Category Archives: Atlas Shrugged Turns 50

Ayn Rand and the Atlasphere in Inc. Magazine

I was just alerted by a new Atlasphere member that the October issue of Inc. Magazine contains an article regarding the 50th anniversary of Atlas Shrugged.

The new issue is not yet available in local newsstands and the October issue hasn’t yet been posted on their web site — so unfortunately I haven’t read it. But apparently the Atlasphere gets a brief mention.

The author, Leigh Buchanan, contacted me in June while conducting research for the article. She said she was planning to write about how Ayn Rand’s novels had influenced entrepreneurs.

Should be worth checking out.

UPDATE (10/1/07): I was able to pick up a copy of this issue today at the local newsstand.

The article is titled “Happy Anniversary, Masters of the Universe” and, despite being only two pages long, was touted in a round, red call-out right on the cover of the October issue.

The article itself is highly favorable to Ayn Rand. After a three-paragraph introduction by Buchanan, the rest of the article consists of quotes from entrepreneurs inspired by Ayn Rand, including yours truly.

Here is the quote they included from me:

“I created The Atlasphere, a social networking and dating site for Ayn Rand fans, after I was approached by a gentleman who said ‘When I go to a new city and I need to find a lawyer or a realtor, I’d like to have a directory of people who love Ayn Rand’s ideas.’ People like to do business with others who share their philosophy. Rand is a starting place for trust.”

–Joshua Zader, [co-] founder of Zoom Strategies, a Web-development business in Albuquerque, and the [owner] of The Atlasphere

The gentleman I refer to is, of course, the late and well-loved Charles Tomlinson.

Terrific Ayn Rand Article at

Marc E. Babej and Tim Pollak, partners in the marketing firm Reason Inc., have penned a wonderful new article about Ayn Rand at, titled “Atlas Shrugs Again.” It begins:

Remember the big question in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: “Who’s John Galt?” In the novel, more and more people ask the question, but no one knows the answer, or even where the question came from. Ironically, the same thing now seems to be happening to Ayn Rand and her philosophy of objectivism. Even leading objectivists don’t know the whole answer, but one thing is sure: A quarter century after her death, and half a century after the publication of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand is back.

The autobiography of former Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan, in which he credits her for his development, just got published with big fanfare. In recent weeks, both The New York Times and The L.A. Times have run articles about her work. Atlas Shrugged has been featured prominently in a recent episode of AMC’s hit series Mad Men. A movie version of the book, starring Angelina Jolie in the main role, is slated for release next year.

Meanwhile, sales of Ayn Rand titles have tripled since the early 1990s–in fact, more are being sold now than at any time in history. Atlas Shrugged sales on Amazon in the first nine months of this year are already almost double the total for 2006. As of this writing, Atlas ranks 124th on Amazon’s sales charts. Compare that to The Da Vinci Code at 2,587.

After reviewing several possible reasons for Rand’s revival, they conclude their article with these interesting and constructive suggestions for marketing “something as amorphous as [an Objectivist] movement”:

–Choose a fertile target. For objectivists, this means conservatives who aren’t comfortable with the religious right and feel alienated and orphaned. Objectivists can attract this audience with a moral argument for capitalism and individual rights by showing that free markets and individual choice aren’t just smart and practical, but also moral.

–Activate your natural supporters. Objectivism is a natural fit for businessmen because it not only tolerates, but extols them. Fortune 500 CEOs can become to objectivism what movie stars are to Scientology and Kabalah.

–Go Hollywood anyway. Like it or not, we live in a celebrity culture, and there’s no publicity like celebrity publicity. Would Kabalah, PETA, Scientology or RED have become household words without the likes of Madonna, Tom Cruise and Bono?

–Accentuate the positive. It’s easy to be a naysayer. It’s harder, but much more rewarding, to offer hope. To win hearts and minds, objectivists need to show not only why they’re right, but how to get from here to there.

–Pick your controversies selectively, and don’t be afraid to court the controversies you pick. Conservative Republicans have dominated presidential politics for over half a century by deftly capitalizing on wedge issues –the latest example being same-sex marriage. Objectivists would do well to steal a page from that playbook by picking a battle on a specific issue in the area of individual rights.

