Atlas Shrugged audiobook ranks #4 at OverDrive

From Atlasphere member Greg Garamoni:
The audiobook version of Atlas Shrugged (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) appeared as the fourth most downloaded Adult Fiction audiobook on OverDrive‘s list of “Most Downloaded Books from the Library” for January 2009.
OverDrive describes itself as the leading global distributor of audiobooks and eBooks to libraries, schools, and retailers. The “Most Downloaded Books from the Library” lists (adult fiction, adult nonfiction, juvenile fiction, and juvenile nonfiction) are based on activity at 8,500 libraries in the OverDrive global network.
Atlas Shrugged has been on the list for six months. This provides clear evidence that people are still listening to her message (pun intended). This trend is a ray of hope as the dark politico-economic reality imitates her fiction.
Most Downloaded Books from the Library
powered by OverDrive
Published on February 1, 2009
Download Audiobooks – Adult Fiction
1. The Host, by Stephenie Meyer (Books on Tape)
2. The Associate, by John Grisham (Books on Tape)
3. The Appeal, by John Grisham (Books on Tape)
4. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)
5. 1st to Die, by James Patterson (Hachette Audio)
6. Scarpetta, by Patricia Cornwell (Books on Tape)
7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)
8. Plum Spooky, by Janet Evanovich (BBC Audiobooks America)
9. 7th Heaven, by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro (Books on Tape)
10. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (Blackstone Audio, Inc.)

Maggie Gallagher: Three Cheers for Ayn Rand!

Writing for Yahoo News, former National Review editor Maggie Gallagher has penned a rousing and insightful defense of Atlas Shrugged.
She rightly chastizes Terry Teachout for his silly assertion in National Review that Rand writes a pretty good potboiler, a plot “complete with sex scenes and a shoot-’em-up finale. No wonder that it has sold like soap for half a century.”
As Gallagher puts it: “Novels, even page-turning potboilers with lots of sex and gunplay, do not typically sell like soap, year-in and year-out, for half a century.” Atlas Shrugged, she points out, is currently the #1 selling book on Amazon in the category of “literature and fiction-classics.”
So why, then, does the novel continue to sell so well? Gallagher presents her own theory — and it’s a good one:

The key to Ayn Rand is that she pictured America largely from early films from Hollywood. As a young girl growing up in the grim world of communist Russia, she saw America as we dreamed ourselves to be, and she longed her whole life with a child’s intensity to make this vision real, to live in it. We respond to her novels because they offer us one deep strand of American self-identity — as individualists, yes, but individualists who together dream big dreams, conquer wild frontiers, invent the future, remake our very selves.
She understood, the way so many pampered Hollywood artists don’t, that much of the romance of America is in business — in our dreams of making it, by making big new things, things no man has ever made before. Rand is virtually alone in seeing businessmen as fellow artists: makers, creators, inventors. In her novels, the greatness of the artist was matched by the greatness of the architect, the scientist, the entrepreneur and the railroad executive. The Homer of our era, she sang the song by which so many Americans live our lives.

Well said. Read her full article for more.

Telegraph India Covers Atlas 50th Celebration

Thanks to Jerry Johnson for the heads-up about this new article in Telegraph India — titled “Take a bow, Ayn” — covering the events in India that Jerry helped organize in celebration of Atlas Shrugged‘s 50th Anniversary.
It begins:

Govind Malkani is in his nineties, with failing eyesight that cannot cope with the regular update of literature on Ayn Rand that is mailed to him in Mumbai from all over the world. He has outlived his wife Tara with whom he used to run a well-known Ayn Rand readersâ?? club in Mumbai in the 1970s.
Jerry Johnson, 25, has never met Malkani but he knows him as a fellow traveller. â??Malkani possibly owns the largest collection of Rand material in the country â?? books, videos, audio cassettes,â? says Johnson, who has kept pace with Malkani in spreading the R-word.
Both are ardent Objectivists, the strain of philosophy that the Russian émigré in America created over half a century ago. On October 12, in their own individual ways, they and other Rand fans celebrated a half-century milestone, the publishing of Atlas Shrugged, her best-selling seminal novel.

See the full article for more.
Jerry points out some errors in the article he’s trying to get fixed — such as prominent Indian movie star (and Rand fan) Shammi Kapoor’s statement that “money is the root of all evil.” Oops.

C-SPAN This Weekend: Atlas Shrugged & Business

C-SPAN will be broadcasting the “Atlas Shrugged and Business” panel discussion from the Atlas Society’s recent 50th Anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.
Of this discussion, moderator Robert Bidinotto writes “It’s a fascinating hour-long overview of the appeal and applicability of Rand’s ideas to the world of business.”

I lead off with brief remarks on the reasons for the widespread hostility toward business and businessmen, and how Rand’s philosophical ideas not only repudiated that popular view, but led her to romanticize businessmen in Atlas Shrugged.
Younkins gives a superb presentation on the brilliant economic insights that Rand incorporated into her visionary novel.
Ed Snider reads revealing correspondence between himself and Ayn Rand, in which he first approached her with the idea of setting up a new organized effort to promote her ideas.
Rob Bradley takes on modern university teaching of “business ethics,” as seen through the filter of Rand’s own ethical thinking, and then demonstrates exactly what ideas led to the collapse of the Enron corporation, where he used to work.

It’s scheduled for broadcast on Saturday, October 20, 2007 at 3:00 pm Eastern time, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00 am Eastern.
See Bidinotto’s full announcement for more information.

