I had big plans to take a picture of me holding this book, and then discovered it is missing. 😥
To give you an idea of how much I will miss it, when I graduated from college in 2009, the gift I gave myself was the opportunity to re-read the juiciest, most “boss” book I had ever come across: Atlas Shrugged.
The lead character is a CEO named Dagny Taggart. At first read, I gasped with a mix of horror and admiration at the audacity of her choices. And as I grew older and read this massive tome a few more times, I realized that everything I love about myself is stuff that Dagny epitomizes. I love her. I want to BE her.
But I knew you wouldn’t all just go out and read it on your own without a list. And maybe reading isn’t your thing, but maybe it is and if the latter is true, trust me on this one. There are women who can conquer the world, and if you aspire to be one of them, well, what are you waiting for?
Also this isn’t an affiliate link because Amazon declined allowing me to be an affiliate because they’re insane – but it’s a link to buy a new copy, and I’m amazed it’s still selling for like $27. Unreal, but worth it.
Here are the top 7 reasons why Dagny Taggart should be your hero:
- She doesn’t blame outside influences for the bad things that happen in her life. When the railroad starts to fall apart, she doesn’t fall on her knees wondering why all the bad things happen to her. (Unlike the others in the story!) She takes it in stride and continues on her warpath.
- When a roadblock is discovered, Dagny asks herself how she’s going to accomplish the end goal instead of giving up. So when one of her suppliers “runs dry,” she doesn’t just wring her hands not knowing what to do – she finds another BETTER supplier!
- She’s fiercely loyal to what she’s passionate about. (refusing to quit even when she sees all the “greats” quitting.) When she is first given the opportunity, she refuses to step down. It takes a plane crash in a secluded area – and the exposure to seeing how life can be if everyone pulls their share – before she begins to consider walking away.
- She knows her worth but also doesn’t scoff at getting elbow deep in the gritty details. When her brother and his buddies try to sabotage her efforts at saving the railroad by convincing the public that the new steel is unsafe, she basically declares, “if you won’t drive the train on the first ride on Reardon tracks, I’ll do it myself” [paraphrased].
- Dagny allows the people she leads to make their own decisions – like with letting her executive assistant, Eddie Willers, stay behind when she leaves. She doesn’t pressure him or cajole, she just allows him to be who he is.
- She’s willing to dive in to problems and find new, innovative ways to be the best at what she does. In her efforts to save the railroad, she comes across an innovative machine that was in the process of being created. Instead of letting go of it because there’s no one who knows how to work it, she finds someone who can fix the abandoned machine.
- Dagny is okay with being a bitch. Even if her family thinks it. Even if her colleagues whisper it loudly whenever she walks out of a room. It’s not about ego for her, it’s about getting the job done. Anyone who is in her way will be told to step aside, and if that causes them to scoff, well, that’s not Dagny’s problem.
The movies made based on this book are terrible. Don’t waste your time – they were directed by novices and seemingly had next to no budget. All of the actors are different in each of the movies, though they do remotely adhere to the story line.
The book, though… it’s huge. It’s big enough to double as a weapon if you ever needed to knock someone out. But you’ll catch yourself sighing and clutching it to your chest. You go back and re-read a paragraph just to have the pleasure of the words rolling around in your mouth.
It’s sexy, seductive, and powerful. And when it comes to finding women you look up to who can be all those things AND a professional, well, our options may be more limited than you would think. Hmm.
Anyway, I hope you grab a copy if you haven’t already.
And if you have read it, please comment below if you agree with my assessment.
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