Founder Stories has a great interview with Blake Scholl,founder and CEO of Boom Technology, where he talks about: Deciding to Start a Supersonic Airplane Company; Innovation in Aviation; Blake’s Career Before Boom; Deciding Whether or Not to Do YC; Being a Hard Tech Company in YC; Meeting with Richard Branson; Demo Day; advice for Other Hard Tech Companies, and his favorite book:
I mean, far and away my favorite book is Atlas Shrugged, and it’s probably not an accident that all the heroes in Atlas Shrugged are also pilots. Not an accident for me, personally, anyway.
During the 2007–8 financial crisis, sales of Atlas Shrugged soared, in part because people wondered how Rand could have foreseen America’s economic collapse. Sales should be soaring again — because the book is not primarily about economic collapse, but about cultural and intellectual bankruptcy.
At the novel’s start, we witness a crumbling world, with posturing intellectuals who have long ago abandoned the intellect but who continue to preach irrational, shopworn ideas, which everyone mouths but no one fully believes — or dares challenge. Part of the point of the story is that these pseudo-intellectuals will eventually be replaced by their progeny: people who more openly dispense with the intellect and who are more explicitly boorish, brutish and tribal, i.e., by anti-intellectual mentalities.
This is best symbolized by the appearance on the political scene, late in the novel, of Cuffy Meigs. Although I suspect we are only at the beginnings of a similar political descent, the parallels, unfortunately, exist. Meigs is a short-range amoralist uninterested in arguments or reasons or facts, who carries a gun in one pocket and a rabbit’s foot in the other. President Trump carries the nuclear codes in one pocket and Infowars in the other.
Lisa VanDamme, founder of VanDamme Academy, has launched an online book club called “Read With Me” at readwithmebookgroup.com.
Writes Lisa on Read with Me:
The single, animating element of my career – the one that provides me with an endlessly replenishing daily dose of endorphins – is teaching literature. I am not a literary scholar. I cannot classify works by “school” or “movement,” I cannot describe how they reflect the historical period in which they were written, I don’t know how to inventory their various literary devices. And I don’t care to.
If I have a unique talent as a teacher of literature, it boils down to this: I am passionate about great books. Hugo wrenches my heart and makes me weep tears of anguish and of wonderment. Rostand stirs me to noble ambition in work and love and life. Tolstoy challenges me to think – and to feel – on planes higher than I had ever known. Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Jane Austen, Maupassant, Rattigan, Sinclair Lewis – all have helped me to see, in the words of English professor Mark Edmundson, “that life is bigger, sweeter, more tragic and intense—more alive with meaning than I had thought.” I derive profound personal joy from literature, and I have a knack for helping others do the same.
That is why I started Read With Me. I know so many people – thoughtful, intelligent, motivated people – who avoid reading the classics. And for understandable reasons: they’re busy, they don’t know what to read, they’ve never been taught how to enjoy it, they have unpleasant memories of tedious discussions in high school English…
If you are intimidated, uninitiated, jaded, disillusioned or just plain busy – read with me. Let me show you what reading can be.
It’s September 2, Atlas Shrugged Day. What better way to celebrate than by giving a copy to a student who wants to read it?
Right now on Free Objectivist Books, there are over 120 students looking for donors to send them copies of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and other Objectivist books. A few minutes and a few dollars can put a copy in their hands.
In case you haven’t heard of Free Objectivist Books, it’s a website for the purpose of giving away copies of Objectivist books to students who want to read them. Students sign up with their name and school, and say what book they want to read and why. Donors choose which students they want to sponsor, and then send them the books directly. As a donor, you’ll get a personal thank-you from the student, and when they finish reading the book, you’ll get to hear their reaction. It’s a simple, easy, direct form of activism that is unusually motivating and rewarding.
This video is a wonderful discussion between two Ayn Rand scholars — professors Ben Bayer and Greg Salmeiri — each warmly reminiscing about the first time they read Ayn Rand’s epic novel, Atlas Shrugged.
The video is to kick off the launch of The Atlas Shrugged Project — an eight-month, chapter-by-chapter, online discussion of Ayn Rand’s bestselling novel, Atlas Shrugged. To facilitate the discussion, ARI will host a weekly interactive broadcast on Facebook Live led by experienced teachers to help readers explore the intricate plot and abstract themes of Rand’s most philosophical novel.
