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1. Anthem, Expanded 50th Anniversary
2. Atlas Shrugged
3. The Fountainhead (Centennial Edition
4. We the Living
5. The Virtue of Selfishness (Signet)
6. Ayn Rand Box Set
7. For the New Intellectual: The
8. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
9. Philosophy: Who Needs It (The
10. Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of
11. Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand
12. The Art of Fiction: A Guide for
13. Ayn Rand For Beginners (For Beginners
14. The Journals of Ayn Rand
15. The Romantic Manifesto
16. Letters of Ayn Rand
17. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology:
18. The Passion of Ayn Rand
19. Objectivism: The Philosophy of
20. The Voice of Reason: Essays in

1. Anthem, Expanded 50th Anniversary Edition
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 256 Pages (1999-12-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452281253
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Available for the first time in trade paperback--this provocative book is "an anthem sung in praise of man's ego"--from the legendary author Ayn Rand

Anthem has long been hailed as one of Ayn Rand's classic novels, and a clear predecessor to her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In Anthem, Rand examines a frightening future in which individuals have no name, no independence, and no values. Equality 7-2521 lives in the dark ages of the future where all decisions are made by committee, all people live in collectives, and all traces of individualism have been wiped out. Despite such a restrictive environment, the spark of individual thought and freedom still burns in him--a passion which he has been taught to call sinful. In a purely egalitarian world, Equality 7-2521 dares to stand apart from the herd--to think and choose for himself, to discover electricity, and to love the woman of his choice. Now he has been marked for death for committing the ultimate sin. In a world where the great "we" reign supreme, he has rediscovered the lost and holy word--"I." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (587)

1-0 out of 5 stars Self-important Dreck...
And I mean it. Pretentious, pointless and inferior allegory of a dystopic future where names and the word "I" no longer exist. Rand called this "a poem", which I find strange because it neither rhymes nor scans like poetry. Which is alright with me- but Rand was always so black and white in her definitions.
Silly dialogue and a ridiculously over-the-top romance punctuate this (very) slim volume which, thankfully, contains no weirdly violent love scenes or long-winded philosophical speeches or lectures. The scene where the narrator, 'Prometheus', invents a lightbulb is almost as bad as the one after he discovers the words "I" and "ego". And, of course, the good guy wins, yadda yadda yadda, end of story.
Or is it? The end leaves room for a follow-up. I wonder if a sequel will be 'discovered' in the bowels of Leonard Piekoff's chamber of literary horrors (aka, the ARI).
Honestly, skip it. Read 'Brave New World', '1984' or 'It Can't Happen Here'. Leave 'Anthem on the shelf, along with '2112'.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This book accomplishes so much in such a short space. It is a great picture of individualism and the capability of man. Definitely worth the read.

1-0 out of 5 stars The worst experience ever
I ordered the book "Anthem" from Amazon.It was shipped by Cherrybooks in the most horrible condition ever.Someone had used a magic marker to scratch out several paragaphs on every page of the second half of the book.After several e-mails to Cherrybooks and no response, I then e-mailed Amazon to advise of the incident and never got a response either.

2-0 out of 5 stars Beware! This has editing notes!
For those of you looking for a hardcover version of Anthem, make sure you like editing notes. I didn't realize this when I bought it and was disappointed to find all sorts of scribbles/edits. Once I re-read the item description, lo and behold, this is what is there: "This 50th-anniversary edition includes a scholarly introduction and a facsimile of the original British version, which bears Rand's handwritten alterations for its American debut." Ok so it is my fault, however, just thought I'd point this out to any unsuspecting customers out there.

3-0 out of 5 stars Quick review, no Spoilers
When reading this book one must take into account that Ayn Rand had only just begun to gain a full understanding of English, and the book was written in the style in which it is written to reach all readers. This being said, Anthem uses very basic words, poor plot, and is exceedingly short (which may be nice to some people). The book does have some significant value however, Anthem was the precursor to such books as 1984, and related books, only in a much shorter form. Leading me to recommend this book for people who wish to be introduced to objectivism, as well as a much shorter, simpler version of 1984. I would not recommend this book for people wishing to read a well written story, or for those who wish to be introduced to Ayn Rand's work and have a reading level above the fifth grade. ... Read more

2. Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 1200 Pages (1999-08-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$7.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452011876
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
At last, Ayn Rand's masterpiece is available to her millions of loyal readers in trade paperback.

