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Wednesday, April 9, 2008 - 9:13amSanction this postReply
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Steve,

Why do you say a "backhanded" compliment? This was a very positive review -- highly complimentary.

- Bill



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Wednesday, April 9, 2008 - 10:45amSanction this postReply
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I agree with Bill. That was possibly the best, most positive review of Rand/Atlas Shrugged that I can remember reading in any main stream venue, not written by an ARI/TOC associate.

Regards,
--
Jeff



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Wednesday, April 9, 2008 - 12:19pmSanction this postReply
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Maybe I was in a bad mood.



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Friday, April 11, 2008 - 4:57pmSanction this postReply
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Here are the 14 key quotes of the article …

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Her book was dismissed as an homage to greed. Gore Vidal described its philosophy as “nearly perfect in its immorality.”
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When they read the book, often as college students, they now say, it gave form and substance to their inchoate thoughts, showing there is no conflict between private ambition and public benefit.
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… said John A. Allison, the chief executive of BB&T, one of the largest banks in the United States.
“It offers something other books don’t: the principles that apply to business and to life in general. I would call it complete,” he said.
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Shortly after “Atlas Shrugged” was published in 1957, Mr. Greenspan wrote a letter to The New York Times to counter a critic’s comment that “the book was written out of hate.” Mr. Greenspan wrote: “ ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”
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Rand called “Atlas” a mystery, “not about the murder of man’s body, but about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit.”
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Rand said she “set out to show how desperately the world needs prime movers and how viciously it treats them” and to portray “what happens to a world without them.”
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Both conservatives and liberals were unstinting in disparaging the book; the right saw promotion of godlessness, and the left saw a message of “greed is good.” Rand is said to have cried every day as the reviews came out.
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Rand had a reputation for living for her own interest. She is said to have seduced her most serious reader, Nathaniel Branden, when he was 24 or 25 and she was at least 50. Each was married to someone else. In fact, Mr. Britting confirmed, they called their spouses to a meeting at which the pair announced their intention to make the mentor-protégé relationship a sexual one.

“She wasn’t a nice person,” said Darla Moore, vice president of the private investment firm Rainwater Inc.
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[“But what a gift she’s given us.” – There’s your “backhanded compliment” right there!]


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Ms. Moore, a benefactor of the University of South Carolina, spoke of her debt to Rand in 1998, when the business school at the university was named in Ms. Moore’s honor. “As a woman and a Southerner,” she said, “I thrived on Rand’s message that only quality work counted, not who you are.”
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Rand’s idea of “the virtue of selfishness,” Ms. Moore said, “is a harsh phrase for the Buddhist idea that you have to take care of yourself.”
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James M. Kilts, who led turnarounds at Gillette, Nabisco and Kraft, said he encountered “Atlas” at “a time in college life when everybody was a nihilist, anti-establishment, and a collectivist.” He found her writing reassuring because it made success seem rational.

“Rand believed that there is right and wrong,” he said, “that excellence should be your goal.”
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And here’s the biggie …

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Having lost his sole customer in a struggling Rust Belt city, Mr. Stack says, he took action like a hero out of “Atlas.” He created an “open book” company in which employees were transparently working in their own interest.

Mr. Stack says that he assigned every job a bottom line value and that every salary, including his own, was posted on a company ticker daily. Workplaces, he said, are notoriously undemocratic, emotionally charged and political.

Mr. Stack says his free market replaced all that with rational behavior. A machinist knew exactly what his working hour contributed to the bottom line, and therefore the cost of slacking off. This, Mr. Stack said, was a manifestation of the philosophy of objectivism in “Atlas”: people guided by reason and self-interest.

“There is something in your inner self that Rand draws out,” Mr. Stack said. “You want to be a hero, you want to be right, but by the same token you have to question yourself, though you must not listen to interference thrown at you by the distracters. The lawyers told me not to open the books and share equity.” He said he defied them. “ ‘Atlas’ helped me pursue this idiot dream that became SRC.”

Mr. Stack said he was 19 and working in a factory when a manager gave him a copy of the book. “It’s the best business book I ever read,” he said. “I didn’t do well in school because I was a big dreamer. To get something that tells you to take your dreams seriously, that’s an eye opener.”

Mr. Stack said he gave a copy to his son, Tim Stack, 25, who was so inspired that he went to work for a railroad, just like the novel’s heroine, Dagny Taggart.
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Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who was born in 1958, and John P. Mackey, the chief executive of Whole Foods, who was 3 when the book was published, have said they consider Rand crucial to their success.
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… Annemarie Omrod, said she considered the character an inspiration.

“We were reading the book,” she said, when she and Kai Trepte were thinking of starting the company. “For us, the book symbolized the importance of growing yourself and bettering yourself without hindering other people. John Galt took all the great minds and started a new society.

“Some of our customers don’t know the name, though after they meet us, they want to read the book,” she went on.
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A couple negatives mixed in with a dozen positives makes for a good all around review, methinks.

Ed




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