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Atlas Shrugged…Who is John Galt?

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Atlas Shrugged


Who is John Galt?

Atlas Shrugged was written by the Ayn Rand in the 1950’s.  It is a long 1168-page novel. I just finished reading it and it took weeks to get through it. The longer I read the more engaged I was as I realized so much of what Ayn wrote is pertinent for today.

When I was at Borders and picked it up, the clerk said, “We sure have been selling a lot of these books this year.”

Atlas Shrugged is now at the Top of Amazons’ Best Selling Classic books and is the story of what happens in the United States economy as it collapses under the weight of government regulations and intervention.  As the government intervenes the crisis goes deeper and deeper.     (Think HVCC, Stimulus 01, GM, TARP)

A Classic

I was inspired to purchase the book by this article in the Wall Street Journal by Stephen Moore, from Fiction to Fact in 52 years.

“The moral of the story is that politicians act out of crisis, (usually created by themselves) creating more and more programs to get us out of a mess, which creates more and more government intervention. Under the burden of more taxes, the entrepreneurs are also forced into poverty. In the book they escape to continue using their minds.” Stephen Moore

Living it today

Altas Shrugged is an accurate portrayal of the stupidity of Socialism. Socialism does not work. This has proven true everywhere socialism and communism have been tried in the last 100 years.  Throughout the book it is obvious that under the crushing role of more government intervention the U.S. economy is destroyed.

The quote below is from John Galt’s speech. (Which are 70 pages long and toward the end of the book). Really a book in and of itself as John Galt doesn’t appear himself until close to the end.

“You know that you can’t give away everything and starve yourself. You’ve forced yourselves to live with undeserved, irrational guilt. Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it’s your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. This country wasn’t built by men who sought handouts. In its brilliant youth, this country showed the rest of the world what greatness was possible to Man and what happiness is possible on Earth.”

Do I agree with everything written in Atlas Shrugged? No not at all but the story is fascinating and relevant during the times we are living in and well worth the read.

Don’t have time to read a novel this large?

Read the Cliff Notes, however you will miss the development of the characters which reveal how different people handle the crisis.

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Todd Waller

    July 10, 2009 at 9:23 am

    @missycaulk too poignant by half! I picked up AS to read a second time the end of last year. The first time I read it, I was in high school and couldn’t put the book down for 2 and a half days.

    At that point in time, it seemed that Rand was “making up a plausible story.” Frightening to think that in such a short period of time, the darn story has nearly come to life…

    You ask, “Who is John Galt?”

    “He is Prometheus who changed his mind…he broke his chains and he withdrew his fire-until the day when men withdraw their vultures.”

    Great book…it just mirrors today too much to be a made up story…

    Todd

  2. Missy Caulk

    July 10, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I am on my second reading of this and John Adams both huge books. This time I am underlining. The first time I was just enjoying the story…now studying it.

    The times may have changed,the setting by human nature remains the same.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    July 10, 2009 at 10:03 am

    @missycaulk I am a big fan of Ayn Rand’s work and read Atlas Shrugged once every two years or so (in between I usually read The Fountainhead). I think one of the greatest things I ever took away from her books is that every relationship/action must have value in it for both parties. Many disagree and use charity as an example of there being no personal gain in the action. I disagree and say there is great value there – the person giving gets something out of it, whether it is pride, a good feeling, a pat on the back, or their own somewhat questionable intentions (let’s face it some give to charity just so they can get their name in the paper or on TV, some do it for ego, some do it so they can cleanse themselves of their own sins, etc.). There is value in everything you do and if there isn’t, you might want to rethink why you do it. Value does not have to be a dollar sign, although it often is.

    Even love is a two way value proposition in Ayn Rand’s books. Even if you don’t like the “message” I still think they are some of the best written stories of all time.

  4. Joe Loomer

    July 10, 2009 at 10:31 am

    My mother lived and died in London. The socialized health care system over there is more third world than first. She was killed by a blood clot in her thigh that travelled to her heart.

    Prior to this, her medical team of nut-jobs had taken her off her blood thinners because they wanted to try a new insulin delivery system and thought it might not interact. This for a woman of eighty years, three strokes, several mini-strokes, and a heart attack.

