Read Anthem by Ayn Rand Leonard Peikoff Online


He lived in the dark ages of the future. In a loveless world, he dared to fall in love. In an age that had lost all trace of science and civilization, he had the courage to seek and find knowledge. But these were not the crimes for which he would be hunted. He was marked for death because he had committed the unpardonable sin: standing out from the mindless human herd. AynHe lived in the dark ages of the future. In a loveless world, he dared to fall in love. In an age that had lost all trace of science and civilization, he had the courage to seek and find knowledge. But these were not the crimes for which he would be hunted. He was marked for death because he had committed the unpardonable sin: standing out from the mindless human herd. Ayn Rand’s classic tale of a dystopian future of the great “We”—a world that deprives individuals of a name or independence—anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.   This seventy-fifth anniversary edition of Anthem, celebrating the controversial and enduring legacy of its author, features an introduction by Rand’s literary executor, Leonard Piekoff, which includes excerpts from documents by Ayn Rand—letters, interviews, and journal notes in which she discusses Anthem. This volume also includes a complete reproduction of the original British edition with Ayn Rand’s handwritten editorial changes and a Reader’s Guide to her writings and philosophy.In Ayn Rand’s novels you have found more than great works of art—you have found a philosophy of reason.  “I had to originate a philosophical framework of my own, because my basic view of man and of existence was in conflict with most of the existing philosophical theories. In order to define, explain, and present my concept of man, I had to become a philosopher in the specific meaning of the term.”—Ayn Rand  Now available for further reading on Rand’s philosophy: Objective Communication by Leonard Piekoff.   Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism is increasingly influencing the shape of the world from business to politics to achieving personal goals. In Objective Communication, Peikoff explains how you can communicate philosophical ideas with conviction, logic, and, most of all, reason.  Also available from Penguin: an enhanced edition/app of Atlas Shrugged....

Title : Anthem
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780451191137
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 110 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Anthem Reviews

  • Irina
    2019-03-16 01:25

    The book is about human identity and freedom, and how one can degrade under the chains of collectivism.A lot of reviews on this book, which are posted on this site, use the word “futuristic” events. I intentionally put the quotes around this word as I tend to totally disagree with the choice of this word. I used to live under socialist regime, a collectivistic society. So I can relate and completely understand the events described in the book, where the word “I” doesn’t exist, when it is a shame to stand out and be different from the rest. However, you don’t need to come from the socialist country to understand that this is about NOW, and not the future. We face this “phenomenon” (again I am using the quotes to underline that this actually is a normal event that we face every day), when we need to struggle to form our own opinions to think this is white, when everyone else thinks this is black. We struggle to stand up and not to get under the influence of the media propaganda and continue to act with the high integrity and high morals no matter what.This book is about the man, who stands out on his own and is not afraid to position himself against everyone else just to rediscover his “I”.My favorite quotes:"My hands...My spirit...My sky...My forest". "I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning" Many words have been granted me,...but only three are holy: "I will it!" "I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before." “ I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned." And now I see the face of god... . This god, this one word: 'I' " will go on. Man, not men." "I am. I think. I will."

