THE ATLAS PROJECT: A CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER DISCUSSION OF ATLAS SHRUGGED

About the live broadcast

Tune in every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. Pacific to the official Atlas Shrugged Facebook page. Like the page to get notifications about the latest broadcasts, including occasional supplemental broadcasts at irregular times on special topics.

See the detailed schedule below.

Discussion Forums

The Atlas Project Facebook discussion group: Post your thoughts here on this week’s discussion questions and see updates about the progress of the course.

The Atlas Project Spoilers discussion group: Join experienced readers who discuss foreshadowing, plot spoilers, and explicit connections to Ayn Rand’s philosophy.

Ground rules for participation

1. No spoilers: Neither posts nor comments on posts should contain spoilers about sections of the novel the group has not yet read. Remember that many members of this group are reading the book for the first time and that a great deal of the pleasure in reading comes from finding out what happens next in the plot, and discovering the content of Rands philosophical views. For experienced readers who want to discuss portions of the book ahead of schedule, we have created a separate spoilers discussion group.
2. Discussion should be relevant to current portions of the book: Posts on everything from abstract philosophy to current events are welcome, but should be related to specific sections of the novel that the group has already read, according to the groups reading schedule.
3. Discussion should be civil and polite: Everyone should remember that everyone else on this group has their own context of knowledge, and that disagreement on difficult matters of interpretation is inevitable, even among honest people.

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Recommended Editions

The Dutton hardback edition, Plume trade paperback edition, and the Penguin Modern Classics edition all retain the pagination from the 1957 first edition. This is the pagination used for references to the novel in the quality secondary literature, and so we recommend any of these editions, especially to experienced readers who may want to explore this literature in depth.

If you prefer to use the less-expensive mass-market paperback, we encourage you to get the Signet 50th anniversary edition, page numbers for which are also available on the reading schedule.

Other Formats
Secondary Text

These are the best two commentaries on Atlas Shrugged available. However, first-time readers are advised that both contain spoilers.

  • Onkar Ghate’s Teacher’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged to the Signet edition of Atlas Shrugged is an excellent brief guide, available for free online, containing chapter summaries, analysis, and discussion questions. The chapter summaries and discussion questions are generally spoiler-free, but the introductory essays for teachers are not.
  • Robert Mayhew’s Essays on Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged is an excellent resource on the publication history of the novel, and on the literary and philosophical dimensions of the novel. It contains useful outlines of the plot and of the book’s central speech. Be aware that many of the essays contain extensive plot spoilers.
Additional Secondary Text
  • Allan Gotthelf and Greg Salmieri’s A Companion to Ayn Rand contains chapters on Rand’s literary esthetics and analyzes her philosophy with numerous references to the plot and characterization of Atlas Shrugged.
  • Diana Hsieh’s Explore Atlas Shrugged contains a plethora of discussion questions beyond the essential ones given by Onkar Ghate’s edition.
  • Andy Bernstein has written “CliffsNotes for Atlas Shrugged,” which is available online for free.

This schedule is subject to revision. Paginations for hardbacks/trade paperbacks are listed as Dutton/Plume; paginations for mass-market paperback are listed as Signet.

SEPTEMBER 2
Part I, Chapter 1: The Theme
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 3-26; Signet, pp. 11-32

SEPTEMBER 12
Part I, Chapter 2: The Chain
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 27-43; Signet, pp. 33-47

SEPTEMBER 19
Part I, Chapter 3: The Top and the Bottom
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 44-63; Signet, pp. 48-65

SEPTEMBER 26
Part I, Chapter 4: The Immovable Movers
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 64-88; Signet, pp. 66-87

OCTOBER 3
Part I, Chapter 5: The Climax of the d’Anconias
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 89-126; Signet, pp. 88-121

OCTOBER 10
Part I, Chapter 6: The Non-Commercial
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 127-161; Signet, pp. 122-153

OCTOBER 17
Part I, Chapter 7: The Exploiters and the Exploited
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 162-216; Signet, pp. 154-202

OCTOBER 24
Part I, Chapter 8: The John Galt Line
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 217-252; Signet, pp. 203-236

OCTOBER 31
Part I, Chapter 9: The Sacred and the Profane
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 253-291; Signet, pp. 237-272

NOVEMBER 7
Part I, Chapter 10: Wyatt’s Torch
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 292-338; Signet, pp. 273-314

NOVEMBER 14
Part II, Chapter 1: The Man Who Belonged on Earth
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 339-378; Signet, pp. 315-351

NOVEMBER 28
Part II, Chapter 2: The Aristocracy of Pull
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 379-422; Signet, pp. 352-391

DECEMBER 5
Part II, Chapter 3: White Blackmail
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 423-460; Signet, pp. 392-426

DECEMBER 12
Part II, Chapter 4: The Sanction of the Victim
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 461-495; Signet, pp. 427-457

DECEMBER 19
Part II, Chapter 5: Account Overdrawn
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 496-531; Signet, pp. 458-490

JANUARY 2
Part II, Chapter 6: Miracle Metal
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 532-566; Signet, pp. 491-522

JANUARY 9
Part II, Chapter 7: The Moratorium on Brains
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 567-607; Signet, pp. 523-559

JANUARY 16
Part II, Chapter 8: By Our Love
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 608-632; Signet, pp. 560-581

JANUARY 23
Part II, Chapter 9: The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 633-653; Signet, pp. 582-600

JANUARY 30
Part II, Chapter 10: The Sign of the Dollar
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 654-700; Signet, pp. 601-642

FEBRUARY 6
Part III, Chapter 1: Atlantis
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 701-751; Signet, pp. 643-688

FEBRUARY 13
Part III, Chapter 2: The Utopia of Greed
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 752-815; Signet, pp. 689-746

FEBRUARY 20
Part III, Chapter 3: Anti-Greed
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp.816-863; Signet, pp. 747-790

FEBRUARY 27
Part III, Chapter 4: Anti-Life
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 864-908; Signet, pp. 791-830

MARCH 6
Part III, Chapter 5: Their Brothers’ Keepers
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 909-962; Signet, pp. 831-880

MARCH 13
Part III, Chapter 6: The Concerto of Deliverance
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 963-999; Signet pp. 881-914

MARCH 20
Part III, Chapter 7, Part 1: “This Is John Galt Speaking”
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 1000-1034; Signet, pp. 915-947; up to “The degree of your ability”

MARCH 27
Part III, Chapter 7, Part 2: “This Is John Galt Speaking”
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 1034-1069; Signet, pp. 947-978

APRIL 3
Part III, Chapter 8: The Egoist
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 1070-1125; Signet, pp. 979-1029

APRIL 10
Part I, Chapter 9: The Generator
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 1126-1146; Signet, pp. 1030-1048

APRIL 17
Part I, Chapter 10: In the Name of the Best Within Us
Readings: Dutton/Plume, pp. 1147-1168; Signet, pp. 1049-1069

APRIL 24
Novel overview