how many words?


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How many words are in each of Rand's novels?


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How many words are in each of Rand's novels?

Do you mean unique words, meaning count "and" only once even though it's there thousands of times? Or a gross word count? If you mean gross, it can be estimated easily based on page count. Figuring out the other way would be quite a project.

Either way, it's not going to be the kind of figure that would dazzle Carl Sagan.

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A whole thread for a counting quiz, Chris? Your query might have some meaning circa the 1950’s when lead type was set, but otherwise I see no relevance. That round number you gave is probably a guess-timate, based on words per ten pages, times pages in the book.

How many times does Rand say the word, “the?” How many years would ten monkeys, pounding away at typewriters, take to . . . these types of questions lead to excessive hand washing and rituals. And difficulty peeing in a public rest room. Well, maybe not that bad.

Jazz the question up with some “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” hoopla. Expand your “how manies” to “how long,” “who read the manuscript before publication,” who got her to CHANGE the manuscript,” “how much did she make off the book,” and “how much does Leonard still make off the book?”

He gets HOW MUCH? A dollar? Believe it or not.

Peter Taylor

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Chris wonders:

If you are just posting here to be a troll, then please do not waste my time.

end quote

Here is an interesting letter about “the movement” that mentions Chris Baker and then a letter from him. Chris does not seem to be a troll, even though he wants us to count to a million.

Peter Taylor

From: "Philip Coates" <>

To: "owl" <>

Subject: OWL: What Happened to the Women?

Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 13:06:20 -0800

Subject: What Happened to the Women?

Agreeing with and elaborating upon points made by Chris Baker [3/27]:

> the crowd in 2001 seemed to be older. It was also more male.

When I lived in Southern California, I went out as a self-appointed activist to UCLA, USC, Cal Tech, UC Irvine, the Claremont-Pomona colleges, and three branches of the Cal State system (Northridge, Long Beach, and Fullerton). I postered up the campuses (with help). I announced, and started an Objectivist campus club at each. After the initial large meetings, attendance steadily dropped. The women, who had turned out in significant numbers for the first meeting, dropped away fastest of all as if someone had dropped a stink bomb.

This was irrefutable evidence of a process at work before my eyes. More broadly, the NBI era was before my time, but the percentage of women in the Objectivist movement since the time of the Peikoff lectures in New York (mid to late seventies) has fallen steadily.

> The most successful "movements" I have been involved with are mostly female.

Among the reasons for this are the fact that women in our culture (and in most cultures) are more tuned in to people, persuasion, conversation, social skills and other things that a movement needs in order to spread. (Rodney Stark has a fascinating discussion of this in "The Rise of Christianity", Ch. 5, The Role of Women in Christian Growth...and, no, this doesn't just apply to religions or mystical or irrational or purely emotional movements.)

Women don't have to dominate a movement for it to succeed, but if they are not well-represented . . . or desert it in droves, it has no chance.

The under representation of women does not _prove_ that Objectivism is in trouble (it's still early days), but it is at least a canary in the coal mine: Coal miners used to carry canaries or other small birds into coal mines. Coal mines can emit deadly, odorless, invisible gases. Small or sensitive animals would be overcome first, being more sensitive to these gases. If the canary drops dead, get the hell out of the mine.

Not to confuse women with delicate, fragile, small animals { there go my chances for finding a girlfriend this year :-) } but women incline more on average to be more aware of or sensitive to tendencies within the Objectivist movement toward emotional repression, geekish lack of social skills, arrogance, superiority, condescension, poor communication skills, etc. Exactly the things that will kill a movement or give it a bad

reputation in articles in Vanity Fair or The New Yorker or among the press or academics.

> A movement that is so overwhelmingly male...I would love to know why Objectivism is this way.

Like the canaries, women who attended those initial meetings of the eight campus clubs I started tended to "keel over dead" after a few meetings. Meetings too often dominated (some of the ones I attended) by people consumed with anger at the culture, focusing primarily on the negative not the positive, and in which the loudest or most adamant voices seemed to be interested in particle physics or other dry, analytic topics as opposed to, or to the exclusion of, emotional or inspirational topics or making friends. (Just like Oist email lists, very often.)