With this acclaimed work and its immortal query, "Who is John Galt?", Ayn Rand found the perfect artistic form to express her vision of existence. Atlas Shrugged made Rand not only one of the most popular novelists of the century, but one of its most influential thinkers.

Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world--and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man's body, but about the murder--and rebirth--of man's spirit.

* Atlas Shrugged is the "second most influential book for Americans today" after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2153)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ranking Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand knew that Socialism was creeping into our government and had lived under a Socialist regime.Her insight in the pages of this book is amazing.It is surprising the degree with which her story matches the political developments of today.

3-0 out of 5 stars I love it...I hate it...I loved it...I hated it...
This book seems to draw such deep discussion and after reading it I honestly fail to comprehend why?

She spends WAY MORE text then necessary (imo) reinforcing why people with natural ability, creativity and talent should be able to employ their skills without the intrusion of goverment, they ultimately owe nothing to anyone and everyone should appreciate their contribution(s) to "society"...yada, yada.....

While I generally agree with many points and arguments made within yet what I see when I read CEO profiles in Forbes/Fortune is not imo great "inventors/innovators" as portrayed in the book but big name powerbrokers, next in-lines of nepotistic dynasties, persons with extensive financial/banking contacts and networks, etc... and while I concede such may be necessary cogs in the machinery of any successful business my opinion remains such people do not always possess the "original" creativity and ingenuity equitable with the many characters in the book used to reinforce such an "absolute" philosophical viewpoint. I fear we have lost a good deal of our once world-leading production status and are on the slippery slope of turning into a nation of service sector middle-men and networked powerbrokers?Does the "Art of the Deal" have the same contribution to society as say the cure for Polio, the iPhone, the space shuttle, etc... or deserve the same tribute?

4-0 out of 5 stars Every American should read and think about this message
I don't think there's another fictional book that could have a larger impact on our political system than this one, if it were to be widely read by intelligent Americans (of which there are millions), this could inspire a renewal of the American Dream. Many reviews remark that reading Atlas Shrugged was a life-changing event. Reviews contain phrases such as: "Had a Lifelong Impact on Me", "The most thought-provoking book I've read", "A Refreshing Sense of Life", "A tremendously helpful book", "This book made an impact on me!", "Required Reading for all Americans".

I read Atlas Shrugged 20 years ago for the first time. Recently I saw the 1943 movie "The Fountainhead" and was inspired to read that novel. As result of the messsage of that story, I became interested in Ayn Rand and her philosophy. While reading the wonderfully written very honest and surprisingly dramatic biography "Ayn Rand and the World She Made" which shows both the greatness and the pathology and errors of Ayn Rand, the section on the writing of Atlas Shrugged, which was the major work of Ayn Rand's life, made me want to reread "Atlas Shrugged".
I have a hardback copy, but wanted the Kindle version which I carry on my frequent travels. I went online to purchase it, and at first I balked, seeing a price of $18. This seemed rather expensive compared to other books (I had expected $9.95). However, I did want to read it on my Kindle(s) and went ahead with the purchase; I'm very glad I did.

The Kindle version has been very well done. I didn't see any of the mis-formating that I often see in other Kindle books, and I really enjoyed the reading experience on the Kindle. Several times I had it with me when I had an unexpected hour or two to wait (one hour was spend in a safety hallway at work, during a Tornado warning). So it took almost a week to read the 1,000+ page book.

This book has a great message; an angry, seemingly selfish, but sincere and profound message that should resonate very deeply in today's world more than ever before. Sales of the book have risen and I've heard several conversations at work initiated by young adults reading it for the first time.

