Atlas Shrugged is one of the hardest books I have ever read. It’s heavy. It’s like reading an essay but with an interesting story to go with it. You can feel the author, Ayn Rand, isn’t really telling a story, but teaching us a topic if you ask me what book I will never read again, even though it was (a bit) good, it will be this one.
Besides, this book has a lot of powerful quotes I have ever seen. You can hardly finish a page without finding a line or two makes you nod and think deeply.
So, let’s get started with some of the Atlas Shrugged Quotes.
Atlas Shrugged Quotes
1. On setting standard
“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”Atlas Shrugged Quote.
Ayn reminds us to have standards and stay true to them. The odds will be against you often, but your standards should be with you. The benefits are in your confidence, your voice, and your freedom. It will be hard to shut you up when you desperately need to speak.
2. Example of Standards
“I swear – by my life and my love of it – that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”Atlas Shrugged Quotes
4. On Telling The Truth
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.”Atlas Shrugged Quotes
5. The importance of choosing a side
“There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromise is the transmitting rubber tube.”Atlas Shrugged Quotes
6. Growth is a characteristic of living things
“What greater wealth is there than to own your life and to spend it on growing? Every living thing must grow. It can’t stand still. It must grow or perish.”Atlas Shrugged Quotes
Growth is part of why we are here – to grow, to create, to work on things that can give us the desire to continue living.
7. On Money
“Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants.”
8. On Money (2)
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”
9. Prove it
“We never make assertions, Miss Taggart,” said Hugh Akston. “That is the moral crime peculiar to our enemies. We do not tell – we show.”
10. You create wealth by your ability to think.
“Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.”
To every rich or wealthy person, you see the power of imagination behind their wealth. It doesn’t have to be the wealthy person’s imagination. But someone has the capacity to think of new things for creation to happen, and then wealth follows.
11. On Happiness
“Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non contradictory joy – a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.”
12. On Productivity
“Productiveness is your acceptance of morality, your recognition of the fact that you choose to live–that productive work is the process by which man’s consciousness controls his existence, a constant process of acquiring knowledge and shaping matter to fit one’s purpose, of translating an idea into physical form, of remaking the earth in the image of one’s values–that all work is creative work if done by a thinking mind, and no work is creative if done by a blank who repeats in uncritical stupor a routine he has learned from others–that your work is yours to choose, and the choice is as wide as your mind, that nothing more is possible to you and nothing less is human-”Atlas Shrugged Quotes
13. On Religion
“Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be left waiting for us in our graves-or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.”
14. Think of This moment
“Don’t think of them now. Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them. You’re here. It’s our time and our life, not theirs. Don’t struggle not to be happy. You are.”Atlas Shrugged Quotes
Put the thought of things you can’t change away and focus now on the moment.
15. Do not outsource your decision-making all the time
“People don’t want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they’ll bless and follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue – a highly intellectual virtue – out of what they know to be their sin, their weakness and their guilt… They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don’t know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear”
16. Protect Yourself. Don’t let them bring you down
“But there are people who’ll try to hurt you through the good they see in you–knowing that it’s the good, needing it and punishing you for it. Don’t let it break you when you discover that.”
17. The Way Society Thinks of Money
“Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot”
Society places a lot of value on money. But when this happens, the ‘how’ the money is made becomes secondary, and those who have will be worshipped.