A broader and deeper point:

The original Oism was led by a fiction writer and a psychologist and, if you look back at The Objectivist, many of the major writers who Rand worked with and helped develop were women (Kay Nolte Smith, Beatrice Hessen, Susan Ludel, Barbara Branden, Edith Efron, Erica Holzer, Mary Ann Sures...) and / or their primary interests or fields were the arts (painting, sculpture, theater), literature, film criticism, psychology (there was apparently a whole movement of Oist psychologists in the sixties). Today, the two Oist movements are led by academically-leaning philosophers (Peikoff and Kelley) whose professions and primary interests are a bit more technical and logical and epistemological and removed from the arts and psychology. And fewer women and a slightly less broad range of professional interests are represented in the next tier of Oist intellectuals, lecturers, writers.

Canary in the Coal Mine Number 2: I've been trying for years to get conferences (first TJS, then ARI, then TOC) to pack in one or two fewer lectures in a busy day and make a bit more room for more musical

performances, talent shows, dances, community-building and social and emotional or inspiring events. These events still exist (or else I would stop attending summer conferences), but: (i) everyone in a position of

authority (except for Edith Packer who is a psychologist and clearly understand the 'balance' issue) was essentially unresponsive to this, and (ii) the number of such events has actually decreased. These two facts are revealing in signifying (actions speak louder than words) that lectures-and-intellectual-content-trumps-everything is believed to be, essentially or overwhelmingly, what makes a philosophy or a movement

successful or growing.

Before people start to bristle at criticism, let me point out: This does not mean that Peikoff, Kelley or the current movements do not do important or persuasive or high-level work. Nor does it mean that no one is writing anything in the humanities in areas other than technical philosophy or political commentary.

It _does_ mean that the breadth of appeal, the types and variety of audience (when was the last time you saw a black face at an Oist conference or event?), the range of disciplines is smaller than it was.

(This may be one reason for the three decade long shrinkage of the Oist central core from 20,000 to 6,000 which I mentioned in "Objectivism is in Trouble, Part I" [3/23]. I don't think it's just the schisms...other

movements have schisms and hold onto their people as each sub movement expands rapidly.)

If you doubt this 'breadth' issue, a good way to prove it to yourself in five minutes: Pick up the bound volume of the Objectivist or the Objectivist Newsletter and look at the table of contents.

--Philip Coates

From: Christopher Baker <>


Subject: Re: OWL: The Roots of Peace

Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 19:03:31 -0400

I thought Lance's comments on non-interventionism were some of the best ones I have seen on this list. It summarizes a lot how I feel about this, too.

Thomas Jefferson said it best in a letter to James Monroe in 1823:

"I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign to us. They are nations of eternal war. All their energies are expended in the destruction of the labor, property and lives of their people."

Many of these quotes can be found at:

Jefferson didn't say anything about the Middle East. But this is exactly what the Middle East is--"eternal war." Why not simply let them kill each other and leave a better world for the rest of us?

This is the worst thing about Israel. Before Israel, the nations dominated by the savage religion of Islam were fighting over every little minor detail. Israel unifies them against something.

But Zionism is another primitive myth much older than the ones written by Mohammed. It is a primitive attachment to piece of land which any rational person wouldn't want anyway (very dry, hot climate with few

natural resources) all because some old book says that somebody called "God" wanted the "chosen people" to have it. It has no basis in reason and nothing to do with the Enlightenment. If a government is founded on

fictional stories told by some liar with delusions of godhood standing on Mount Sinai, I do not see how that government can possibly succeed.

When I hear the word America, I think of Benjamin Franklin flying his kite, the Wright Brothers and their airplane, Stephen Jobs building his Apple computer, Thomas Edison recording "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and Jonas Salk inventing his polio vaccine. I think most people would like to think of those things, too.

But what many people (even some Canadians I know) see is summed up by a quote which I got from Doug Casey's _Crisis Investing for the Rest of the 90's_. An Egyptian said: "I no understand you Americans. You have nice cars, rock and roll music, California girls. Why you want hurt us, make war?" How would we like it if foreign troops were here?

The embargo against Iraq is one issue which has never been raised. Like the embargo against Cuba, it has accomplished nothing. It has weakened the common people who might otherwise rise up against the dictators. It has given sociopaths like Castro and Hussein excuses and scapegoats.