NYC's Grand Central Terminal As an Article of 'Atlas Shrugged' History

An interesting piece in Stamford’s The Advocate begins:

NEW YORK – Grand Central Terminal provides visitors with frequent train service, dining and shopping options, and to some, the meaning of life.
Some Metro-North Railroad employees say one of mankind’s greatest achievements lies in New York City’s deepest basement – a rotary power converter that once provided electricity to the entire railroad and to the historic train terminal.
Recently, nine Grand Central visitors got to see the converter close up to compare it with its literary equivalent – John Galt’s motor in novelist Ayn Rand’s 1957 magnum opus “Atlas Shrugged.”
To celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary, the visitors, who dubbed themselves “Friends of Atlas Shrugged,” a subgroup of the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif., went to Grand Central for an exclusive tour in hopes of seeing some of the philosophical and technological inspirations for the novel.
“I have never been down in the bowels of a train station before,” said Jean Binswanger of New York, one of the terminal’s visitors, who included former Ayn Rand Institute board Chairman Peter Schwartz, a Danbury resident. “I think this is a fitting way to celebrate the anniversary.”

Keep reading for more.

Ayn Rand and Love in the Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor just published a full-length article on finding love around a shared interest in Ayn Rand’s writings. The Atlasphere figures prominently in the article, as you might expect, together with many quotes from members of our dating service.
Some excerpts:

Ayn Rand might seem an unlikely matchmaker. In a 1964 Playboy interview, she famously said that a man who places friends and family above “productive work” is immoral, an “emotional parasite.”
Yet as Atlas Shrugged turns 50 this week, Rand’s iconic intellect presides over The Atlasphere ( — a dating, networking, and news website that has connected her admirers since 2003.
…For Joshua Zader, The Atlasphere’s founder, the notion of Rand-inspired love makes perfect sense. “At a certain point in my 20s,” he says, “I realized I had met all my closest friends through Rand club meetings, conferences, or book signings.” He later met his wife that way, too.
…Rand saw the essence of femininity as a longing to look up to men — and went so far as to say that to be president would be “psychological torture” for a woman, and any woman who would covet the job must be too irrational to deserve it.
Yet in perusing The Atlasphere profiles, the confidence these women show — and seek — stands out. “We probably have more women than normal who say things like, ‘I need a man who won’t be intimidated,’ ” says Zader.
That gender equality certainly appeals to Annie Gilman, a graduate student at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. She sees relationships, in their simplest form, as “business transactions.” “You have to have something to offer to somebody in a free market,” she says.
Maybe Internet dating is courtship’s free market. Villalobos suspects that Rand would delight in its entrepreneurialism: “In effect, she has spawned a virtual Galt’s Gulch.”
Galt’s Gulch, the valley retreat of the chosen few in Atlas Shrugged, is an Objectivist’s utopia — full of industrious, virtuous people, working happily (and tax free). “She is very good at evoking the feeling that ‘This is an exciting world and if you agree with my vision, you’re a wonderful person and let’s do work together,’ ” says Zader.
Let’s do work together. It might be an epigraph for The Atlasphere, where productivity is integral to love. Rand and her characters “take love, romance, and sex seriously,” says Onkar Ghate, a senior fellow at The Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. “Love is selfish and it is to be pursued selfishly.”

See the full article for more.
Christina McCarroll was a picture of professionalism during her research for the article — and I think it shows in the final product. I am grateful.

'Capitalist Heroes' in Today's Wall Street Journal

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged!
From today’s Wall Street Journal:
By David Kelley
October 10, 2007; Page A21
Fifty years ago today Ayn Rand published her magnum opus, “Atlas Shrugged.” It’s an enduringly popular novel — all 1,168 pages of it — with some 150,000 new copies still sold each year in bookstores alone. And it’s always had a special appeal for people in business. The reasons, at least on the surface, are obvious enough.
Businessmen are favorite villains in popular media, routinely featured as polluters, crooks and murderers in network TV dramas and first-run movies, not to mention novels. Oil company CEOs are hauled before congressional committees whenever fuel prices rise, to be harangued and publicly shamed for the sin of high profits. Genuine cases of wrongdoing like Enron set off witch hunts that drag in prominent achievers like Frank Quattrone and Martha Stewart.
By contrast, the heroes in “Atlas Shrugged” are businessmen — and women. Rand imbues them with heroic, larger-than-life stature in the Romantic mold, for their courage, integrity and ability to create wealth. They are not the exploiters but the exploited: victims of parasites and predators who want to wrap the producers in regulatory chains and expropriate their wealth.
Continue reading “'Capitalist Heroes' in Today's Wall Street Journal”

Celebratory Events in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Delhi for 50th Anniversary of Atlas Shrugged

Atlasphere columnist Jerry Johnson, who lives in India and penned our recent column “The Free Market in Cultural Context,” sends the following announcement on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Atlas Shrugged:

I have been working with Barun Mitra of the Liberty Institute in Delhi to organize a celebration event in Mumbai. Hyderabad and Delhi will be having celebration events simultaneously with the one in Mumbai. Check out the Liberty Institute announcement for more details.
Here are the event details in Mumbai:
October 12, 2007 at 7:00 P.M.
Landmark bookstore
Infiniti Mall
Andheri Link Road
Andheri (West)
[Near Fame Adlabs Cinemas]
Professor Shehernaz from the Philosophy department of Wilson College, Mumbai, will be giving a brief talk about prominence of Ayn Rand’s influence in India and Indian academics.
Expect snacks, cake, a lively discussion, and an opportunity to meet Ayn Rand fans from across Mumbai.

Visit Jerry’s blog at ErgoSum for more information and any updates.

The Legacy of Atlas Shrugged in the OC Register

Peter Larsen has penned a nice article for the OC Register about how Atlas Shrugged has fared over the past fifty years.
It’s titled “Ayn Rand fans mark 50th anniversary” and it’s pretty much what you’d expect from the OC Register: a fair assessment of an important book.
Includes lots of quotes from the Ayn Rand Institute and a slideshow gallery with some cool photos, too.