• The Managerial Revolution

  • What Is Happening in the World
  • By: James Burnham
  • Narrated by: Keith Hahn
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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The Managerial Revolution

By: James Burnham
Narrated by: Keith Hahn
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Publisher's Summary

"Burnham has real intellectual courage, and writes about real issues." (George Orwell)

Burnham’s claim was not that capitalism was dead, but that it was being replaced not by socialism, but a new economic system he called “managerialism” - rule by managers.

Written in 1941, this is the book that theorized how the world was moving into the hands of the "managers". Burnham explains how capitalism had virtually lost its control, and would be displaced not by labour, nor by socialism, but by the rule of administrators in business and in government. 

This revolution, he posited, is as broad as the world and as comprehensive as human society, asking "Why is 'totalitarianism' not the issue?" "Can civilization be destroyed?" and "Why is the New Deal something bigger than Roosevelt can handle?"

In a volume extraordinary for its dispassionate handling of those and other fundamental questions, James Burnham explores fully the implications of the managerial revolution.

Praise for James Burnham:

"The stoic, detached, empirical, hard-boiled, penetrating, realist mind of James Burnham is something to behold, to admire, to emulate." (National Review)

"James Burnham was an astonishing writer. Subtle, passionate, and irritatingly well-read." (New Criterion)

"The immense significance of Burnham’s approach is potential. We can ignore it only at the risk of being disarmed by the future course of events." (Irving Kristol)

James Burnham was an American popular political theorist. Burnham was a radical activist in the 1930s and an important factional leader of the American Trotskyist movement. In later years, as his thinking developed, he left Marxism and turned to conservatism, serving as a public intellectual of the conservative movement. He also wrote regularly for the conservative publication National Review on a variety of topics.

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What listeners say about The Managerial Revolution

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    4 out of 5 stars

Horrendous narrator

My fault for not listening to the sample, but the reader is deeply incompetent. Brings back memories of listening to the illiterate kid try to read Tybalt’s parts in Romeo & Juliet in 9th grade English. Not even remotely close to what I expect from Audible.

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Worst book reader in over 100 books

The narrator is terrible but Mr. Burnham’s ideas are very important for the modern reader to understand. He gets many things wrong in detail but so much right in form.

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Is the narrator a text-to-speech program?

Terrible performance. I’m wondering now if I can find a better free version somewhere. The narrator sounds like a robot.

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Unbelievably prescient book

Burnham did a solid job in foretelling the developments the consequences of which are in full display in 2022.
The reader of the audiobook was hard to follow due to irrelevant pauses in mid sentences. For continuity of you listening experience, speed up 1.5x.

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Beware

Book is interesting, although I’m not convinced by Burnham’s argument. Worth a read though!

However, the narration is *unacceptable*. It sounds like the narrator is learning how to read for the very first time - think hooked on phonics - by practicing out loud on Burnham’s text. (Actually, that would be a cool thing to do.) Seriously, there are many better recordings on LibriVox.

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  • 08-10-22

worst performance by a narrator ever

Was there no editor available to tell him how to pronounce analogous, what a comma means or the importance of inflection? The production was very disappointing, which made the listening almost unbearable. I would suggest finding a different reading of this title. I first thought it was being read by Christopher Walken and my wife thought it may be a computerized reading.

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Great book.

This book has been in my to read list for a long time and I'm glad I finally got to it. A lot of predictions unsurprisingly did not come true but quite a few of them did. The author builds a very interesting framework.

The narrator however was bad, barely tollerable. Any third rate Podcaster willing to look up an occasional pronunciation could have done better. I still finished it but if another recording had been available I would have probably returned it.

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Must read!

Loved it. What Marx would say if he had a degree and political experience.
Marx is very abstract. Burnham has the benefit of hindsight and experience.

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  • Harry Robinson
  • 06-07-22

The Right Thesis Coupled With the Wrong Analysis

Burnham is an interesting character and puts forward a thesis, that of the managerial revolution, that I would say is mostly correct. However, it seems most likely a fluke that he came to the correct conclusion, as much of his analysis, of Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and the capitalist west is completely wrong and he makes a number of glaringly wrong statements about economic processes that betray that he was still, at this point, a Trotskyist in denial and had as much economic knowledge as you would expect from a socialist. When combined with his embarrassing predictions about Germany winning the war and Japan becoming the nucleus of an Eastern Asian superstate, it's hard to take most of his analysis seriously, even when he is correct.

It does not help that this has easily the worst narration I've heard in an audiobook, where the narrator constantly mispronounces words and names, as well as his very strange inflections and pauses during sentences.

Interesting as an exposition of a thesis I think is correct, but I can't really recommend, sadly.

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  • MD
  • 06-01-22

Great book, unfortunately the reading is boring.

Sorry to say that I found the performance wooden. Great book though, definitely worth reading.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-30-22

Poorly read

The reading style of the reader makes the content (which is verbose) very hard to retain focus. Monotonous on steroids.

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  • Gareth J. Davies
  • 09-25-22

Content good but voice droning

I could not get through this audiobook as the narrator spoke without seeming to understand what was being said. Needed to speak with more inflection and enthusiasm on the topic.

I will go and read the book instead.