This book delivers on a fascinating concept: find real-world people who embody the virtues and vices of the protagonists and villains in Ayn Rand’s novels. It’s a creative angle to look at the lives of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Milton Friedman, Barney Frank, and others through the lens of Ayn Rand’s characters and philosophy. Some of the descriptions lack depth–for example, I understood that the U.S. Government went after Bill Gates for supposed antitrust issues, and the book is obviously defending Gates, but I never got a clear grasp of what the government’s argument was, specifically.
The stories of the Randian heroes (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Milton Friedman, TJ Rodgers, and John Allison) were interesting, but the villains really delivered the best reading. The chapter on Paul Krugman was the most emotional, as it involved Krugman’s personal demonization of the author. I worried that the account might be less than objective, but I know enough about Krugman from other sources that I don’t doubt he’s the dirtbag the book portrays him as.
The architects of the recent housing market meltdown (and subsequent wrecking ball into the general economy), Barney Frank on the government side and Angelo Mozilo (Countrywide) on the business side, are portrayed as arrogant and greedy collectivists that align perfectly with Rand’s worst villians. The authors trace in great detail how Frank’s pursuit of increased homeownership and the subsequent availability of billions in government-backed funds created a huge opportunity for Countrywide to exploit for massive profit, processing thousands of risky sub-prime mortgages and then selling them to the government.
I read Atlas Shrugged just prior to reading I Am John Galt, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Rand’s philosophy, sifting through it and affirming the pieces that conform to a Christian worldview and rejecting those that do not. She is at her greatest and most persuasive in her indictment of government meddling, and in turning virtue on its head, especially in the realm of economics and capitalism. That is where this book does a great service by connecting real-world, modern businessmen and politicians to Randian ideas.
I Am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It by Donald Luskin and Andrew Gretta Purchase Links: Hardcover, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook