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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

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    “Atlas Shrugged” Selling Faster Than Ever

    By kyle | March 14, 2009

    Says this Randian, in the Wall Street Journal today. Says It’s the #41 best selling book at the moment.

    Topics: Barack Obama, Books, Philosophy, Politics | 26 Comments »

    26 Responses to ““Atlas Shrugged” Selling Faster Than Ever”

    1. K Says:
      March 14th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

      The Fountainhead

      is better.

    2. Yankeefan Says:
      March 14th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

      I agree K. That 60-page monologue near the end of Atlas is unreadable, after like 5-10 pp at least. Fountainhead had a much better plot and more developed characters — as developed as they’re going to get in a Rand novel anyway.

      John Galt is some sort of cartoonish uber-mensch, where Howard Roark was a more believable and fleshed out character.

    3. duder Says:
      March 14th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

      And like Bill Maher said, “So is ammunition in Oklahoma”.

      I cant imagine most Most NASCAR fans and lack of college degrees that make up the conservative base of the Republican party being able to understand Ayn Rand, so if this spike in sales of Rands work, in your opinion, has something to do with a backlash against the idea of a coming socialist system in America, think again.

    4. shangui Says:
      March 14th, 2009 at 8:56 pm


      Rand’s philosophical ideas and writing certainly have some important flaws, but being hard to understand is not one of them. A college degree is hardly required to grasp _Atlas Shrugged_. Don’t most people read it when they’re teenagers?

    5. Pat Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 1:42 am

      Ayn Rand was the most prescient author around.
      I hope that everyone is reading Atlas Shrugged, from NASCAR fans with no college degrees to lefties that went to the Agriculture College at Cornell. It changes your world view.

    6. LawhawkSF Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 2:33 am

      As a BA, MA, JD from top tier universities in the 60’s and 70’s, I’m getting a little tired of the current crop of pissy college graduates throwing their half-assed intellectualism around. Your BAs are equivalent to our junior high school diplomas. You didn’t receive an education, you received an indoctrination. Even my alma mater UC Berkeley had a balance of left/right/center professors back then.

      So I read The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, and Atlas Shrugged. In my opinion they all shared a common flaw, to wit: political theory that could never work out in practice.

      So from this conservative Republican who lives in San Francisco, has never been to a NASCAR event, and can read books which don’t have pictures, bugger off with your pseudo-intellectual snobbery.

    7. The blast Furnace Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 2:55 am

      LOL at Duder. As though the lack of college degree in the NASCAR base even comes close to the inner city/welfare base that ACORN trucked in to vote for Obama for free juice and cigarettes.

    8. Jack Bauer Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 6:28 am

      New readers of Rand should check out some of her lectures. In particular this particular defense of capitalism and her brilliant dismantling of the modern liberal and their totalitarian collectivist mindset was delivered just after the Nixon/Kennedy election.

      It could have been delivered yesterday

      Fun (if somewhat useless) factoid: Any fan of MAD MEN will recognize Ayn’s accent (think sexy Strangelove) which was flawlessly reproduced by the in-house psycho-analyst character in episode one.

      No accident, I am sure!

      Ayn Rand’s first talk at the Ford Hall Forum in which she discusses the treason of today’s intellectuals against the nineteenth-century ideal of genuine liberalism.

    9. Truth B Told Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 7:52 am

      The truth is that sales of Atlas Shrugged have increased dramatically because of Obama’s policies. People all over the country are awakening to the threat of Socialism and are seeking the means to resist.

    10. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 8:18 am

      Most Republican voters do not read Ayn Rand. They read The Mighty Thor and TV Guide.

    11. Steve Rogers Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 8:19 am

      duder (sic),
      Thank you for your nuanced, enlightened and elitist view of conservatives. It exposed your knee jerk prejudice towards people and ideas that are different from you and yours. I believe the word that best describes your opinion, as express in your post, is bigoted. Surely you know that, you went to college. However, it appears that you didn’t study grammar.

