(sigh)... Ayn Rand. Why do all the reviews of this book have to be so emotional? From half the reviewers, you'd think that Moses himself came down the mountain with a copy of Atlas Shugged, fresh off the Divine Creator's press. The other half think Satan wrote it for his seminar on How To Be Evil. Here's my two cents: Ayn Rand lived her first 20-something years in the Soviet Union, and as you can imagine: it sucked. She came to America, met with some success writing, fell in with the glamourous Hollywood crowd, and decided that since she did so well, capitalism must be a meritocracy. She's a starry-eyed idealist, head-over-heals in love with meritocracy, but living under the misguided notion that capitalism is meritocratic. In her novels, "all" you have to do to get rich is invent a mind-bogglingly wonderful product which everybody needs, and which is universally loved for its exceptional value and utility. Do that, and your competition will melt away, you'll make boatloads of money, and most importantly: you'll be able to tell anybody who doesn't see things your way to go pound salt. Rand's utopian industrialists make no bones about the fact that they're just in it for the money...but who WOULDN'T sleep well if they got rich making a wonderful, useful product sold in a fair market? Sadly, Capitalism and Meritocracy are divergent far too often to ignore. Preston Tucker and Nicola Tesla got screwed, while that cheesy guy on the infomercials at 3am makes millions off his pyramid scheme. Some of my detractors will say "That's because the system has been tainted by the jealous connivings of lesser men." Yeah. And it always has been, and it always will be, because Capitalism is a human construction and therefore indivisable from human nature. It's a good system when it isn't too corrupt, but it's nothing to build a religion around. I like Ayn Rand because her idea of a perfect world resembles my idea of a perfect world. I dislike her because she seems to detest us for not being able to make her utopian dreams a reality. I find most of what she says to be dead-on correct and completely irrelevent. Who could her books possibly apply to? If you are a super genius with an Earth-shattering invention, don't get too smug- you're going to need a lot of help from a lot of lesser men to translate that invention into the riches you deserve. If you're just an average guy, Ayn doesn't leave much advice for how you're supposed to make your way in this world. Struggle to excel at SOMETHING, and hope for the best, I suppose. If you are (gasp) below average in some way- well, the book wasn't written for you to begin with. Rand doesn't hate you- she just doesn't see you. The only people Rand hates are average folk trying to subvert the Meritocratic system to get something they don't derserve. Well, we all hate that... but then why do half the readers despise her so? Probably because she's so preachy and outspoken about it.Two stars. (bangs gavel) Jury dismissed!____________________________If you'd like to hear me reading this review, go tomy Big Audio Project!____________________________Didn't care for this review? Check out my other Atlas Shrugged review [here].