  • mark monday
    2019-03-11 17:42

    a long day at work with a lot of that work left unfinished+ happy hour drinks with colleagues, no they're more than that, with friends+ I have to get around to reviewing a book by mutterfookin' AYN RAND of all things=DRUNK ЯEVIEW #?so I've been on a hiring spree lately, just hiring people left and right because yay my work is actually getting multiple contracts and that means we can actually hire people instead of everyone doing two jobs per usual nonprofit social services type staffing patterns, so anyway I hired this one young lady who is clearly super smart and super organized and super perfect for the job I hired her for, good job mark, yet again, but she is 21 and so I wonder sometimes if her big brain is the tail wagging the 21 year old, who is very, very much 21 years of age, or at least what I remember of myself when I was 21. namely, emotional. and critical. and all about RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW. still, I'm pleased with the hire, she's great, I love her. and what does everything I just wrote even mean? in the context of this book? i dunno but it sorta made sense to me as I wrote it.anyway, she somehow found out that I am a quote unquote Reader, and so she loaned me one of her favorite books. namely, this book. Anthem. my reaction was decidedly undecided when she mentioned this was one of her favorites. I hate everything I know about Ayn Rand. I am the sort of ass who, way back when i was 21 and in college, actually broke up with a lady I was dating because it was clear that all of the Ayn Rand she was reading was influencing her, she was quoting Ayn Rand for crissakes, anyway it was too much because Ayn Rand's ME ME ME style of libertarian philosofuckery just drives me up the wall and I can't have that in someone I'm dating. so she turned around and started dating my roommate, so someone got that last laugh there and it wasn't mark my new staffer loaned me this book and i was all UH UH BUT AYN RAND SUCKS ARE YOU SERIOUS?? and she was all OH MY GOD JUST FUCKING TRY IT. so i did!if you are one of the unwashed masses who doesn't know what Ayn Rand is all about, and God bless you if you are, here are some things about her (that I despise):- totally against all forms of socialism because to Rand, socialism = the death of the individual- the most important thing about this curious concept called "Self" is "Ego". Rand worships at the altar of EGO. per Rand, if you aren't your own #1, you may as well be dead. there are aspects of that mentality that I totally get and support, but Rand carries this to the point where concepts like "altruism" are inherently corrupt to her. an altruistic person per Rand is pretty much the definition of a total loser- you are the captain of your own ship; if your ship carries important supplies that could help other people, who gives a fuck, fuck them; your ship needs to sail alone unless people are happy to sail under your personal captaincy. e.g. if you are a brilliant architect who designs a brilliant housing complex and then finds out that that your design is being used for public housing, God forbid, then you are fully entitled to blow up said brilliant housing complex because it is being used for the public good rather than for what you intended. YOUR PERSONAL DREAMS ÜBER ALLES!which reminds me: one of my favorite films is King Vidor's insane adaptation of Rand's novel The Fountainhead, where what I just mentioned is the central struggle of the film (and I assume the novel). this over the top thing of beauty features a berserk plotline, berserk characters, a brilliant housing complex being blown up because God fucking forbid it may be used for public housing, and an incredible scene where architect Gary Cooper is drilling something and neurotic Patricia Neal is watching him drill and gets so worked up she uncontrollably starts beating the literal horse she rode in on, and then rides off, in a Randian heat over the studly I Am My Own Man-ishness of the Gary Cooper character. she gets so hot & bothered she actually delivers a smart slash of her riding crop before riding off. hot stuff!but back to this book, finallyactual review:I was surprised at how much I liked it, at first. it is one of those dystopic post-apocalyptic books where we are experiencing the day-to-day life of some poor zombie sap who is slowly realizing that he is living in a world of sad automatons and he is one of the few who gets how pathetic his life is. because everyone is supposed to be like everyone else, and he is an actual someone. as always, this is an automatically enjoyable narrative to live in because who doesn't think that way, at certain points in their lives (or at certain points in their day, cough)the style and the prose itself impressed me. Rand is one of those surprising writers whose prose is stripped-down, clean, and neat while also being oddly poetic: phrases and sentences that are child-like, eager, but also full of longing and melancholy. she's a fully-formed writer as of Anthem, surprisingly only her second novel. even more impressive was her replacement of the word "I" with the word "We" which functioned as an implicit criticism of the communist mindset while giving the storytelling itself an excitingly declamatory feel. on a stylistic level, Anthem is a genuine pleasure to read.oh I just got a text from a friend that was a link saying "typhoon pork bun woman" and I think I'm just not going to check that out right now. whatever could that mean??anyway, this was turning out to be a from-leftfield 4 star book for me but then the last two chapters happened. there were hints before that, here and there, but I chose to ignore them. but Ayn Rand is gonna do Ayn Rand, and that's only bad news where women are concerned. per Rand, a person with a dick is a person who needs to make himself into his own man; a person without a dick should probably just follow and promise obedience to said dick.THAT IS FUCKING DISAPPOINTING. but I suppose not surprising. and yet I am surprised! I'm always surprised when a woman is all about freedom and rugged individuality and notgivingaflyingfuckeroo about what society says... but for men only! not for the womenfolk! apparently women should just support their man, they are incapable of forging their own hard-won individuality because EMOTIONS. I wish this was a unique perspective but God knows I have come across it many times, in literature and ugh in real life too. my own experience of my own uh experiences but also of my male friends is that I, and they, are all super fucking emotional. this is not just a female trait! argh. but more to the point: the sole female in Anthem shows her worth by declaring her obedience to her ruggedly individualistic, freedom-living man. that's just fucking gross and I don't get it. self-hate much?so anyway, looks like Survivor is on so time for me to end this review. also feels like I am going to have an interesting time reporting my findings to the person who loaned me this book. wish me luck!

  • Matthew
    2019-03-17 17:43

    I cannot believe I just realized now I did not have this book marked as read! I read this back in high school and loved it!For those thinking about trying Ayn Rand, this is a good intro book considering it is only a little over 100 pages and her other popular titles (mainly talking about Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead) are quite daunting in their length.Now, in the past I have had trouble reviewing Ayn Rand because she is controversial. Usually this leads to people not being able to separate a review of a book from a political statement. Since I don't like arguing politics and figure everyone is entitled to their opinion, I will again attempt to avoid putting any sort of political spin on this one - but it may not be completely avoidable.For me, this book is in the same category as 1984 and Brave New World. It is a commentary on where we might be going if we are not careful. In this book, the main issue is loss of self in forced servitude to the larger governmental machine. The writing is creative and riveting enough that it is very easy to finish this in one sitting.Check out Anthem and read it with an open mind (even if it doesn't match your politics) and I think you will find an interesting, enjoyable, and thought provoking classic.

