"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham
Library Card Catalogue - The New York Public Library - 2018
Photo: D. Paul Graham
Monday 5 Things…..Shrugged Again…..
I’ve decided to read more books this year. I read a fair amount, but for well over a decade, my reading has been electronically, starting with a Kindle, then to my iPad, and finally to my phone. This year I am going old school and actually reading from real paper. And in doing so, I’ve come to realize how much I have missed the tactical experience of turning a page, underlining passages that impact me and writing in the column in my own secret short-form notes; should anyone pick a book of mine. I find I’m slowing down, absorbing, and enjoying words on the page in a fresh way. How fitting then that I took a new soft cover copy of the tome ‘Atlas Shrugged’ with me last week on a trip. This morning’s revived M5T is thankful for the smell and a feel of a good book, for Ayn and for a teacher that has given me a gift he didn’t realize would have an ongoing impact on my life.
I am indebted to Mr. Hyatt, my high school English teacher, who suggested I read Atlas Shrugged when I was a restless teenager trying to figure out some things in life. It struck a chord with me then, and still does today. I re-read the book every 2 years since I first cracked the cover open. Over the years, at least 3 hard cover and 8 soft cover versions have either fallen apart from bent pages and underlines or were left on planes or in restaurants in numerous cities. Rand spent 12 years writing the book before it was published in 1957; the relevance and profundity of her tour de force still resonates today, arguably even more so than when Atlas Shrugged was first released. Here are five of some of my favorite quotes from the book.
1. On Money.
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”
2. On Opinions.
“It is not advisable James to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener.”
3. On Producing.
“Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion—when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing—when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors—when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you—when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice—you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.”
4. On Excellence.
“There's no surer way to destroy a man than to force him into a spot where he has to aim at not doing his best, where he has to struggle to do a bad job, day after day.”
5. On Thinking.
“Just as man can’t exist without his body, so no rights can exist without the right to translate one’s rights into reality-to think, to work and to keep the results – which means: the right of property.”
Here’s to a week of actually holding a book in your hand, to Mr. Hyatt and to Dagny, Hank, Francisco, Ragnar, the Gulch and to finding out who John Galt really is.
© 2020 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.
D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.
You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org