I finished this a few weeks ago and have been trying to narrow down exactly how I feel about it. It made an impression, certainly, and it sparked a lot of interesting discussions with Superdad while reading it, but it's hard to articulate exactly what I thought of the book.
Here they are, my random impressions and musings regarding a book which has helped shape many modern day conservatives' philosophies.
- The book was well written, entertaining and readable. I rarely felt bored or disengaged from the writing and that helped, in my opinion, not get in the way of the overall philosophy Rand was trying to illustrate.
- The characters were entirely one-dimensional. A good character was very, very good and a bad character very, very bad, with no middle ground. This didn't bother me though because the characters were merely props in a larger picture Rand was trying to paint. If the good characters had had flaws it would have, I believe, been harder to see the overall political message or, at the very least, it may have been harder to accept it.
- Rand's ideas are interesting, but also flawed. I agree with her in some respects (that government taxation and regulation ends up not only hurting those who it intends to hurt, which is those in positions of power and wealth, but also ends up detrimentally affecting those whom those very same regulations were intended to help) but I vehemently disagree with her in others (it would seem ideal, in theory, to hold reason without passion as an ideal, but when dealing with passionate, living beings we must, in my opinion, accept this as an impossible dream).
- I felt it was a very important book and I still find myself considering many of its premises, even weeks after reading its final page.