  • Pete
    2019-03-05 19:23

    Congrats, Aynnie! You've received my first single star rating! I read this in high school when I was reading a lot of dystopian future literature and thought it was by far the worst of the lot. Granted, if I'd read it when I was younger I might have liked it more, but saying that the even younger, less mature, more pretentious version of my teenage self would have liked something is hardly a glowing endorsement.As such I've steered /way/ clear of her door-stoppers. I don't think you really need to come up with some faux cerebral excuse to justify selfishness; if you're going to be self-centered your actions are ultimately justified by your own selfish inner drives, not your intellect. At best Rand was a shrewd self-marketed Cold War personality. At worst she's cynical, petty, pedantic, and most unforgivable of all, _boring_.

  • Zora
    2019-03-12 22:34

    The real tragedy of this book is that the billions of copies that have been printed could have been more appropriately used to build homes for people in third world countries. This book could not be more self indulgent if it came with a bottle of Absynthe and a membership to MENSA. Not only is it impossibly boring to read, the characters are so one dimensional that they put V.C. Andrews to shame. Do yourself a favor: set this on fire and use the fourteen hours that it burns to read Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series instead. You won't regret it.

  • Kamyar
    2019-03-10 01:42

    Neither a science-fiction masterpiece, nor a futuristic predicament, ANTHEM is a personal reaction to the collectivist system, dominant in Soviet Union and its modernized colonies for more than seven decades. Assumed too much reactionary by leftist intellectuals for rather a long time, it depicts the apocalyptic chaos in a world ruled by collectivist thoughts in the same way that Orwell’s 1984 builds it (for instance, you can think of a world after a nuclear crisis and then come to the meaning of nothingness). But forgetting all about suspense and action, it defines what it means to forget individuals for the sake of a system. Discovering the word “I”, when every ruler in any part of the world assumes all the individuals his own nation and labels them with the word “we”, appears to be a necessity – a necessity for preventing a disaster like a great world war.Needless to say that Rand is haunted by the symbols in a simple narrative in ANTHEM; but reading it as an enlightening manifestation – obviously written with hostility, contempt and anger – paves the way to get more familiar with her invaluable reflections on the modern world.

  • Conrad
    2019-02-28 18:31

    Definitely the only book by Ayn Rand I will ever need to read, unless I happen to be reincarnated as an asshole. When people start modeling their book covers after Mussolini-era Italian architecture, worry.

  • Danny Salinger
    2019-02-20 01:26

    Alright. If, for some reason, the values of individuality or independence are completely alien to you, you should read this book. Everyone else is better off skipping it. It has nothing else to offer and it's got a good chance of convincing that you're smarter or more enlightened than you actually are. Granted, I was a bit biased against Ayn Rand while reading this. But before reading this I had that sort of play-aversion that you carry around because it's fun to make fun of famous dead people. After reading this my contempt for her has become deep and far-reaching.The setting is simplistic and nonsensical. Unlike other dystopias such as 1984 or Brave New World, it's not portrait of a functioning oppressive society or a sad commentary on human nature as much as it is a vague, untenable strawman. Other dystopias are written with an awareness or sensitivity towards the human condition. 1984 dealt with our willingness to circumvent logic for a comfortable, patriotic lie. Brave New World dealt with our willingness to completely ignore issues and problems as long as we're entertained. Anthem on the other hand, deals with our willingness to sacrifice logic, comfort, entertainment, and freedom for the good of our neighbors. Oh wait... that doesn't make sense. In fact it flies in the face of the oldest, and most confounding problem in the social sciences, The Tragedy of the Commons. Biology and psychology have also found that self-sacrifice without compensation is an exceedingly rare phenomenon, and that animals (including humans) are ,as a general rule, selfish. Even the Soviet Union, a major influence behind this book, was only maintained by the general acceptance of the communist ideal for a short time before it was replaced with the KGB and the threat of the gulags. Considering how easy it was for Equality to escape from confinement, I'm comfortable saying that critical element was absent. This might be more excusable if it was meant to be a highly stylized hyperbole like The Giver, but Rand says herself in the introduction that this is not only the inevitable sum of collectivism, but what all socialists and collectivists secretly WANT.All this leads me to believe that a person who could seriously believe, much less write, this would have to be someone who saw their self-interest as unique, and imagined the majority of humanity a swathe of ambitionless drones. That, or a reader who's mouth salivates at the word "individuality" and who, when it comes to the affairs of the world, automatically equates cynicism to realism because it makes them look clever and critical.The writing's painfully overwrought as well. You have to understand this book is listed as half-read because despite my several attempts I can't finish it. I either get tired of self-indulgent prose and put it down or I start reading it out loud and I can't take it seriously (a friend and I did this to pass the time while waiting for a bus once.) The character thinks in short, declarative sentences that seem to rely on the reader seeing his struggle as novel and impactful. If you don't do this automatically there's nothing really there to MAKE you. The struggle in question, is a one-dimensional tug of war between We and I without the complexity or variability seen in actual human thought.Even the treatment of individuality once it's "achieved" is trite. After you figure out the "I" and the "ego" you're pretty much scott-free. You don't have any uncertainty about what you want to do or who you want to be, and you don't have to worry about things like self-deception, insecurity or over-confidence to mess with you. Congratulations, you are one of an elite few! Rand's portrayal of selfishness and independence as some miracle cure is sophomoric and overly simplistic, and it gets hammered into you from the beginning. It's not even as if calls to challenge, question, and break social oppression or embrace your individuality are hard to find, even in Rand's time, and a lot of these calls don't have to resort to strawmen or heady promises of perfection. Read Ender's Game, The Giver, My Side of the Mountain or any other young adult novel. Even song lyrics (Tilly and the Wall, Say Anything, Incubus) treat the topic of self-definition and social constraints with more intelligence. This book might have been revolutionary for its time, but we've moved on as a culture. We've gotten over the novelty of selfishness being a virtue and social control being a bad thing, and we've managed to produce far more intelligent treatments of the subject.

