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.
This book is very long and I think it could have been shorter. I thought it was slow, but could not stop listening. It's scary that some of the things in it are coming true today. This is a conservative book, showing what could happen when progressives go wild.
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.
A lover of audiobooks of all kinds, since childhood, when long car journeys were accompanied by Discworld stories. @ReineDesLivres (Twitter)
At 63 hours long, this is the definition of a marathon listening session, but I think it's worth it. Atlas Shrugged is a long story, which presents Ayn Rand's theory of objectivism through a number of speeches and discussions, but it also has a great fictional narrative that goes along side it. You may not like Rand's politics or philosophy, but at its heart this story has a great female lead character who fights to be successful and competent surrounded by idiots, fools and incompetents. So, give it a try, you might be surprised and enjoy it.
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 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.
this is a truly entertaining story. one that many people in america would do well to hear considering our current political and economic situation.
i gave this 4, instead of 5, stars for two reasons:
most of the monologues in this book, and there are a handful, are almost suicidally long. the point is typically made within the first 5 or 10 minutes, but the listener is subjected to exhausting reiterations of the same idea. case in point is john galt's radio address clocking in at 3 hours of listening time. having said this, i loved francisco's diatribe about money being the root of all evil (or not, as the case may be) and that probably came in around 45 minutes or so.
the second reason i didn't give this 5 stars is that i felt the narrator portrayed dagney in an excessively weak and frail voice. i don't know if that was his best impression of a woman, but dagney deserved a more confident sounding voice. he did a great job with reardon and i found myself hating james taggert on multiple occasions because the whining tone of his voice was so grating.
overall, awesome book. would recommend to everyone, young and old.
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.
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.
"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.
"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.
Ayn Rand is narcissistic, her idealogies give me permission to be the most selfish primal and greedy human being and I can be this way with impunity, Ayns world was much moore fun than my own I think.
I would have preferred a female with a russian ish accent to narrate!
Charming Avant Garde Piffle
After an interesting beginning (woman fights for her right to take charge over her life) the story drifts into black and white. black is everything social white is (neo)capitalism.
If you like Thatcher Bush and affiliates or like to understand this type of concervative stream, this might be you book.
He is could develop more different voices for different characters (compare Humphry Bower, Frank Muller etc)
"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.
"Golly what a marathon! !"
I am not sure I would have finished this book if I had not been listening to it. A lot of rant which did at times become tedious. But on the good side thought provoking and over all a good tale of how things could come to pass if philosophies are taken to extremes. Certainly a book of its time!!
"Industrialists turn the tables."
Very unlikely - simply because of its length.
Less self indulgent material about how wonderful the female protagonist is.
The inaugural train journey - it was breathtaking - very fast paced - and constantly interesting.
Only in America.
This book took Ayn Rand 10 years to write. She researched her subjects diligently and wrote clearly and often excitingly. She gives her characters very long speeches, these are set pieces that are designed to express her philosophy. This is a book of ideas, not a simple story. Her basic concept is that work is virtuous and that wealth is the inevitable reward. Her heroes are hard working industrialists with a hands on approach. She is also unflinching about the moral necessity of owning ones own motivation.
"A Worthwhile Marathon"
This book is vast in its coverage, if you have the patience and persistance you will be greatly rewarded, because of its size and length, its a difficult book to finish, many havnt, in audible form its just alittle easier. If you do finish it, I suspect you will be one of the few.
Francisco d'Anconia, clearly a complex and highly intelligent character
Yes, somehow adds to the drama
Time to rethink your morals.
The book made me think much more deeply about life and happiness. ITs OK to be selfish, but not morally corrupt.
I enjoyed the story but it could have been a lot shorter. Often hours went by with little happening e.g. 3 hours on the whole of a speech when really only edited highlights were necessary for the story itself
Hank Reardon is an easy to understand character who doesn't mince his words
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