–Get linked. From blogs to Facebook to Wikipedia, the Internet is the ideal medium for movements to build communities of supporters. Links, in particular, are the key to success–between sites of supporters of a movement, and from these sites to others.

How often do you see something like that in the mainstream media? Very good stuff.

Kudos to for being willing to publish such an open and kind review of the current Ayn Rand revival.

See the full article for more.

Atlas Shrugged Movie Producers, Director to Speak at Atlas 50th Celebration in NYC

This just in from The Atlas Society:

We’ve just received word that the producers and director of the Atlas Shrugged movie will be joining us at our October 6, 2007 50th anniversary celebration of the publication of Ayn Rand’s epic novel. These will include Michael Burns, a longtime admirer of Rand and the vice chairman of Lionsgate studio, which is producing the film. With him will be producers Howard and Karen Baldwin, the team that gave us the Oscar-winning film Ray, as well as executive producer and Atlas Society trustee John Aglialoro. Also expected is Vadim Perelman, the director of House of Sand and Fog, who is being tapped to direct the film of Rand’s novel that’s still a best seller after half a century. Their remarks will be during the lunch or dinner portions of the program. Details will be posted on The Atlas Society’s website.

More info at

Novelist Reviews Atlas Shrugged for LA Times

Novelist Richard Rayner, author of the architecture-themed Devil’s Wind, offers up a (who could have predicted?) mixed review of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged for the Log Angeles Times.

He wraps up his review with these somewhat warm, if conflicted, observations:

It’s page-turning stuff, though Rand offers more than a swift succession of “Da Vinci Code”-style story beats. Her descriptions of buildings and landscapes are often brilliant, and she was good at letting the physical world stand for emotion or state of mind. “There was a cold wind outside,” she writes, “sweeping empty stretches of land. He saw the thin branches of a tree being twisted, like arms waving in an appeal for help. The tree stood against the glow of the mills.” She also excels at evoking the peculiar weightlessness of a big party; her understanding of the ruthless dynamic of social competition recalls the sharpness of Jane Austen and suggests that Rand herself was the snubbed outsider at a Hollywood party or two. Stir in the scarcely repressed sado-masochism that tingles through every sexual encounter and you get the Randian fictional brew, a little silly, pretty weird, but thrilling and highly effective.

For decades, critics have scorned Rand for creating paper-thin characters while millions of readers have found that Howard Roark and Dagny Taggart live with them forever. Clearly, she was doing something right. Her message — that each individual can and must without help blaze his or her own path through life — is inspiring, even to those who might already have learned better. More than this, though, it’s the texture, the warp and weave of “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” that compels. Rand called her philosophy “objectivism,” yet the inside of her head, as revealed by these two novels, so much greater and richer and stranger than the simplistic slogans that tend to be adduced from them, was happily unique.

Ya gotta love that tortured last sentence, especially from a fellow novelist.

See his full review for more. I wonder if his own novel is enjoyable.

Major Ayn Rand Article in Today’s NY Times

The Business section of today’s New York Times contains the lengthy article “Ayn Rand’s Literature of Capitalism,” detailing Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged‘s influence on executives and entrepreneurs.

The article begins:

One of the most influential business books ever written is a 1,200-page novel published 50 years ago, on Oct. 12, 1957. It is still drawing readers; it ranks 388th on’s best-seller list. (“Winning,” by John F. Welch Jr., at a breezy 384 pages, is No. 1,431.

The book is “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s glorification of the right of individuals to live entirely for their own interest.

For years, Rand’s message was attacked by intellectuals whom her circle labeled “do-gooders,” who argued that individuals should also work in the service of others. Her book was dismissed as an homage to greed. Gore Vidal described its philosophy as “nearly perfect in its immorality.”

But the book attracted a coterie of fans, some of them top corporate executives, who dared not speak of its impact except in private. When they read the book, often as college students, they now say, it gave form and substance to their inchoate thoughts, showing there is no conflict between private ambition and public benefit.