  • Daniel
    2019-03-03 22:23

    Mocking, Childish ReviewThe ending, with the Statue of Liberty emerging from the beach, was a nice twist. "You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" As it turns out, it was Earth all along.And, yes, for those keeping score at home, I do intend to use this exact same review for every dystopian novel I read. At least I amuse myself and, really, isn't that what matters most?Slightly Less Childish ReviewLook, I fully appreciate how Ayn Rand and her family suffered at the hands of the Soviets before she fled for America in the 1920s, and I understand how that would lead her to develop her virulently anti-socialist philosophy and write novels decrying the most dehumanizing aspects of communism. But, as with most propaganda -- and I don't use that word pejoratively, but simply to mean literature used to promote a cause -- it's got an expiration date. It's been two decades since the Berlin Wall fell, and for the vast majority of the world, communism isn't much of a threat anymore. So, aside from studying the history of communism, is there much reason to read such propaganda at this point, especially propaganda as lacking in literary value as "Anthem" and Rand's other books? I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them. I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. I covet no man's soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet.I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned.Aside from plus-sized, pain-killer-addicted Republican talk-radio hosts and octogenarian former Federal Reserve chairmen, who takes this horseshit seriously at this late date?OK, in addition to the aforementioned, I guess there's one other group of readers for Rand's novels even in the 21st century: self-centered, bookish teenagers seeking affirmation for their assumptions that they alone are individuals, they alone have it all figured out, they alone understand how the world really works, and everyone else is a mindless conformist. Stupid sheep! Then, at some point, Lord willing, those readers grow the hell up, realize that no man is an island after all, and switch to reading real literature. (If not, they become the voice of the GOP, I guess.)As for the rest of us? Readers wanting to reacquaint themselves with Rand's writing -- especially given the two new biographies out, and much media attention being paid lately to both Rand herself and her ongoing influence on the Republican Party -- can knock off "Anthem" in less than an hour, and not have to waste their time with the brick-sized "Atlas Shrugged" or "The Fountainhead." So "Anthem" gets an extra star for being mercifully short, I guess, and available for free on the Internet. And it's a slightly better book for teenagers than "Twilight," I suppose, with a marginally better message. Marginally.

  • Heather
    2019-02-24 23:32

    This book really helped me get my self esteem back together. This was my mantra going into college.... I think it got me through a lot of BS. It is not bad to remind yourself of the following things every once in a while....."I am. I think. I will. My hands . . . My spirit . . . My sky . . . My forest . . . This earth of mine. . . . What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer. I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgement of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect. Many words have been granted me, and some are wise, and some are false, but only three are holy: "I will it!" Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the loadstone which point the way. They point in but one direction. They point to me. I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars. I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before! I do not surrender my treasures, nor do I share them. The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of the spirit. I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom. I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them. I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. I covet no man's soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet. I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned."

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-03-19 20:28

    The baby version of Ayn Rand philosophy, heavy handed, unimaginative, and unfortunately assigned to my son for high school reading. I struggle with Ayn Rand because I agree with some of her points and I vehemently disagree with others. The point is that bad things happen when the left or the right gain too much control because we always seem to end up in the same place with the government oppressing individual freedoms. It is really stunning to think of the millions of copies of this book that have been sold. I would say skip it, but if your child is assigned to read it please do read it. I'm a firm believer that parents should read any book their child is assigned in school to read.

  • Jonathan
    2019-02-26 20:25

    Of all the dystopian novels I have read, this one felt like one of the least inspired. The characters are one-dimensional, the story lacks context altogether, and is entirely made to support Rand's liberal philosophies. Sure, it's really short--so is Animal Farm, but that is a story with depth. Ironically, they both claim to be about Soviet Russia--or at least the author's experience with such. I hope I can claim that my reasoning for disliking this book has more to do with its content, and less to do with the Ayn Rand's complete and utter ignorance.

