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.
Very good book. I almost decided against listening to it because of its length but I am glad I did and now understand why this book is so popular. Interesting story, good character development and I even thought the reader, Scott Brick, did a nice job in bringing the story to life. First and foremost, the book is meant to be philosophical but Rand's points are clearly and entertainingly made within the fictional tale. Say what you will about how much you agree or disagree with her viewpoints, you can not argue the timeliness of its assertions and it's depictions of what faces us today. I found it to be almost eerie considering the book was written in 1957.
I first read this in high school at the recommendation of an english teacher who didn't really care for it, but thought I probably would. She was right. I reread it (or listen to it) now every few years. If you believe in the greatness of human achievement and of the human mind, and have not read this, you should. Give it a little time, it is a massive book, and starts rather slowly.
I have listened to a (non-audible) performance of this book by a different narrator, and this one is superior in my mind. I have not listened to the other available audible reading.
It is not physically possible to listen to this in one sitting.
I was unsure what this book was about when I began reading it. I had heard it mentioned in the past and always thought it might be good to understand what people were talking about.
I was shocked to see concepts within the book that I had long left behind because so many people had told me that my ideas were wrong. For me the idea that there is no such thing as a selfless act was the most profound. As a child I remember thinking this while being taught that it was evil to be selfish. This book validated my beliefs and allowed me to see that I am not alone in this world. I always contended that selfishness is not the evil, but rather how we treat each other that can be evil. Once you realize the and understand the idea that everything and everyone holds a potential personal benefit, then the world becomes much clearer. To deny this simple truth, is to lie to yourself. I know it goes against what we were all taught but it is true. We all need to think, really think about what we believe and why we believe it. This book is all about unleashing the thinker in us all and it moves you to believe in what is.
I am not a head of industry or even a business owner. I have no great scheme to ride the backs of the people until they drop and then grind them under my heartless oppressive heal. I work every day doing the best I can. I fight the urge to let the apathy created by so many lazy people who are allowed to continue in their laziness due to other lazy cogs in the machine. My job is a mission, a personal one. Much like golf, I don't measure myself against others but against myself. I strive to think and live. This book is a breath of fresh air and it will inspire you if you will open your mind and challenge your beliefs.
I loved this book for many reasons, but I also think there are some tough spots. Spots that really require us to think. Contrast this book to "The Grapes of Wrath", how would Rand solve the problems that Steinbeck introduces. Neither really proposed a solution. But in the real world, the solution to Joad's problems came from what Rand called prime movers. Rand did not elevate only the leaders of industry, she simply elevated man. She pronounced that man was great and not weak. If man is to shine, to be a "prime mover" they must first believe in themselves, first and foremost.
Too often we teach our children conflicting beliefs. We teach that selfishness in to be uprooted and in the same breath, we tell them to believe in themselves to build their self esteem. These two views are conflicting. It is only by the use of objective thought that we can begin to truly understand the world, others, and ourselves.
I think the best honor I can give to this book it to say that I loved this book for ME and what it has helped ME to see and to become.
Yes, it is a classic which narration only enhanced
The message to stand up strong
I loved each scene
It made me more determined to excel
The conversations between Francisco Danconia and Hank Reardon
Yes, excellent narration
Francisco Danconia has the most interesting take on life.
Ayn Rand was so prophetic when she wrote this book in the 1950's. The exact destruction of our society that she spoke of is happening. The who produce nothing, yet depending on those who produce everything, loot from and rule over the producers, until the producers QUIT! It will soon happen in this country if we do not change course.
The story is not the fastest most enticing I've ever read but the philosophy contained in this is incredible I have listened to this book twice now trying to get a better understanding of it and if you really take the time to think it through it will change the way you look at the world.
The philosophy presented explains all the reasons that the world confuses me and prompted me to look more closely at why it confuses me and lead me to the conclusion that Mrs. Rand had seen decades ago the nature of the world we are living in and why it was wrong.