And embargo is often a precursor to war. It was an embargo against Japan which led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was an embargo against England which predated the War of 1812. The embargo against England was also a violation of the rights of our own citizens, who still wanted to trade with England, which is why many New Englanders violated the embargo and considered secession from the Union. (The main reason for the British embargo was the drafting of Americans into the British navy, but the rallying cry for the war was "On to Canada." The embargo against Japan was done in support of China, whom they had invaded in 1931.)

The incident of 11 September is much like the _Maine_ disaster in 1898. The _Maine_ was a battleship in Havana which exploded, and the explosion remains unsolved. The main perpetrators of the incident of the 11th are dead, so we can't ask them why they did it. And it also took years to get all the facts about the sinking of the _Lusitania_.

But 1898 was a key year. It was the year the US grabbed a colony in the Philippines and hung onto it until 1946. The US annexed Hawaii against the will of most Hawaiians. It was the beginning of empire, and the

reason for this war (Cuba) came back to bite us in the 1960's. In the Spanish-American War, the US gained NOTHING.

It told us a lot about why the US would get involved in future quagmires. Newspaperman William Randolph Hearst is reported to have said: "You furnish the pictures. I'll furnish the war." Wherever there is an excursion somewhere, there is some American "journalist" clamoring for the US to get involved and make everything right.

I'm not sure what the motivations are here, but I have a feeling it is psychological. War is exciting. It provides an opportunity to travel to "exotic" places. I remember the tone of the media before and after the Persian Gulf debacle in 1991. They almost hoped it would last long, since it would give them more to do.

It also gives a sense of moral superiority. How about the "bombastic pedagogue" (HL Mencken's description of Woodrow Wilson) saying that World War One would make the world "safe for democracy"? The Spanish-American War was a product of this attitude, too.

The US suffers from a self-esteem problem. Realizing that they have abandoned many of Jefferson's principles in the Declaration, they feel a need to show their pride in other means. The Cold War exemplified this

all too well.

Certainly the description of the USSR as an "evil empire" was true. But the attitude of both the left and the right was that the USA "won" this because they had the "better" state and "military." Reagan wouldn't have

said something like: "The US won because it allows people like Edison to flourish."

PJ O'Rourke did understand better. I like to remember his quote: "Nothing undermines Communism like Big Macs." The attack on America might have been an attack on those things, but I think most people around the world want those things.

The Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society is one of the few groups who blames Islam for this. They were already recommended here once. They are at: <>.

But I like to see the attack as an attack on what has wrong here. This is a nation run by a bunch of self-righteous, know-it-all, arrogant, busybody do-gooders, who stick their noses into everybody else's business, at home and abroad. Their attitude toward their own citizens is not much different than their attitude toward foreigners.

It would be an act of appeasement to let this action go unpunished. I liked the idea of giving bin Laden a sex change and returning him to Afghanistan. Since they want to die, we can't kill them.

But when it's done, let's get our troops here. But let's sell Big Macs, blue jeans, a personal computer, and a few cases of Pepsi to anyone who wants them.

Copyright 2001 Chris Baker

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How many words are in each of Rand's novels?

Just curious: What is your motive for asking this question?

Excellent question. I wanted to ask it right away, but I would not have been as courteous in the way I would have asked it.

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Here's an easy suggestion that gets very accurate results.

Either buy an electronic version of the book you want to count the words for or, if you have a callous where your conscience should reside, find it on a torrent or whatever. Then use a free open-source e-reader called Calibre to convert the entire book to txt or rtf.

Do not buy a Kindle version since Calibre conversion won't work on azw files. You can convert azw files to another format without using Calibre, but the process is really geeky (Google it if you are interested).

Open the txt or rtf file in a text editor and remove things like page number, repeated title heads, etc., so that just the text you want to count is remaining. Some text editors let you count the words and if so, you are done.

If not, type into Google, "word count". Lots of free online tools pop up. Copy/paste the text into it, hit the button and voila--you have the exact number of words.


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Lower-tech but possibly adequate:

Pick a random sample of pages - at least 1% of the total, more than that for more precision.

Count the words on each page.

Average these counts.

Multiply the average by the number of pages.

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Are too.

Galt's speech, I say and maintain,should have been compressed or essentialised into a few words, a very few such as only rand could write, in the body of the novel. The long version should have been a Manifesto appendix directly following "The End" of the novel.

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There are too many words in it.

Are not!