  • Lyn
    2019-02-23 22:23

    Compared to the voluminous Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, Anthem is a chapter. But Rand may have been better adapted to writing shorter fiction because this one packs a lean, economical and hungry punch. Dystopian but told like a fable, this is a serious work that works on multiple levels. Very good.Of the three works, I liked them in this order:The FountainheadAnthemAtlas Shrugged

  • Jill
    2019-02-23 01:37

    Ayn Rand was the most overrated writer (I can't even call her a philosopher) of the 20th century, and a great gaping asshole to boot. This book is yet another to support those facts.

  • Amy
    2019-02-28 18:28

    A truly interesting read, Ayn Rand's book holds a captivating narrative. But as I watched the character swerve from the absolute collective to an absolute, egocentric conclusion, I ended up pitying the hero and his hapless companion for stumbling upon the wrong conclusion upon which they would base the rest of their existence. And what happened to "The Golden One" (his much less assertive true love)? All I could see was that for all the hero's self realization, his mate was merely a follower and a worshiper of his fantastic, glowing sacred "I". I am sorry to say Ayn Rand started with a great idea of individualism and ended in the trainwreck of selfish isolation.

  • TK421
    2019-03-02 20:49

    First off, let me say this: SHAME ON YOU AMAZON! You have prohibited a great cover of this novel from showing here on goodreads. The cover I speak of looks like this: five ghostly apparitions stand forlornly, one is reaching toward a light that looks as if it is an exploding star; they all have chains on their wrists; the far right figure, the only woman, is tenderly reaching for the hand of the man trying to grasp the light; a pitch black background acts as a backdrop. It is the perfect cover for this novel. It tells so much without revealing anything (that is unless you have read the novel). So I say again: SHAME ON YOU AMAZON. Okay, now on to the book. ANTHEM by Ayn Rand is a novel set in a far-off post apocalyptic future, in a world where technology has been relegated into the land of myth and fancy. People of this world are no longer given birth names; they are given a name according to the cohort they were born into. It is a world where the individual is less than the collective. This is the story of Equality 7-2521. In the beginning, they (he) are destined to be great thinkers. No other cohort in history has thought the way they (he) do(es). But this is not to be. Equality 7-2521 is given the job of Street Sweeper by the Council of Vocations. It is this council that determines what is essential for the collective at the moment. Equality 7-2521 does a grand job of keeping the streets clean. It is not until they (he) comes across Liberty 5-3000, renamed the Golden One, that Equality 7-2521 begins to think outside of the proverbial collective box. Later, when Equality 7-2521 discovers a secret cave (which in reality is an abandoned subway tunnel) does the meaning of individuality actually begin to take root in their (his) head. While stealing away to this “secret place” Equality 7-2521 begins to experiment with copper wires, eventually making an apparatus that conducts electricity. Equality 7-2521 is overwhelmed by this discovery, and wants to share it with the World Council of Scholars. But before they (he) can do that, it is discovered that they (he) is not in at curfew. Equality 7-2521 is taken away to the Palace of Corrective Detention where they (he) are beaten and tortured and interrogated. Equality 7-2521 never talks, not so much as a whisper. When they (he) decide to escape, the morning of the meeting for the World Council of Scholars, they (he) bring the electrical apparatus. When shown the device, the members of the World Council of Scholars shirk back from it in fear. When Equality 7-2521 offers to give the council this gift, they scoff at him and berate them (him) for thinking not of the brotherhood but of only them(self). Equality 7-2521 refuses to be detained again and runs off into the Uncharted Forest with the device, there they (he) wander aimlessly, and await the moment a beast tears them to shreds. But it is not a beast that confronts them (him); it is the Golden One that finds them (him). Together, Equality 7-2521 and the Golden One go on a journey further into the Uncharted Forrest. When they happen to come across an old cabin, they investigate the relics left behind from the Unimaginable Times, mainly books. It is at this moment that Equality 7-2521 goes from them to him. It is at this time that he begins to understand that “I” can be more powerful than “we”. With this new knowledge, Equality 7-2521 renames himself, Prometheus. It is also at this time that he gives the Golden One a new name, Gaea. It is at this time that first-person narration takes over. (The rest of the novel you will have to read for yourself.)For this reader, the premise of this novel is intriguing. The setup and the style in which it is written allows for a fast paced story, packed with delicious nuggets of thought. And, to boot, Rand wrote this as a writing exercise while she was outlining ATLAS SHRUGGED. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Rand was a big sloppy bowl of crazy. But what she has written in ANTHEM is a testament of what people should do to keep their governments in check. Basically, Rand tells the reader to remember this: governments work for the people, not the other way around. Alongside Yevgeny Zamyatin’s WE, ANTHEM is considered a classic within post apocalyptic literature. I’ve never read WE, but I will be certain to read it sooner than later. Is ANTHEM a good book? Sure. Is it a book worth reading eighty plus years after it was published? Yep. Does it have all the answers? Not even close. This is a book of ideas. Plot and characterization and setting are shadily written. Perhaps that is the genius of this brief 120 page novel. Perhaps Rand wanted the reader to fill in the gaps with their own struggles against their own government. Regardless, this is a quick read that any reader of science fiction, or any person interested in the struggle between individualism and collectivism should read. If anything, it should make you think.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  • Rowena
    2019-03-03 20:36

