“Who is John Galt?” With those immortal words, so begins Ayn Rand’s novelization of her philosophy of Objectivism in Atlas Shrugged, a work that continues to influence how I live and write today. The theme of the novel, according to its author, is “the role of the mind in man’s existence.” The heroes of the story understand the mind, and the role of logic and reason in high achievement. She writes in the afterword: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
First published in 1957, it is without question one of the most profound and impactful novels of the 20th century. Every American needs to read this book. You may even notice some interesting parallels to today’s reality. Taking it a step further, anyone who reads Atlas Shrugged and takes the time to internalize and conceptualize its themes, will move forward as a stronger, more productive citizen. I’d also recommend studying Ayn Rand as you start your reading journey. Where she came from and how she formed the basis of her philosophy is just as important as the plot and storyline. While I was in BUD/S, I went to a small independent theater in San Diego to see Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life. That documentary is an excellent place to begin. It is valuable to read Atlas Shrugged at different stages of life; high school, college, once in the private sector, and again after one has gained wisdom through experience and adversity. Ayn Rand lived her life to the fullest. The gift she left all of us is the example and ability to do the same.