    What has this got to do with Missy’s post? We are in the infant stages of converting to a national health care system. The model? Britain’s National Insurance. A few years ago, as my mother’s health deteriorated, we had her put on the free meals delivery from the National Health Service. On a visit shortly after that, I tasted one of the dinners they’d delivered – alarmed that my mother had lost 40 lbs in six months. I do not have the eloquence of Missy or others on AG, but I will tell you it brought this former rugby player and Initiated Navy Chief to his knees. I couldn’t stomach it, and I’ve held down limburger cheese on dog biscuits chased by a shot of Thai fish sauce. Cancelled the service that day.

    I hope beyond hope that this is not OUR future in this Great Country – a deteriorating, government-run country of former greatness, punishing it’s citizens for paying their taxes. Look no further than the British Empire for a glimpse of what could be.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  5. MIssy Caulk

    July 10, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Matt, I have not read the Fountainhead but it is on my list to do so. We all give for many reasons, but America is great about responding to need. Look at how much we raised for Katerina and the Africa from American Idol. Well there are hundreds of more examples but those come to mind first.

    Regardless what motivates we are still THE most giving nation in the world, but we don’t like to made to give.

  6. MIssy Caulk

    July 10, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Joe,

    I sold a home 2 years ago to a physician in England, the stories he told. They love it here. Celebrated 4th of July. I am going to try to do a flip video interview with them.

    I am sorry about your mom, tragic. Not surprising from what D told me about the health care there.

    Not saying our system doesn’t need fixing…it does. Patients should have the ability to choose their care, physicians should be allowed to treat and order ANY tests they want for the patient.

    Even now you have to go through insurance companies to get approval for some things, and sometimes they say no.

    So stupid to be forced for everyone to carry drug treatment and mental health treatment on every policy. Those who don’t need it are paying for it in their premiums.

    Now don’t get me started on the attorneys and the high malpractice premiums the physicians pay.

    Some have NEVER been sued, yet they ALL have to pay because we are such a litigious society. Why not just the Dr.’s who have been sued have their premiums go up.

    It is just passed along to the consumers.

    Lots of options out there but Universal is not the answer.

  7. BawldGuy

    July 10, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Good stuff, Missy. When my kids reach 16 they were both required to read AS. Neither one of them has had a liberal thought since. 🙂

    Something for nothing is a myth. It’s ALWAYS something from somebody else, taken by force, direct or indirect.

  8. Lesley Lambert

    July 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I LOVE reading and re-reading Ayn Rand’s works, especially Atlas Shrugged.

    I agree with you that it is still pertinent in today’s society where so many people are expecting a bailout, handout or do-over.

    Thanks for this terrific post!

  9. Brian Block

    July 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Missy,

    Best Book Ever!

    I recommend it to everyone.

    First time I read it was 14 years ago.

    Second time was last year. Believe it or not, I read the entire book OUT LOUD to my wife over a period of a couple of months! Talk about a commitment.

    The better part of my life is based on the philosophies in Ayn Rand’s masterpiece.

  10. Missy Caulk

    July 10, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    @bawldguy Yes it is, we are like frogs in the water where the heat is turned up so slowly we just boil away. Although it seems to heating up quickly these days.

    Thanks Lesley for the RT too.

    Brian, LOL they do have it on CD too.

  11. Brian Block

    July 10, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Sure, could have found the CD, but would they have read it with as much enthusiasm as I did?

    You should have heard my Dagny voice.

  12. Brandie Young

    July 10, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Missy – thanks for the reminder …. I read that book years ago, and think it’s worth revisiting. Thanks!!

  13. Elaine Reese

    July 10, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I received an email this week – it’s probably making the rounds – about a professor teaching students about socialism. Kids thought it was a good idea to spread the wealth around. Professor said OK that he would average the grades for the tests. By the time the final test was graded, everyone failed because the smart students quit trying because there was no incentive to succeed, and the underperforming students never did study.

    I read today on Twitter that the Congress is proposing to tax the rich to pay for health care. Socialism here we come!

  14. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 10, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    #agnow Sure, could have found the CD, but would they have read it with as much enthusiasm as I did?

