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Ayn Rand's magnum opus is definitely worth a read. A word of warning: this is not a typical novel. Be prepared for a world-view that you have not seen anywhere else. As you can see from the reviews below, Ms. Rand is loved--and hated--by many. My advice to anyone about to dive into her works: read it critically, but with an open mind. Let yourself be drawn into her fictional universe and exalt in the struggles and triumphs of her characters. Do not, however, assume that because Ayn Rand said it, it must be true. Do not let yourself enter the personality cult that has been constructed around her by Peikoff & Co. Above all keep in mind--despite what she and her cult followers say--her philosophy is merely an outline with many incomplete technical areas. That does not mean what she has to say isn't worthwhile--it IS!--but that you will need to work at it to integrate the good things that Rand has to say with your own practical experience. What's the book about? Well, to boil it all down (and not give too much away) it begins as the story of a woman who runs a railroad company, struggling to keep her company prosperous in a dark and uncertain time. There is much, much more to the book than this...but this is how it begins. I only give the book four stars because it was quite long and, frankly, at times it was plodding. Overall though, it is an excellent novel with a revolutionary message. I think everyone ought to give it a read at least once in their lives!
0Kommentar|37 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 9. Juli 1999
Suffice to say that I loved this book - the only reason it gets not the last star is that in a couple of parts - Ayn beats the reader over the head with her ideology and I found that a bit insulting.
I am writing this however, to comment on the reviews written by other readers (and I know that this may be a breach of protocol here - bear with me). People either love this book or they hate it. People either agree with Ayn Rand or they disagree with her... and strongly. There is little middle ground. Her work has provoked a lot of thinking and conversing between these two camps of intelligent people. However, whether or not one agrees with her seems to matter not in this case. Simply that she has made people think about their lives and their beliefs to me is the most important hallmark of her work. She (I believe) would have been more interested in the amount of thought and discussion that she has provoked, than in the number of people who end up buying in to her philosophy. To stimulate such a great number of people to think so much about things of this importance is an incredible achievement don't you think?
0Kommentar|4 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 5. Juli 2013
There seems to be no indifference about "Atlas shrugged": even those who disagree with its *ideology* apparently finished the 1000+ pages! Credit should be given to the author's skill just for that (the reviewer hardly ever managed to make his way through a similar volume). And my determination was not only fostered by the wikipedia-quote that the book was the 2nd most significant for young americans (behind - well - the bible).
There is no need to go into detail when it comes to plot and protagonists (wikipedia provides enough information about these) - but some remarks cannnot be withheld:
re: the characters. The "good guys" are: well-shaped, smart, motivated, creative (a bit one-dimensional, I'd reckon) - all kinds of "Übermensch" - in fact, it seems that the author has read too much of Nietzsche. Very inventive, indeed: the antagonist Robin Hood who robs the poor and gives the rich.
re: the embedded love-stories - remarkably progressive, yes, revolutionary (and not only for the era it was written in)! A female makes her way through: love with feel-no-guilt-sex-before-marriage, then: adultery (and *teaching* a nerd how-to), including publicly admitting it ... finally finds the-love-she-had-always-been-looking-for (though not rich, yet - but, who cares, SHE already is). Plus: all 3 competitors still manage to be in good terms!
re: the plot (the pillars of society are on strike) - could be summarized in 5% of the pages needed (including an abstract of the philosophy/ideology); on the other hand: it contains many brilliant descriptions of the consequences of ignorance, mismanagement, demotivation, incompetence - which should ring a bell with everyone who has ever been confronted with (a mix of) these. The last 200 pages are the weakest: some estimated 90% redundancy in Galt's speech; then: too much of *action* (and I couldn't get over the suspicion that the author lost motivation towards the end, or was it just too much pressure from the editor?).
re: the *ideology* - it is not overly subtle, and probably doesn't need to be. The credo of the *geniuses*, that they do not want to live at the cost of anybody nor should anybody live at theirs, is definitely a goal one should strive for (at least for the first part). My advice: It is more rewarding to read the book as a kind-of-kafkaesque science fiction. To depict altruism as a mislead interpretation of some ridiculous post-Aristotle-philosophers is inventive at best. And readers who fancy all this, should be ready to live in a world where:
- to be either a genius or subordinate to a genius (otherwise you are a looter!). Well understood: the genius doesn't give a damn about those who don't make this choice - be they: sick, handicapped, too old, too young ... .
