"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." -Ayn Rand
I put off reading Atlas Shrugged for years. This was due in small part to medical school, but in large part because I felt it would be a let down as compared to The Fountainhead. In all my reading, I had never encountered a hero quite as perfect as Henry Roark. He personified every trait I respect, admire and aspire to carry myself, most notably, 100% confidence. Then came Hank Reardon, every bit as perfect, every bit as confident.
I appreciate Ayn Rand for the strength and quality of her characters. She gets very wordy with her philosophy bits, and as it is a fiction novel, the settings and plot can get a bit exaggerated, but if you take everything with a grain of salt, it inspires you to think. I find myself constantly agreeing with the points she is trying to demonstrate. As her quote states above, happiness should be the moral purpose of ones life. It's in the Declaration; "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." For most sane people, happiness is accomplished by productive achievement. Which, in turn, is accomplished by reason.
I have found that when I mention how in line Ayn Rand is with my thoughts and philosophies, it deeply disturbs some people, irritates others, makes some happy, and so on. I am implying nothing by saying this. I am not suddenly some huge Republican conservative who thinks that government should have it's hand in nothing and that the rich should just keep getting richer while the poor waste away. I merely enjoy a super hero. For as long as I've had conscious thought, I have wanted to be the best. At anything. At everything. I love to be right. I aspire to be respected and admired. I struggle to be humble. As far as I'm concerned, I will never stop improving myself and attempting to improve those around me. Though, realistically, I know I can not walk around self-absorbed and arrogant, I fantasize at the idea. Ayn Rand's protagonists' are able to do all these things. They build empires and do not allow anyone to stop them. They are so confident, they need approval from no one, and ultimately it works out for them. As one of my favorite quotes from a random Pinterester says, "A tiger doesn't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep", so does Ayn Rand in both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. This review is over-simplified, being completed 2 years after finishing the novel and only partially how I feel about it, but I needed to finish this post for completion sake. Sorry if it radically changes your opinion of me, but I am a ruthless businessman at heart. I just found such a great man, and birthed such amazing children, that I have chosen a different path. But, by god, I will be THE BEST mom there is. My newest passion. And for the record, I am happy as happy can be with my productive achievements and ability to reason and stand by my own logic.