Who is John Galt? Spoilers ahead, (a lot of them) but I'll tell you:
John Galt is a tremendous tosser. By which, of course, I mean to say that he intends to toss the world off his shoulders. (Why, what did you think I meant?).
In case you couldn't tell, I'm not a convert to Rand's so-called "philosophy." That being said, the book isn't without merit. Yes. All the characters are completely one dimensional. Yes. All the male characters spend so much time admiring each other that you begin to wonder about them. Yes. It's anvilicious. Still, the book has some good parts. I actually found the first 400 pages or so to be very interesting. Pulp, but well-written pulp, if you can get over how offensive some of the things the characters say is. Having Dagny struggle to build a railroad is exciting. Hank and Fransisco are interestingish. There's also a certain allure, if, like me, you think steam and steel are amazingly cool. Then Dagny gets her RR built, and it all sort of goes downhill.
The next 300 or 400 pages are slow. There's nothing really exciting going on, except the road trip and the discovery of the motor. (A crucial part of the book, there's a motor someone invented that can pull static electricity out of the air and therefore can essentially provide you with free energy). Basically, the main reason I kept reading this part was because of the mystery: Who is John Galt? Who created the motor? Why are all the great industrialist disappearing? Obviously, these questions answer each other, but still, I was curious to meet John Galt.
I wish I could say that the turning point where the book became unbearable was when Rand killed a train full of people and then went on to explain why everyone on that train deserved to die. Admittedly, that was really revolting, but the truth is that I stopped reading because I finally met John Galt.
John Galt is a genius, or so we're told. As proof, we have his philosophy of selfishness and his invention of the motor. Maybe in a world where physics lets you efficiently harvest static electricity, John Galt would be a genius. We don't live in that world. Galt is flat and unconvincing. He spouts hateful nonsense which only makes sense in the context of Rand's imaginary world.
That's why I tossed the book.