    You should h… https://cli.gs/ZLSsb

  15. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 10, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    #agnow Missy – thanks for the reminder …. I read that book years ago, and think it’s worth revisiting. Thanks!! https://cli.gs/GTQDb

  16. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 1:07 am

    #agnow I received an email this week – it’s probably making the rounds – about a professor teaching students about … https://cli.gs/QTYa2

  17. Tim Norris

    July 11, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Atlas Shrugged…Who is John Galt | Real Estate Opinion MAG … https://bit.ly/vgfcC

  18. Missy Caulk

    July 11, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Elaine, that is true and they are also considering taxing the health care that your employees pay for you, which in now non taxable.

    Yep give a word picture to kids who don’t get it, grades was perfect for the kiddo’s in school to understand it.

  19. Burke Chester

    July 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    If you liked Atlas Shrugged, you should not stop there. You should read everything she wrote, including her non-fiction works. Atlas, for those who like to think, is an introduction to another world. It has changed the lives of many, including me.

    Browse the web site for the Ayn Rand Institute at:

    AynRand.com

  20. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    #agnow Elaine, that is true and they are also considering taxing the health care that your employees pay for you, w… https://cli.gs/NnT97

  21. Ken Montville - MD Suburbs of DC

    July 11, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    OK, time for the radical, left wing crazy to weigh in.

    Lest we forget, Alan (“I’m shocked”) Greenspan was a direct protege of Ayn Rand’s, basking in the glow of her wisdom from her personal inner circle. While it can be said his tenure as Fed Chair bought untold riches to a few, it also has bought about the worst economic downturn in decades and all he can say is “I’m shocked” and that he made a mistake thinking that the financial services industry would regulate itself in its own self-interest.

    Let’s take this down to a more relevant, micro level. How many real estate professionals (mortgage people, Realtors, title companies) act out of unfettered greed to the detriment of the home sellers and buyers and, by extension, the housing market. Let’s not forget the home sellers and buyers themselves who are hard at work squeezing every penny out of the transaction to the detriment of an amiable transaction and, possibly, the completion of the transaction itself.

    I am not a huge fan of the type of government intervention on the scale we see today. However, it seems clear to me that, left to act without restraint, large corporations and the few (mostly men) who run them will act without regard for the society at large. This will eventually lead to political and social unrest and upheaval. This is not something anyone wants (at least anyone on AG), I hope.

    But, hey, what do I know? Let’s just those AIG whiz kids (those geniuses that came up with Credit Default Swaps) another several million to stay on the job. How many schools could you help with that money? How many roads/bridges? Nah.

  22. Brian Block

    July 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Ken,

    Alan Greenspan stopped being a disciple of Ayn Rand a long time ago.

  23. Elaine Reese

    July 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    I may be totally incorrect, but in response to Ken’s 3rd paragraph, the Democratic Congress implemented programs that encouraged those lending programs so EVERYONE could participate in the American Dream of home ownership. Homeownership is a priviledge not a right.

  24. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    #agnow OK, time for the radical, left wing crazy to weigh in.

    Lest we forget, Alan (“I’m shocked”) Greenspan w… https://cli.gs/P7JAp

  25. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    #agnow Ken,

    Alan Greenspan stopped being a disciple of Ayn Rand a long time ago. https://cli.gs/AQv0L

  26. Arlington condos Jay

    July 11, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs this is interesting to hear people in their own words who now want to assume leadership on fixing the economy. Crazy.

  27. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    #agnow If you liked Atlas Shrugged, you should not stop there. You should read everything she wrote, including her… https://cli.gs/8Zpp8

  28. Benn/AgentGenius

    July 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    #agnow I may be totally incorrect, but in response to Ken’s 3rd paragraph, the Democratic Congress implemented prog… https://cli.gs/AVPmq

  29. Erion Shehaj

    July 11, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Joe

    Isn’ t that what British food tastes like, anyway? 🙂

  30. Erion Shehaj

    July 11, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I don’t mean to agree or disagree with anyone in particular, but my experience has been that those who speak of socialism in this country really do not understand the term. How is the current proposed health care reform flicking the switch to socialism exactly? And don’t even start with “do you want some government bureaucrats making your decisions?”

  31. jacklewitz

    July 13, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Missy,

    I must confess I read the book and enjoyed it but reading that many pages gets to me. But what I did read I enjoyed. I thought the book was commenting about Government Control VS Capitalism. The US rail system today is still controlled by the Government. Too bad we could have used a modern train system in this country like Japan or Germany.

    I have some other books to suggest.

