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“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest Information

Eligibility: 12th Graders, College Undergraduates, and Graduate Students

Entry Deadline: September 17, 2010

FIRST PRIZE: $10,000
5 THIRD PRIZES: $1,000
20 FINALISTS: $100

Atlas   Shrugged Cover


Select ONE of the following three topics:

  1. According to John Galt, selfishness is both moral and practical. Explain what he means by this and how events of the story illustrate and dramatize his point.

  2. Explain the meaning and wider significance of the following quote: “The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.” According to the story of Atlas Shrugged, what ideas underlie the opposing maxims that “money is the root of all evil” and that “money is the root of all good”?

  3. Capitalism’s defenders usually appeal to the “public good.” Contrast their approach to capitalism to Ayn Rand’s approach in Atlas Shrugged.


Essays will be judged on both style and content. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of Atlas Shrugged.

Essay submissions are evaluated in a fair and unbiased four-round judging process. Judges are individually selected by the Ayn Rand Institute based on a demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Ayn Rand’s works. To ensure the anonymity of our participants, essay cover sheets are removed after the first round. Winners’ names are unknown to judges until after essays have been ranked and the contest results finalized. The Ayn Rand Institute checks essays with Ithenticate plagiarism detection software.


  • No application is required. Contest is open to students worldwide.

  • Entrant must be a 12th Grader, College Undergraduate, or Graduate Student.

  • To avoid disqualification, mailed in essays must include a stapled cover sheet with the following information:

    1. your name and address;
    2. your e-mail address (if available);
    3. the name and address of your school;
    4. topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from list above);
    5. your current grade level; and
    6. (optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay, if you are completing it for classroom credit.
  • Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, and double-spaced.

  • One entry per student, please.

  • Essay must be postmarked no later than September 17, 2010, no later than 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard time.

  • The Ayn Rand Institute has the right to provide contest deadline extensions when deemed appropriate.

  • Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.

  • Decisions of the judges are final.

  • Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.

  • All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned.

  • Winners, finalists, semifinalists and all other participants will be notified via e-mail and/or by mail by November 27, 2010.

  • Contest winners agree to allow the Ayn Rand Institute to post their names on any of ARI’s affiliated websites. The winning first place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author.

  • Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.

To Enter

Submit Your Essay Online

Or mail your essay with stapled cover sheet to:

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
The Ayn Rand Institute
P.O. Box 57044
Irvine, CA 92619-7044

Please do not submit duplicate essays!

If submitting your essay electronically, you will be sent an email confirming our receipt. If you have not received an e-mail notification within 24 hours, please e-mail info@aynrandnovels.com. If you are submitting by mail, please paperclip a stamped, self-addressed postcard to the your essay and we will return it to you.

To learn more about Atlas Shrugged, go to: http://atlasshrugged.com

Comments or Questions

Comments or questions about the essay contests are welcome. Please write to info@aynrandnovels.com.

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