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.
There is much food for thought in this classic. The hero's ideas are as relevant now as they were 50 years ago when the book was new and very controversial. It combines intellectual and monetary goals with individualism, bordering on greed and selfishness. The story is excellent but the writing style is heavy-handed. This book is romantic and fantastic.
One of the most compelling books I have listened to.
Who is John Galt?
Galt's airwaves speech.
Yes, it tells you a story you never heard before and it will help you understand the forces that move the world.
I read the Audible reviews prior to buying the book, and decided that this narrator was worth the try since the cost was half of the other choice. I was not disappointed! I loved the book, not because I agree with all that is in it, but because it makes me think. I am a serious Christian, and this book is written from an athestic view point. What is interesting is the chief premise, among so many, is that we must live by what is, or A = A, or what is, is. I have had my last several months captivated by analyzing this book's many ideas against A = A, when in fact A starts with "there is a God, who is Creator, who is the center of all things." Then one can take the ideas and determine if they really hold up to the real A that is.
The story brings out so many ideas that to list them is daunting, but if you want to have "story" provide you a place for working on, chewing on, thinking about ideas -- and especially those ideas that confront our economy, or governing ideas, and our postmodern age of "there is no absolute truth", then you will most likely enjoy this book. That the author lived through the early days of Soviet and communist rule gives a great deal of credance to her portrayal of the realities of what happens when Marxist ideas are implemented.
The narration was fantastic, in my opionion, contrary to what some have said. If you want to save money and wonder if you should take a chance on this version, I recommended it whole-heartedly. Some have said that Dagne, as the Operating Vice President of the railroad, is too breathy, but I felt the voice used by the narrator projected a very controlled power - an undercurrent of constantly sheathed strength.
Topics of discussion of particular interest and that are unusally well thought out were the unity of mind and body, the role of money, the necessity of the motive power of thinkers in the world, and the excellence of excellence. By definition, an atheist writing about A = A will leave out the most foundational A of all, that is God, thereby producing contradictions of a foundational, critical, and very serious nature. But even these contradictions are well worth THINKING on. THINKING, afterall, is the chief purpose of the book.
It was read to me.
The story is a fantastic thought provoking insight into the ideas that founded the USA from the author's perspective. What could the possible outcome be if we stray from our founding and allow monolithic government to overtake our principles and values.
Dagny Taggert. Smart, principled woman.
the timeless storyline it shows how some ideas can be threaded thru a book that apply to todays society
Where is the man who will save Western society?
I'll say what everyone else says first: it's too darned long! Get on with the bloody story Ayn!! I listened to this in my car (1 hour each way to work) and a few times there were literally days where "nothing" happens. Very frustrating.
Next, what not-everyone says: This book changed my life, i wont get into the philosophy and politics of it, but it sure helped set in concrete and organize the views i have had for a long time. If you read it with an open mind (meaning you cant be a total commie/leftist/socialist), you will surely get something out of it. ITS WORTH IT!
I listened to the masterful reading of this amazing audiobook with much admiration for the author’s almost incredible power to predict the behavioral evolution that I have witnessed in the years since she died, not to mention the additional intervening decades since she completed “Atlas Shrugged”. The novel was published in an era when American energy, its will to work and determination to excel among nations remained at its peak, its admiration for those who produced the goods we consumed was in full blossom, and its tolerance for, indeed expectation of rewards for those whose brains and effort were the engine of that production reflected the public’s regard for those who elevated everybody’s standard of living. The sorry trend of affairs set out by Ayn Rand must have been as incomprehensible to the people of that era as it would have been to me as a high school graduate at that time had I spent my time reading “Atlas Shrugged” instead of “Peyton Place” at that moment in history.
But, in 2011, we ponder Rand’s prescience. Or perhaps, we muse, not prescience but inevitably what we hope to be a mere predictable cycle wherein the essential laws of being are overridden by fiat for a period, only to return to observance when the folly, and worse, of the inexplicable cycle becomes manifest and the masses somehow lose the “ability to pretend that what they are told is sane” and are able to believe that enlightened people live not for themselves, but for the benefit of others.