    “It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil.”- Ayn Rand, AnthemBefore my Goodreads days, before I knew anything about Ayn Rand, I kept spotting her name on booklists and decided to buy a few of her books. It took me a while to learn that Rand was persona non grata.I did read Atlas Shrugged and surprisingly found it quite fascinating despite not ascribing to her philosophy of objectivism in the least, and despite finding the characters highly unlikeable. ‘Anthem’ was interesting. I liked the writing style, and I enjoyed Rand’s depiction of a dystopic world, one in which the pronoun ‘I' is not used as it is a collectivist society with no time for individuality. This is a society in which writing is considered a sin, where you are given your career choice on the whims of those in charge (the Council of Vocation), not on your ability or personal preferences; a very rigid society where at 40 years of age, you are considered old and useless.Anthem did remind me of Orwell’s 1984 in a way. To me, the protagonist Equality 7-2521 was another Winston, someone who didn’t like the status quo, who was awakened but didn’t want to risk his life to show others that he was. My only problem with this book is that it was too short! I would have loved to see how the story played out.

  • Matt
    2019-02-24 00:49

    Quick read with a lasting impression. Released over a decade before George Orwell's '1984', this is Rand's objection to the idea of Socialist unity and embraces the idea of the human ego and individualism. Rand herself described this story as a poem, allowing the story to flow. She is able to enforce her philosophy of 'objectivism' without the challenge of a long winded novel (Atlas Shrugged, anyone?)Although her writing in 'Anthem' is more transparent then her norm, the book still captivates and makes it's point.

  • Paul Nash
    2019-02-21 18:31

    One of my all time favorites. I read this for the first time when I was a senior in high school. So short...but SO much within those short pages. It really had an impact on me. I used to read this book, without fail, EVERY New Years day. After about 10 years I stopped the tradition. I just picked this up again for about the 12 time and it still grabbed me...this book is timeless. Do yourself a favor and read this book!!UPDATE: For the people that gave this 1 star... I believe you missed the entire meaning of this ORIGINAL Dystopia book and the beautiful message it conveys. This book paved the way for so many Dystopian books that followed it. (IMO)

  • Becky
    2019-03-07 00:30

    I should say right up front that I'm not at all familiar with Ayn Rand. I own a couple of her books, but I never read any of them until now. I never studied her in school and I'm not familiar with her philosophies, though I know that they are somewhat controversial and polarizing. And I am not a philosophical type person... so take this review with a grain of salt. This is my first experience reading any of her work, and... I'm not really all that impressed. I got the lack of individuality theme right around paragraph two or so, when I realized that Equality 7-2521 wasn't literally referring to multiple people when he said "we" but just to himself. And so it wasn't that hard to predict where this was going. Maybe it's because I've read and seen quite a lot of dystopian themed work in my life, but this came across as very predictable to me. In fact, bits of it reminded me of Logan's Run and THX 1138, though I do realize that this was written well before both of those. So, this society is based on The Borg the collective, and all existence is supposed to be to toil for the good of the whole. There's no explanation of how they got to this point and the population is very small, in the thousands, so I'm thinking that since there's mention of a great fire, there must have been a war or nuclear blast or something, and the survivors rebuilt society in the best way that they knew how... We need some people to clean up, we need some people to figure stuff out and help rebuild, we need some people to grow food, and some people to cook it, and some people to teach the next generation, and so on. But somewhere along the line, the people in power decided they liked it, and that limiting individual thought and convincing people that the whole is the only thing that matters, and any not following the rules would be whipped or killed, allowed them to keep it. Just your standard communist cult. I don't necessarily think that socialism or collectivism is inherently bad. There are many communities that make it work, but when free will, knowledge, self, and choice are banned, and the collective replaces one's identity and purpose, that can be bad. This book illustrates this extreme form, and at the end once the main character discovers his sense of self, he claims that he will never again use the term "we". I guess I can understand wanting to break away from that concept completely and live truly freely and aware, but it struck me as just as ignorant, because how else will you refer to a group to which you belong by choice? The main character is not ALONE, he's just discovered he is an individual. There's a difference, and that difference matters, because "we" can be a good type of inclusive, and does not necessarily equate to a loss of self. Rand seemed to have strong opinions on this, and that's cool... I just don't entirely buy into them. Anyway, I liked that it was journal style, even though it was technically 1st person. It worked though in this case, because for him, there is no concept of a singular person existing just in their own head, so it's like he assumed from the very beginning that his writings would be read by someone else. I liked that he was also learning about himself as he wrote, so it was kind of like he was explaining things to himself and discovering his own thoughts at the same time. But, once he starts reading at the house, and discovers his sense of self, Rand goes a bit wild via this character. He definitely doesn't read like a 21 year old, and definitely not a 21 year old who has only had limited education and has been discouraged from thinking and questioning his whole life. His epiphany reads like a lifelong philosophy scholar coached him. It was a little overwrought at the end. Still, I didn't HATE it, so I guess that is a plus. It's just one of those books that will eventually just fade to nothingness or blur together with every other dystopia I've read or will read. There's nothing really compelling here. It was just OK.

