Update on Explore Atlas Shrugged

 Posted by on 30 March 2015 at 11:00 am  Atlas Shrugged, Explore Ayn Rand
Mar 302015

I want to give y’all a quick progress report on the book version of my course Explore Atlas Shrugged.

This book is a study guide to Ayn Rand’s epic novel. It consists of the study questions for each session (over 1400 in total), plus the plot outline, character inventory, questions for a three-session book club, and FAQ on running an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group. (Yes, turning the podcasts into a book is on my agenda, but that will be a huge project.)

Earlier this week, I finalized the PDF of the print-on-demand version of the the book. (It’s 187 pages!) I’ve uploaded that to Amazon’s CreateSpace, and they’ve approved it. A proof copy is on the way, and once I approve that, the book will be available in print and kindle formats.

Notably, the online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged is fully up-to-date with all my expansions and revisions, and you can purchase access to that for $20. That includes the 22 hours of awesome podcasts, plus everything else in this forthcoming book.

To promote the course, I plan to run weekly trivia contests on Atlas Shrugged, with prizes. I’ve been busy writing up questions, and MWHAHAHAHA, I’m going to have fun with this. :-)

May 092014

I need a bit of help finalizing the text of the Explore Atlas Shrugged Study Guide, the book that I’ll very soon publish through Amazon as an ebook and paperback.

The Study Guide will include the questions for all 20 sessions, as well as the plot summaries, a character guide, and a FAQ on running an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group. Basically, the Study Guide include everything in the online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged, except the podcasts.

Just last night, I finished writing the Character Guide. That was a very labor-intensive process, more so than expected. That’s because I decided to do something very different — and hopefully, much more useful — than a standard character guide. Instead of just offering a brief description of each character, I described each character’s various contributions to the novel, including relevant page numbers.

After doing all that, my brain is fried, so I could use your help in reviewing the text of that Character Guide. I need to know anything that might be unclear, wordy, or ungrammatical. It’s freely available for now, and you’ll just need to email me with suggested changes by Monday morning. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also take a look at the Plot Summaries too.

If you offer me substantive comments, I’ll happily offer you free access to Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Oh, and check out the fabulous cover that the talented Tori Press of the Red Queen Design Studio created for me:

I’m really excited about this project, and I hope to earn enough money from it to justify turning the podcasts of Explore Atlas Shrugged into their own book!

May 052014

I’ve not been blogging much lately, I know. That’s because I’ve been working damn hard on various projects — particularly Explore Atlas Shrugged. (I’ve revised and expanded the questions, and now those questions plus the podcasts are available for $20. Now I’m working on a print-on-demand and e-book version of the questions.)

Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’ll be speaking at ATLOSCon in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend. I’ll give a talk on honesty, lead a discussion on Objectivism, and broadcast the radio show. Also, I’ll have tons of fun, because ATLOSCon is always a blast.

Here are the descriptions of my talks… and if you’d like to attend, be sure to register pronto, as classes are filling up quickly.

Confess Your Sins: The Moral Dangers of False Excuses

“False excuses” are lies told to conceal our wrongdoings from others. For example, a man might blame an accident on the freeway when late for a meeting, rather than honestly acknowledging that he was disorganized about leaving home. Or a woman might blame a co-worker for causing her angry outburst, rather than honestly admitting that she failed to control her temper. Of course, such false excuses risk all the usual harms of dishonesty — including damage to trust in relationships, a slippery slope of cover-up lies, and the erosion of character. Moreover — and less obviously — such lies inhibit moral growth by concealing character flaws and diminishing motivations to change. This talk will explore the dangers of false excuses, focusing on that interesting intersection between the virtues of honesty and pride.

What I Wish I’d Known as a New Objectivist

Many attendees of ATLOSCon have been studying and practicing the philosophy of Objectivism — as well as interacting with other Objectivists — for over a decade, if not two or three or more decades. In this interactive discussion, we’ll ask ourselves a seemingly simple question: If you could sit down with yourself when you were new to Objectivism, what advice would you give? What ideas, attitudes, assumptions, and practices would you want your younger self to question and re-think? In the process, we’ll consider the implications of that advice for our present-day choices about activism, relationships, and living well. This discussion should be of interest to new and not-so-new Objectivists.

Be sure to check out the other classes and social events too!


Since the movie Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is now available on DVD (and on Blu-Ray), I thought that I should repost my video review of the movie:

For detailed analyses of Ayn Rand’s epic novel, Atlas Shrugged, see my Explore Atlas Shrugged podcast series.

Update to Explore Atlas Shrugged

 Posted by on 5 April 2011 at 9:00 am  Explore Ayn Rand
Apr 052011

For some time, I’ve been meaning to update my materials on Explore Atlas Shrugged. With the release of the movie on April 15th, I’ve realized that I need to do that… pronto!

Here’s what I plan to do — hopefully with the help of your pledges:

  • Update the questions for each section, making them more clear, focused, and engaging.
  • Revise and post the extra questions from my database.
  • Add the break points in e-book and audiobook editions for each session.
  • Create nicely-formatted PDFs for each of the 20 sessions, as well as text versions to be easily copied into e-mails.
  • Write a guide to creating and managing an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group, including recommendations on group size, venues, finding members, solving common problems, and more.
  • Create questions and other resources for a three-session Atlas Shrugged Reading Group suitable for a book club or stand-alone group.
  • Create a list of local Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups for people interested in joining one.
  • Re-organize and improve the Explore Atlas Shrugged web site.
  • Promote Explore Atlas Shrugged with Facebook and Google ads. (Those ads will be funded by your pledges.)

That’s going to be quite a bit of work for me! I expect it to take about 60 to 80 hours of my time, meaning that I’ll have to make it my primary focus for the whole of April. I’m determined to finish the work by the end of April, but I’ll roll out as much as possible by April 15th.

If you’ve benefitted from my podcasts and questions for Explore Atlas Shrugged — or if you’d simply like such material available for readers of the novel — I’d ask that you support this work by your pledges. As usual, you choose your pledge amount, and you don’t pay anything unless the work is done. (I’ll send an invoice when the work is complete and payment is due.)

Also, you might also think of your pledge for this update as payment for my past work on this project. I created and published the questions and podcasts for Explore Atlas Shrugged without any compensation — yet each one required about 20 to 40 hours to produce. Yes, that’s about 600 hours total time spent on the project!

Of course, I didn’t ask anyone to pay for that work at the time: I’d not yet invented the pledge model, and I didn’t want charge for access to the materials. So nobody owes me anything for that: I’m not demanding payment. Nonetheless, if you appreciate the work I did to create those resources — and make them freely available — then I’d happily accept any pledge on that basis.

I’ll leave the pledge form open until Friday, April 29th at noon. That’s my final deadline for delivering these updates, but I expect to have much done and posted before April 15th.

Notably, due to the fast-approaching April 15th release of the movie, I plan to make these updates, even if I don’t receive much in the way of pledges. But I hope that doesn’t happen, as that would be so disheartening! Also, then I wouldn’t have much of a budget for advertising on Facebook and Google.

So… please pledge! If you have any ideas for further updates, please put them in the comments of the pledge form. If I like the idea, I’ll do it!

Update: If you would prefer to “tip” me more directly for past work done for Explore Atlas Shrugged, rather than pledge for this update, you can do that via PayPal:

If you would prefer to send a check, please send it to “Diana Hsieh; P.O. Box 851; Sedalia, CO 80135.” Please write “Explore AS” in the memo field. Thank you!

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