Many people’s favorite segments from Atlas Shrugged are mine too. (See here and here.) But there are a lot of shorter segments that I particularly like.

Here’s one on child labor (p. 92 of the paperback.)

Francisco d’Anconia, at age 12, hides from Mrs. Taggart (Dagne’s mom) the fact that he is working over the summer at Taggart Transcontinental. Mrs. Taggart finally wises up and catches him. Here’s the dialogue:

“Francisco,” she [Mrs. Taggart] asked, when she brought him home, “what would your father say about this, if he knew?”

“My father would ask whether I was good at the job or not. That’s all he’d want to know.”

“Come now, I’m serious.”

Franciso was looking at her politely, his courteous manner suggesting centuries of breeding and drawing rooms; but something in his eyes made her feel uncertain about the politeness. “Last winter,” he answered, “I shipped out as a cabin boy on a cargo steamer that carried d’Anconia copper. My father looked for me for three months but that’s all he asked when I came back.”

I first read Atlas Shrugged a few days after my 17th birthday and I had had a number of jobs in my early second decade. Not this exciting, of course and not full time. But still, I related.