In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike. Is he a destroyer or a liberator? And why does he fight his hardest battle not against his enemies but against the woman he loves?
Tremendous in scope and breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand's magnum opus, an electrifying moral defense of capitalism and free enterprise which launched an ideological movement and gained millions of loyal fans around the world.
©1985 Eugene Winick, Paul Gitlin and Leonard Peikoff; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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.
somehow I got to be 38 without every reading this. Without really even knowing what it was about. I'd heard wacky things about Ayn (and her followers), but was pleasantly surprised by the book. The scale was refreshingly endless... her writing style is unique, wavering from the authentic depths of story telling to the shallow puddle of smut-fiction... But as a fan of Sci-Fi I am used to that. In many ways it is an Asimov-ian sci-fi adventure set in the techno-industrial beginnings of our country. in short, wish I'd read it earlier.
Considered a grump and confrontational, but still a loving grandad.
This author has taught all who are willing to listen to what she has said, truly a life changing, mind provoking life style available to the listener.
Although the story has been rated as one of the best books of all time, it was terribly boring.
Scott Brick was the saving grace to this intensely boring and painfully long story.
Yes it's already a movie and much better in that format than on print or audio
It's like reading or listening to Ulysses - difficult to get through in a few sittings. Atlas Shrugged is a long-winded diatribe of Objectivist philosophy in a moralistic tone.
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 enjoyed this book a lot but there are some negatives that diminished my enjoyment of it.
- I loved the protagonists (Dagny, Hank Rearden, Francisco). They were strong, intelligent characters and I was rooting for them right from the start
- the story was interesting. I was anxious to find out how it would all end and it was gripping
- the philosophical disadvantages of Socialism are well-presented
- it seems very exaggerated. I don't think the staunchest defenders of Socialism would identify with the "Incompetents' (my word for them) in this book
- the antagonists in this book (James Taggart, Wesley Mulch, etc.) seemed to be the same person. They are one-dimensional with no redeeming qualities
- it was very, very long. A few times I wanted to stop because it was so long but I really wanted to find out how it all turned out. John Galt's speech on the radio could have been cut down to 10% of its length with no loss of meaning or impact.
Overall a good, enjoyable story and I recommend it
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.
These 4 words say it all, but somehow it took 1100+ pages and 63+ hours to say it. This book is considered a classic and I can understand why; it gets into the fundamental rights of humanity, it addresses many of the issues we're still facing today and its characters are well-defined and interesting. I really got into this audiobook, but having said that...it's painfully boring to listen to at times. There's a long-winded speech at the end that literally goes on and on for hours. Clearly Ayn Rand didn't like governmental control, but I had no idea she was also against editors. A third of this book could be cut...seriously...and it would not only reduce the endless preaching, but it would make the book as a whole more concise and fluid. On at least 10 occasions I said "OK I GET THE POINT!"
The characters are interesting...I was very intrigued by the principles that guided them. I found it hard to believe that such successful businessmen and women would be so dramatic, philosophical and soap-opera-like while expressing their views, especially in such industries as metals and railroads. But the extreme idealism of their views was very insightful nonetheless.
Towards the end of the book, I found myself saying "No...it really is ok to do a favor for a friend without a dime exchanged between us." Anyhow...I get the point; it's better to be free and the fruit of my labor is mine to sell. Perfect audiobook for the patient and audacious among you. Enjoy.
Atlas Shrugged is a true classic, perhpas even more relevant today than it was when it was first written. I have read it many times, but enjoyed very much listening to the audio book reading. It added some life to the text that I had been missing. I highly recommend it.
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.
"Must read, for high tax payers despised by society"
How much value do different people generate? How much do they deserve in return for generating it? How much right does society and the common good have to the success of those individuals? Why are the wealthy so often regarded as undeserving and disliked for being so? This book answers these questions with a brilliant narrative.
"More important than reading through Bible"
A book to be read over and over again, and to live by, if man has to realise and reach his full potential.
"Outstanding book, outstandingly read."
Everyone should read this book. It is very well written and thought-provoking, and wonderfully brought to life by Scott Brick.
"Atlas Shrugged with indifference"
Value for money? Yep it's 63 hours long. Entertaining? Not in any real sense.
Had Rand employed a judicious editor, introduced a sense of pace, or narrative thrust it might have been bearable. While I have no personal issue with didactic writing, labouring a point over interminable ages bears little fruit in terms of convincing or entertaining the reader.
Character performance is superb throughout and his delivery is a real strength.
Even God himself (deity of your choice) could not forge this into a film worthy of watching.
The book is notable not just for its length but also for containing the least appealing love affair in history.
"Interesting theory eloquently put into a story"
Having never read the print version of this book I can only give comments on the audio version and would say well written, read and would recommend a listen of this book to any body that might have an anti capitalist view.
I have not experienced a book like this one before.
Scott Bricks performance was excellent.
