Sales of Atlas Shrugged have almost tripled in the first two months of the year after setting a yearly sales record in 2008.
I've read Atlas Shrugged. Overall, I liked the book. I agree with many of the premises laid out, namely that:
(1) government meddling in business generally leads to poor results
(2) excessive corporate taxation removes the incentive to innovate and expand
(3) price fixing cripples industry and ultimately harms consumers by reducing availability of goods and services
(4) mandating wages leads to higher unemployment
(5) nationalization of industry lowers productivity and profitability, and increases inefficiency and public dependence on government.
I'll probably read it again someday. It's an important book.
It's also about 400 pages longer than it needs to be. Rand imparts the lesson listed above about 743 times over the course of the book as government intervenes more and more to less and less (favorable) effect. I got the central thesis by around page 250. At that point I was a third of the way through the book.
What does this sales spike mean? Well, glass-half-full-me thinks it means people are generally against the idea that the federal government is there to take care of us. That people still believe in the idea that a little help is great, but self-reliance still carries the day.
Glass-half-empty-me says we're in trouble if people suddenly feel an urgent need to rediscover this.