“Progress Isn’t Made by Looking in the Rearview Mirror”

(p. A9) Even in death, Donald Panoz defied convention. His family reported that Mr. Panoz, 83 years old, died of pancreatic cancer Sept. 11 [2018] at his home in Duluth, Ga., after he “enjoyed his last cigarette.”
The red-haired entrepreneur, an apostle of Ayn Rand, founded Elan Corp., which developed technology used in nicotine skin patches used to wean people from cigarettes.
. . .
“I never become hostage to anything I do,” he told the Atlanta paper. “Progress isn’t made by looking in the rearview mirror.”
. . .
His partner in founding Mylan, Milan “Mike” Puskar, once summed up Mr. Panoz this way: “There’s nothing college could have taught him. Don has vision, and you can’t teach vision. He’s not a technical person, but he’s a master salesman. He always wanted to know: Why not?”
Donald Eugene Panoz (pronounced PAY-nose) was born Feb. 13, 1935, in Alliance, Ohio, and grew up in West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
. . .
Mr. Panoz . . . moved his family to Ireland in 1969 to set up Elan, whose research projects included delivery of medicine via skin patches. He chose Ireland partly because it offered lower taxes and less red tape. Elan initially was known for reformulating medicines developed by other companies and later pursued research on drugs for multiple sclerosis and other diseases.
. . .
His business successes, he told the Scotsman newspaper in 2002, were “just about being able to recognize an opportunity.” He added: “We’ve had plenty of failures, too. We just don’t talk about them. It’s best to leave them behind.”
. . .
In line with his libertarian leanings, Mr. Panoz gave out copies of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” to his children and many others.

For the full obituary, see:
James R. Hagerty. “‘Restless Entrepreneur Founded Elan and Mylan.” The New York Times (Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018): A9.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Sept. 28, 2018, and has the title “‘Don Panoz Hopped From Pharmaceuticals to Wine, Resorts and Race Cars; Entrepreneur helped found Mylan and built Elan before setting up a winery and resort in northern Georgia.” The passages above, after the word “mirror,” appear in the online, but not in the print, version of the obituary.)

The novel by Ayn Rand, mentioned above, is:
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, 1957.

A Dinner to Remember

(p. 6) The economist Dambisa Moyo, author most recently of “Edge of Chaos,” loves Agatha Christie’s “detestable, bombastic, tiresome, egocentric little creep” Hercule Poirot.
. . .
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
1) Vikram Seth, the economist turned novelist. His “A Suitable Boy” remains one of my all-time favorite books. 2) Ayn Rand, the philosopher and novelist. I am drawn to her irreverence — a woman ahead of her time. 3) Maya Angelou, the poet who penned “Still I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman” … enough said.

For the full interview, see:

Dambisa Moyo. “‘BY THE BOOK; Dambisa Moyo.” The New York Times Book Review (Sunday, April 29, 2018): 6.

(Note: ellipsis between sentences added; ellipsis internal to sentence, and bold question, in original.)
(Note: the online version of the interview has the date April 26, 2018. The first sentence and the bold question are by the unnamed writer-interviewer. The answer after the bold question is by Moyo.)

Moyo’s book, mentioned above, is:
Moyo, Dambisa. Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth, and How to Fix It. New York: Basic Books, 2018.

Kid Paid $100,000 to Skip College and Mine Asteroids

(p. 18) As I sat down for lunch at a restaurant in Los Angeles, I placed a copy of “Valley of the Gods,” by Alexandra Wolfe, on the table, and a waitress walking by stopped to peer at the cover. . . .
“It’s about Silicon Valley,” I began. “It follows this young kid, John Burnham, who gets paid $100,000 by this weird billionaire guy, Peter Thiel, whom you’ve probably heard of; he’s a big Trump supporter and spoke at the Republican National Convention?” — a blank stare from the waitress. “Anyway, Thiel pays him (and a bunch of other kids) to forgo college so Burnham can mine asteroids, but he doesn’t actually end up mining the asteroids and. . . .”
. . .
The book begins with the protagonist, Burnham (or antagonist, depending whose side you’re on), who isn’t old enough to drink yet but is debating dropping out of college to follow the Pied Piper of libertarian and contrarian thinking, Peter Thiel, to Silicon Valley. As Wolfe chronicles, Thiel, who has a degree from Stanford University and largely credits where he is today (a billionaire) to his time at that school, started the Thiel Fellowship, in 2011, which awards $100,000 to 20 people under 20 years old to say no to M.I.T., Stanford or, in Burnham’s case, the University of Massachusetts, to pursue an Ayn Randian dream of disrupting archetypal norms.
It won’t be giving away the ending by pointing out that it doesn’t end well for Burnham.

For the full review, see:
NICK BILTON. “Denting the Universe.” The New York Times Book Review (Sunday, FEB. 19, 2017): 18.
(Note: ellipsis at end of second paragraph, in original; other two, added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date FEB. 14, 2017, and has the title “Pet Projects of the New Billionaires.”)

The book under review, is:
Wolfe, Alexandria. Valley of the Gods: A Silicon Valley Story. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017.

