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.
Let me first say, I am not a political liberal. I am very conservative with a definite degree of liberterianism about my views. I am not naturally predisposed to disagree with the general perception of "Atlas Shrugged." In fact, I think Rand's general premise of economic liberty, personal responsibility and free markets is dead-on. The liberals of today, the Occupy Wall Street crowd, those that back socialistic philosophies could learn a lot about economic freedom from "Atlas Shrugged." Yes, the book's antagonists are over the top and often caricatures and the novel is wordy and preachy throughout - she could have easily cut 40% of the length of this book out by not say the same things over and over in long-winded speeches multiple characters - but there the people of today who continually seek to punish and deride success and achievement could do worse than to adopt some of the views of Rand. Note, I say "some."
NOTE: MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW
Where Rand lost me and prompted to not finish the book, is when she insinuates God is a "mystical moocher" or words to that effect. In addition to being highly offensive to my Christian faith, Rand falls into the same trap that the left does - moral relativism. By what authority does Rand deem the truths that she put forths, especially in John Galt's radio address, in various speeches through the novel, to be absolute morality? She is a human being with no higher authority than any other person. Her views are no more absolute than any other man. This arrogance is amplified by her arrogance to call God, the only One who does have supreme authority, to be in violation of HER moral code! As I said, much of her economic philosophy rings true, but her justification and rationalization fails. I do not see that her economic positions are in spite of God's law to help our fellow man, but rather is the most effective way to show love and help others.
Ultimately, the ironic immorality of Rand's pronouncements as she puts forth her own relative morality, regardless of how valid many of her political and economic points may be, undermine her overall position. Just like true libertarianism, Rand's extreme perspective will alienate many who would otherwise be sympathetic to her politics. This is a shame because in our current era, we need economic liberty and excellence in our society more than ever. But we also need to refocus on God as well, an area in which Rand miserably fails with "Atlas Shrugged."
I love audiobooks because it helps me "read" many more books than I could in the traditional method. Scott Brick is excellent in his character development as a narrator and if you enjoy a good SciFi book you should listen to him in "The Passage." It took me a little while to warm up to this book. Once I realized the messages developing within it there was nothing that could tear me away from it. I truly wish I had read this book 20 years ago as a younger man. I am a successful physician, business owner, artist, entrepreneur, husband and father. So many times in my life of self made success I have felt guilty for succeeding when those around me failed. Not through any cheating or advantage other than my own skill came my successes but I was still "made" to feel guilty for what I had accomplished. Deep down inside I have always felt this was unfair. This book helped me understand why those feelings were true. Rand's insights into human nature are so accurate that they transcend time. Once you grasp her ideas of human motivation for success as a creator or a taker you too will see my elation at her work. THIS should have been my high school required reading instead of Dickens crap about a thief's beneficiary! Rand has changed my life as a successful, educated man of 41. I hope I live long enough to truly appreciate what she has taught me.
I've managed to get through another book or two narrated by Scott Brick, but I can't get through a book of this length, and will be careful not to purchase more narrated by him. So pretentious, so overdone. I can't get past the first hour. What a big waste of money.
Unfortunately I finished the book after the movie was already out of the theaters. I was not surprised to learn the critics hated the film while 81% of the viewers like it according to Rotten Tomatoes. Hollywood is ground zero after Washington of course for all the shallow, holy than thou, card carrying sniveling two faced elitist supporting the failed socialist/communist philosophy so expertly dissect and discredit by Ayn Rand’s masterpiece. This should be mandatory reading in every college and high school. This will never happen because, right behind Hollywood, are the teacher unions supporting the unholy alliance of electing their bosses with everyone’s money. The DVD will be out soon and I am interested to see how they can get this rich and complex story told in 90 minutes. For anyone of conservative leaning this book is a breath of fresh air. All others should give it a chance even if just to understand the mindset that built this country and what will be the outcome if things continue on their current path.
This recording took 11 hours longer than the previous recording because Scott Brick has about three voices total and they all are very very SLOW. He has a man voice, a less powerful man voice, and a woman voice. Even when the text directs the dialogue to be delivered with haste, lightheartedness, intensity, volume, etc., Brick keeps the same non-animated snail pace! I got 2 hours and 44 minutes into it, and had to turn it off. The scene is with several men at a bar, and I couldnt figure out who was talking based on Brick's voices. Imagine Elaine's boss from Seinfeld reading the whole book, with about half the animation.
I don't recommend this Atlas Shrugged audiobook. I'm going to just read the book myself.
I feel like i was reading a paper written with a one trillion word minimum as an assignment for getting in trouble for not sharing. the whole thing could have been summed up in half the amount of words, to be honest i found myself skipping chapters and didn't miss a thing.
Atlas Shrugged is one of the greatest novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I got the audiobook to listen to in my car to and from work and to listen to while running. My problem is that I got the abridged version read by Edward Herrmann first. I wanted the unabridged version.....massive mistake. Brick is the worst reader I've ever heard and I've got plenty from Librivox from amateur readers! He makes every man sound angry all of the time. That's the only emotion they convey. And Dagny sounds like she's using a bedroom voice all of the time. I really don't like being rude, but as a paying customer I'm insulted that my money went to pay this guy. @ Audible: PLEASE get a better version, I'll pay again to get something that's less garbage! I recommend Ed Herrmann, his abridged version was fantastic.
This is an epic novel about a grand clash in a world where there are two kinds of people, the pedantic and the vapid. If you want to hear sixty hours of someone arguing in favor of the spherical world theory,this book is for you. I was weary after 6 hours, but I kept thinking something would happen, so I finished. Nothing did.
I am 2 hours into the audio book and I have tired of the slightly whining intonation being employed for the narrator's voice. I find the story interesting but the narrator voice to be distracting and out of context. I feel that the narrators voice is much too passive and feeble in tone instead of being more direct and matter of fact.
Several years ago, I read The Fountainhead & was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I found the story interesting, the characters intriguing, and the ideas worth contemplating. Atlas Shrugged, so I thought, was supposed to be even better, and I expected to enjoy it.
Unfortunately, I found the book tedious and mediocre. In so many ways, it's inferior to The Fountainhead. Rand really hits you over the head, repeatedly, with her ideology, too, so if you disagree with her position it might be especially difficult to stomach this book. It took an act of will for me to finish listening.
Something about the narration rather annoyed me, too, although I can't put my finger on what. Maybe it's because I sometimes couldn't tell if the prose really was as stilted, melodramatic, and banal as the reader made it sound, or if it was just his delivery.
All in all, you have to really WANT to "read" this book. I can't recommend it much for entertainment.
"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.
"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.
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.
"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!
"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.
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)
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.