  • Phyllis
    2019-02-21 01:20


  • Mads
    2019-03-16 20:42

    I never quite figured out why my highschool lit teacher made this required reading. It's something I've always wondered about. Anthem struck me as too much "anti-communist." Somewhat propaganda material for the anti-communist forces. I've always been skeptical of rabid anti-communism. In the novella, the characters have serial numbers instead of names, isn't that what's happening in the capitalist system as well, with our identity cards and employee numbers?

  • Kat
    2019-02-23 23:47

    Futuristic society that doesn't recognize individuals -- everyone's name is "Equality" followed by a number. Cute, huh? One day, Equality-some-number-or-another stumbles across a cave with books in it and discovers the word "I" and immediately realizes what it means even though his cultural and linguistic backgrounds have in no way equipped him to understand but whatever, it's a novella and Rand doesn't have time. Anyway, now Equality-### has an "I" and so he lives in the cave forever and is free. The end.This book is really, really stupid. Everything subtle and interesting about Rand's ideas is stripped away to get at the crux, which is a really boring crux. Soviet Communism sucked, in extremely general ways! Individuals! Are awesome! Rah!

  • Olivier Delaye
    2019-02-25 23:28

    Third time around for me to read this. Originally I rated it 4 stars but I decided to upgrade it to 5. More than a novella, it is, I believe, a beautiful and lyrical poem of deep meaning that goes way beyond communism against capitalism. It's just common sense. Besides, I'm not here to talk about Ayn Rand's philosophy; I’m here to review--albeit very briefly--this work of hers which speaks to me like no other. So here we go: I simply think Anthem is a masterpiece, period.

  • Orient
    2019-03-06 01:30

    My desire to choose such, hm..., strange books is frightening me. But let's leave my daemons aside. Reading "Anthem" alerted me with an unusual narrative: "we", "our", "they" were used to describe both the narrator and others. There were no such words as "Me", "Myself" or "I" in the biggest part of the book, as in the world of the main character they are forbidden to speak. It was intriguing and of course it left some confusion in me, because at first it was hard to sort singulars and plurals. The people in this book aren't individuals and individuality is doomed. Even their names are strange: Equality 7-2521 or Liberty 5-3000. The strongest part of this book (and the most attractive) is the struggle to find identity, individuality and freedom. Though with some limitations. As I like when strong female and tough male characters blend, this book was definitely not my type, because any such allusion was removed. The society and the main activists are distinctly masculine, with no star identity for women in the book. The only significant woman gets her short praise but She quickly turns into an insignificant support. She is all love and devotion and He is more interested in reading. She even can't get her own name, when at last He discovers freedom and his "I", He does that for her. Even after freeing himself He doesn't want to free all the people in the damned city, just some of his friends, who are male of course. Oh, and what happens when She is expecting a child. The child will definitely be a boy. Eh, and who is She to judge the wonderful masculine world in this book, She is just a helpless woman near the feet of the WONDERFUL man, who is so kind to lead her. Jesus Christ with the holy Mary!I just can't believe that this book was written by a woman.

  • Debbie Zapata
    2019-03-17 19:20

    We are not allowed to have our own thoughts. We are not allowed to dream, we are not allowed to BE. At age 15 we are told what we will be doing every day until we are 40, when we will enter the Home of The Useless. We are not allowed to think about anything other than what we are told to think. We ourselves are not important, the great collective WE is all that matters.But not all of us are content to be simply part of the herd. Some of us think for ourselves even though we know it is a sin which could put our lives in danger. We find a way to nurture ourselves within that great WE and we survive. But surviving is not enough: how do we learn to Live? I was intrigued by this book and I think it is even more relevant in our day than when it was written. I look around and see people being molded into a great herd that follows orders: Buy this, Drink that, Eat here, Do this, Don't say that, You need this, You cannot do that. Is it possible that in a few more generations society will be just as Rand describes it? Or are there enough people left with minds of their own to avoid that scenario?Society has to have rules, but there needs to be a balance between that collective WE and the individual that makes up the WE. Too much of one and you get a cold distopian world like that in Anthem. Too much of the other and you have no civilization at all. This was the first work by Ayn Rand for me. I tried to read Atlas Shrugged once and could not get past the first few pages, and after that I was too intimidated to even open The Fountainhead. But now I want to see what else Rand had to say.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-03-17 21:36

    Ayn Rand is I think deserving of the appellation "an odd duck". One of her dearest ideas (and I would suppose ideals) is the the right, willingness and ability to think for one's self. But she functioned in her life with the approach, "my way or the high-way". This book is worth reading and I think there are valuable things to take away from this little novella. But you need to be able to think. Ms. Rand is a classic case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water." I'd say, read and learn, but don't be guilty of the simply absorbing and following...think for yourself.Any more on this and I'll have to go into my own ideas and thoughts. Happy to talk about them, but I won't foist them on you in the review.