- the homo oeconomicus is everywhere (even in private relationships). In a way: the author seemed to have her own doubts - she kind-of-excluded *true love* from it (dumped an aristocrat and a steel tycoon for a (comparativly) modest super-brain
What Laissez-Faire Capitalism could mean (especially when it starts from scratch after a system collapsed - as described in the book) can be observed in several eastern European states since 1990. For (western-)European readers who had (and still have) to carry the consequences of privatization of e.g. their national railway systems, it appears ludicrous to read about the consequences of the contrary. Then: in "Atlas shrugged" protagonists drive on roads which are presumably not owned by private corporations - raising the unanswered question, who would construct these roads on whose behalf, if there was not such deadly thing like an income tax. Also, as far as art is concerned: those who reckon, that private beats public (re: quality, creativity etc) should have a close look at the media landscape in e.g. Italy or Germany before and after *liberalization*. On the other hand: the author cannot be blamed for this, as she couldn't know - but knew well the consequences of collectivism in the Soviet Union (a country, which, unlike tsarist Russia, allowed her - as a female - to go to University).
I do not want to speculate about the toxic potential of the book. Could be anything between healthy and unhealthy egoism, motivation to do one's own stuff, or some radicalism (kind of Una-Bomber or McVeigh).
Personal conclusion: very interesting read, food for thought and gives some idea about why-americans-are-so-obsessed about anything which is not a private business.
The rating is not easy: 5 stars for Rand's ability to keep me reading till the end - without boring me (ok, apart from Galt's Radio speech - but that's just 5% of the book). 4 stars for the progressive love story (deducted 1 star for the sometimes kitschy description of feelings). 2 stars for the ideology as a whole; good 3 stars for the characters (the *bad guys* are described much better than the *good guys*). Overall: 3 - and do not want to take sides (neither the fans' nor their opponents).
0Kommentar|4 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 9. November 2003
In an opinion poll of the US Library of Congress this was found out to be the second most influential book of history in the US, after the Bible.
I am currently in Buenos Aires, and here in Argentina it is only this year that an uncensored version of this book is published for the first time, and this almost 50 years after its first publication in the US. That should tell you something about its controversial nature.
As for the story, I am sure that the many other critiques of this book have given you a rough idea about it. Personally, I have always found many of the issues and speeches in the book to be somewhat redundant, and the fervor with which the Objectivists defend the book to be just a tad hysterical. To criticize the book or the author is akin to blasphemy in the eyes of many Randroids.
The problem in my view has always been that, as Rand herself once said, this is more of a philosophical exposee than a literary novel, and that shows quite often. As far as literary works go, the author's previous novel 'The Fountainhead' is far superior. The philosophy is the same, but the author concentrated on the story first, instead of worrying solely about how to propagate her philosophy.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Mrs. Rand's views, this book is too important to simply ignore. It would be like ignoring the Communist Manifesto, just because you are an anti-communist, or the Bible because you are an atheist. For all collectivists: 'Know Thy Enemy', and for all individualists: 'Get it' if for no other reason than its importance for the individualist and libertarian movement. Individualism has too few advocates as it is, and this book has quite possibly laid the foundations of a rivival of the old liberal tradition in the decades after its first publication.
11 Kommentar|17 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 1. März 2000
This book generated a deep change in my life and in the mayority of the people I've given the book to read as well.
From my personal observation it is also the best-known book among high-level executives in the business world (I travel a lot and get to meet many Fortune 1000 Chief Executive Officers). According to the Library of Congress this is the second most influential book in the United States after the bible. It is very inspirational (note that it is not a religious book) and will make you want to get up every morning and do the best with your life.
Some people misinterpret this book, and others become fanatical about it. Before listening to them, read it yourself and make up your own mind. Based on book sales alone (it's been in the best-selling list for over 35 years straight now) there's a good chance that even if you don't agree with the ideas in it, that you will enjoy it.
By the way, I recommend you read first her short book "Anthem", then read the amazing "The Fountainhead", and finally move to the epic "Atlas Shrugged".
0Kommentar|3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 17. März 2016
Dieses Buch ist eine Offenbarung! Selten habe ich mich so bestätigt gefühlt in meinem Unwohlsein gegenüber der elenden Gleichmacherei aller Menschen. Die Thematik ist aktueller denn je. Im Grunde geht es um die Kritik an der Gängelung leistungswilliger Bürger durch unsäglich dumme Entscheidungen wie z.B. die zwangsweise Rationierung von Rohstoffen, um sie gleichmäßig an alle Firmen zu verteilen, obwohl damit die erfolgreichste Firma am Handeln gehindert wird und die erfolglosen sowieso nichts zustande bringen.
