I’m re-reading Atlas Shrugged, as is half the planet, since the movie came out.
One thing I remember discussing in college is the opinion that Ayn Rand’s ideas would be much more popular and accepted if her style were not so abrasive.Â I tend to agree, but re-reading the book, I’m having a hard time putting my finger on the problem.
So, in a business etiquette blog, I have to ask- what is it that people find so abrasive?
Here’s an excerpt of an exchange between Hank Rearden and Dr. Potter of the State Science Institute.
I’d like to know – what is it about this exchange, for example, that crosses the line from “direct” to “abrasive?”
“The State Science Institute is a scientific establishment, not a commercial one,” said Rearden. “What is it that they’re so afraid of?”
“You’re using ugly, unnecessary words, Mr. Rearden. I am endeavoring to suggest that we keep the discussion on a friendly plane. The matter is serious.”
“I am beginning to see that.”
“We are offering you a blank check on what is, as you realize, an unlimited account. What else can you want? Name your price.”
“The sale of the rights to Rearden Metal is not open to discussion. If you have anything else to say, please say it and leave.”
The man leaned back, looked at Rearden incredulously and asked, “What are you after?”
“I? What do you mean?”
“You’re in business to make money, aren’t you?”
“You want to make as big a profit as possible, don’t you?”
“Then why do you want to struggle for years, squeezing out your gains in the form of pennies per ton – rather than accept a fortune for Rearden Metal? Why?”
“Because it’s mine. Do you understsand the word?”
The man sighed and rose to his feet. “I hope you will not have cause to regret your decision, Mr. Rearden,” he said; the tone of his voice was suggesting the opposite.
“Good day,” said Rearden
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