No doubt, the book could be edited down to 500 pages and remain as effective. Many passages are too long or restated or over stated, the philosophical/economic points being made often seem to be written for teenagers, but the plot and characters are mature. This book expresses the passion of Ayn Rand and I love the detailed descriptions of my favorite characters, others (the bad guys) are over-simplified presented as "idiots" to be sure that it will covey her message to the masses. I reread the book, with patience for the verbosity, but didn't skip any of the text.

The book is profound and very effective in communicating the message of the struggle of the individual against the collective; of creative accomplishment, even genius, against the mediocre of society, against socialism. It rants against the moochers of society --those who beg or demand handouts from those who own and produce goods or values; and against the looters -- those who uses force (legal, political or social) to expropriate values freely from the productive.

The plot is creative and interesting and strong enough to pull me through the verbose sections, the heroic charactersare draw in enough detail, with motives and lifes of great interest and personalities that resonate with me. By the time I reached the climatic speech (70 pages long), I was totally focused and interested... what it is that John Galt has to say that could justify such length? This is the essence of Ayn Rand's message and philiosophy, stated as directly as possible.... again I read every word.

The final impact of the book was very profound; it could be better written, there's much to argue with concerning Rand's view of life, there's much that may be wrong, much that she missed; but there is also (and more importantly) so much that is so obviously right, inspiring and important to hear (especially for the young), that it could change America, revive the founding father's vision and reset our course and lead into a future of greatness; there are few books that could have such impact on us as this.
Great literature, maybe not, but a great message and reading experience, most assuredly.

The message from a quote (though stated in the negative sense) "Until men learn that of all human symbols, Robin Hood is the most immoral and the most contemptible, there will be no justice on earth and no way for mankind to survive"...
Postively stated .. it is good for all that a person has freedom and liberty, to develop and pursue their purpose, skills, gifts and to be duely rewarded for that achievement,as it benefits others...government should never penalize the successful for greatness ...

However, in life there is room for, and virtue in, compassion, love and respect for all sentient beings.. but socialism is not a benefit to humanity, does not encourage personal growth and responsiblity and inspire our evolution.

"Atlas Shrugged" is being made into a movie (Part 1 of 3 is complete and will be released in 2011).

1-0 out of 5 stars Didn't finish it
I read over 200 pages (of 1000+) waiting to get interested and never did.I got to what I suppose is a minor climax in the narrative, the launching of the John Galt Line, and realized that I could not care less about any of the characters.So rather than waste more time reading this bore, I took it back to the library.I left my page mark in, just like one of the people who had it before me. (She left hers somewhere in the 100s.)

If you like a world where all the heroes look like (and are just as deep as) the stoic figures in 1930s German propaganda posters, then Atlas Shrugged is your book.Otherwise don't waste your time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Atlas Shrugged
I purchased two of these books as gifts. They arrived before the stated arrival date, in good condition.I am very satisfied with any purchases made through Amazon. ... Read more

3. The Fountainhead (Centennial Edition Hardcover)
by Ayn Rand
Hardcover: 752 Pages (2005-04-26)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$21.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452286751
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A special edition hardcover in celebration of Ayn Rand’s centennial.

When it was first published in 1943, The Fountainhead--containing Ayn Rand’s daringly original literary vision with the seeds of her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism—won immediate worldwide acclaim. This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him. This centennial edition of The Fountainhead, celebrating the controversial and eduring legacy of its author, features an afterword by Rand’s literary executor, Leonard Peikoff, offering some of Ayn Rand’s personal notes on the development of her masterwork.Amazon.com Review
The Fountainhead has become an enduring piece ofliterature, more popular now than when published in 1943. On thesurface, it is a story of one man, Howard Roark, and his struggles asan architect in the face of a successful rival, Peter Keating, and anewspaper columnist, Ellsworth Toohey. But the book addresses a numberof universal themes: the strength of the individual, the tug betweengood and evil, the threat of fascism. The confrontation of thosethemes, along with the amazing stroke of Rand's writing, combine togive this book its enduring influence. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1052)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved IT
Rand is an amazing writer.This book is such a breath of fresh air.You don't see any story lines like this anymore.The people who do not like her seem to have more of a problem with her philosophy versus her story and writing.If you yell a lot about the rich getting richer then you're probably predisposed to dislike this book but I still highly recommend you open your mind and give it a shot.If nothing else maybe you'll understand your enemy's frustration.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand's solution to the problem of alienation
The individualist has always had an ambivalent relationship with the market. On the one hand, the market is an inevitable consequence of the individual right to own and trade property. On the other hand, the market is the physical embodiment of the opinions of other persons about how artifacts and activities are to be valued, and the individualist insists upon deciding these values for himself.