If you are questioning the long commitment of 40 hours to listen to this story/philosophy don't worry it will take much longer than that to fully grasp this book. Which is the mark of a great novel. Whether you agree with her ideas or hate them its worth the effort to listen and understand this novel.
There is a good story here if you can get past the excruciatingly long winded and boring parts. The author could have made her point and moved on, but instead climbs on her soap box and goes on, and on, AND ON......., I don't know if there is an abridged version or not, but this book could easily be edited down by half and be better for it.
Yes I highly recommend this book. I had tried several times to read the print version but each time failed to really become absorbed into the story. The size was intimidating and I ultimately would quit. I work 90 miles away from my home and am an avid audio book listener. After several shorter books I really wanted one that would last. This was a logical choice. I am three quarters of the way through Part 7 and I find myself listening on short drives as well as long and listening when I get home. Today is the perfect time to begin reading or rather listening to this profound, thought provoking novel, especially in these times. I can't tell you how many times I have heard a current news headline and thought "Who is John Gault". This should be required reading for everyone!
I do not think any book from today or yesterday can ever be compared to Atlas Shrugged. It was before its time and it is timeless.
Not sure whether I would listen to another book narrated by Scott Brick. While he does a fine job and you can easily distinguish the characters from one another, the characters don't really come to life with his narration.
The moral of the story. It is still true. Hard work, intelligence, and success should be rewarded and supported as opposed to trying to even the playing field by punishing the successful (i.e. paying more taxes) and incentivizing laziness and restricting business.
He's the best. There were a great deal of characters in this long novel and you always know who's voice is being heard as well as the mood and intent of the words.
Call Ayn Rand a nut if you please but I believe the moral of the story holds true. If you punish the smart, hard-working, successful people (like by taxing them more and saying they owe more because they make more) or by awarding benefits to people because they are not as successful you create incentives for people to become mediocre, destroy individual aspirations and retard the progress of individuals and society as a whole. Yet, it is a lesson that despite the failure of socialism and communism in every single case and the success of capitalism liberals insist on ignoring.
The book is entertaining, sometimes frustrating, often inspiring, and undeniably a classic. The narration was spot on and kept a perfect pace to a very long, complex, and challenging book. Excellent book, perfect narration, and critical lesson that needs to be reinforced constantly, perhaps now more than ever.
I weirdly cried at the end of reading this book 6/3/12. I really enjoyed it and want as many people to consider its contents carefully as possible. Could selfishness really be as beneficial to everyone because through your success others are able to succeed?
Most books on Economics, Public Policy and Finance, marriage and family Sociology, Genetics. many more anything to help you think critically.
The book was long but worth it.
I did cry and rarely do cry. I dont know why i cried at the end of the book but i did.
I wish more people could read the book.
- The idea that you should try to do what truely makes you happy and in this way you can maximize your own utility hit right on the spot for me. Many people might be against the idea of selfishness but in everything we do even altruism is a result of the positive feelings some one might receive from giving their gift, and instinct wise it plays into many other genetic survival reasonings. That being said people would be at their most efficient and motivated when doing an activity that benefits them directly and that ideaology seems to directly refute the idea of socialism. With out knowing it most people help their neighbor or friend for several reasons and most reasons include: if I help this person or spend time with them i receive the companship or increase the ease/Likelihood of my survival (holds less true in modern times- hence less neighborly interaction -b/ there is no need?) Even when it comes to giving gifts and caring for children the genetic drive that pushes us to do those things is the selfish desire to spread your genetic data as successfully as possible (hence grandparents logevity). Not that a person is not free to help others but that is a learned trait generally and not an instinct unless it bears on the success of your offspring or your sustained life.
- FYI for those that dislike what i wrote,Things I do: I try to do a good deed daily, I help others succeed, I promote enviromentally friendly products and ideas, I work hard, many many more things as well, and I do all of that for the selfish desire to see my family and friends some day live in a world that they can thrive in.
"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.
"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."
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.
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)
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