I read Atlas Shrugged (a lot), Fountainhead, Romantic Manifesto, We the Living, Philosophy: Who Needs It?, Anthem, and The New Intellectual. Not in that order.
I bought Atlas Shrugged when I was...14 (give or take a year) and it sat on my bookself. Its funny since that time I am sure that I have read 1000's of other books...I cannot give a direct count because the books I didn't like were thrown out. To hell with the idea of collecting garbage. Yet, I didn't realize the book that I wanted to read was right infront of me.
When I was 16, an artist I knew recommended Fountainhead to me-- she told me that I would enjoy Roark.
Of the work, I think the introduction to The New Intellectual was my favorite. (Its been a while and it is getting rather late-- I also read some sort of speech she gave to a graduating class of Westpoint that I enjoyed...but I cannot place)
I picked up Atlas Shrugged one day at something like 5 oclock in the morning, I couldn't sleep and had finished whatever pos novel I had been reading. At this time I lived with a group of people that despised me (even though I paid the rent, the utilities, and the food bills) They were socialist, within that group I was nicknamed "Corporate Paul". I felt a sense of responsbility and obligation to take care of these people, while starving myself.
I finished Atlas Shrugged within 24 hours and 12 hours later I had moved everything from my apartment, cancelled the lease (paying out the nose to do so), and had the locks changed. Leaving them out on the streets. Atlas Shrugged, as it did for anyone reading this, changed my life-- for forced me out of the sewers I was living in.
To me personally, the most important scene (for waking up that is) was when Rearden and company saved Galt, why? because they wanted to-- they didn't need Galt-- not to live their lives, but because they wanted him in their lives (forgive the bloody cliche...I am getting tired). I realized the people in my life wouldn't save me-- or if they did it would simply to be to carry them-- because, after all, I would owe them my life.
Enough personal story telling.
Philosophy: Who Needs It-- while interesting was rather hard to swallow-- I am a rather fast reader and it bogged me down.
Fountainhead: I couldn't help but to love Roark but identify with Mallory. I had wanted to be an architect...but I've never seen a building I liked...so I went into computers.
Romantic Manifesto: I loved the introduction-- the rest was the core of the philosophy I am attempting to live my life by.
We The Living: I had some problems with the man character-- and I felt that her moral bearings weren't exactly what they should have been.
Anthem: It reminded me of something...the only thing I can think is that I had read it before..but that doesn't tell you my thoughts on the work-- it is just all my brain can produce at the moment.
What it comes down to I suppose is that abstract philosophy bores me to tears to sit around and discuss-- I would rather see philosophy in action: live.