"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
Ayn Rand in this book speaks about the philosophy of objectivism ( that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self interest). It talks about the struggle of few people who were too good but they were being forced to give up their goodness at the cost of society's greed. They started quitting one by one to follow what appeared to them to be the rational.A entire new place was born where everything was perfect.among these good men were two people Dagny taggart and Hank Rearden who decided to fight against what society wanted them to do.In spite of government restrictions, irrational policies , they tried to produce as much they could . But one by one each of the unit's started collapsing, skilled labor gave up their jobs, raw materials supply was stopped and taxes were imposed.Finally they succumb to the pressure and return to a place where everything was perfect.
There is a chapter in the book called as John Galt speech, it is a must read and one can read it and appreciate it even without knowing the context. Probably that was the best read of the thick book (1074 pages). This chapter talks about rationality,honesty,,justice,independence,integrity,productiveness and pride.It clearly defines and explains each of these terms and explains it in the story's context.
Would quote a few good lines from the book "
"We can never lose the things we live for. We may have to change their forms at times, if we have made an error , but the purpose remains the same and the forms are our's to make."
"Dagny, it's not that I don't suffer,it's that I know the unimportance of suffering , I know that the pain is to be fought and thrown aside, not to be accepted as part of one's soul and as a permanent scar across one's view of existence."
"If you wish to achieve full virtue , you must seek no gratitude in return for your sacrifice , no praise, no love , no admiration, no self-esteem,not even the pride of being virtuous,the faintest trace of any gain dilutes your value."