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.
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.
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.
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.
I enjoy counter-terrorism, westerns, historical fiction, detective mysteries, and old school comedy like "A Christmas Story".
This is a book of philosophy. Enjoy, in a story format, the importance of good struggling against evil; ambitious hard work overcoming apathy and a sense of self entitlement. If this book was formatted as pure philosophy it would have been a challenging, albeit, boring read. As presented with characters during the industrial revolution, it was mind expanding and had profound messages about the human spirit, intelligence and courage. I feel I only digested a fraction of the stories messages. This book should be read again and again, as I plan to do. The simple message: work hard, work smart, believe in doing a quality job and you will be a winner and other winners will seek you out. If you are mediocre...expect nothing special to come to your life.
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.
This book is very long and I think it could have been shorter. I thought it was slow, but could not stop listening. It's scary that some of the things in it are coming true today. This is a conservative book, showing what could happen when progressives go wild.
"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.
"Golly what a marathon! !"
I am not sure I would have finished this book if I had not been listening to it. A lot of rant which did at times become tedious. But on the good side thought provoking and over all a good tale of how things could come to pass if philosophies are taken to extremes. Certainly a book of its time!!
"Industrialists turn the tables."
Very unlikely - simply because of its length.
Less self indulgent material about how wonderful the female protagonist is.
The inaugural train journey - it was breathtaking - very fast paced - and constantly interesting.
Only in America.
This book took Ayn Rand 10 years to write. She researched her subjects diligently and wrote clearly and often excitingly. She gives her characters very long speeches, these are set pieces that are designed to express her philosophy. This is a book of ideas, not a simple story. Her basic concept is that work is virtuous and that wealth is the inevitable reward. Her heroes are hard working industrialists with a hands on approach. She is also unflinching about the moral necessity of owning ones own motivation.
"What to make of Atlas Shrugged"
The train facing the tunnel and beyond.
No. This is a tome concerning the rights of Capitalism but the principles expressed simply don't work. Very interesting read though.
Ayn Rand's diatribe, for that's what it essentially is, creates a world where 'capital' fights it's cause. The key premise is that those accruing vast capital do so by their own efforts solely and therefore have no responsibility to their society. This is an inane argument as we all must accept that there is no such person as 'the self made man' and it only the notional power of money that could conclude otherwise. This is novel that tells us that power (in this case wealth) never tells the truth or (more specifically) never admits it's wrong.
In a way this is much the same argument that many 19th century intellectuals and philosophers use to describe their thoughts and although not specifically related to capital you'll find similar arguments used by Adolf Hitler in his books of the 1920s leading to the 2nd World War.
Ayn offers no ideas and merely suggest a future of economic hegemony and of a withdrawn capital owning class and fails completely to understand that such a withdrawn culture makes capital ownership actually worthless.
There's a strong sexual component too and one (certainly me) can't help feeling that her mass argument amounts to nothing more than sexual longings of her own. Herself a very plain and rather unattractive woman it's quite hard not to see her female characters as possessed of a beauty and sexuality she may have lacked. While I may hear feminists bounding up to her defence I very much doubt that I'll hear many similarly bounding toward her ideas - as expressed in Atlas Shrugged.
Basically the central premise of this novel is just plain silly. It has truths (in my opinion), it most certainly isn't worthless. For me it just astounds - however, I have a longer view and my own arguments with capital are 70 years more knowing and probably a great deal more damning than this trite piece of 1950s kitsch. A good read overall.
This book should be required reading for anyone with anything to do with government in any way.
Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism is a honed blade to be held at the throat of society's demand for privileges. In Britain today, her message of 'stand on your own merits without leeching on others' is particularly relevant. Nothing is a privilege that you are owed. What you want must be worked for with your own sweat. No handouts. True respect is a reflection of your actual worth - to fellow humans, to business, to the economy. Using others' worth to create your own is immoral. The requirement of being your brother's keeper is obscene. Pity for a fellow human is a horrid emotion, without honour for both.
Ayn Rand's writing is superb, the clarity of her philosophy is a beacon in the dark.
The characters are superbly crafted. My only raised eyebrow is that Ayn Rand seems to have a disquieting take on violence in sex. The characters seem okay with it but it's a bit odd. It's a theme in The Fountainhead as well.
"A Worthwhile Marathon"
This book is vast in its coverage, if you have the patience and persistance you will be greatly rewarded, because of its size and length, its a difficult book to finish, many havnt, in audible form its just alittle easier. If you do finish it, I suspect you will be one of the few.
Francisco d'Anconia, clearly a complex and highly intelligent character
Yes, somehow adds to the drama
Time to rethink your morals.
The book made me think much more deeply about life and happiness. ITs OK to be selfish, but not morally corrupt.
I enjoyed the story but it could have been a lot shorter. Often hours went by with little happening e.g. 3 hours on the whole of a speech when really only edited highlights were necessary for the story itself
Hank Reardon is an easy to understand character who doesn't mince his words
I could not get pass the first 10 minutes - narrator has an unbearable tone of speaking. Tried a couple of times, but really distracting. Looking for a version with another narrator now, still eager to listen to this book.
"An inspiring and challenging train ride"
The book takes you on a long train ride with a mysteriously drawing, but at times crude plot. I wish she had spent more time on her characters. It ride has some bumpy passages with too long monologues. They are however, inspiring and even if you disagree with her Rand's philosophy, it inspires and challenges. A must read with good narration and performance.
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