Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at the New York ColdFusion User Group (Sep. 2009) with:

Finally Bought Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Books, Life

This weekend, I finally broke down and bought Ayn Rand's book, Atlas Shrugged on audio CD (which I ripped onto my iPod). This book is huge! It requires 42 CDs and results in something like 51 hours of reading and runs about $67.00. I love getting read to, and for Rand's books, I feel it is almost essential. Plus, I live in New York City, and us New Yorkers do a ton of walking. Walking is time I can't read... but it sure is time I can get read to :)

On top of the fact that I think The Fountain Head is one of the best books ever written, Atlas Shrugged has special meaning to me because it was my late father's favorite book of all time. He was a huge Ayn Rand fan, and judging from The Fountain Head, I can see why. I hope that through Atlas Shrugged I can not only feel inspired, but feel a little closer to my dad, feel what he felt, see the world the way he saw the world.

Anyway, one CD down, 41 more to go!

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Reader Comments

<p>Awesome! I totally love this book. I listened to it on CD a couple of years ago. I ripped it onto my ipod BTW, and it was one of the best books I've ever experienced.</P>
<p>
LOTS of people complain about the "speech" toward the end of the book. Maybe it's hard to read, but when it's spoken, it's amazing. It's an anthem, I hope you're as amazed as I was when I listened to it. I would listen to that speech again and again for months afterwards. </p>
<p>There's a movie in the works with Brad Pitt as John Galt. I can't wait</p>

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I first picked up The Fountainhead as an architecture student in the late 80's/early 90's. Great book. Especially if you like and understand the principles of modern design. I've since read most of her other work (Anthem, We the Living, etc.), but none approaches the genius of The Fountainhead to me.

While I liked Atlas Shrugged, it was clearly more of a vehicle for espousing her philosophy of Objectivism. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I thought it hampered the character development and, to a lesser degree, the plot. Nonetheless, it's a good book and well worth the read.

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@afandre,

That is what I love about audio books... you can separate the "reading" from the "understanding". Normally, this isn't an issue, but Ayn Rand writes such deliberate, dense stuff that the line starts to get blurry for me. I feel that every word she puts on paper had so much calculation behind it that I cannot bear to miss any thing. When it gets read to me, all I have to do is listen... much easier and more enjoyable.

As far as movies go, I get so nervous with stuff like this. I know that there is a Fountain Head movie, but I almost don't want to see it (but I AM dying to). I just don't want to ruin this amazing picture that I have in my head.

@Rob,

While I am only 1 CD into it, I have to say that it has not sucked me in the way that The Fountain Head did as of the very first page. Plus, I am also finding that subconsciously, I am trying to find the fountain head in it (if you know what I mean)... like, I am trying to relate characters from one book to the other. I hope that I can stop doing this, as I am sure this will hurt my overall experience.

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Ripping 42 CD's sounds like such a chore. Doesn't iTunes or amazon sell mp3's of these books on tape? That would be a cool thing.

I got both atlas shrugged and fountain head sitting around but never got around to reading them yet. I got a long list of books to read and those are on the bottom of the list now.

I read her philosophy books "Philosophy: Who needs it" and "The virtue of selfishness" and liked them both a lot. I became a huge Ayn Rand fan immediately after that.

The two novels are supposed to be illustrations of her philosophy. I pretty much agree with her except for her rabid anti-religious arguments..

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Congratulations, Ben!

You are going to love Atlas Shrugged as much as your father. I can almost guarantee, as well, that it will give you that extra bond with your father, by sharing an insight into his sense of purpose and his sense of life.

All my best,

Antony

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@CoolJJ,

Yeah, based on the Fountain Head, I agree with a lot of what she is going for. I tried to listen to the Virtue of Selfishness, but only got through the first 7 or 8 essays. They are good, but they are so dense with information that it was almost too much to absorb. Her arguments just kept building on each other and I couldn't remember one argument fast enough by the time she moved onto the next argument.

42 CDs is not so bad if you do them in batches. For instance, while coding a little bit over the weekend, I ripped 10 CDs.

@Antony,

Thanks for the encouraging words. I am truly looking forward to it. Just finished CD #3 and I can feel it building.

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I found both the fountainhead and atlas shrugged to be really depressing. Spot on, and excellent reads, but depressing.

On the plus side, though, I see I'm not the only person to spell Antony correctly!

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How is it going with Atlas? Are you ready for finding out "Who is John Galt?" Wow, just typing that makes me want to hear it again.

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@Andrew,

I am on CD 34 of 52. So far I am loving it. It drags on a bit at points, but it is an excellent book and is constantly filling me with strong emotions. I cannot wait to finish it.

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Ben's brother Erik here. I was just scanning over his website (I am a very proud big brother) and came across this entry. I hope Ben loves this book. I don't know if he knows it, but it is also one of my all time favorite stories. I listened to it when I was driving around the country interviewing. He should also know that it is one of uncle Scott's favorites as well. I think about it often when I come across people who I feel are just leeches on society and contribute nothing.

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Being a fellow New Yorker, I think I am going to take your advice and rip it on my iPod. As much as I love the hardcover weight in my hands, its almost impossible to read amongst the chaos. Good chaos, that is.

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Oh dear lord.... I had this picture of Dagny Taggart in my head and it was soo not Angelina Jolie. This saddens me :(

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