Who Is John Galt?
A few years ago I went to see “Atlas Shrugged,” a film based on a novel by controversial American author, Ayn Rand. The book was written in 1957, about the time I was still glued to TV horse operas like “Gunsmoke” and “Maverick,” sure to be decked out in my make believe Stetson and two-gun holsters, “just like” my then favorite cowboy hero, Roy Rogers.
What can I say? I was eight, and becoming anything other than a white-hat-wearing GOOD GUY like that—much less, a “greedy old business owner” with dreams of making an ACTUAL (or as Rush Limbaugh quips, “OBSCENE”) PROFIT—was not on my radar.
Prior to seeing the film, I had never heard of Ayn Rand’s book, and knew nothing of her business or political philosophy. However, watching that first installment of the “Atlas Shrugged” film trilogy was, for me, even more exhilarating than playing cowboys back then, if you can imagine that.
I GOT IT! In fact, I could pretty much relate to Rand’s main character, John Galt, although on a bit smaller scale.
Time eventually caused me to retire those cowboy boots—the ones my mother was sure looked “just fine” with my usual short pants (embarrassing for a serious cowboy!)—and I had gone on to bigger boots, just right for a wannabe rock star for about 20 years. Some years later (boots finally on the ground), I had exchanged my microphone for a slightly used printing press and the keys to my very first business. Something I could really hang my hat on! And, believe it or not, there was not a greedy motive in my head!
So, who is John Galt?
In Rand’s book, Galt is a faceless character, ever in the shadows, who introduces himself, one at a time, to some of the most successful heads of industry in the country—after which, each of them mysteriously disappears. As these powerful, yes, high-earning business owners (i.e. JOB PROVIDERS) seem to vanish from the face of the earth, industry suffers, banks close, stocks crash, jobs are scarce, people panic, and society falls more and more into chaos.
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.