  • Edward Park
    2019-02-27 20:45

    Witless, styleless, and self-righteous. "1984" and "A Brave New World" are far more effective books. Although I can't say I agree that individualism is more important than collectivism, especially when people come together as a whole to do things positive in this world.

  • Maciek
    2019-03-22 19:22

    With the subtlety of a falling safe, Ayn Rand delivers this short treatise on the subject of egotism masquerading as science fiction with only the barest rudiments of a setting, story and plot set out for the reader to classify it as a "novel".Anthem is set in a world where individualism is dead and collectivism is the only way to live; a complete social, cultural and industrial overhaul has been conducted, and the word "I" has been eradicated from vocabulary. The story is narrated by Equality 7-2521, a 21 old man who writes it in a journal while hiding in a cave under the earth. He explains his life, background, the society around him, his actions, and finally his goal. Believe it or not, there is even a romance subplot, which is not really a surprise as Rand was once a screenwriter for Hollywood. There is not much of a real story to speak about, as the whole novel functions as a vehicle for Rand's message. The only virtue of Anthem is that it's mercifully short; as a work of fiction it's painfully simple and transparent, the plot is predictable, weakly imagined and heavy handed. Nothing is realized, everything is forced. The same theme has been done earlier and better by another Russian writer, the relatively little known Yevgeny Zamyatin in his 1921 novel We. Read that one instead to experience a literary work which has influenced both Huxley and Orwell. Of all the dystopian novels that are out there Anthem has to be the one of the least inspired and most unimaginative, the least effective and the easiest to forget.

  • Susan Budd
    2019-03-21 00:45

    As I read Anthem, I kept thinking of 1984, not just because both books depict a dystopian future where a totalitarian government suppresses individuality, but because both books predict dehumanizing changes in mass psychology that have come to pass in my lifetime. In Orwell’s novel, people live under constant video surveillance. When I read this back in the 80’s (yes, I read it in 1984), I never imagined that this would ever happen, much less that people would grow so accustomed to it that it would seem normal. While we may not be watched in our own homes (at least not yet), the moment we leave our homes all our movements are captured by video cameras. Those who complain of the lack of privacy are told: “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have no reason to object. Therefore, if you do object, you must be doing something wrong.” The idea that some people would resent the indignity of having their every movement recorded is never considered. Have privacy and dignity become outdated?I had a similar reaction to the enforced use of plural pronouns in the world of Anthem. Instead of “I,” one must refer to oneself as “we.” Instead of “he” or “she,” other individuals must be referred to as “they.” For example:“ ... we looked straight upon the Golden One, and we saw the shadows of their lashes on their white cheeks and the sparks of sun on their lips” (26).The effect on the reader is disorienting. I had to constantly remind myself that “we” is the young protagonist and “they” is the woman he loves. In our society, “we” has not caught on as a replacement for “I” (at least not yet), but “they” is creeping further and further into our language as a replacement for “he” and “she.” Thus I experience a similar disorientation in real life when an individual is referred to as “they.” Sometimes context clues reveal that the referent is one individual rather than more than one, but it is not always clear. What has caused this peculiarity of speech? The habit is generally believed to stem from situations where an individual is unknown. For example: “The new librarian has their work cut out for them.” This is believed to solve the problem of not knowing whether the new librarian has his work cut out for him or her work cut out for her. But this is not the full explanation. If it were, “they” would never be used when the identity of the individual is beyond dispute. Moreover, this peculiarity of speech has become so pervasive that it is even corrupting written language. George Orwell has something to say on this subject. In “Politics and the English Language,” he says “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better.” Our language is not simply evolving to meet new demands. On the contrary, it is deteriorating into something that is both dehumanizing and dishonest. Words mean something. In Anthem, individuality is erased from language in order to erase it from thought. Something like this appears to be happening in our society. When we erase “he” and “she,” we erase the singularity of the individuals these words represent. We erase uniqueness. We erase maleness and femaleness—something we typically do with animals. (In fact, it is notable that when we want to humanize an animal, we make a conscious effort to use “he” or “she”.)When we speak as if the individual’s identity is irrelevant, the result is that we cease to regard the individual’s identity as relevant. We go from not knowing who an individual is to not caring. This is what Orwell means when he says that language can corrupt thought.Pronoun usage in English may present some difficulties, but reducing us all to nameless, faceless, sexless “theys” is not the answer. Dehumanization is never the answer.