Read January 17, 2011
I can easily see why this book has become so popular recently. Many of the themes echo in today's troubled economy. The irony is that the allegory that I think best fits is one where the 'looters' are not the liberal democrat of today, but the conservative republican who looted the financial system and caused the economy to collapse. I wonder what Rand would say about that.
Atlas Shrugged was a marathon of a read. I enjoyed the story line, the insight into what business was like 60 years ago and a story line that blended business, finance, science fiction, and mystery. I found the book motivational and even inspiring in many ways. It makes me want to get up and get to work and produce!
However, in other ways I found the preaching to be too over the top and too contrasting. The antagonists are set up as straw men in order to easily defeat their dissenting opinion of Ayn Rand's philosophy. In many ways I agree and many more that I disagree. I have to concede that I would not have been able to get the education I received or build my career as I have, were it not for the benevolence of society and the social safety net that the government creates for families to recover from poor financial decisions. I think this is where Ayn Rand misses the mark. Balance is needed.
Read in November, 2010
Overall impression: Meh.
Coupland is good at setting the stage and introducing us to interesting characters, but just like Generation A, he has a hard time finishing the story. In fact, this book mirrors a lot of thoughts from "Generation A" that I would almost call this world a parallelquel.
The story line premis and back of the book description is interesting, but the story lacks any final punch other than to remind us of the precarious dependency that we have on oil. Even that seems to be a lost subplot.
Read from June 21 to November 22, 2010
I read this book at the same time I was listening to Player One so I think I might have over done it with apocalyptic Coupland stories.
Much like Generation X, the story is about the characters and the stories they tell. The premis is interesting and the five principle characters are even more intriguing.
Alas, the momentum that the first half of the book delivers is squandered in the second half. The bee story line is discarded and ignored half way through like a dejected sub-plot that never existed. The second half of the book is really a collection of short stories from individuals in a post-bee world. However, even these sub-stories became mundane as they all seemed to have the same fatalistic and depressing punchline. Almost as if they were the same story recast with different settings.