10 Things I Learned About the World From Ayn Rand's Insane 'Atlas Shrugged'
If Rand were still alive she would probably say, "Thank you for smoking."
The glare cut a moment's wedge across his eyes, which had the color and quality of pale blue ice — then across the black web of the metal column and the ash-blond strands of his hair — then across the belt of his trenchcoat and the pockets where he held his hands. His body was tall and gaunt; he had always been too tall for those around him. His face was cut by prominent cheekbones and by a few sharp lines; they were not the lines of age, he had always had them; this had made him look old at twenty, and young now, at forty-five.
"The first train will... run non-stop to Wyatt Junction, Colorado, traveling at an average speed of one hundred miles per hour." ...
"But shouldn't you cut the speed below normal rather than ... Miss Taggart, don't you have any consideration whatever for public opinion?"
"But I do. If it weren't for public opinion, an average speed of sixty-five miles per hour would have been quite sufficient."
"If you consider that for thirteen years this Institute has had a department of metallurgical research, which has cost over twenty million dollars and has produced nothing but a new silver polish and a new anti-corrosive preparation, which, I believe, is not so good as the old ones — you can imagine what the public reaction will be if some private individual comes out with a product that revolutionizes the entire science of metallurgy and proves to be sensationally successful!"
Uncoiling from among the curves of Wisconsin's hills, the highway was the only evidence of human labor, a precarious bridge stretched across a sea of brush, weeds and trees. The sea rolled softly, in sprays of yellow and orange, with a few red jets shooting up on the hillsides, with pools of remnant green in the hollows, under a pure blue sky.
... "What I'd like to see," said Rearden, "is a billboard."
"Dagny, there's nothing of any importance in life — except how well you do your work. Nothing. Only that. Whatever else you are, will come from that. It's the only measure of human value. All the codes of ethics they'll try to ram down your throat are just so much paper money put out by swindlers to fleece people of their virtues. The code of competence is the only system of morality that's on a gold standard."
"I like cigarettes, Miss Taggart. I like to think of fire held in a man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips ... When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind — and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression."