a long day at work with a lot of that work left unfinished happy hour drinks with colleagues, no they re than that, with friends I have to get around to reviewing a book by mutterfookin AYN RAND of all things DRUNK EVIEW so I ve been on a hiring spree lately, just hiring people left and right because yay my work is actually getting multiple contracts and that means we can actually hire people instead of everyone doing two jobs per usual nonprofit social services type staffing patterns, so anyway I hired this one young lady who is clearly super smart and super organized and super perfect for the job I hired her for, good job mark, yet again, but she is 21 and so I wonder sometimes if her big brain is the tail wagging the 21 year old, who is very, very much 21 years of age, or at least what I remember of myself when I was 21 namely, emotional and critical and all about RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW still, I m pleased with the hire, she s great, I love her and what does everything I just wrote even mean in the context of this book i dunno but it sorta made sense to me as I wrote it.anyway, she somehow found out that I am a quote unquote Reader, and so she loaned me one of her favorite books namely, this book Anthem my reaction was decidedly undecided when she mentioned this was one of her favorites I hate everything I know about Ayn Rand I am the sort of ass who, way back when i was 21 and in college, actually broke up with a lady I was dating because it was clear that all of the Ayn Rand she was reading was influencing her, she was quoting Ayn Rand for crissakes, anyway it was too much because Ayn Rand s ME ME ME style of libertarian philosofuckery just drives me up the wall and I can t have that in someone I m dating so she turned around and started dating my roommate, so someone got that last laugh there and it wasn t mark monday.so my new staffer loaned me this book and i was all UH UH BUT AYN RAND SUCKS ARE YOU SERIOUS and she was all OH MY GOD JUST FUCKING TRY IT so i did if you are one of the unwashed masses who doesn t know what Ayn Rand is all about, and God bless you if you are, here are some things about her that I despise totally against all forms of socialism because to Rand, socialism the death of the individual the most important thing about this curious concept called Self is Ego Rand worships at the altar of EGO per Rand, if you aren t your own 1, you may as well be dead there are aspects of that mentality that I totally get and support, but Rand carries this to the point where concepts like altruism are inherently corrupt to her an altruistic person per Rand is pretty much the definition of a total loser you are the captain of your own ship if your ship carries important supplies that could help other people, who gives a fuck, fuck them your ship needs to sail alone unless people are happy to sail under your personal captaincy e.g if you are a brilliant architect who designs a brilliant housing complex and then finds out that that your design is being used for public housing, God forbid, then you are fully entitled to blow up said brilliant housing complex because it is being used for the public good rather than for what you intended YOUR PERSONAL DREAMS BER ALLES which reminds me one of my favorite films is King Vidor s insane adaptation of Rand s novel The Fountainhead, where what I just mentioned is the central struggle of the film and I assume the novel this over the top thing of beauty features a berserk plotline, berserk characters, a brilliant housing complex being blown up because God fucking forbid it may be used for public housing, and an incredible scene where architect Gary Cooper is drilling something and neurotic Patricia Neal is watching him drill and gets so worked up she uncontrollably starts beating the literal horse she rode in on, and then rides off, in a Randian heat over the studly I Am My Own Man ishness of the Gary Cooper character she gets so hot bothered she actually delivers a smart slash of her riding crop before riding off hot stuff but back to this book, finallyactual review I was surprised at how much I liked it, at first it is one of those dystopic post apocalyptic books where we are experiencing the day to day life of some poor zombie sap who is slowly realizing that he is living in a world of sad automatons and he is one of the few who gets how pathetic his life is because everyone is supposed to be like everyone else, and he is an actual someone as always, this is an automatically enjoyable narrative to live in because who doesn t think that way, at certain points in their lives or at certain points in their day, cough the style and the prose itself impressed me Rand is one of those surprising writers whose prose is stripped down, clean, and neat while also being oddly poetic phrases and sentences that are child like, eager, but also full of longing and melancholy she s a fully formed writer as of Anthem, surprisingly only her second novel even impressive was her replacement of the word I with the word We which functioned as an implicit criticism of the communist mindset while giving the storytelling itself an excitingly declamatory feel on a stylistic level, Anthem is a genuine pleasure to read.oh I just got a text from a friend that was a link saying typhoon pork bun woman and I think I m just not going to check that out right now whatever could that mean anyway, this was turning out to be a from leftfield 4 star book for me but then the last two chapters happened there were hints before that, here and there, but I chose to ignore them but Ayn Rand is gonna do Ayn Rand, and that s only bad news where women are concerned per Rand, a person with a dick is a person who needs to make himself into his own man a person without a dick should probably just follow and promise obedience to said dick.THAT IS FUCKING DISAPPOINTING but I suppose not surprising and yet I am surprised I m always surprised when a woman is all about freedom and rugged individuality and notgivingaflyingfuckeroo about what society says but for men only not for the womenfolk apparently women should just support their man, they are incapable of forging their own hard won individuality because EMOTIONS I wish this was a unique perspective but God knows I have come across it many times, in literature and ugh in real life too my own experience of my own uh experiences but also of my male friends is that I, and they, are all super fucking emotional this is not just a female trait argh but to the point the sole female in Anthem shows her worth by declaring her obedience to her ruggedly individualistic, freedom living man that s just fucking gross and I don t get it self hate much so anyway, looks like Survivor is on so time for me to end this review also feels like I am going to have an interesting time reporting my findings to the person who loaned me this book wish me luck Anthem Has Long Been Hailed As One Of Ayn Rand S Classic Novels, And A Clear Predecessor To Her Later Masterpieces, The Fountainhead And Atlas Shrugged In Anthem, Rand Examines A Frightening Future In Which Individuals Have No Name, No Independence, And No Values Equality Lives In The Dark Ages Of The Future Where All Decisions Are Made By Committee, All People Live In Collectives, And All Traces Of Individualism Have Been Wiped Out Despite Such A Restrictive Environment, The Spark Of Individual Thought And Freedom Still Burns In Him A Passion Which He Has Been Taught To Call Sinful In A Purely Egalitarian World, Equality Dares To Stand Apart From The Herd To Think And Choose For Himself, To Discover Electricity, And To Love The Woman Of His Choice Now He Has Been Marked For Death For Committing The Ultimate Sin In A World Where The Great We Reign Supreme, He Has Rediscovered The Lost And Holy Word I The book is about human identity and freedom, and how one can degrade under the chains of collectivism.A lot of reviews on this book, which are posted on this site, use the word futuristic events I intentionally put the quotes around this word as I tend to totally disagree with the choice of this word I used to live under socialist regime, a collectivistic society So I can relate and completely understand the events described in the book, where the word I doesn t exist, when it is a shame to stand out and be different from the rest However, you don t need to come from the socialist country to understand that this is about NOW, and not the future We face this phenomenon again I am using the quotes to underline that this actually is a normal event that we face every day , when we need to struggle to form our own opinions to think this is white, when everyone else thinks this is black We struggle to stand up and not to get under the influence of the media propaganda and continue to act with the high integrity and high morals no matter what.This book is about the man, who stands out on his own and is not afraid to position himself against everyone else just to rediscover his I.My favorite quotes My handsMy spiritMy skyMy forest I wished to know the meaning of things I am the meaning Many words have been granted me,but only three are holy I will it I am a man This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me And to earn my love, my brothers must do than to have been born I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer by who may wish to claim it I honor men with my love But honor is a thing to be earned And now I see the face of god This god, this one word I man will go on Man, not men I am I think I will. Congrats, Aynnie You ve received my first single star rating I read this in high school when I was reading a lot of dystopian future literature and thought it was by far the worst of the lot Granted, if I d read it when I was younger I might have liked it , but saying that the even younger, less mature, pretentious version of my teenage self would have liked something is hardly a glowing endorsement.As such I ve steered way clear of her door stoppers I don t think you really need to come up with some faux cerebral excuse to justify selfishness if you re going to be self centered your actions are ultimately