I always refrained from reading this book as it is often pictured as the ultimate capitalistic (read evil) book. In the book the heroes are indeed the capitalists, and by living their full philosophy you get a sense of why capitalism is praised. The book really is a story in which Ayn Rand's philosophy is brought to life. It is taken out of the dry essays and classrooms and given form in actual life.
The ideas and characters might be extreme, but that's what you get when you take an idea to its extreme. And only by taking it to its extreme, you can explore and learn what it actually means. For me it made so much sense. All the ideas, the struggles, the reasons, the ultimate consequences. It was like I had a shelf full of books and finally somebody explained to me how to read.