I found on several occasions finding my self arguing with Ayn Rands philosophy. Though the foundation of the theory which holds the story together does work well here and can be compared to current times and our corruption in political positions, I do think and believe the people would act and survive if this situation did ever occur.
before I read this book I was an anti capitalist, this book has made me think how we are all human beings dealing with life in the best way our intellect allows us. It has not made me pro capitalist but has made me rethink how we can work together and rethink other options.
"Naive (and badly written) but with originality"
If the book was 500 pages instead of 1000, I would have given it five stars, because I think it would then be well worth reading. At 63 hours, it is hard to justify the time spent. In fact, you can save 62 hours of your valuable time by directing yourself to Ayn Rand's interview with US TV host Mike Wallace in 1959 (on Youtube) as she gives a much condensed account of her philosophy there. She has this one idea, which I think is original to her and a complete rejection of the moral position of the Christian church. This is that clever and hard-working people can be exploited and made to feel guilty by lazy, less endowed people. That a human's primary responsibility is to pursue one's own happiness and one should not try to 'love one's neighbour as oneself.' If you are really taken with that you can read the book. Unfortunately, in the book her solutions and working through of this philosophy are hopelessly naive and really get nowhere.
The book is a joke as a novel - terrible writing style, and painfully repetitive. There is no dialogue, just speeches - everyone (including the odd tramp) talks philosophy and politics. The characters are wooden. Superheroes and wimps. The plots contradicts itself - for example, she spends the (future) profits of the John Galt railway line three times - once mortgaging them to her brother (the owner of the parent company), once to her investors (including Hank Reardon who goes in with $1m) and then for herself as she expects to become stinking rich through her enterprise. She doesn't understand business, but she also doesn't understand politics. There is a strange lack of violence. A prosperous industrialised country (the US) is being destroyed by a wimpy group of socialists. The only 'model' I can think of is the Nazi take over of Germany. This is partly a battle of ideas, but it has to sink into brutality as sensible, rich people never give up without a fight and genuine terror. Rand sort of knows this and does have one torture scene - where the hero John Galt is VERY BRAVE and breaks into a light sweat.
Rand also has a particular idea of female sexuality which involves super-hero dominant males, and she plays this out ad nauseum throughout the book - her character being the only complete female in the book, she gets to sleep systematically with all the superhero industrialists her pigmy imagination can invent (they are all so alike, why bother?) As a woman, I could neither identify with the main character nor like her. I was ashamed of her.
"Great book, and beautifully read"
The narrator made this book so enjoyable. After reading fountainhead I have been meaning to read atlas shrugged for years but couldn't. This audio book made it easy for me. This is the first time I tried an audio book and I am glad i chose this book. Would definitely recommend to everyone. This and fountainhead would make you believe in yourself and encourage a thought process to challenge what the world says you should do.
This is undoubtedly one of the most riveting books I have ever read. This work has touched my senses much deeper than I imagined. Simply brilliant and utterly thought provoking throughout. Thank you Ms Rand.
I felt as though I was one of the looters hoping the Rand would find a way to continue this story for ever.
"1984 and Thus Spoke Zarathrustra have a child"
Atlas shrugged is first and foremost Original. it follows no standard story arch or character model, but to enjoy it you have to treat it as an inspirational novel rather than as a philosophical treatise.
Characters are larger than life and it is obvious who are the heroes and who are the villains. But this starkness only adds to the grandeur of the novel; it is more like Lord of The Rings than Game of Thrones. However, the villains aren't really villains as such. The people that the protagonists struggle against aren't like 'the party' in 1984. They aren't so clearly evil (from the reader's perspective). instead, little by little, they subvert the world all in their genuinely stated aim of 'the common good,' and this subversion is believable. Indeed, it's more believable that the world could progress as Atlas Shrugged describes, little by little, all in the name of supposed altruism, than it is believable that the hyperbolically authoritarian world of 1984 should come about. The current price controls imposed in Venezuela, and the resultant shortages, may well have described the United States in Rand's Novel.
there are lots of speeches, and in between the progression of the storyline, you will hear familiar platitudes. the style of pronouncements is just like that of Thus Spoke Zarathrustra, and I recommend absorbing it as a poetic philosophical emotions, rather than a serious philosophical work. so long as you do this, the speeches will just add to the larger than life character of the protagonists (though it may be useful to increase the speed).
The story itself was my favourite bit. It foreshadowed itself effectively, maintaining connection between the earlier and later parts of the book. It wasn't completely predictable, but it hinted at what would happen next. The core concept had never, to my knowledge, been explored before, and even if you disagree with Rand's descriptions, it is worth asking yourself what would happen if industrialists disappeared. As stated earlier, the direction of national policy is perhaps the most relatable element of the story, whereas the characters are aspirational. listening to them overcome can be quite a boost to your own morale. The only part of the story I was a little perplexed with was the not too infrequent dive into Rand's sexual machinations, but hey, that's not necessarily bad.
Don't treat it as a work of philosophy, and you'll be inspired by an epic story.
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