This preview is part of Explore Atlas Shrugged, philosopher Diana Brickell's course on Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. The course includes over 22 hours of podcasts, 1400 study questions, and other resources. It will inspire fresh insights into the complex events, characters, and ideas of this epic novel – whether you've read it just once or a dozen times before.
You can purchase access to the whole of Explore Atlas Shrugged for just $20. The written materials in the course are also available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions just pay $10 for access to the podcasts.
The advice in this FAQ is based on my experience organizing, managing, and/or moderating six different Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups. As with all such advice, your mileage may vary. So take what you like and leave the rest.
FAQ on Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups
The advice in this FAQ on Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups is based on my experience organizing, managing, and/or moderating six different Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups. As with all such advice, your mileage may vary. So take what you like and leave the rest.
Considering an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group
What is the basic format of an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group?
A standard Atlas Shrugged Reading Group meets for the 20 sessions found in this study guide, each session covering about 65 pages of Atlas Shrugged. The discussion is guided by the "core" study questions of each session, distributed in advance. During the meeting, a moderator keeps the discussion on-track. The meeting lasts about 90 minutes.
What are the personal benefits of creating an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group?
You will come to understand and appreciate Ayn Rand's epic novel more deeply and fully than ever before, however many times you've read it before. The discussions will encourage you to explore new depths in the story, and the comments of the other members of your group will inspire fresh insights. Plus, hearing their enthusiastic reactions to the characters, events, and ideas of the novel is often fuel for the soul.
In the process, you will meet other fans of the novel, including some people seriously interested in studying Ayn Rand's ideas. So if you'd like to start an Objectivist study or social group, an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group can be an excellent foundation.
What kinds of people should I seek out for my Atlas Shrugged Reading Group?
The group members should be sincerely interested in Atlas Shrugged, if not fans of the novel. That way, every member will share the goal of better understanding and appreciating the novel, even if they dislike or disagree with some elements of it. Agreement with Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism is not required. Members can contribute effectively even if they vary widely in their own philosophical, political, and religious views.
Every member must be polite to and considerate of others: that's absolutely necessary. Members should not be disruptive, offensive, or otherwise make the meetings unpleasant or boring for others. Part of the moderator's job is to contain any disruptive people – and, if necessary, ask such people not to attend future meetings.
Most members of an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group will have read Atlas Shrugged at least once before – and that's ideal. However, discussions should focus on the assigned reading, and that limits spoilers. As a result, people who have never read the novel can often participate effectively. Just be sure to warn those people that they might hear spoilers.
What's the best time of year to start an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group?
The 20 sessions of an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group take nearly a half a year to complete. People are busy with outdoor activities in the summer, so you probably want to start in the fall. Be sure to allow time off for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's holidays.
However, my first Atlas Shrugged Reading Group was conducted over ten weeks of the summer. The pace was grueling, but everyone was very committed and engaged, so the format worked well.
How often should the group meet?
Ideally, an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group should meet every week. A week is about the time required for most people to read the assigned portion of the novel (about 65 pages). Even that can be a stretch for some people, so more frequent meetings would likely be too difficult for many.
A group can meet every two weeks. However, then some members will struggle to maintain their interest in and memory of the novel over the course of nearly a year.
What are some alternatives to running a full-blown Atlas Shrugged Reading Group?
If you don't want to undertake the commitment of a twenty-session Atlas Shrugged Reading Group, you can try discussing the novel in just three sessions. The discussions won't be as deep, but they can be interesting and productive. Questions for such a group are available here: Questions for Three Sessions. You can also read Ayn Rand's novella Anthem in three sessions (or thereabouts).
Creating an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group
Where might an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group meet?
When should the meeting start and finish?
How can I attract prospective members to an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group?
How many people should attend each meeting?
Executing an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group
What information should be covered in the first meeting?
What is a good format for meetings?
What should be done to prepare for meetings?
Who should guide the discussions?
How should the meetings be moderated?
How can I manage persistently distracting or disruptive people in meetings?
Does an effective group have to use the study questions from Explore Atlas Shrugged?
What if I don't know the answer to questions that arise in meetings?
What if too many or too few people show up to a meeting?
What should I do when people skip meetings?
After the Atlas Shrugged Reading Group
Can I transition an Atlas Shrugged Reading Group into an Objectivist discussion group?
About Explore Atlas Shrugged
Do you want to better understand and appreciate Ayn Rand's epic novel Atlas Shrugged?
Explore Atlas Shrugged is an in-depth course consisting of a podcast series, study questions, and other resources by philosopher Dr. Diana Brickell. The course breaks Atlas Shrugged into 20 manageable sessions, each covering about 65 pages of the novel.
- The study questions will help you better understand the novel on your own, as well as enable you to lead a successful reading group or class on Atlas Shrugged. The course contains over 1400 questions, organized into "core" and "extra" categories. You can preview the study questions for each session below.
- Each podcast is an in-depth look at the events, characters, and ideas from that portion of the novel. The course contains over 22 hours of lively and engaging podcasting. You can preview the podcast for each session below.
- Explore Atlas Shrugged also includes a Plot Outline, a Character Inventory, Questions for a Book Club, and a FAQ on Atlas Shrugged Reading Groups.
Explore Atlas Shrugged will inspire fresh insights into the complex events, characters, and ideas of Ayn Rand's epic novel, whether you've read it just once or a dozen times before.
Check out the previews, then purchase access to the whole of Explore Atlas Shrugged for just $20. The written materials of Explore Atlas Shrugged are also available from Amazon in paperback and kindle formats, and purchasers of those editions pay just $10 for access to the podcasts.