Man erkennt darin die aktuellen Themen wieder, z.B. Inklusion, Frauenquote, Antidiskriminierungsgesetze, Subventionierung von Ökostrom etc. und versteht den Widerspruch zwischen "gut meinen" und "gut handeln". Die Geschichte ist trotz ihrer über 1000 Seiten auch im Original sehr flüssig und spannend zu lesen und man wünscht sich für die heutige Zeit mehr Charaktere wie die Hauptfiguren, die einfach anpacken und sich nicht von gutmenschlicher Realitätsferne ins Handwerk pfuschen lassen!
Fazit: Grandioses Werk, sollte Pflichtlektüre im Englischunterricht sein!
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 6. April 1999
Is it:
(1) A vehicle for the promotion of one's (perhaps the author's) ideas, or
(2) a depiction of what it feels like to live in a world where these ideas prevail?
I don't think there is a right or wrong choice to the above quiz. However, if you chose (1), keep in mind that there is a better term than 'Literature' to describe the notion: Propaganda.
The art of using logic and "reason" to advance one's cause is not new. It has been practised for millenia; the Ancient Greeks called it Sophistry; and in the Middle Ages it was known as Casuistry, a science by which black bread could be proved to be white, the moon square rather than round, virtue to be vice, and so on.
The author has mastered the "mechanics" but hardly the "art" of the novel. She seems to have spent an enormous amount of time and energy in understanding and depicting what one can perceive with the five senses but hardly any in trying to fathom the inner human world. That may be why her writing reads awfully brilliant but leaves an aftertaste of lacking wisdom. Her work lies at an extreme diametrically opposite to that of Dostoevsky, whose understanding of the human soul borders on the absolute.
But Dostoyevsky's work defies time and space; it has so far been impossible to peg it to any moment, place or situation in history; it is eternal, like the human soul itself. And that, in the end, could be the deciding difference that separates it from the work of Rand.
0Kommentar|2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 1. November 1998
Ayn Rand has captured a timeless environment; the story of struggle between those good souls gifted with the tools to create, digging deeper wells and better stores of value, and those who seek to draw freely from the productivity of others. So, what might happen when personal initiative is reduced and excellence is redefined, made a slave to serve the lowest common denominator? Atlas Shrugged is the story of what happens when all the best minds refuse to play the game we call social engineering and feel good politics today. I found in the pages of this book a creative release for emotions shared by many envied and misunderstood people, those who are the engines of a productive world. I purchased a dozen hard bound copies over the years and gave them to a few of my friends, entreprenueurs and leaders who are fighting to create and realize their visions. This book should be on the desk of every executive, a reminder that people seem to appreciate most what they no longer have, and that profiting from your ideas and hard work is not evil. Interesting characters tell the story you wish you could experience.
0Kommentar|2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 10. Oktober 1999
For those who claim that Atlas shrugged is a joke or is nothing, let me tell you something:
Take a look at the province of Quebec. It's a socialist province in Canada. In school, they kill your mind. They give lots of space for the handicaped and the mindless people but for the intelligent people there is nothing. Here in Quebec, you almost have no rights to think! People will tell you: "Who are you to judge?" - "You don't have the right to judge!". The government take as much as 55% of your money to help the poor, "give" free hospital, help the angry women to do their useless marchs and give millions of dollars to help the gay people. They spend tons of MY cash to things like that. The Quebec is going bankrupt! This is the same exact story as in Atlas Shrugged! Look at Quebec, I give it less than 20 years before it blows up!
Reading this book refreshed my brain. Now at least I know i'm not alone to think this way, even if everyone around thinks not and say "You don't have any social consciousness!"
Two thumbs up for Atlas Shrugged!
0Kommentar|2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 14. Mai 1999
In my thinking, people always base reviews on their complete knowledge of a reviewed item, never realizing their thoughts while they're going through their task. Example: your child is in college, your memories are miscronstrued without a consise diary of your child's development and maturation. I have read 150 pages of Atlas Shrugged. My review of the 1/9th+ that I have read should be seen better than one who has completed the book and passed judgment on it. Firstly about the artistic scope. Ayn Rand is so far describing mental processes better than any author that I've had the pleasure of observing. Her theorums and analyses are akin to an interesting psychology textbook. A character (spoiler-proof :-) loses their virginity in the section before the section I'm in now. Rand explains the situation in excruciating mental detail, but refrains from using explicit language or tones. She designates complexities with simplistic ease and does it with a style that has you asking "HOW?" I shall continue this review when I continue furthur into the book. First 150 pages, 5 stars...
0Kommentar|2 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden

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