In a recent Tweet, actor Rob Lowe asks, “Can someone explain the vitriol whenever Ayn Rand comes up? ‘Atlas’ is the greatest motivator for the individual that I can imagine.”

Lowe is right. Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is immensely inspirational. In addition to offering profound political and philosophical insights, Atlas shows rational, productive men and women—including a railroad executive, a steel producer, a miner, and a philosopher—working to achieve their values. Although the novel proceeds from an unusual premise of the major producers going on strike so far as the broader world is concerned, they continue to pursue their careers in private even after they go on strike, and, by doing so, strive for a future of liberty.

When Hank Rearden spends years working relentlessly to develop a better metal, when Dagny Taggart defies all odds to build a crucial rail line, when John Galt devotes his life to achieving justice for great producers, these characters do more than advance the plot of a novel: They inspire readers to achieve their own rational values, whatever the struggle.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

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