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December 20, 2023 | read

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand [Book Review]

Brandon Hall

Atlas Shrugged is an excellent book that will leave you questioning your values and morality and it’s one of our top book recommendations for entrepreneurs. It’s a fast paced read focusing on economic and social strife and how entrepreneurs are impacted by regulatory bodies. 

Taxes and accounting are fun topics to talk about. However, I also enjoy sharing ideas, topics, and products with my readers and clients if I believe they will add value to their investments, businesses and lives. I’ve recently finished reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. It’s quite thick (figuratively and literally) and while not a self-help book, it’s a must read for all investors and entrepreneurs.

Who Should Read Atlas Shrugged?

All investors and business owners should absolutely read this book. It should also be required reading for anyone wishing to run for public office. Regardless of political views, there are many points in this book that will make you question your values, not only as a person, but as a capitalist who wants to build wealth.

It’s quite a daunting read, coming in at around 1,150 pages. It took me about three months to read though I wasn’t necessarily trying to power through it. Some of the philosophical arguments often required that I set the book down and focus on something else to give my poor CPA brain a rest.

Why Read Atlas Shrugged?

The book does a decent job at portraying both sides of the political spectrum and the challenges that each side face, though Rand is clearly biased. Better yet, the book’s primary focus is on the business sector and what happens as various laws are instituted and the world becomes regulated.

I suggest reading the book purely for perspective sake if nothing else. My values and moral compass were challenged consistently, even when I thought I agreed with Rand.

One of the best reasons to read the book is to simply have a gut check about the reality we face today. Businesses are facing new regulations and challenges and both the Republicans and Democrats are offering candidates that are poised to drastically change the real estate market. Whether you agree with Rand or not, it’s always a good idea to step into another person’s shoes and see everything from their perspective. Rand wishes to show you the struggles of business leaders and the moral and political challenges they tend to face.

Atlas Shrugged Review

It’s a mystery story, though not in the traditional sense. To solve the question of “Who is John Galt?” you’ll want to continue turning the page. Rand’s fantastic plot is full of twists and turns, emotions, philosophical and political arguments, and action thriller making this a sometimes (literally) adrenaline induced read.

The setting is the industrial age – the age of using railroads as mass transportation. The main characters are productive geniuses operating large scale businesses and are at the forefront of the changing economic landscape. They face pressure from regulations, falling prices, and increased demands. Often times, this leads to business owners, both large and small, to going out of business and simply disappearing.

Yet no one knows why business owners are declaring bankruptcy or how the business owners are disappearing off the face of the earth. As the economy crumbles, more regulations are introduced in attempt to stabilize rising costs and keep producers in check. However this leads to further bankruptcies and disappearances. It’s a downward spiral that can’t be fought and the only hope for recovery is abandonment of the new regulations and reinstatement of the business owners and their businesses. The only problem is that no one knows where the producers have gone.

Hope rests with Dagny Taggart, the Vice President of Operations of Taggart Transcontinental. Will her sheer will and brain power be enough to combat the political figures in Washington, D.C. or will she give in like many of her peers and simply disappear?

This book was a great deal of fun to read. It led to many philosophical, political, and business discussions with my peers, roommate, girlfriend, and family members. While most certainly on the extreme side of any scenario, Rand certainly gives the reader plenty to think about. The values, beliefs, and morals I held close prior to reading Atlas Shrugged are now all a bit different. It’s that good.

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