I've finished reading Ayn Rand's 1000-page magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged.
The book is a statement of her philosophy,Objectivism, which Rand describes as "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."
In short, it follows the struggle of Dagney Taggart to run a railroad at a time when industrial pioneers are seemingly leaving their jobs, letting the country go to ruin under a semi-Communist government.
Ayn Rand is an excellent writer. She grips the reader from page one and has an accessible, exciting style.
I do however strongly disagree with Objectivism. Rand seems to believe that the choice is between unrestrained capitalism and a disastrous mix of socialism, naivety and communism creating a Cambodia-style wasteland.
Her parody of those who are driven by altruism is grossly exaggerated. The most horrible section of the book deals with a train full of people about to die as they are entering a tunnel in a coal-burning train - and face suffocation.
Rand lists them and their perceived fallacies in detail, implying that they made their own bed due to their beliefs and that they deserve to die.
The book does not address how altruism in the form of corporate social responsibility can benefit a business.
Nor does it explain why, for all her disdain for any form of charity, the protagonist Dagny Taggart takes pity on a trespassing tramp.
I would recommend Atlas Shrugged due to the entertaining story and Rand's brilliance as a writer, but I did not agree with most of the philosophical points the book was trying to make, and I found the political scenarios wildly unrealistic.