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.
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.
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.
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.
"John Galt would have liked it"
A minor criticism first. The first track in this audio book is an introduction with spoilers, so you should skip it if you don't want the surprise to be spoiled. The narration is clear and well acted and the sound is good.
Atlas Shrugged is two books in one: a novel and a book of philosophy. As a novel, AS is very good. It has interesting characters that change over the course of the book in ways that seem reasonable given their worldview and the world they live in. The plot also makes sense and is very effective at presenting Rand's worldview.
Many people complain about AS. I think these complaints are largely due to them disagreeing with the philosophy without having any good arguments against it. Do characters speak more eloquently than most people do in real life? There isn't a novel worth reading where that isn't true. The characters sometimes give speeches when they have something to say that requires a speech. People disapprove of this stuff because they dislike the content of the speech, not because there is a speech. My suggestion about how to approach the book is this: every time you feel outraged ask yourself whether you have a logical argument against what Rand is saying. If you don't then you should be willing to admit that you might be wrong and keep going.
So, to conclude, this audiobook is a well-narrated presentation of a challenging and dramatic novel.
This is a fantastic eye opening read. It gives the reader a whole new view of the economy today even though it was written in the late 50s. I would recommend this audio especially for those who find reading a book of this size difficult. Definitely a must have!
"Well Worth the Effort"
I was so pleased when I saw the unabridged version of Atlas Shrugged had been released on Audible. I tried to fight my way through the tiny font 1168 page paperback I bought a few years ago but I only have so much determination. This is what audiobooks were meant to be.
As many know this set in an America where socialism has gone bad. At times you do feel as though Rand is hitting you over the head with her message, but I suspected it was always going to be that way.
After a slow start Rand manages to keep my interest in the plot, although I have to admit that it's lovers of philosophy who will get the most out of this book.
Well read by Scott Brick; next up for me in the unabridged Fountainhead.
The longest book I have ever bought and definitely value for money.
"A work of fiction, a work of philosophy."
I really can not describe how much this novel has affected me. The value this book presents is just unmatched by any other work of its kind. For me Atlas Shrugged feels like a classic that is actually a classic. Themes of the book weave together like nothing I have ever read. If you enjoy a good thought provoking book, Atlas Shrugged will change your life.
"Has challenged me to rethink ideas"
For a long time I was reluctant to start reading this book, as it is a very long book, but it has been a great "read" for many hours of driving. Yes, it is long, but it has kept me interested and curious for the next turn of events.
I knew it was a political/philosophical book and it has certainly provoked my thinking - more than I really like, as I normally do not see myself as such a radical liberal as promoted here. The "looters" seem so obvious wrong in this book, that it is scary how often we see and hear their ideas promoted in real life also now in 2013. Having travelled around the world, I see countries almost purely based on the model promoted by the "looters" here - and not surprisingly these countries seem on the brink of catastrophe.
Probably the most thought provoking book I have "read" in years.
"Atlas Shrugged - 30th Edition complete with extras"
A titan of a book, by any standards, would need to give it a while before revisiting, will be trying The Fountainhead though.
Narration perfectly executed by Scott Brick.
Brick's take on all the characters is excellent, but his Hank Rearden was the best.
Such a great book, narrated so well, with notes from the author etc thrown in for good measure.
One of the best purchases I've made on Audible.
"An Explanation of Our Current Folly."
Prophetic vision of our future written Sixty years ago. This is a gripping read that seems to explain today's headlines. Well read in the audible format. An excellent explanation of why ,"There is no free lunch."
I first read this book many years ago, and have been checking Audible for the last three years, waiting for it to come out on audio. I forgot a lot of the plot of this book, but I absolutely love it. Ayn Rand was a genius!
"Surprisingly impressive book"
Scott Brick is a talented narrator with a fluent command of the different voices.
There are many characters in this book and Brick managed to make a different voice for every one of them.
It made me think.
There were holes in the plot and a lot of unanswerable questions. The Utopia which Rand describes is not workable. The Distopia she describes could not happen at that sort of pace in that way. However, later events -- typified in the collapse of Soviet society for example, or the rise of politicly correct language in Western countries -- which she could only predict at the time she wrote the novel, prove her to have been remarkably prescient and although her views seem extreme this book carries warnings we should heed.
"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.
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