Ayn Rand's education in Soviet Russia made her intimately familiar with Marx's writings, including his theory of alienation. The character Howard Roark in The Fountainhead is her response to this theory. Howard Roark insists upon maintaining a non-alienated relationship to his work as an architect. He is unwilling to compromise his artistic integrity and independence, even though his tenacity leads to dire hardship and even compels him at one point to temporarily abandon architecture and work as a manual laborer.

The joy of owning material things is small in comparison to the joy of genuinely self-directed creative work, of forming and developing one's own vision and bringing it to realization. To sacrifice the joy of self-directed work for the joy of ownership is a highly imprudent--and yet also very common--decision. The character who embodies this sort of imprudence in The Fountainhead is Peter Keating. Keating recognizes the market as the highest arbiter of value. He does whatever it takes to bring in client revenue. The consequence is that he becomes extravagantly wealthy--and miserably unhappy.

In a world populated only by men like Peter Keating, free market capitalism might still be the most just way to organize society, but it would still be an aesthetically repulsive and psychologically disastrous way to organize society. It is the possibility of an uncompromisingly self-directed man like Howard Roark that vindicates capitalism in the aesthetic and psychological realm as well as in the realm of justice.

Ayn Rand is able to make an unequivocal recommendation for a universal free market because she believes she has solved the problem of alienation. It would seem, however, that although her recommendations for government policies of laissez-faire capitalism have had a not entirely insignificant political influence, the ethic of non-alienated work upon which this recommendation is predicated has had comparatively little influence.

The leaders of contemporary commercial enterprises are unabashed in their insistence upon recognizing the market as the ultimate arbiter and director of all their decisions and activities. What should be recognized as a vice--spineless submission to public opinion as it is embodied in the marketplace--comes to be thought of as a virtue: to call an enterprise "market driven" is almost universally recognized as unequivocal praise.

The principle which Roark puts into practice is summarized in his maxim, "I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build." In other words, Roark's practice is not "customer-driven." It is driven by his own need to realize his artistic vision.

One might question whether it would be possible for an individual employee in a contemporary commercial enterprise to adopt a self-realization-centered approach to his work when the primary goal of his employer is to fulfill market needs, which will certainly not always coincide with the employee's needs for self-realization. The inevitable conflicts might in the end make the employee who insists upon self-realization unemployable, consigning him to work in the rock quarry. But it also just might be the case that a tenacious perseverance and insistence upon doing his work in a manner that is fulfilling could eventually pay off--as it does for Roark in The Fountainhead.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
I had just finished Atlas Shrugged and realized Ayn Rand had insight into the minds of social justice progressives unlike anything seen or read today.I ordered Fountainhead with one day delivery because I could not wait to read more on her philosophy.One week later I was done and ordered five more of her books.One cannot go wrong with Ayn Rand.

1-0 out of 5 stars Why is the religious right pushing this book???
A couple of years ago when I read Rand's "Fountainhead" (it was the work that inspired my then hero Hunter S. Thompson as a young man so I wanted to check it out), I saw that like many of the works of Jack London (who I was also quite enthralled with at the time), there was a spirit of individual greatness woven within it and a perception of small, conformed souls to squash this greatness that really rang true with me.