Libertarian Lessons from the “Little House”

(p. C25) Nothing about Laura Ingalls’s birth to a modest Wisconsin family on Feb. 7, 1867, suggested she would become one of the most significant voices in the canon of the American frontier. A century and a half later, the contribution Laura Ingalls Wilder made still seems astonishing — a fact not lost on her publisher. As a new anniversary-themed batch of “Little House on the Prairie” books rolled in this fall — with homespun-looking covers and introductions by luminaries including Laura Bush and Patricia MacLachlan (author of the gentle Newbery Medal-winning novel “Sarah, Plain and Tall”) — I found myself plunging back into the “Little House” world I’d loved as a child, with a strange feeling of urgency.
. . .
“Little House in the Big Woods” was published in 1932, when Laura was 65 and Rose, her only child, was long divorced, an accomplished, but increasingly broke journalist and author. Rose Wilder Lane had lost both her own money and money she invested for her parents in the 1929 stock market crash, and they were scrounging by, with Almanzo hauling loads and Laura selling eggs and apples and writing occasional pieces about farm life.
Out of desperation Rose suggested that her mother write down the stories of her pioneer childhood, heavily revised the resulting manuscript and found a publisher. In the rest of the books, as well, she provided substantial editing. Some historians insist that Rose — who later became an outspoken antigovernment polemicist and is called one of the godmothers of the libertarian movement, along with Ayn Rand — should be considered the books’ ghostwriter. Christine Woodside’s recent book, “Libertarians on the Prairie,” makes this case, cataloging libertarian messages Rose embedded in the books. (Some are overt: “The politicians are a-swarming in already,” says one character in “The Long Winter.” “They’ll tax the lining out’n a man’s pockets,” he cries. “I don’t see nary use for a county, nohow.”)

For the full commentary, see:
MARIA RUSSO. “READER’S NOTEBOOK; A ‘Little House’ Tinged with Red and Blue.” The New York Times (Fri., FEB. 10, 2017): C25.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date FEB. 7, 2017, and has the title “READER’S NOTEBOOK; Finding America, Both Red and Blue, in the ‘Little House’ Books.”)

Woodside’s book, mentioned above, is:
Woodside, Christine. Libertarians on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2016.

Christian Praise for Ayn Rand Novels

(p. A13) Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE restaurants and a practicing Roman Catholic, finds nothing worrisome in that fact: “I encouraged my six children to read both ‘Fountainhead’ and ‘Mere Christianity’ by C.S. Lewis,” he told me. Each child later read “Atlas Shrugged.” Mr. Puzder argued that “there’s no contradiction between raising my children in the church, and urging them to lead the kind of lives of achievement, integrity and independence that Ayn Rand celebrated in her novels.”
Randall Wallace, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of 1995’s “Braveheart,” and the director of 2014’s “Heaven Is for Real,” is such an admirer of Rand’s work that he wrote a screen adaptation of “Atlas Shrugged.” Mr. Wallace, a Southern Baptist, said, “My faith isn’t contradicted by her beliefs. We live in a world of labels, but God surely cares less about the labels we give ourselves than about how we live because of them.” Rand, Mr. Wallace feels, wrote fiercely and fearlessly about bold and brave characters. “I think it would contradictory to my own beliefs not to admire her.”

For the full commentary, see:
JENNIFER ANJU GROSSMAN. “Can You Love God and Ayn Rand?; A friend claims the atheist philosopher at one point saw the appeal of spirituality.” The Wall Street Journal (Fri., Nov. 11, 2016): A13.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Nov. 10, 2016.)

The Ayn Rand novels praised above, are:
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, 1957.
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1943.

David Sokol Worries that in Over-Regulated America, Free Enterprise Is Under Attack

(p. C1) David Sokol, once widely expected to succeed Mr. Buffett as chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has kept a fairly low profile since leaving the conglomerate amid a stock-trading controversy five years ago.
. . .
In addition to becoming a more-vocal investor, Mr. Sokol, 59 years old, is becoming increasingly vocal about politics. He is an avowed fan of “Atlas Shrugged,” the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand that made a moral case for capitalism and self interest. In public speeches and columns, Mr. Sokol has drawn comparisons between the dystopian, over-regulated America portrayed in the book and the present day, saying (p. C2) that free enterprise is increasingly under attack.

For the full story, see:
SERENA NG and ANUPREETA DAS. “From Buffett Protege to Activist.” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., April 25, 2016): C1-C2.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 24, 2016, and has the title “Warren Buffett’s Former Heir-Apparent Resurfaces as Activist Investor.”)

The Ayn Rand novel that Sokol admires, is:
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, 1957.

Producer of “The Godfather” to Make Six Hour TV Version of Atlas Shrugged

(p. D1) LOS ANGELES — It took a while — more than 40 years, actually.
But Albert S. Ruddy, a movie and television producer who does not like to quit, has landed rights to make his passion project: a screen version of “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s Objectivist bible.
Mr. Ruddy, whose canon includes films as varied as “The Godfather” and “The Cannonball Run,” almost had a deal back in the early 1970s, when he wooed Ms. Rand personally while sitting on a small couch in New York.
But Ms. Rand, who had left the Soviet Union in the 1920s and feared the Russians might acquire Paramount Pictures to subvert the project, wanted script approval; Mr. Ruddy, as adamant as she was, declined. “Then I’ll put in my will, the one person who can’t get it is you,” Mr. Ruddy recalls being told by Ms. Rand, who died in 1982.
. . .
The main thing, Mr. Ruddy said, is to honor Ms. Rand’s insistence on making a film for the future. That means redrawing its capitalists and creators, who go on strike against creeping collectivism, as figures more familiar than the railroad heiress and industrial titans who figured in a book that was first published in 1957.
“When you look at guys like Jeff Bezos, he’s not only doing Amazon, he wants to colonize Mars,” Mr. Ruddy said. He spoke by telephone last week of his plan for a mini-series in which an Internet blackout led by Bezos-like figures might shut down cellphones, banks and almost everything else.

For the full story, see:
MICHAEL CIEPLY. “Film Producer Lands Rights to ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Novel.” The New York Times (Mon., NOV. 2, 2015): B8.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date NOV. 1, 2015, and has the title “Producer of ‘The Godfather’ Lands Rights to ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Novel.”)