Author Rand spoke of a most peculiar stage in sociological evolution, the ultimate result of which is that a man’s “desire for money he cannot earn is regarded as a righteous wish, while “(another man) is damned for what he earns,” resulting in the latter’s lament against “helping people who despise me”. And she described with uncanny accuracy the emergence of the current ideology of “To each man according to his needs; from each man according to his ability”, together with the consequence of that ideology that achievements would no longer be men’s logical pursuit, but rather to be as needy as possible. The model automobile manufacturer, (in the book) 20th Century Motors, a trail blazer in this respect, became the home of thousands of “panhandlers” as the logical outcome of this philosophy as the only real means of getting along became manifest.
Altruism, the antithesis of the self-interest that has from the beginning of time exacted from mankind the best it has to offer, is presented by the author as what I capsule as a society-wide Ponzi scheme, ultimately for the benefit of the few who ironically are, in fact, pursuing thereby their own self-interest. Wide acceptance of the scheme is gained by sharing some of the spoils gained by punishing the achievers who are vilified to gain the widest possible complicity in that program of punishment. With trinkets and a minimal subsistence that has the virtue of being gained without effort, and with suggestion that greater such fruits from looting are being denied by rewards paid to greedy producers, the wrath of humanity is set upon the very people who are paying the bills. Perhaps the readers will find these concepts familiar.
The response of author Rand’s industry leaders was to deprive the inert masses of their benefactors' intellect and initiative and disappear into a secret enclave to wait for society and the economy to collapse upon itself, whereupon it would be possible to return, pick up the pieces and recommence the process of living for one’s own best interests as the only natural and sustainably productive type of human behavior.
Of course, this is a novel, and one must make some allowance for the manner in which the author makes her allegorical points. Industrialists and other engines of productivity, for instance, do not have to disappear into a crease in the Rockies as Rand’s players did, nor realistically could they. In fact, the human progression through all the seemingly inevitable ugliness requires far longer than a human’s lifespan. Many such leaders ultimately disappear in a mortal sense, being poorly replaced, if at all, and the remainder are simply finally destroyed by separating their labors from the rewards that fuel their labors. In the wake of this, we hope the common sense that first created the desire to achieve (man’s highest moral purpose) and inevitably benefit all society will create others of their ilk when the folly has, at last, run its course.
John Galt’s lengthy and spellbinding radio address is a particular masterpiece. Therein, the author articulates masterfully her own message and the essence of her reason for undertaking this substantial tome. Anyone deciding to read this novel (which I sense that some of the commenters here perhaps have not) should, even if abandoning the book because of its length, challenging concepts, and/or its unusually broad vocabulary and gifted expression, at least read and understand Galt’s words and, having done so, consider their logic and application in a logical and constructive daily life and as the valid reason for living.
I waited too many years to read “Atlas Shrugged”, but it was my good fortune that the processes of sincere personal effort and eating were so inextricably linked for me in the early years, and that the causes and effects that Ayn Rand deems so logical were as much so for me. For later generations, the work of those coming before and the wealth and ease created by them has loosened that perception of linkage in the thinking of many. A lack of understanding that there is no virtue in living for the benefit of others and that living off of the efforts of others is unsustainable and destructive philosophy, personally and for society as a whole, is the result.
I do not propose that anybody or any generation is bad or good, nor do I disparage any point in the sadly logical cycle that Ayn Rand so ably describes. I do propose that an understanding of the spectrum of that cycle is well worthwhile, and that such an understanding will enable the reader to see and understand the impact of the current drama actors, so ably profiled long ago by Ayn Rand that a thoughtful and observant reader can clearly equate key players in the book to key live actors now playing the same parts in the ruinous downcycle now upon us in the United States. Lastly, I propose that nothing I have ever read promotes that essential understanding as fully and logically as this book.
Even if the novel somehow fails to stimulate an individual reader’s ability to see and react to the transparently destructive vortex of misguided philosophy at work in our country, he/she will, If nothing else, learn some new words and observe practically unparalleled skill in putting them on paper. Happy and thoughtful reading.
It is obvious why capitalist recommend this book and the author.
It's scary how often you are forced to draw parallels between what is happening today and what is being described in the book, even though the book was written many years ago.
The key characters are well developed and the story compelling, if a little dramatic and perhaps far fetched. It is successful in making you question whether it is in fact so far fetched!
I was put off by the diatribe delivered by John Galt. I didn't think it was necessary to re-state everything that the book had so masterfully built up to and I found myself tuning out.
I'm surprised that this hasn't been made into a movie before this and am anxious to see how the movie version handles the John Galt speech. If it remains accurate to the book it will be a yawner!
"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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