This book should be required reading for all college students and presidential candidates. At times it is wordy but overall a fascinating read.
I tried listening to this book before and did not make it but a few hours. When it came out with Scott Brick as the reader I gave it another try. Not only it is a great Book it has a great reader.
Give it a listen, the writing is incredible and the listening just as good.
i was surprised that i was finished with it so quickly. i was expecting it to take me forever to finish! very captivating book, its a must read!
Great book. Excellently narrated. This book is long and a little daunting to begin. I was eager to get back to it from the first hour. Time very well spent.
Growing up in USSR I got pretty well acquainted with propaganda, and Atlas Shrugged bears all the hallmarks: simple one-dimensional characters, long profound monologues, easy division of the world into heroes and villains. Soviet propaganda had its heroes in proletariat and revolutionaries, Ayn Rand found hers among millionaires and titans of industry.
Back to audio-book. Scott Brick gives an uninspired performance; you can barely distinguish one character from another during a dialog, and his monotone almost made me fall asleep behind the wheel.
What I most enjoyed about this book was the broad scope and depth of the story used by Rand to present her philosophical theories. The writing and story created an immersive experience touching on both intellectual and emotional centers. I listened to the book during my long morning commute which allowed time for it to have its effect upon me; drawing me in to such an extent that I actually found my mood impacted by ideas and emotions generated during the reading. Unfortunately, these often consisted of a sense of frustration and depression resulting from the world that Rand paints to highlight the principles she seeks to illuminate; at times I found it a struggle to shake off the moods this book would generate. While this sounds somewhat dark, from the perspective of enjoying a book, I think this level of impact reflects the power of the book and indicates it is more than just a casual read – this book makes you think and even struggle with the ideas it contains. Regardless of which side of the philosophy you stand, if you enjoy being challenged by ideas you should enjoy this book.
I would compare this book to almost any of Dostoevsky's works, especially The Brothers Karamazov. The similarities being that both are powerfully immersive, affecting a reader at an emotional and almost even physical level. I recall when reading The Brothers years ago I could feel the cold and dreariness of the setting as I was reading and having a similar empathetic response to the mood and events of the story. More significantly, I believe that like The Brothers Karamazov, Atlas Shrugged will leave a reader with thought provoking ideas and philosophical imagery which will endure for years to come.
(1)Slow - as soon as I started listening, the slow pace of his reading became frustrating. I had to play the book at 1.25 x normal speed to try and achieve a more acceptable rate. (2)Breathy - This is hard to explain, but he often seemed to talk in a breathy or whispered voice which was unrelated to the context of the reading. This was accentuated by the slowness of his reading. The speeding up of the playback helped a bit with this, but not entirely. When speaking in character, this sometimes had odd effects; making the person seem almost disconnected from what should have been a dramatic situation. (3)Inexpressive - or maybe just incorrectly expressive. This ties in to the breathy aspect, but in addition, when reading conversations between characters, he at times made it difficult to recognize which character he was representing. In some cases, his voice did not change at all with character; at other when he did modify his voice for characters, he seemed to lose track of how he spoke each role so that his characterization seemed to drift from one character to the next, so for example Dagny's voice would migrate over to Eddie Willers and I would have to actually replay a segment because of losing the flow of the conversation. So, my three words really seem to have stretched out here. However, despite all these comments, it seemed that either Brick settled down after the first six hours or so, or I became more accustomed to his style. In the end, his style became less of an impediment to enjoying the book because the book was simply too good not to enjoy.
I might have felt differently about this book (that is, I might have enjoyed it more), if I had gone with the abridged version. It is so long that it many times felt like a chore to listen to (rather than an enjoyment), and there were many times I felt myself thinking "surely it can't go on like this for much longer!" But it did... and then some.
This book is a classic because of Rand's examination of the conflict between individual liberty and collectivist tyranny. "Atlas Shrugged" may have influenced the economic thinking of more people than any book since Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations". Rand's careful and logical reasoning in defense of liberty and freedom spawned the libertarian movement, and created millions of adherents. And all of this is despite the fact that the novel, as a novel, is not very good.
The novel is really long, too long. Brutal editing could have vastly improved the book. The descriptive passages are frequent and wearyingly tedious.. The romantic sub plot boils and fizzles out like a TV soap opera. But despite the weak fiction writing skills of Rand, the ideas presented are so compelling, thought provoking, and important that the book as a whole is actually . . . exciting!
The book is set in a near future United States collapsing, literally, under the weight of an oppressive government. The Washington bureaucrats use ever increasing regulation, central economic planning, crony capitalism and labor union violence to grab personal power and wealth. And all is done in the name of equity and fairness. Equality, fairness, share the wealth, confiscate and redistribute money from the wealthy, from Wall Street, from the banks, from the successful, it all sounds like right now (2011), doesn't it? But this book was published in 1957. No one had heard of "Occupy Wall Street" in 1957, but the ideas are the same ideas presented in this book.
Remarkably prescient, Rand forecasts the results of Progressivism as high unemployment, stagnation and eventual destruction. America in 2011 seems to be steadily lurching exactly towards the outcomes Rand predicted. The central issue today, as in Atlas Shrugged, is not the people, it is the ideas. Rand does not use labels like Republican, Democrat, Liberal or Conservative. She confines herself only to concepts and principles. As a result, her ideas are as topical today as they were in 1957.
I have read this book a few times over the years before listening to this reading. Scott Brick is a great voice artist for the men, however he butchered Dagney's character by making her sound whiny and helpless when she should sound strong and willfull. The voice and the character just didn't match. This was my only complaint and it wouldn't stop me from listening again.
Well-rounded characters and rich plot. Author's misunderstanding of faith leaves rare gaps in logic in what, otherwise, is a prescient theme on collectivism's self-destructive nature. An outstanding page-turner of an American story espousing rugged individualism; until, of course, the rugged individualists form their own collective based on their common rugged individualism - though it is not that simple...