Ayn Rand’s novel went to print some 53 years ago and while becoming iconic to the conservative political movements, it is not as well known as the philosophy behind modern day object-oriented programming languages. If you are in software development or architecture, Atlas Shrugged should be on your reading list. Her fictional community of self-contained, highly specialized people with very well-defined methods and interfaces drove the principles of object-oriented thinking. By contrast she also describes a community of highly coupled, interdependent people with ill-defined interfaces and highly fragile operation. It is a philosophical book. One that is read mostly (unfortunately) in university political science classes instead of comp-sci classes and to my amazement and dismay also banned from use in our local high school.
If you read Atlas Shrugged and found its protagonists as hard-hearted, hard-shelled, selfish people; read it again. You will find compassion, love, art, beauty and selflessness but only within well defined methods and interfaces.
I feel sorry for the people (including our local head of the High School English Department) who have such a shallow view of Ayn Rand’s works, dismissing it as right-wing propaganda. They have missed an opportunity to think, an opportunity that should never be wasted.
Today there are Atlas’es everywhere in every job, in every industry and in every public service role, taking a much larger share of the burden and responsibility than perhaps they should. Sometimes they are rewarded for shouldering the extra work, but many times they are not. Their reward is the feeling that they have put forth their very best effort in fair exchange for the (hopefully) best efforts of others.
If you’re an IT consultant, don’t back down from the big challenges. An Atlas doesn’t shrug. Bring it on!
By the way… I am a proud owner of a first edition print.