefited from a good edit, at 1168 pages it is pretty spellbinding overall. Read it aloud to my wife over a period of time, very enjoyable & remarkably prophetic.
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  • Posted by hburdick 7 years, 5 months ago
    What would happen if the most talented amongst us disappeared? What if the best writers, bankers, builders, doctors, technologists, businessmen, and farmers grew tired of being vilified and went on strike? What if they finally said "Screw you, America, do it yourself!" How long before our products and services, our stores and gas stations, even our society, collapsed? 'Atlas Shrugged' reveals the answer, and it's not pretty.
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  • Posted by MarkofNZ 7 years, 5 months ago
    When it was written - Atlas Shrugged was a warning written as fiction. Now - more than 50 years later - the predicted fictional catastrophe is actually becoming fact. Libraries need to move the book out of the fiction section and it should be required reading for anyone wishing to vote. The author’s insight into the laws of human nature is shared in a grippingly entertaining way that will help you learn who you are and set you on the path to true self-fulfilment. Ignore the books concepts and live an empty, pathetic life or embrace the philosophy exemplified by “John Gault” in the book and you will be able to maximise your life. This is the ultimate Self-Help book for individuals and society.
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  • Posted by Alla_Kukharenko 7 years, 5 months ago
    Atlas Shrugged is about Heroes and Mediocrities.
    Atlas Shrugged is about their ways of thinking and acting, making decisions and making a choice in everyday life.
    Atlas Shrugged is about the world without Heroes and the world without Mediocrities.
    Atlas Shrugged makes us think who we are in everyday life.
    (Sorry for my English, I hope the idea is clear.)
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  • Posted by $ Temlakos 7 years, 5 months ago
    Who are the Prime Movers of society?

    What happens when that society not only deprecates the Prime Movers and what they do, but worse yet, make what they do impossible?

    And who, or what, is impelling so many Prime Movers to stop moving? With whom will those who are left, deal?

    Is someone actively trying to destroy the larger society? And if so: is/are that/those person(s) destroyer(s), or liberator(s)?

    Two Prime Movers desperately seek answers to those questions, as their rulers keep making decisions that make no sense. Soon they will be the only ones left.

    And then each of them must choose.
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 7 years, 5 months ago
    Atlas Shrugged:
    The most powerful, heroic tale ever told of free individuals' continual battle against the forces of those that believe that being liked and idolized and given power by the needy, grasping, envious, and taking group is the source of good for all;
    to keep what he has earned through his own self interest and honest efforts using the power of his mind and personal spirit, for the benefit of himself, his family, and his community of like minded achievers;
    to permit all, the rights of their own choices including the failures and pain that result from a lazy mind, from thieving, and from magical thinking.
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  • Posted by LaissezFaire 7 years, 5 months ago
    Economic freedom results in improvements in standard of living, while large government and a society in which collective interests are valued more than the individuals' takes away incentive of the producers and thinkers to continue working. The novel, originally fiction but more and more non-fiction, illustrates the importance of the men of the mind on our economy when they decide to go on strike.
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  • Posted by $ Rmart520 7 years, 5 months ago
    Atlas Shrugged is a fictional story with an underlying premise that the power of the individual will always triumph over the power of the collective in a truly free society. The characters in the story show the courage, bravery, and intellectual superiority needed to remain as individual contributors and successes while the cowardice, selfishness, and deviousness shows through the actions of the people trying to take away all that the individual has created. Although this was written as a fictional story it has come to pass in recent times that its basic ideals are showing themselves to be so prophetic in today's world
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  • Posted by johnpe1 7 years, 5 months ago
    The story of the future of humankind, set in a time-compressed United States, is "Atlas Shrugged". It is the definition of free people making a voluntary social contract work. It is the answer to your dreams of liberty, creativity and celebration in this life. You have earned it; take this ride with Ayn Rand and it just might save your[ital., please] life! -- j
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  • Posted by Avealina 7 years, 5 months ago
    When I'm asked what the book 'Atlas Shrugged' is about, I simply say, "You know how our government is these days, and how much worse things can/will get if we do nothing about it? Well, the book is exactly what is going to end up happening to our country is we continue to do nothing and let them walk all over us and keep taking away our freedoms. It is precisely what happens when you breed a society that sits around with their hands out and believe they deserve everything, for nothing. That they shouldn't have to work for what they have. That's what the book is about."
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  • Posted by LouisCrain 7 years, 5 months ago
    Atlas Shrugged is about the inevitable collapse of society when politicians strive only for absolute power and when the masses are trained to believe that equality of opportunity should be extended to include equality of outcome.
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  • Posted by cseidman 7 years, 5 months ago
    Starting from a simple question "What would happen if people with creative abilities went on strike?" because of societal norms of altruism, influence peddling, and collectivism, Rand weaves a complex, brilliant, and spellbinding tale of the U' S. on the precipice of chaos. Logical and suspenseful at the same time, the book is a brilliant vehicle for illustrating her philosophy of Objectivism.
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  • Posted by wordmuse 7 years, 5 months ago
    A towering achievement, Atlas portrays a simplified America that lets the reader see with exceptional clarity the values that people hold and the realistic consequences of holding them It celebrates knowledge, competency, loyalty, love, attention to detail, self-reliance, and rationality. Do not take the simplification of America as a negative. The book has a story to tell, and it comes in at more than 1000 pages. If Rand were to try to take into account every nuance to make it more "real" she'd still be writing today from her grave. My favorite novel of all time - it is very much worth the read. And as others have said, it is, unfortunately, prophetic - one feels as though you're reading today's headlines as you read her book.
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  • Posted by $ guinness222 7 years, 5 months ago
    Like my bumper stick says,..."Who is John Galt". Inevitably every time I stop for gas, go to the convienent store, or just doing errands, someone comes up to me and says,"....Hey Who is John Galt, what does that mean?"
    I simply say "Read the book Atlas Shrugged,....then you will reaally know!"
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