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First Ayn Rand book

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What was the first Ayn Rand Book you read?  

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  1. 1. What was the first Ayn Rand Book you read?

    • Anthem
      18
    • We the Living
      2
    • The Fountainhead
      41
    • Atlas Shrugged
      27
    • Other Ayn Rand fiction...
      0
    • Capitalism The Unknown Ideal
      3
    • For the New Intellectual
      1
    • The Virtue of Selfishness
      10
    • Romantic Manifesto
      0
    • Other Ayn Rand Non-fiction...
      3


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You know, I have no idea how to pronounce French names, but that hasn't stopped me from reading the works of Victor Hugo.  :)

I have the same problem, but I solved it by "reading" Hugo via Books on Tape. Unabridged translations of Notre Dame de Paris, Les Miserables, and Ninety-Three are available and the readers know how to pronounce the names correctly.

Since a good unabridged reading of We the Living is available from Blackstone Audio, DPW might want to check it out.

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I have the same problem, but I solved it by "reading" Hugo via Books on Tape.  Unabridged translations of Notre Dame de Paris, Les Miserables, and Ninety-Three are available and the readers know how to pronounce the names correctly.

Since a good unabridged reading of We the Living is available from Blackstone Audio, DPW might want to check it out.

That's excellent advice. Why didn't I think of that? I guess it was just too obvious!

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It was The Fountainhead.

For the worst reason!

As a young and aspiring architect I got sick of people asking me if I read that book. So I finally decided to skim through it to get some content, then I bought the book and read it.

It remains one of the best books I ever read, and is an influence on my way of thinking.

FWIW, her depiction of Howard Roark as a design professional, in my opinion, is accurate and well-researched. So, by the way, was her depiction of Peter Keating, her model of a mainstream architect.

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Fred Weiss, a long-time Objectivist, has a publishing company which also distributes two very nice images of Ayn Rand.

Thanks for the reference, Stephen.

The leather-bound books are incredibly tempting... Too bad I don't have $675 to throw down on them right now. :(

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My first book was The Fountainhead. But what opened my eyes initially was, out of curiosity, attending an Objectivist club meeting at my university and watching a video of Dr. Peikoff's "Religion Versus America" speech. A week later I was an atheist and hungry for more Objectivism.

Dr. Peikoff's opening line in that 1986 speech is: "A specter is haunting America--the specter of religion."

Today that specter has evolved into a terrifying death-dealing monster.

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As a young and aspiring architect I got sick of people asking me if I read that book. So I finally decided to skim through it to get some content, then I bought the book and read it.

AUTO,

Do you know of any good Architectural books that would be good background reading for someone who is going to re-read the Fountainhead?

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I read Anthem in high school English (about 10 years ago). I discovered Ayn Rand again--of my own volition--about a year ago. I've since read The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, and am almost through with We The Living. I've also read snippets of her non-fiction--particulary The Romantic Manifesto. I've devoted my top bookshelf to Ayn Rand and the Founding Fathers. When I run out of room, I'm not yet sure who I'll shift to 2nd tier!

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I read Anthem in high school English (about 10 years ago).  I discovered Ayn Rand again--of my own volition--about a year ago.  I've since read The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, and am almost through with We The Living.  I've also read snippets of her non-fiction--particulary The Romantic Manifesto.  I've devoted my top bookshelf to Ayn Rand and the Founding Fathers.  When I run out of room, I'm not yet sure who I'll shift to 2nd tier!

Every year, the student with the highest average by the end of the first semester (in my current English teacher's class, anyway) gets to choose the assigned reading for the rest of the year.

I had the highest average, I chose Atlas Shrugged; my teacher would not allow it, breaking a long streak (I hear 11 years, from other staff members) because of her diehard socialist beliefs.

Damn.

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Every year, the student with the highest average by the end of the first semester (in my current English teacher's class, anyway) gets to choose the assigned reading for the rest of the year.

I had the highest average, I chose Atlas Shrugged; my teacher would not allow it, breaking a long streak (I hear 11 years, from other staff members) because of her diehard socialist beliefs.

Damn.

That is quite a horror story. My sympathies that you did not get your well-earned reward.

If I may, I'm curious: what school was this?

Also, were your classmates aware of what the teacher did? If so, what was the general reaction on their part?

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That is quite a horror story. My sympathies that you did not get your well-earned reward.

If I may, I'm curious: what school was this?

Also, were your classmates aware of what the teacher did? If so, what was the general reaction on their part?

Thanks.

This is a liberal school in the thriving "center city" of Philadelphia.

Several overheard her rejection of my choice, a few said that it wasn't fair and were told to quiet. They didn't have any sort of passioned reaction, however. :shrug:

I never did get to make my selection, however.

However, (I assume to retain a somewhat benevolent visage) she assigned a "philosophically and politically-oriented" book, in her words. :rolleyes:

...The Republic. :dough:

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This is a liberal school in the thriving "center city" of Philadelphia.

Would it happen to be a Quaker school like Friends Select?

I grew up in Philly and the Quakers have been known for their loony socialist-pacifist activism since Colonial days.

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Nah. It's only a few blocks from City Hall. :)

EDIT: While I'm on the topic of the epicenter of a metropolis, I should mention that I was in a building today, riding down the escalator, and had a complete breath-taking moment wherein I was awed by man's ingenuity. The steel and glass everywhere completely floored me. I had no idea something I'd been around so often could mean so much to me without an apparent catalyst. :huh:

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Several overheard her rejection of my choice, a few said that it wasn't fair and were told to quiet. They didn't have any sort of passioned reaction, however. :shrug:

A shame you did not get more support from your fellow students (I was going to say "peers," but evidently none have a standing to equal yours).