      To the rest you folks buyin Atlas and ammo. Wait’ll y’all read Anthem and We the Living, I reckon those thar books’ll make ya do some right hard thinkin. By the way duder, this paragraph is called satire and it is directed at you and Bill Maher.

    12. Walt from Michigan Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 8:26 am

      Have the balls the call them “white christians” intead of southern NASCAR fans. Also, be nice to them. They will be your warders when you get to the re-education camp.

      Intellectuals have always been enemies of the state.

    13. Bumr50 Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 9:10 am

      Don’t we have a high opinion of ourselves here.
      Like college degrees from liberal arts schools indicate intelligence.
      And what’s wrong with Thor?
      Or the TV Guide?

    14. Kurt K Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 9:59 am

      While Republicans read The Mighty Thor, Democrats believe they voted him into the White House.

    15. Jack Bauer Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 10:32 am

      Kurt — I believe in Obama’s case, it’s The Mighty Mouse.

    16. Kurt K Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 11:03 am

      Jack, I do believe you’re correct.

      As is Bumr50. Although Thor is a interesting chap, I’m more of a Punisher fan.

    17. IronMike Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

      I’m with LawhawkSF (except I don’t have a JD!).
      When I first tried college in 1985 it was hard. Then one of two things happened when I tried again several years later. Either I got smarter or college got easier. I would love to think it was the former, but sadly I think it was the latter.
      And I read Atlas Shrugged BEFORE I finished my BS, and wow, someone how I understood it, duder, despite my lack of credentials.
      And for the record, I’m a crunchy conservative currently sitting in northern cali.

    18. Brandon Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

      See I’m confused…I though all conservatives were evil corporate fat cats rolling in piles of money and plotting ways to hold down black men. I never knew they were actually NASCAR fans who didn’t go to college. Thanks duder you may know return to watching Bill Maher and thinking of ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

      Has anyone ever noticed that every “great society” has always been destroyed by so called intellectuals and idiotic relativism? That’s the plague that has grabbed hold of the US now. Common sense has been replaced by the ability to cite obscure passages from literature make pithy comments.

      On this subject I loved Atlas Shrugged. It is admittedly a hard read but easy enough to comprehend that my fiance, who has English as a third language, was able to read it…twice. She says it’s her favorite book.

    19. Jack Bauer Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

      brandon == nicely put. I would yrge even urge conservatives who don’t read to buy Atlas Shrugged.

      If nothing else they can use it on “Smack A Liberal Around The Head Day” aka “Atlas Mugged”

      Even my Penguin Modern Classic paperback packs a hefty whack at an impressive 1168 pages.

    20. Sally Says:
      March 15th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

      Like viewers of Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, you spew typical and boring stereotypes (and think there is where you go to find news). I’ve read Atlas Shrugged and I like NASCAR. Why are these two mutually exclusive? If anyone shows a lack of critical thinking skills, it’s liberals who base their opinions on knee-jerk emotionalism.

    21. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 16th, 2009 at 4:07 pm


      I am a Republican and I read Ayn Rand. In fact, I’m staring at my beat up, dog-eared copy of The Fountainhead right now. I guess that would make you wrong.

    22. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 16th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

      Check again, Blackhawk, that your version isn’t the one where Howard Roark becomes crippled and, when in dire need, slams his cane onto the floor and transforms into the Norse god of thunder.

    23. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 16th, 2009 at 10:46 pm

      Nope…it’s the one where he uses dynamite to blow up the Cortlandt Homes project. But then again I doubt you have ever read the book so that reference is lost on you.

    24. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      March 17th, 2009 at 4:25 am

      Oh, come now, Blackhawk, I tell a little joke in order to amuse you and you respond like that? How churlish of you.

    25. blackhawk12151 Says:
      March 17th, 2009 at 8:23 am

      I appear to have damaged Hunter’s delicate Euro-sensibilities. How awful of me.

    26. Rocket OOOOO Says:
      July 3rd, 2009 at 10:08 am

      What isn’t mentioned is that the spike in sales of Atlas Shrugged coincides with a sharp downturn in sales of Sominex and Lunesta. Coincidence? I think not.