Currently reading

The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers
Ayn Rand, Tore Boeckmann, Leonard Peikoff
The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco
Ghostwritten
David Mitchell
To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon, Daniel J. Boorstin, Gian Battista Piranesi, Hans-Friedrich Mueller
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Douglas R. Hofstadter
Perfect Wrong Note - Learning to Trust Your Musical Self
William Westney
The Prince
Niccolò Machiavelli
The Varieties of Religious Experience
William James
Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
G. Lee Bowie, Robert C. Solomon

The Driver

The Driver - Garet Garrett The Driver is political and free-market capitalism historical fiction book. Its explanation of the Panic of 1893 is fascinating. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Coxey's Army and the general business climate at the turn of the century. The rugged individualist main character, Harry Galt, is glorified but isn't without his faults. He's a stock market speculator who seems remarkably prescient but who has a history of market failures. The tone and writing style is direct and matter-of-fact, tell don't show. This works pretty well in matters of business, but in the occasional matters of the heart I found it pretty jarring.In a sense, it feels like an Ayn Rand book, but the focus is even more centered on the mechanics of creating wealth and running a business than any of Rand's novels. As to whether it "inspired" Atlas Shrugged or not, I'd say it's pretty likely. It has in common:-The last name and to some degree, the personality of the main characters. Both are called Galt.-The railroad industry as the major theme.-The use of the novel as a medium for expressing a political philosophy. I'm not sure how common this was at the time. I know William Godwin was probably the first with Caleb Williams and he came much before, but I'm not sure how prevalent it had become by Garrett's time.- The atypical romantic relationship in The Driver, between Galt/Lord Porteous and Vera in Atlas Shrugged between John Galt/Francisco d'Anconia/Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart. Atlas Shrugged was a little more complicated and weird, but in both the female has a very unorthodox view of romance.-The central line "Who is John Galt" in Atlas and "Who is Harry Galt" in The Driver.I'd say that's enough to at least indicate a very strong possibility that Rand had read and was influenced by Garrett. However I don't think the stories are close enough to merit any accusations of plagiarism on Rand's part.This probably isn't a book that will be on many "favorite books of all time" lists, but it's fast paced and interesting nonetheless.