Oh my, I finally finished this lengthy book (1076 pages, over 63 hours of listening). I am very glad I read/listened to this book. I should give it 5 stars for being a life-changing book, but because of the literary shortfalls, I just can't.
So here's what I think. The story was good, and very thought-provoking. I see so many parallels in what Ayn Rand was trying to say 60 years ago vs. what is going on in this country today. It is scary and hopeful at the same time. I don't get why we as humans in the 21st century can't understand that when we penalize those who produce we are destroying ourselves. Why do we keep saying things like, "Let's tax those rich b_____s. They can afford it." Well ok, but then who will pay your paycheck. Use your heads, people. The rich guys are the ones with the ability to create jobs for the rest of us. If they are not allowed the freedom to create, where does that leave the rest of us? We will not get far when we are all on government handouts.
So that is the gist of this book. Live and let live. Let those who are able, create jobs for the rest of us. Don't keep taxing and regulating them to death. Or any of us, for that matter.
Now, about the literary side of things. This book is full of lectures. Some of them go on for page after page after page. A lot of good things are said, but many of them are said over and over. The worst one is the chapter "John Galt Speaks" near the end of the book. How many ways can you say the same thing? Whatever number that is, it was reached in that chapter. I read this book AND listened to it as well. About half way through that speech, I put the audio on 3x speed and listened in fast mode. I didn't miss a thing. . .
The story is largely allegorical and I like that sort of thing, but it went a little too far for my taste. Also, the love story just didn't make it for me. It was just too unrealistic. It went something like this: (This might be a semi-spoiler, so be aware)
Woman: Oh Man #1, I have loved you since we were children.
Man #1: You are the only woman in my life. Don't believe all that playboy stuff they say about me.
Woman: Oh Man #2, I have never had a relationship like this before.
Man #2: Now that I can finally admit that I love you, I will divorce my wife so that we may live happily ever after. Well, at least I'll be happier with or without you after I dump that broad.
Woman (upon seeing Man #3 for the first time): "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life, at last I've found you!"
Man #3: I'm sure we can live happily ever after, well, that is, after I save the world and have my near-death experience at which point you sweep in and save my life by taking on a small army single-handedly. We're going to be great together.
Man #2: I always knew you would find someone else. And when I met him, I have to admit I can't blame you. He is AWESOME!
Man #1: Yeh, I kinda like him too.
So taking the good with the bad, it still is a book worth the many hours it takes to read it. (If you listen to it, put the narrator speed on 2x, at least.) I can't recommend it to everyone. It takes a weird combination of being mature and a dreamer to really appreciate it.
A word about the narrator. Scott Brick is one of the most highly rated narrators, and I also think he is very good, but he does some things that bother me a lot. First off, he uses the same syntax for everything. Secondly, he has a way of elongated certain words every time he reads them. "Any" is one of them, or anything with an "n" or "m" in the middle. He reads quite slowly, and does not use a very wide range of characterizations. Still he is a good reader and I am pretty sure I will listen to other books read by him. He just won't ever be my favorite.
Almost uncomfortable to listen to, due mainly to the reader's voice inflection, intonation and difficulty with reading the text. I wish I had sampled the narration before buying it. Also, the segments aren't appropriately identified so if you're following the recording with the print you have to struggle to find the right page. Not recommended for reading-impaired listeners.
I listen to audio books to help me fall asleep. This one was so boring it didn't even put me to sleep.
No, I still love American fiction, but I will never buy another Ayn Rand book.
Yes. Scott Brick has a pleasant voice, but the material he was reading was worthless.
No. I was looking forward to the philosophy. But the material was so dry and boring I could not listen to it long enough to hear the real themes.
This novel was so indicative of what is happening after the election of 2008....that it's scary! The measures she suggests the government takes to maintain control is certainly what the Obama administration is trying to do!
Ayn Rand seems to be a psychic, I see our whole government in this audible book. The book pissed me off because it is so true of today's world and the government's answer to dispersing the wealth.
Hadn't read this since high school and remember I thought it was akin to science fiction then. Read it now! Boy was Ayan Rand right on and its very scary. Read it, read it read it.
I remember reading this book in college back in the early 60s and finding it fascinating. Students of today should read this book and understand what is happening in the real world. It is interesting how this work of fiction written in the 50s seems to demonstrate what is happening to our economy today and how the laws and the rights of the people of this country are being corrupted by the ineptness of the present government in handling real life situations.
This great narrator who is excellent with dialogue makes this a really enjoyable way to revisit a high school classic. Very relevant to today, considering it's a novel about the country's movers and shakers trying to save America from greedy political insiders who make their money off the original thinkers and inventors. Fabulous love stories also thrown in. Unabridged version is long, but it's the type of novel you can put down for a while and go back to without getting lost.
The story is classic. The reader is exceptional - I want more books by Scott Brick. Here, Scott creates several different voices for different characters and engages the listener for the entire 63 hours. Pacing and tone were perfect. Wonderful read/listen. Great clean recording, diction and color - and that's important for a 63 hour book. Story is thought-provoking if not outrageous - and just real enough to imagine, at least parts of it, taking place in modern times. "Novel" introduction to Objectivism. Easy to listen to - again and again, down the road.
After reading, I wished I had taken a class based on the book.