"...how does one review a book that seeks, among other things, to define the standards by which all books should be reviewed?"His solution is to examine what isn't in Atlas Shrugged - what he calls the novel's complement- and identifies ten striking omissions that throw the novel's failings into sharp relief. While some of the points have been made before, others are box-fresh. It's an outstanding post.
The cultic side of Objectivism has been blamed on individual personalities such as Rand and her young lover/protege Nathaniel Branden. But its persistence beyond these two is, I think, primarily due to the marking-your-own-homework hermeticism that Aaronson nails in the sentence above. This hermeticism is sustained by Objectivism's largely-overlooked reliance on its own language (Rand is widely yet mistakenly credited with writing "clearly and precisely") and its almost-entirely-overlooked reliance on its own version of logic (the actual workings of which we await to be revealed). Thus much of Objectivism - perhaps even most of it - is devoted to blunting the tools by which it might be described and critically evaluated.