Today I finally finished Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Having done so, I can say with full honesty that it is the best book I have ever read in my life. I am not exaggerating. It has replaced The Lord of the Rings, the book that was my #1 for about the last 10 years.
No other book caused me to think more about how society has conditioned our morals. I went into the book agreeing with most of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, but I came out having learned more, and agreeing with nearly all of it.
No other book invoked as much emotion in me as Atlas Shrugged had. I literally, yes literally, as in I actually did all of these things while reading the book, burned with frustration, laughed to myself and cried tears of joy. I cried tears of joy because what I was reading was so beautifully written and true. It was comparable to seeing the pure irrefutable truth one finds in a math proof. Ayn Rand’s logic is flawless. The things that were written were things I have believed, but was not able to express in words.
No other book has made me value myself and the human spirit to the degree Atlas Shrugged has. This was what had the biggest impact on me. I didn’t realize that I had trouble allowing myself to be happy and believing that I had the right to be happy. Now I can completely accept that because I’ve read and understood the logic behind it. She also has the best philosophy of love, “Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another,” it means more to know you are loved by someone because you’ve earned it because of who you are, not because they simply gave it to you.
I loved the characters. I loved the plot. I loved the philosophy. This is the best book ever and you must read it if you are to fully appreciate life. There are hundreds of quotes I could have picked to end this with, but I’m going with the one below, if you’ve read the book you’ll understand. If you haven’t, get on it, you won’t know what you’re missing until you’ve read it.
“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”