Seven categories. Five only in each. Works that I love or learned from or influenced me or that I return to regularly. Literature Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862) Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac (1897) L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908) Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943) Elliott Arnold, White Falcon (1958)  Historical Fiction Mary Renault, The Persian Boy [Alexander the Great, through the eyes of his lover Bagoas] Robert Harris, Cicero trilogy [Cicero, through the eyes of his scribe Tiro] Conn Iggulden, Genghis Khan trilogy Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy [Michelangelo] David Nevin, Dream West [John Charles Frémont and the far West of the USA], and Eagle’s Cry [James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the Louisiana Purchase] History Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War William Manchester, A World Lit Only by Fire Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation Gerald Gunderson, The Wealth Creators: An Entrepreneurial History of the United States W. T. Jones, A History of Western Philosophy Science Armand Marie Leroi, The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science Galileo Galilei, Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina James Watson, The Double Helix Richard Feynman, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” Adventures of a Curious Character Sherwin Nuland, Doctors: The Biography of...
Every July, I draw inspiration from some of the best and brightest high school students. They come with big dreams to the two-week residential Snider Enterprise & Leadership Fellows (SELF) program at the University of Maryland. At the cusp of adulthood, each participant is armed with a vision of making the world a better place by solving problems they find personally meaningful. Quentin, a senior from Amherst, Ma., loves math and aspires to provide useful information through a career in analytics. Emem, a senior from Beltsville, Md., prefers design. She recently switched her professional ambitions from medicine to visual marketing to align better with her abilities. Priya, a senior from Laurel, Md., is drawn to science. She dreams of becoming a pediatrician, and watching happy, healthy kids playing in a park. Former executives of France Télécom, previously a state-owned company that now operates privately as Orange, have more modest goals. As they await the verdict in a high-profile criminal trial, they just want to stay out of jail. An ocean of difference separates the Maryland classroom and Paris courtroom. But the concurrent events illustrate important lessons about human dignity and the principle of trade. Fellows in the SELF program experience the trader principle through a game...
Big tech companies are digging their own graves with their ingratitude toward the economic libertythat allowed them to become the richest companies in history. Let’s just take one example. Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. With the world’s now-dominant search engine and other services under the parent company Alphabet, it is valued at over $700 billion. The free market allowed it to offer services to customers without heavy-handed government regulations getting in the way, yet it acts against the liberty that allowed it to flourish. Google top brass as well as grass roots employees have always leaned left. They were major donors to President Obama and the Democratic National Committee. Government control and manipulation of the economy now seems to sit well with the tech giant. A leaked video in 2016 featured Page, Brin and others in shock at Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton. Opposition to The Donald doesn’t necessarily mean three cheers for socialism. But during the current election cycle, engineers and programmers who, at Google, have salaries in the $250,000 range, have been big donors to Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and...
Editor’s Note: This excerpt from The Noah Option, Michael McCarthy’s first novel, is part of The Writers Series, our highly popular feature that showcases the work of contemporary novelists influenced by Ayn Rand. Fans ofAtlas Shrugged will enjoy McCarthy’s recontextualization of Rand’s classic work. Botanist Dr. Grace Washington struggles to get seeds that can end world hunger into the hands of hard-working farmers in the third world. An extremist group and their government cronies try to destroy the new super-seeds, and Grace is arrested on false charges. Facing an impossible choice – go to jail or destroy her life’s work, the seeds that could save millions of lives – Grace and her ally, software genius Isaiah Mercury, begin a countdown to a daring plan: The Noah Option. UnlikeAtlas Shrugged, McCarthy’s protagonists are openly Christian. While The Atlas Society does not endorse religion, we support religious freedom, and we know that many of our readers, members, and friends love both God and Ayn Rand. Time: The Near Future  With AK-47 rifles slung over their shoulders, two young drivers dressed in military camouflage put their farm tractors in gear. They dragged a heavy chain between...
Communism Is a Race to the Bottom Editor’s Note: Friends and members of The Atlas Society are among our greatest resources – providing energy, ideas, and support that actively shape our work. Their individual stories are testaments to Ayn Rand’s ideals of reason, achievement, and ethical self-interest. Sonia Vigen is a wife, mother, homeschooling advocate, and entrepreneur. Senior Editor Marilyn Moore, Ph.D interviewed Sonia about growing up in both West Germany and Romania. Sonia explains the stark reality of life under communism, the importance of freedom, and how reading Ayn Rand helped her both understand her own value and confidently pursue love, family, and career. MM: Sonia, you lived in several different countries growing up, including a communist country, before moving to the United States. Where were you born?  Tell me about the experience of leaving communism. What are some of the differences between a communist and a capitalist society? SV:  I was born in communist Romania.  My parents got permission to leave because my father was Jewish, and he was allowed to return to the Jewish homeland Israel per the UN resolution after WWII.  From there we went to Germany for better opportunities. Unlike other former communist citizens who risk their lives to escape illegally, we were able to return to Romania to visit with grandparents, and we did so every summer.  I saw a stark difference emotionally between the people who lived in Germany and the...

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