Lovely. Btw did you ever read the delightful "Too Many Notes Mr Mozart" in which Mozart has lived to suffer the slings and arrows of musical life in London, and becomes piano tutor to the ten-year-old Princess Victoria? It's a mystery, pitch=perfect musically and temporally, a real romp.

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Daunce wrote:

The long version should have been a Manifesto appendix directly following "The End" of the novel.

end quote

John Galt said:

. . . . If you've understood what I've said, stop supporting your destroyers. Don't accept their philosophy. Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence, and your love. Don't exhaust yourself to help build the kind of world that you see around you now. In the name of the best within you, don't sacrifice the world to those who will take away your happiness for it. The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath:

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 the sake of mine. To get my whole speech just said one silver dollar plus shipping and handling to One Midas Plaza, Ogden Utah.

End of snip and condense.

Daunce, you are a hoot.


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Why would one want to know this?


I can think of several reasons.

1. Rhetorical. You always gain credibility in any argument if you can spew off verifiable statistics, even if they are not relevant to the argument.

2. Modeling. Maybe you want to write a book like Rand and want some way to measure your own progress when you feel down.

3. Competitive. Suppose a Christian knew the sum of all the words in the Bible and was snubbing Rand because the word count of her works couldn't possibly be equal. And you want to one-up the person by showing you are just as knowledgeable about Rand minutia as he is about Bible minutia. (Silly, I know, but this crap happens.)

4. You are making an Objectivist trivia site or Objectivist trivia game.

5. You want to estimate how long it will take to read one of her books based on how many words you read per minute. This could be for speed reading or for purposefully slowing yourself down with a timer to make sure you absorb it all.

There you go. Five off the top of my head. I can come up with more if you like.

Now it's my turn.

Why would one want to know why one would want to know this? :smile:


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First time I saw that question in the five decades since I read the book.

Your 3, 4 and 5 make some sense.

In graduate school there was a spate of behavioralists who were into "content analysis/textual analysis."

In 1931, Alfred R Lindesmith developed a methodology to refute existing hypotheses, which became known as a content analysis technique, and it gained popularity in the
1960s by Glaser and is referred to as “The Constant Comparative Method of Qualitative Analysis” in an article published in 1964-65. Glaser and Strauss (1967) referred to their adaptation of it as “Grounded Theory."

I was extremely anti behavioralist being an Aristotelian and they were taking over our department, so I was very suspicious of the methodology. However, I did find it useful and I am glad I was exposed to it.

I thought that might be the reason for the question by Baker.


wonder how many total words are on OL since it's birth...?

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I am asking becuase I am working on a novel of my own. Most word processors nowadays have word counters, and this is the only objective measure of how long or short a novel is. Different versions of Rand's novels have different page counts, so number of pages is not a good measure.

Needless to say, I am sorry I posted this here. I didn't expect many people to know the answer to these four questions. However, I hoped that someone out there might know.

Googling has actually yielded two different figures on Atlas Shrugged. I have also found nothing for the shorter novels.

On Facebook, I also asked L Neil Smith and J Neil Schulman about their longest and shortest novels. At least, they were able to give me straight answers.

Thank you, Michael Stewart Kelly. While you did not know the answer, you did provide a helpful answer.

If I could delete this entire thread, I would.

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I am asking becuase I am working on a novel of my own. Most word processors nowadays have word counters, and this is the only objective measure of how long or short a novel is. Different versions of Rand's novels have different page counts, so number of pages is not a good measure.

Needless to say, I am sorry I posted this here. I didn't expect many people to know the answer to these four questions. However, I hoped that someone out there might know.

Googling has actually yielded two different figures on Atlas Shrugged. I have also found nothing for the shorter novels.

On Facebook, I also asked L Neil Smith and J Neil Schulman about their longest and shortest novels. At least, they were able to give me straight answers.

Thank you, Michael Stewart Kelly. While you did not know the answer, you did provide a helpful answer.

If I could delete this entire thread, I would.

Why's that?

Rand thought AS would be a much shorter novel than it turned out to be.

You started this thread with a bear-assed question devoid of context, but apparently you expected us to know the context you were coming from.

Decades ago I merely counted up the number of words on one page of AS and multiplied by the number of pages of the novel and came up with about 624000 words. WTF are you? Lazy?

If you want a better thread come up with a better opener. Then in justice complain if it needs a complaint.


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