    “The Riches Man in Babylon” by George Clason

    “Creating a World without Poverty” by Muhammad Yunnas, banker to the poor and Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize on Micro-Economics.

    “Creative Capitalism” by Michael Kinsley

  32. Linsey

    July 13, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I read A LOT but this is one of those books that stays with you and even changes you in ways. Rare.

    I’ve thought about that book a lot in the last several months. My personal views and political views certainly are influenced by it and it’s a book that sticks with you in a way that few do.

    Consider it required reading.

  33. Bill Rice

    July 13, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Atlas Shrugged…Who is John Galt | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius https://ow.ly/gYGf << Should I read this book? Why?

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Business Entrepreneur

15 tips to spot a toxic work environment when interviewing

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Interviewing can be tricky, but this new infographic will help you look for signs of toxicity before, during, and after the interview.

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Person in an interview

When we’re in the process of job hunting, we’re typically looking because we need a change, for multiple reasons. Any interview sparks hope. Because we’re sometimes so willing to make that change, we often put our blinders on in the hopes that whatever comes is the perfect opportunity for us.

With those blinders, however, it can be common to miss some red flags that tell you what you really need to know about the job you may be applying or interviewing for. Luckily, Resume.io is here to help.

They have developed 15 warning signs in their infographic: How to Spot a Toxic Work Environment Before You Take the Job. Let’s dive in and take a look at these.

First, the preparation before the interview. Red flags can shop up from the get-go. Here’s what to look out for before you even meet face-to-face (or over the phone/Zoom).

  1. Vague job description: If there is nothing substantial about the description of the job itself and only buzzwords like “team player,” be on alert.
  2. Negative Glassdoor reviews: These reviews on company culture are worth taking into account. If multiple people have a recurring issue, it’s something to be aware of.
  3. Arranging an interview is taking forever: If they keep you waiting, it’s typically a sign of disorganization. This may not always be the case, but pay attention to how they’re respecting you and your time.
  4. Your arrival comes as a surprise to them: Again, disorganization. This is also displaying a lack of communication in the company.
  5. The interview starts late: See the last sentence of #3. Not only are they disrespecting your time, but they’re displaying a lack of time management.

Now, for the high-pressure situation: During the interview. Here’s what you need to be keeping an eye on (while simultaneously listing your strengths and weaknesses, of course)

  1. Unpreparedness: If the interviewer is scattered and not prepared for your conversation, this may be a sign that they don’t fully understand the tasks and expectations for the job.
  2. Doesn’t get into your skill set: If they don’t ask about your skills, how can they know what you’re bringing to the table?
  3. Rudeness: If the interviewer is rude throughout the interview or is authoritative (either to you or to a panel who may be present,) be on alert. This is just a sign of what’s to come.
  4. Uncommunicative about company values: If it’s different from what’s on their website or they seem spacey about company values, this is a red flag.
  5. Your questions aren’t being answered: If they’re avoiding answering your questions, they may be hiding an aspect of the job – or the company – that they don’t want to reveal.

Finally, the waiting game. Once the interview is complete, here are some less-than-good things to be on the lookout for. Keep in mind that some of these may be hard to gauge seeing that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and many companies haven’t returned to their offices yet:

  1. Brief interview: If the interview was too short, they are either desperate or have already filled the position. Either way, bad.
  2. Quiet workplace: This may be a sign of a lack of teamwork or a tense environment.
  3. No tour: If you don’t get to see the office, again, they may be hiding something.
  4. Offer on the day of interview: Not giving you time to think may be a sign of desperation.
  5. Leaving you waiting: Again, if they leave you waiting on an answer like they did with scheduling, it’s a sign of disorganization and disrespect.

While one of these 15 things happening doesn’t necessarily mean the job is a bust, a few of these things happening may be an indicator to look elsewhere.

 

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New COVID rules employers need to know to keep staff safe

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) The definition of “close contact” has recently changed and it affects employers and employees. Here’s what we know (for now) and you should too.

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Masked people in meeting, but employers may find it hard to keep safe

If you are an employer, this information is a must know! Recently, the Centers for Disease Control has redefined the term of being in “close contact” with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This new definition is one that will affect all group settings. The workplace is one of them.