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My first Ayn Rand book was The Fountainhead.

How it happened:

I was on a break at a high school debate tournament at UC Berkeley. In perusing a bookstore I ran across "Visions," a biography of the band Rush (of which I was a huge fan at the time). On page 15, in describing how the drummer, Neil Peart, came to join the band, is an interesting passage:

"He had one consolation while he was in England. He found a copy of Ayn Rand's book The Fountainhead on the London tube. He found Rand's tales of fiercely individualistic characters struggling to maintain their integrity inspiring."

Well, needless to say, that caught my interest. That fall, in my college bookstore, while looking for something to read on the flight home for winter break, I came across The Fountainhead. I remembered that passage and made the best $7 investment of my life.

14 years later, here I am. :D

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AUTO,

Do you know of any good Architectural books that would be good background reading for someone who is going to re-read the Fountainhead?

Have you read the Journals of Ayn Rand? Chapter Five consists of her notes on the architectural research she did for The Fountainhead. She lists many of the books she read and her thoughts on them. Plus, the book is chock full of other fascinating stuff.

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Would it happen to be a Quaker school like Friends Select?

I grew up in Philly and the Quakers have been known for their loony socialist-pacifist activism since Colonial days.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended a Quaker school called the William Penn Charter School. It is the oldest Quaker school in the world. See more here:

http://www.penncharter.com/Content/aboutpc/aboutpc.asp

Back when I was 17, I looked through the school's summer reading requirements. That year, they gave us a rather lengthy list of books and had us choose three. In addition to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "A Prayer for Owen Meany," the two other books I read for school that summer, a book called "The Fountainhead" was also on the list. Since my father had been telling me about the great "conservative thinker" Ayn Rand and the mystery of "Who is John Galt?" since I was rather young, I decided to read "The Fountainhead." Ironically, my conservative father and my socialist teachers pointed me to the person (AR, of course) who would help me to understand the deficiencies of my conservatism and cement my opposition to socialism! Of course, AR's *entire* philosophy has had a tremendous impact on my life--it's just quite amusing in retrospect that I was introduced to her the way I was.

:)

Oh, and as to Quaker socialism-pacificism: it's scary. They're hard-core lefties with (as far as I can tell) only a passing interest in communing with the supernatural. Before 9/11, I considered donating a few dollars to the school as a token of thanks for a pretty good education. But given their awful response to 9/11 and an apparently accelerating interest in promoting "social justice" and "peace," they will *never* get another dime from me.

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My first was Atlas Shrugged. I had heard of the book forever.... finally I just thought "I have to read it to see why its so famous."

And it changed my entire world view.

How many books really do that in your life? Not books that impress you, not even ones that inspire you... but ones that teach you an entirely new way of looking at the world, like teaching you a new language...

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My first was Atlas Shrugged. I found Objectivism though a rather long and meandering path. First, when I was in university I gradually came to reject the Roman Catholicism with which I was raised. I considered myself an agnostic, and possibly and atheist. Then, over a decade later, I gradually became more and more interested in politics, specifically with trying to figure out what was wrong with Canada and my province of Saskatchewan. This was in 2004. I knew that I agreed with absolutely nothing the Liberal Party stood for. The NDP (New Democratic Party, a leftist "social democratic" party along the lines of UK's Labour Party) was so wrong I understood it to be evil, although I was not sure of my philosophical basis for loathing the NDP. The NDP ruled Saskatchewan at the provincial level at this time, and the Liberals ruled Canada at the federal level.

I thought the Conservative Party of Canada was somewhat better, they are a centre-right party by Canadian standards. Canadian standards are very left wing, however. But I disagreed with many of the fundamental tenets of conservatism, namely the role of religion and the social conservative stand on most issues. So I knew I was neither a conservative nor a modern "liberal" and I sure as hell wasn't a leftist.

So what did that leave for me? Where did I stand? I looked for online political discussion groups. I found one that was geared towards Western Canadian independence from the rest of Canada. I knew that Canada was a corrupt nation with a runaway welfare state, and I knew that there was a "lunatic fringe" that wanted to secede from Canada. I was supportive of that goal, because I knew Ottawa to be a pit of welfare statism, cronyism, corruption and disturbing anti-Americanism. But one question bothered me. What would stop a new Western Canadian nation, should it be achieved, from falling into the same trap? What would be the guiding principles, the ethical foundation, the philosophy of a new, free country?

Some other posters on the independence forums had mentioned Ayn Rand. They described some of her ideas. Reason, individualism, egoism, laissez-faire capitalism. A government that is limited by an objective code of law in its constitution, and that acts as the agent for its citizens, to defend their individual rights. All of which were sympatico with my own convictions.

I looked up Ayn Rand online. It was the summer of 2006 and I wanted more than my usual light reading. I decided I would read her books. It only made sense for me to start with her greatest work, and I therefore bought a copy of Atlas Shrugged at my local bookstore. I knew the clerk behind the counter from some other times I had dealt with him at the bookstore, and I knew him to hold some rather left-wing convictions. He handled Atlas Shrugged as though it were something dirty. He swiftly placed it into a brown paper bag, as though I had just bought a piece of trashy pornography. He avoided eye contact with me through the whole transaction. He grunted when I concluded my purchase with my usual "Have a good day!"

I got back to my car and laughed. I was still laughing when I pulled into my garage. That afternoon, I relaxed in my back yard, lounging on my hammock in the July sun and began to read the book that changed my life.

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