National Surveys Show Atlas Shrugged Is Widely Read
November 5, 2008
Washington, D.C. -- For the second year in a row, a question included in a Zogby International omnibus telephone survey of American adults indicated that 8.1 percent of respondents have read Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. The surveys conducted in October 2007 and again in October 2008 indicated that more than 17 percent of U.S. college graduates have read the novel. That is a remarkable number for a serious, intellectual novel of more than 1100 pages whose theme is the role of the mind in man’s existence.
Sales of Atlas Shrugged since its publication have reached a total of 6,500,000, with a record annual sale of 180,000 copies in 2007--the 50th anniversary year of the novel. The numbers indicated in the Zogby surveys implies three or more readers of each copy sold.
These millions of readers of Atlas Shrugged must recognize recent political and economic events as a disconcerting echo of scenes from the novel. The novel records a future society gradually collapsing from the cumulative effect of ever-increasing government intervention in the economy and in the individual lives of citizens--with catastrophic consequences. Each step in the disintegration of society becomes a justification for further government intervention and suppression of freedom until the economy is abandoned by its few remaining productive citizens.
In her 1964 lecture “Is Atlas Shrugging?” Ayn Rand described writing Atlas Shrugged “with a brief rule I had set for myself: The purpose of this book is to prevent itself from becoming prophetic.” The commitment of the Ayn Rand Center is to serve that purpose in two ways, by insuring an ever-increasing readership for Atlas Shrugged, and by the application of her ideas as the best antidote to contemporary economic folly and threats to individual rights.
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For more information on Objectivism’s unique point of view, go to ARC’s Web site. The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.