Previously, a “close contact” individual was someone who was within six-feet during a 15-minute period of a person who tested positive for the virus. Now, “close contact” still requires the “within six-feet distance” scenario but broadens the 15 minute window criteria.

The new definition states that someone doesn’t need to have 15 consecutive minutes of interaction with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19. A cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period can also consider someone as in “close contact”. And, everyone who is in close contact will still need to be tested for the virus and quarantine themselves.

This change goes hand in hand with a recent study published by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The study details that a facility employee at a male correctional facility in Vermont tested positive for COVID-19. The confirmed case was reported to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) on August 11, 2020.

The correctional officer came in contact with 6 inmates who had arrived from an out-of-state correctional facility on July 28. All the inmates were kept in a quarantine unit and tested for SARS-CoV-2 on that day. On July 29, all their tests came back positive. As a result, the Vermont Department of Corrections (VDOC) and VDH conducted a contact tracing investigation.

During the correctional officer’s eight-hour shift, video surveillance footage showed he only had brief encounters with the inmates. Although they weren’t consecutive, the officer interacted with the inmates for about 17 minutes total. During all encounters, the officer wore a microfiber cloth mask, gown, and goggles. The inmates didn’t always wear a mask. Also, the officer didn’t have any other exposure to people with COVID-19 out of work and hadn’t traveled.

On August 4, the officer started showing COVID-19 symptoms. On August 5, he got tested, and a positive result returned on August 11. Data shows that one of the inmates transmitted the virus to the officer.

So, what does this all mean? The previous and current definition isn’t quite yet set in stone. There is so much more to learn about the virus.

The new “close contact” definition is much broader so people who didn’t fall in this category before, probably do now. If employees are in the office, it is inevitable that they will have some sort of interaction. And, even if coworkers only have a 5-minute long meeting, three 5-minute meetings will still count if there is a case of COVID-19 exposure.

Employees should be informed of these changes to better trace any unfortunate virus cases. And, employers with less than 500 employees who fall under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) will need to “provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19”.

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Streamline your collaboration and lighten your workload with Lyght

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Ventive is releasing a new collaboration tool that basically combines all your collaboration tools into one.

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Text "A vision brought to Lyght" on a bright background with lightbulb and people in collaboration.

Ventive is a custom software development agency based in Boise, Idaho. Launched in 2014, the startup combines design and engineering to build digital products that will help businesses grow. The company has worked with big names like Aston Martin, Cisco (Broadsoft), HP, Simplot, and Coleman Homes. It has even made the Inc. 5000 List for 3 years in a row. And, as with any business, it faces the same hurdles all small and big companies face: Finding the right tool to help take an idea and turn it into a reality.

In a blog post, Ventive Product Manager Jeff Wheadon wrote that the company has used a variety of tools like JIRA, Toggl, Trello, and Slack to streamline and collaborate on projects. Soon they realized there was not a single tool solution that could help them “go above and beyond for their clients”. So, Ventive decided it was “time to shine a new Lyght on team collaboration” by creating their own tool.

Lyght is an all-inclusive team collaboration tool that removes wasted time used to switch between different communication and management applications. It is designed to Make Work Simple. Make Work Flow.

In the tool, you can create a story for any project you want to build. These stories are designed for a smooth workflow, and you can collaborate with your team in each one. Conversation threads are visible in every story in real-time so everything is organized together. Tasks can be assigned by due dates and time budgets. You can even allocate a certain number of hours to a specific project so you can “determine bottlenecks in your team”.

You can also review the team’s time logs to gain insights on performance. A personalized dashboard lets you see recent activity and time spent across projects. Boards easily display the current state of each assignment. And, Backlogs let you organize and prioritize stories from your custom workflow.

Although Lyght started as an internal management tool for Ventive, the company isn’t just keeping the software for itself.

“After doing some additional market research, we found that there are many other companies across different industries looking for a similar tool that is lightweight and easy to use, yet robust enough to work with their own business processes,” wrote Jeff.

Since its creation, Lyght has gone through 3 iterations. Currently, the company is offering a private beta to entrepreneurs and teams. It plans on implementing the feedback it receives so the tool can “change and flow with the needs of the industry.” According to a Facebook post, Ventive is preparing for a public release of the software later this year.

Lyght brings together task management, collaboration, chat, and time tracking into a single solution. And, if you’d like to give it a try, you can schedule a demo on the company’s website.

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