justified by your own selfish inner drives, not your intellect At best Rand was a shrewd self marketed Cold War personality At worst she s cynical, petty, pedantic, and most unforgivable of all, boring. The baby version of Ayn Rand philosophy, heavy handed, unimaginative, and unfortunately assigned to my son for high school reading I struggle with Ayn Rand because I agree with some of her points and I vehemently disagree with others The point is that bad things happen when the left or the right gain too much control because we always seem to end up in the same place with the government oppressing individual freedoms It is really stunning to think of the millions of copies of this book that have been sold I would say skip it, but if your child is assigned to read it please do read it I m a firm believer that parents should read any book their child is assigned in school to read. The real tragedy of this book is that the billions of copies that have been printed could have been appropriately used to build homes for people in third world countries This book could not be self indulgent if it came with a bottle of Absynthe and a membership to MENSA Not only is it impossibly boring to read, the characters are so one dimensional that they put V.C Andrews to shame Do yourself a favor set this on fire and use the fourteen hours that it burns to read Martin s Song of Ice and Fire series instead You won t regret it. Definitely the only book by Ayn Rand I will ever need to read, unless I happen to be reincarnated as an asshole When people start modeling their book covers after Mussolini era Italian architecture, worry. Neither a science fiction masterpiece, nor a futuristic predicament, ANTHEM is a personal reaction to the collectivist system, dominant in Soviet Union and its modernized colonies for than seven decades Assumed too much reactionary by leftist intellectuals for rather a long time, it depicts the apocalyptic chaos in a world ruled by collectivist thoughts in the same way that Orwell s 1984 builds it for instance, you can think of a world after a nuclear crisis and then come to the meaning of nothingness But forgetting all about suspense and action, it defines what it means to forget individuals for the sake of a system Discovering the word I , when every ruler in any part of the world assumes all the individuals his own nation and labels them with the word we , appears to be a necessity a necessity for preventing a disaster like a great world war.Needless to say that Rand is haunted by the symbols in a simple narrative in ANTHEM but reading it as an enlightening manifestation obviously written with hostility, contempt and anger paves the way to get familiar with her invaluable reflections on the modern world. Alright If, for some reason, the values of individuality or independence are completely alien to you, you should read this book Everyone else is better off skipping it It has nothing else to offer and it s got a good chance of convincing that you re smarter or enlightened than you actually are Granted, I was a bit biased against Ayn Rand while reading this But before reading this I had that sort of play aversion that you carry around because it s fun to make fun of famous dead people After reading this my contempt for her has become deep and far reaching.The setting is simplistic and nonsensical Unlike other dystopias such as 1984 or Brave New World, it s not portrait of a functioning oppressive society or a sad commentary on human nature as much as it is a vague, untenable strawman Other dystopias are written with an awareness or sensitivity towards the human condition 1984 dealt with our willingness to circumvent logic for a comfortable, patriotic lie Brave New World dealt with our willingness to completely ignore issues and problems as long as we re entertained Anthem on the other hand, deals with our willingness to sacrifice logic, comfort, entertainment, and freedom for the good of our neighbors Oh wait that doesn t make sense In fact it flies in the face of the oldest, and most confounding problem in the social sciences, The Tragedy of the Commons Biology and psychology have also found that self sacrifice without compensation is an exceedingly rare phenomenon, and that animals including humans are ,as a general rule, selfish Even the Soviet Union, a major influence behind this book, was only maintained by the general acceptance of the communist ideal for a short time before it was replaced with the KGB and the threat of the gulags Considering how easy it was for Equality to escape from confinement, I m comfortable saying that critical element was absent This might be excusable if it was meant to be a highly stylized hyperbole like The Giver, but Rand says herself in the introduction that this is not only the inevitable sum of collectivism, but what all socialists and collectivists secretly WANT.All this leads me to believe that a person who could seriously believe, much less write, this would have to be someone who saw their self interest as unique, and imagined the majority of humanity a swathe of ambitionless drones That, or a reader who s mouth salivates at the word individuality and who, when it comes to the affairs of the world, automatically equates cynicism to realism because it makes them look clever and critical.The writing s painfully overwrought as well You have to understand this book is listed as half read because despite my several attempts I can t finish it I either get tired of self indulgent prose and put it down or I start reading it out loud and I can t take it seriously a friend and I did this to pass the time while waiting for a bus once The character thinks in short, declarative sentences that seem to rely on the reader seeing his struggle as novel and impactful If you don t do this automatically there s nothing really there to MAKE you The struggle in question, is a one dimensional tug of war between We and I without the complexity or variability seen in actual human thought.Even the treatment of individuality once it s achieved is trite After you figure out the I and the ego you re pretty much scott free You don t have any uncertainty about what you want to do or who you want to be, and you don t have to worry about things like self deception, insecurity or over confidence to mess with you Congratulations, you are one of an elite few Rand s portrayal of selfishness and independence as some miracle cure is sophomoric and overly simplistic, and it gets hammered into you from the beginning It s not even as if calls to challenge, question, and break social oppression or embrace your individuality are hard to find, even in Rand s time, and a lot of these calls don t have to resort to strawmen or heady promises of perfection Read Ender s Game, The Giver, My Side of the Mountain or any other young adult novel Even song lyrics Tilly and the Wall, Say Anything, Incubus treat the topic of self definition and social constraints with intelligence This book might have been revolutionary for its time, but we ve moved on as a culture We ve gotten over the novelty of selfishness being a virtue and social control being a bad thing, and we ve managed to produce far intelligent treatments of the subject. Mocking, Childish Review The ending, with the Statue of Liberty emerging from the beach, was a nice twist You maniacs You blew it up Ah, damn you God damn you all to hell As it turns out, it was Earth all along.And, yes, for those keeping score at home, I do intend to use this exact same review for every dystopian novel I read At least I amuse myself and, really, isn t that what matters most Slightly Less Childish Review Look, I fully appreciate how Ayn Rand and her family suffered at the hands of the Soviets before she fled for America in the 1920s, and I understand how that would lead her to develop her virulently anti socialist philosophy and write novels decrying the most dehumanizing aspects of communism But, as with most propaganda and I don t use that word pejoratively, but simply to mean literature used to promote a cause it s got an expiration date It s been two decades since the Berlin Wall fell, and for the vast majority of the world, communism isn t much of a threat any So, aside from studying the history of communism, is there much reason to read such propaganda at this point, especially propaganda as lacking in literary value as Anthem and Rand s other books I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others I covet no man s soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet.I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me And to earn my love, my brothers must do than to have been born I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer by who may wish claim it I honor men with my love But honor is a thing to be earned.Aside from plus sized, pain killer addicted Republican talk radio hosts and octogenarian former Federal Reserve chairmen, who takes this horseshit seriously at this late date OK, in addition to the aforementioned, I guess there s one other group of readers for Rand s novels even in the 21st century self centered, bookish teenagers seeking affirmation for their assumptions that they alone are individuals, they alone have it all figured out, they alone understand how the world really works, and everyone else is a mindless conformist Stupid sheep Then, at some point, Lord willing, those readers grow the hell up, realize that no man is an island after all, and switch to reading real literature If not, they become the voice of the GOP, I guess As for the rest of us Readers wanting to reacquaint themselves with Rand s writing especially given the two new biographies out, and much media attention being paid lately to both Rand herself and her ongoing influence on the Republican Party can knock off Anthem in less than an hour, and not have to waste their time with the brick sized Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead So Anthem gets an extra star for being mercifully short, I guess, and available for free on the Internet And it s a slightly better book for teenagers than Twilight, I suppose, with a marginally better message Marginally.