“I know from talking to a lot of Fortune 500 C.E.O.’s that ”˜Atlas Shrugged’ has had a significant effect on their business decisions, even if they don’t agree with all of Ayn Rand’s ideas,” said John A. Allison, the chief executive of BB&T, one of the largest banks in the United States.

“It offers something other books don’t: the principles that apply to business and to life in general. I would call it complete,” he said.

One of Rand’s most famous devotees is Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose memoir, “The Age of Turbulence,” will be officially released Monday.

Don Hauptman tells us:

The article was evidently prompted by the book’s 50th anniversary next month, as well as the publication of Alan Greenspan’s book this coming Monday.

Aside from a few minor errors and bizarre turns of phrase, the article appears generally accurate and is surprisingly favorable. Click to the resource page and you’ll find links to the 1957 Times review of Atlas, and what may be every article about Rand ever published in the newspaper.

In the print edition of today’s paper, the article dominates the front page of the Business section, taking up about three-quarters of the cover. I’ve heard that Saturday’s edition has the smallest print circulation of any weekday ”” but then, you can’t have everything.

Especially if it’s the New York Times. Still, this is some nice coverage of Rand’s impact on business culture.

Atlas Shrugged 50th Anniversary Celebration

An announcement from the Atlas Society:

Atlas Shrugged 50th Anniversary Celebration on October 6!

Since its publication half a century ago, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged has inspired millions. Come hear leading scholars, experts and achievers discuss the literary, philosophical, moral, economic and political aspects of this great novel and its impact on our world–past, present and future. Our keynote speakers are John Stossel of ABC’s 20/20 show and Charles Murray, libertarian scholar. (See full schedule below.)

Hear any updates on the planned Atlas movie. Celebrate with others who love the book. Don’t miss the excitement! If your life and thinking were changed by Atlas Shrugged, this is a day you won’t want to miss!

You can get further information, updates and register online at

When: Saturday, October 6, 2007, 8:00am- 9:00pm.

Conference and banquet location: Merriott Renaissance Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Afternoon Reception: The Cato Institute, Washington, D.C.

Seminar costs for entire day, reception at the Cato Institute and gala banquet:

$210 before September 21. $250 after September 21. $150 student rate. $199 per night at Renaissance Hotel if registered by September 6.

The Program:

8:00-9:00am — Registration

9:00am — Welcoming Remarks: *Edward Hudgins, executive director, The Atlas Society

9:15-10:30am — Panel One

*Anne Heller, author of an upcoming biography on Ayn Rand — “Atlas and Rand’s Life”

*Mimi Gladstein, author of Atlas Shrugged: A Reader’s Companion — “Atlas and Rand the Writer”

*David Kelley, founder and senior fellow, The Atlas Society — “Atlas in Academia”

10:30-11:00am — Coffee Break

11:00am-12:15pm — Panel Two

*Tibor Machan, professor, Chapman University, philosopher and author — “Atlas and Ethics”

*William Thomas, director of programs, The Atlas Society — “Atlas and Loving Life”

*David Mayer, professor of law and history, Capital University — “Atlas and the American Revolution”

12:30-1:45pm — Luncheon speaker: Charles Murray — “Atlas and Achievement”

2:00-3:15pm — Panel Three

*Edward Younkins, professor of economics, Wheeling Jesuit University — “Atlas and Economics”

*Ed Snider, chairman, Comcast Spectacor — “Atlas and the Entrepreneur”

*Rob Bradley, president, Institute for Energy Research — “Atlas and Business Ethics”

3:15-3:30pm — Coffee Break

3:30-4:45pm — Panel Four

*Fred Smith, president, Competitive Enterprise Institute — “Atlas and Politics”

*Edward Crane, president, The Cato Institute — “Atlas and the Fight for Freedom”

*Edward Hudgins, executive director, The Atlas Society — “Atlas & the Future of Objectivism”

5:00-6:15pm — Reception at the Cato Institute. *Reflections on Atlas Shrugged by Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden.

6:30-9:00pm — Gala Banquet *Keynote: John Stossel, “Atlas and America Today.” *Final Remarks: David Kelley