The Ayn Rand Institute invites everyone to join The Atlas Project, an eight-month, chapter-by-chapter, online discussion of Atlas Shrugged. To facilitate the discussion, ARI will host a weekly interactive broadcast on Facebook Live led by experienced teachers to help readers explore the intricate plot and abstract themes of Rand’s most philosophical novel.
Objectivist and radio talk show host, Amy Peikoff, “The Logical Atheist” debates Fox News’s Tucker Carlson about a study that purported to show that atheists are more closed-minded than religious people.
(Tucker inaccurately labels Peikoff a feminist, a more accurate description would be an individualist or, even more definitively, an Objectivist).
Who used to be a socialist and became a “liberty-loving capitalist” when he found the American dream?
TheBlaze contributor Yaron Brook introduced himself on the first episode of “The Yaron Brook Show,” sharing his story of being born and raised in Israel and knowing from age 16 that he wanted to move to the U.S. Yaron was once a socialist and collectivist who believed that individuals needed to sacrifice for the good of society, but not anymore. He now describes himself as a “freedom-loving, liberty-loving capitalist.”
He explained that the new show will offer his “unique perspective, particularly on the Middle East and what is happening there.”
Yaron is the executive chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute and the co-author of “Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality.”
One woman, one microphone, one key to the Ayn Rand Institute audio archives — that’s Rise & Fall: How Ideas Move the World, a podcast about the power of philosophic ideas hosted by Ayn Rand Institute research associate Amanda Maxham. “Ideas surround you,” Maxham said. “Ideas shape the way you act, how you feel, what you think is good and what you condemn as evil. Whether it’s the first spark of a new invention or the fall of Rome, ideas shape the world. Rise & Fall illuminates those ideas, one at a time.”
Maxham chooses a theme for each episode and then digs into ARI’s audio archives, where every lecture, radio program, course and Q&A from Objectivist voices that were caught on tape over the past fifty years waits to be uncovered. She weaves these audio gems together with commentary and original interviews to create each episode of Rise & Fall.
The topics vary, from genetically engineered mosquitoes to the use of language, from “Islamophobia” to courtroom justice, but no matter the topic, Rise & Fall looks at the world through the lens of the power of philosophic ideas. Listeners are encouraged to call the toll-free Rise & Fall line (888-673-5553) to leave a message with reactions to the show or questions for the host and guests. Maxham plans to use these reactions in shaping future episodes. Each episode also features an original illustration by former Institute intern Robert Simpson.
Here are summaries of the first three episodes, slated for release next week (available now on YouTube here):
Episode 1: The Four Events That Significantly Emboldened Islamic Totalitarians: The Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Salman Rushdie Affair, September 11th and the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. Are we in the Western world doomed to more and more attacks by Islamic totalitarians? And what can anyone do about it? The answer might surprise you.
Episode 2: Nature’s Deadliest Killer: The recent outbreak of Zika (a mosquito-borne virus) in the United States brings mankind’s battle against mosquitoes and the diseases they carry to the forefront. We have many tools we can use to fight mosquitoes, such as DDT and GMOs (genetically modified organisms), so why aren’t we using them?
Episode 3: Anti-Concepts: “Islamophobia,” “meritocracy” and “extremism.” These three anti-concepts obliterate clear thinking and shut down thoughtful discussion. Have you unwittingly accepted them into your thinking?
IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Washington Post recently stated that several of Donald Trump’s appointees are fans of Ayn Rand, the novelist-philosopher most famous for her 1957 best-seller Atlas Shrugged.
“It’s a testament to Ayn Rand’s impact that a president can’t fill a cabinet with successful business leaders without including people who’ve been inspired and influenced by Rand’s heroic depiction of entrepreneurs and innovators,” says Ayn Rand Institute senior fellow Onkar Ghate, author of the essay “One Small Step for Dictatorship: The Significance of Donald Trump’s Election.”
Ghate goes on to note that it’s important to keep in mind that none of Trump’s picks claim to be adherents of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. “Rand called herself a radical for capitalism. A cabinet filled with appointees who embraced her worldview would have a very different agenda than this administration is likely to have.”
What would an Ayn Rand agenda look like? According to Ghate: “One thing you can be sure of: it wouldn’t focus merely on rolling back some of the controls and redistribution programs of the Obama era. It would focus on liberating us from the regulatory-welfare state and moving America forward—toward a government devoted to safeguarding individual rights.”