28+ quotes from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Quotes from Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand ·  1168 pages

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“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?"

I…don't know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?"

To shrug.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“A man's sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions.... He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer--because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“If you tell a beautiful woman that she is beautiful, what have you given her? It's no more than a fact and it has cost you nothing. But if you tell an ugly woman that she is beautiful, you offer her the great homage of corrupting the concept of beauty. To love a woman for her virtues is meaningless. She's earned it, it's a payment, not a gift. But to love her for her vices is a real gift, unearned and undeserved. To love her for her vices is to defile all virtue for her sake - and that is a real tribute of love, because you sacrifice your conscience, your reason, your integrity and your invaluable self-esteem.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world. Reality is an absolute, existence is an absolute, a speck of dust is an absolute and so is a human life. Whether you live or die is an absolute. Whether you have a piece of bread or not, is an absolute. Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looter's stomach, is an absolute.

There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromise is the transmitting rubber tube.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“She did not know the nature of her loneliness. The only words that named it were: This is not the world I expected.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“I never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“What greater wealth is there than to own your life and to spend it on growing? Every living thing must grow. It can't stand still. It must grow or perish.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Learn to distinguish the difference between errors of knowledge and breaches of morality. An error of knowledge is not a moral flaw, provided you are willing to correct it; only a mystic would judge human beings by the standard of an impossible, automatic omniscience. But a breach of morality is the conscious choice of an action you know to be evil, or a willful evasion of knowledge, a suspension of sight and of thought. That which you do not know, is not a moral charge against you; but that which you refuse to know, is an account of infamy growing in your soul. Make every allowance for errors of knowledge; do not forgive or accept any break of morality.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“There is no such thing as a lousy job - only lousy men who don't care to do it.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Joy is the goal of existence, and joy is not to be stumbled upon, but to be achieved, and the act of treason is to let its vision drown in the swamp of the moment's torture.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“If one's actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Productiveness is your acceptance of morality, your recognition of the fact that you choose to live--that productive work is the process by which man's consciousness controls his existence, a constant process of acquiring knowledge and shaping matter to fit one's purpose, of translating an idea into physical form, of remaking the earth in the image of one's values--that all work is creative work if done by a thinking mind, and no work is creative if done by a blank who repeats in uncritical stupor a routine he has learned from others--that your work is yours to choose, and the choice is as wide as your mind, that nothing more is possible to you and nothing less is human--that to cheat your way into a job bigger than your mind can handle is to become a fear-corroded ape on borrowed motions and borrowed time, and to settle down into a job that requires less than your mind's full capacity is to cut your motor and sentence yourself to another kind of motion: decay--that your work is the process of achieving your values, and to lose your ambition for values is to lose your ambition to live--that your body is a machine, but your mind is its driver, and you must drive as far as your mind will take you, with achievement as the goal of your road--that the man who has no purpose is a machine that coasts downhill at the mercy of any boulder to crash in the first chance ditch, that the man who stifles his mind is a stalled machine slowly going to rust, that the man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap, and the man who makes another man his goal is a hitchhiker no driver should ever pick up--that your work is the purpose of your life, and you must speed past any killer who assumes the right to stop you, that any value you might find outside your work, any other loyalty or love, can be only travelers you choose to share your journey and must be travelers going on their own power in the same direction.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“What is man? He's just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“Do you know the hallmark of a second rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own - they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal - for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire. They bare their teeth at you from out of their rat holes,thinking that you take pleasure in letting your brilliance dim them - while you'd give a year of my life to see a flicker of talent anywhere among them. They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear. They have no way of knowing what he feels when surrounded by inferiors - hatred? no, not hatred, but boredom - the terrible, hopeless, draining, paralyzing boredom. Of what account are praise and adulation from men whom you don't respect? Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?"
"I've felt it all my life," she said.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


“In this world, either you're virtuous or you enjoy yourself. Not both, lady, not both.”
― Ayn Rand, quote from Atlas Shrugged


About the author

Ayn Rand
Born place: in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Born date February 2, 1905
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