Podcast #24: Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 7

 Posted by on 10 December 2009 at 10:00 am  Podcasts
Dec 102009

For Monday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I posted a preview of my podcast and study questions for “Explore Atlas Shrugged, Session 7.”

The online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged – meaning, all 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions, plus other resources – can be purchased for just $20. The written materials are also available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts. For more information, including previews of other sessions, visit Explore Atlas Shrugged.

Session 7 of Explore Atlas Shrugged covers:

  • Part 2: Chapter 2: The Aristocracy of Pull
  • Part 2: Chapter 3: White Blackmail (Sections 1-3)

Preview the Podcast

Listen or Download:

Preview the Study Questions

Note: The pagination of the hardcover, softcover, and kindle editions differs from that of the small mass market paperback. The study questions cite only the pagination from the larger editions. I don’t recommend using the mass market paperback.

Part 2: Chapter 2: The Aristocracy of Pull

Section 1 (379-382)

Dagny Taggart reflects on the disappearance of more Colorado industrialists and on her hiring of Quentin Daniels to work on the motor. She speaks to the newspaper stand owner about the cigarette with the dollar sign given her by Dr. Hugh Akston.

Core Question

  • What kind of person is Quentin Daniels? Why did he refuse to work for the State Science Institute? Why is he the right person to work on the motor? (380-1)

Extra Questions

  • What is the current state of the world? How has the economy changed in the past year? (379-80)
  • Why is Ted Nielsen so puzzled by the disappearance of industrialists like Roger Marsh? What is Dagny’s view of these disappearances? (379-80)
  • What values and qualities does Quentin Daniels share with Dagny? Why are those important? (380-1)
  • What does Daniels ask for from Dagny in exchange for his work on the motor? What do they reveal about him? (380-1)
  • What does the newspaper stand owner discover about the cigarette with the dollar sign? What is the importance of that discovery? (382)

Section 2 (383-387)

While Hank Rearden waits in his dark hotel room for Dagny Taggart, he reflects on his just-completed meeting with Ken Danagger. Lillian Rearden enters unexpectedly, and she demands that they attend Jim Taggart’s wedding to Cherryl Brooks. Hank resists initially but ultimately submits to Lillian’s demand.

Core Questions

  • What business agreement did Hank Rearden make with Ken Danagger? What are the risks? Why are they willing to take those risks? (383-4)
  • How does Lillian attempt to persuade Hank to attend Jim’s wedding with her? Why does Hank want to do anything but that? Why does Hank ultimately agree to attend? (385-7)

Extra Questions

  • How do Danagger and Hank plan to violate the “Fair Share” directives? Do they have any lawful alternatives? Are they right or wrong to break the law? (383-4)
  • What type of blackmail is Danagger willing to pay? What type is he not willing to pay? Why does that make a difference to him? (383-4)
  • What is Hank’s emotional response to the prospect of going to jail for breaking the “Fair Share” directives? Why? Is that reaction right or wrong? Is it understandable? (383-4)
  • What is the “essential connection” between Hank’s two secrets – his illegal deal with Danagger and his illicit affair with Dagny? Why doesn’t he see that connection yet? (384)
  • What is Hank’s state of mind when Lillian enters Hank’s hotel room? Why does that matter? (384)
  • Why didn’t Lillian make plans with Hank to attend Jim’s wedding in advance? What advantage did she hope to gain thereby? Why was that strategy so effective? (385-7)
  • What does Lillian think of Jim’s marriage? Why is it just what she’d expect from him? Why would Lillian never do anything similar? (385)
  • Why does Lillian look for signs of a woman in Hank’s hotel room? What is Hank’s reaction – and why? (385-6)
  • Why is Hank susceptible to Lillian’s claims of duty? Would Dagny ever claim his attention as a duty, if she were his wife? Why or why not? (386-7)

About Explore Atlas Shrugged

Explore Atlas Shrugged is a series of 20 sessions of podcasts and study questions by me, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh. Each session covers about 65 pages of the novel, organized chapter-by-chapter and section-by-section. The podcasts are an in-depth look at the events, characters, and ideas from that portion of the novel. The whole series contains over 22 hours of lively and engaging discussion in podcast form. The study questions will help you better understand the novel on your own – or help you lead an engaging reading group. The series includes over 1400 questions, organized into “core” and “extra” categories.

You can preview the full series of podcasts and questions, as well as purchase access for just $20, here: Explore Atlas Shrugged. You can also purchase the series below.

Also, the written materials are available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts.

Purchase Explore Atlas Shrugged

Access to the online version of Explore Atlas Shrugged costs just $20. It’s half off – just $10 – for purchasers of the paperback and kindle editions of the book version. Also, if you contribute to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar via recurring weekly or monthly contributions (or the equivalent), please email me for free access.

Terms of Sale: (1) You may share the podcasts with members of your household, but not beyond that. (2) You may share the study questions with members of your household, as well as with participants in your online or in-person Atlas Shrugged Reading Group. (3) Do not ever post the podcasts or study questions in any public forum.

Items: Course: Explore Atlas Shrugged ($20)
Course: Explore Atlas Shrugged (Half Price Discount) ($10)
Note: This half-price discount is only available to purchasers of a paperback or kindle edition of Explore Atlas Shrugged. Please email me a screenshot or picture as proof.

Praise for Explore Atlas Shrugged

The response to Explore Atlas Shrugged has been overwhelmingly positive, including the following remarks:

I require students to read Atlas Shrugged in my introductory economics class. Dr. Hsieh’s Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts were an essential tool to help communicate the novel’s lesson and hold effective class discussion. Do not attempt to teach the book without consulting the podcasts first!

— Bailey Norwood, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Diana – our GLO Atlas Reading Group is going so very well. We have about 12-13 people attending, and it is truly the most fun we’ve had in a long time. So much rewarding fun comes out of your ideas and organization. Can’t thank you enough for your efforts!!!


I just wanted to send you a quick note and thank you for your efforts on Explore Atlas Shrugged. As part of the Charm City Objectivists Society we used your questions and podcast to help kick off our reading group yesterday for session one. We had epiphanies all around the table from someone who is a firm student of Objectivism to a person who had read Atlas Shrugged but is new to Objectivism. I know that neither Ray (our moderator) or myself could have undertaken this kind of thing without the wonderful resource you have created. You have helped me make a difference in my community and I thank you for it.


The other day, I began listening to your Explore Atlas Shrugged podcasts. I have read and listened to the book several times, but it has been admittedly too long since the last time. Although I can not adequately express how much experiencing your podcasts has meant to me and the extent to which they have reinvigorated me, I did want to thank you…Thank you.

About Philosophy in Action Radio

Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

Philosophy in Action's NewsletterPhilosophy in Action's Facebook PagePhilosophy in Action's Twitter StreamPhilosophy in Action's RSS FeedsPhilosophy in Action's Calendar

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha