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.
While I appreciate many of Scott Brick's audiobooks, he misses the emotional impetus behind the characters and Ayn's incredible grasp of satire. Many of her characters are archetypes, and Hurt just plain understands how she intended them to come across. There are some issues with the audio quality(background noise, etc). This drawback is overwhelmed by the brilliance of his acting. He really brings the book to live. Brick on the otherhand comes across flat, misses the characters emotional states and motivations, and turns a great story less so. I have both versions, but if you only purchase one yourself, select the Hurt version. You will not regret it
I'm an audiobook nerd living in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the time of writing, I'm approaching 400 audiobooks.
If you want a real treat - download this unabridged recording.
I have been meaning to listen to Atlas Shrugged for years, but I have been put somewhat off by its length.
When I discovered that a new recording had been made with no other than THE narrator Scott Brick the case was settled.
Atlas Shrugged is a story that will stick with you and make you reflect on The World, your life and the future.
It is set in The US and describes what would happen if you took away the initiative of the individual and deprived all of the intellectuals of their rights.
While I understand why many people will find the story political, controversial and even disturbing - it cannot help you appreciate how lucky we are living in democracies.
Download this recording, listen to Scott's mellow voice for 62 hours and prepare yourself for utter joy.
Belive me when I say stick with the Christopher Hurt version. I have listened to both. Scott Brick is said to be "THE NARRATOR" but he can't compair to Christopher Hurt.
The Hurt version isn't great sound quality. I did hear some background noise at parts. There is a part where is stops compleatly for a few seconds but stick it out. Hurt's version of Taggart alone is woth it.
Brick makes this book I belive 11 hours longer using the exact same words. Brick has 1 voice for each male and female character and his book is packed with many characters. I think brick trys to play some parts.
This is my favourite book. I read it every year. Belive me when I say stick with the Christopher Hurt version.
There's very few things I can add to all that have been said about "Atlas Shrugged" that haven't been said before. Ayn Rand wrote a timeless masterpiece who put her name across the most influential writers of the english language. The story by itself is an Ode to the Human Mind and the best within us. This book change the lives of those who enter in contact with it and, most of the time, for the better.
The production of this audiobook is perfect. There's no background noise and the sound is as crisp as it could be. Only on the technical standpoint, the recording is as perfect as the state of the technology allows it to be.
So, why I gave it only 3 stars? Because of the casting of Mr. Brick. I have no quarrel with him. He's a talented artist who, I am sure, would give an outstanding reading of "Pride and Prejudice". He's, sadly, a poor choice for "Atlas Shrugged". His voice is unable to carry the certainty of John Galt, Dagny Taggart seems to be a moment away to sobbing, Francisco d'Anconia got a mundane voice while Jim Taggart sounds perfectly sane(!). This mostly ruined my enjoyment of this recording. "Atlas Shrugged" is a righteous book and his voice is too mellow to sound right.
In summary, may I suggest to those who really want to enjoy this story that they acquire the Christopher Hurt's rendition of it? The quality is less than stellar but the reading is perfect. In fact, I listened to the later right after I listened Mr. Brick's recording, just to forget the poor experience I lived.
Oh my, I finally finished this lengthy book (1076 pages, over 63 hours of listening). I am very glad I read/listened to this book. I should give it 5 stars for being a life-changing book, but because of the literary shortfalls, I just can't.
So here's what I think. The story was good, and very thought-provoking. I see so many parallels in what Ayn Rand was trying to say 60 years ago vs. what is going on in this country today. It is scary and hopeful at the same time. I don't get why we as humans in the 21st century can't understand that when we penalize those who produce we are destroying ourselves. Why do we keep saying things like, "Let's tax those rich b_____s. They can afford it." Well ok, but then who will pay your paycheck. Use your heads, people. The rich guys are the ones with the ability to create jobs for the rest of us. If they are not allowed the freedom to create, where does that leave the rest of us? We will not get far when we are all on government handouts.
So that is the gist of this book. Live and let live. Let those who are able, create jobs for the rest of us. Don't keep taxing and regulating them to death. Or any of us, for that matter.
Now, about the literary side of things. This book is full of lectures. Some of them go on for page after page after page. A lot of good things are said, but many of them are said over and over. The worst one is the chapter "John Galt Speaks" near the end of the book. How many ways can you say the same thing? Whatever number that is, it was reached in that chapter. I read this book AND listened to it as well. About half way through that speech, I put the audio on 3x speed and listened in fast mode. I didn't miss a thing. . .
The story is largely allegorical and I like that sort of thing, but it went a little too far for my taste. Also, the love story just didn't make it for me. It was just too unrealistic. It went something like this: (This might be a semi-spoiler, so be aware)
Woman: Oh Man #1, I have loved you since we were children.
Man #1: You are the only woman in my life. Don't believe all that playboy stuff they say about me.
Woman: Oh Man #2, I have never had a relationship like this before.
Man #2: Now that I can finally admit that I love you, I will divorce my wife so that we may live happily ever after. Well, at least I'll be happier with or without you after I dump that broad.
Woman (upon seeing Man #3 for the first time): "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life, at last I've found you!"
Man #3: I'm sure we can live happily ever after, well, that is, after I save the world and have my near-death experience at which point you sweep in and save my life by taking on a small army single-handedly. We're going to be great together.
Man #2: I always knew you would find someone else. And when I met him, I have to admit I can't blame you. He is AWESOME!
Man #1: Yeh, I kinda like him too.
So taking the good with the bad, it still is a book worth the many hours it takes to read it. (If you listen to it, put the narrator speed on 2x, at least.) I can't recommend it to everyone. It takes a weird combination of being mature and a dreamer to really appreciate it.
A word about the narrator. Scott Brick is one of the most highly rated narrators, and I also think he is very good, but he does some things that bother me a lot. First off, he uses the same syntax for everything. Secondly, he has a way of elongated certain words every time he reads them. "Any" is one of them, or anything with an "n" or "m" in the middle. He reads quite slowly, and does not use a very wide range of characterizations. Still he is a good reader and I am pretty sure I will listen to other books read by him. He just won't ever be my favorite.
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.
This is one of my all time favortite books. I have read this book 3 times, but I never made it through the speech but once. I decided to listen, and originally bought this version during an Audible sale. After listening for a few hours, I could not listen to this narrator any longer and purchased the Christopher Hurt version. SO much better. I am sad to know that the book will end in the next couple of commutes.
I'll assume that anyone considering this book is already aware of its significance, so I'll focus instead on this audio recording. The narrator, Scott Brick, is very talented. When listening to an audiobook, it is important that the reader uses inflection to impart life to the individual characters. He does a fantastic job of creating individuals who are recognizable by their voices. He does, however, have a tendency to speak quite slowly, and draw out some of the text in a painfully deliberate manner. To the point that several of the characters sound overly grave or even angry. You might notice that this recorded version is more than 10 hours longer than the unabridged version released in 2007. While I haven't listened to that version, I wonder whether that's because he speaks that much slower. I found that I was able to play this at 2X speed on my iPod and it was still perfectly clear. This ended my frustration of waiting for the words to come, with the added benefit of cutting the playback time in half.
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.
This would have taken me a very *very* long time to read in print. In audiobook format, I can listen while I commute, making the experience much more practical for my busy life.
There are a couple speeches that stand out as phenomenal defenses of enlightened self interest, and the virtue of capitalism.
Francisco d'Anconia. Quite like him.
This book goes for over 60 hours. It'll take you a while.
Take Rand with a grain of salt. She defends her stance beautifully, but reduces human character to such stark qualities that she misses the subtlety and nuance inherent to the human experience. Atlas Shrugged is not only a piece of fiction that has never happened, it is a piece of fantasy that could never happen.
But instructive, all the same.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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!
This book is l-o-o-ng – two long books riveted together. One is an ok drama, set (unusually) in industry. The other is pure Mills & Boon, its Dallas-like cast led by cool, elegant Dagny Taggart, who’s fought over by a string of brilliant, powerful men. You can’t help feeling the second was added to make the first more palatable to the masses.
Despite all that, Atlas Shrugged is really just an unremitting political sermon. Let’s face it, you’ll love this book if you’re a US Republican, hate it if you’re a US Democrat, and be bemused if you’re anyone else. For all her objectivist rhetoric, you sense that it’s Rand’s cri de coeur: “After all that trouble getting away from Stalin, I’m darned if we’re gonna have socialism over here”. Obama is the proof that it was wasted effort. Still, this is a millenarian work, so many can still take comfort in a world that never was.
Unfortunately, Rand leaves you feeling like you’ve been scolded by a Victorian aunt. But the mirthless hectoring isn’t the worst part. That’s the endless repetition. If an ad lib is worth uttering once, it’s worth repeating ad nauseam. Much of the book is taken up with speeches that sound like she’s cut-and-pasted them from essays she got good marks for at college. Her favourite rhetorical device – “I say this, you say that. I do this, you do that...” – is fine, except when you realise that all her heroic characters speak the same way, at which point you want to slap them.
Narrator Scott Brick maintains his energy levels to the bitter end, especially in distinguishing the voices of the lead characters (of both sexes). But his performance is offset by solecisms, e.g. annoying mispronunciations and the fact that he intones literally every three-part list wrongly – and Rand is inordinately fond of lists. And his desperately languid style does make him an accessory to Rand’s prolixity. But Audible proves its worth with this one: I’d nearly given up when I discovered the 2X button on my i-Phone. Oh, joy!
"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.
"so so so very good"
my advise is to skip the intro as it has a plot spoiler and go straight into the first chapter of the book. The back story of the first few hours may seem tedious but stick with it as the story, the plot development, and the motivation of the characters is beautifully realised. Listening/reading this book is a must.
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