But something always stuck with me, something God wouldn't let me forget---that these great figures of pure, individual freedom that Rand and London wrote about were NOT real! I could find no evidence of such men ever existing, even scholar of a wide range of history that I was. They were purely figments of the imaginations of their authors. Sure, I had personally known a couple who thought they were such kind of men, but then had always caught a glimpse behind their Wizard of Oz-like facades. I saw that they hurt and were ruled by the same realm of emotions and doubt that all the rest of us were. Even Hunter Thompson was a poster boy for this very thing. He convinced the world that he was the invincible, do-it-yourselfer, take-no-guff-from-these-swine, bully and pure individualist. He even appeared to be on the side against corruption and hypocrisy. But in the end, afflicted with disillusionment, doubt and despair, he put a bullet through his head and went to his master in hell. He IS the statue of the god-man that the reclusive, genius sculptor put in the temple Howard Roark erected in the Fountainhead. But it is a statue with a hole through the top of its head where the brains used to be, a fitting testament to the greatness of man...on his own, as master of the planet, king of the species, lord over all, god of himself. A fool among fools.

Look around you. Even as we are being told daily that we are the latest and greatest to walk the earth, that our technology is proof of our greatness--- what is the sum of all this "genius"? We are living in a world more divided and oppressed than ever before. A world where common sense is virtually non-existant and even the most elemental of problems are baffling to the "learned" men and women chosen to address them. If the past ten years on planet earth has shown me one thing, it is that we are a species (not just an economy) in recession. It appears that the evolutionists were right about one thing--- we are a species that is changing--- but they got the direction wrong. Devolution is what it is.

One really has to question the motives and intent of those that would push a book like "The Fountainhead" on the mediocre minds of the modern generation (such as what is happening in our "educational" institutions). What awful monstrosity of "civilization" will we breed when the blissfully (often willfully) ignorant, programmed and conformed become convinced that they too are little gods and goddesses in the vein of Howard Roark? When they believe (like they believe in their superheroes in the movies) that the outlandish fictions created by a fevered ego (to borrow a HST-ism) can be transferred into real life? What a dung heap we will be in then! O wait, you don't say? Why yessir, you are right, we ARE already there!

To answer the title question: Because they are not of Christ but of the Great Deceiver. They are not true Christians but rather the wolves in sheep's clothing Christ foretold would come to mislead the flock. Beware your leaders, my well-intentioned-but-guillible friends! I guarrantee you that Glen Beck and Ron Paul both hold Ayn Rand in high esteem. Then again, so do ALL the freemason hierarchy which rule this world. It is a poorly-kept secret that this book, along with "Atlas Shrugged", are essential pieces in any of their libraries.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't let your friends read this garbage.
My friend recently read this book and went from easy going, relatively nice guy to full blown ass hole who can't take criticism, and thinks everyone who disagrees with him is Ellsworth Toohey. If your friend is reading this book, check up on them once in a while to make sure they are still in tune with reality, or better yet, don't let them read it in the first place.

Your success has nothing to do with disregarding others, it has to do with hard work and your own pursuit of knowledge, which, sadly, Ayn was more than willing to ignore, because she was delusional enough to believe she already knew everything she needed to know. Ayn was a poorly educated woman who managed to convince a large amount of stupid people that they were special or that she was right. Much like Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.

Beyond that, this book is horribly written. It's bloated with superfluous descriptions and poorly realized, unlikable characters who like to give speeches instead of talking like normal human beings, and these speeches are not THEIR speeches, these characters are merely vehicles for Rand's ridiculous ideas on living. This book is, in every conceivable way, a disaster, both literally and philosophically. ... Read more

4. We the Living
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 464 Pages (2009-05-05)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451226852
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The first literary work of one of the most influential philosophers and novelists of the twentieth century-available for the first time in trade paperback.

Ayn Rand wrote of her first novel, We the Living, "It is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. The plot is invented, the background is not...The specific events of Kira's life were not mine: her ideas, her convictions, her values, were and are." We the Living depicts the struggle of the individual against the state, and the impact of the Russian Revolution on three human beings who demand the right to live their own lives and pursue their own happiness. It tells of a young woman's passionate love, held like a fortress against the corrupting evil of a totalitarian state.

This classic novel is not a story of politics, but of the men and women who have to struggle for existence behind the banners and slogans. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (158)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Dark Side of Social Justice
The background of We the Living is the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution and the ensuing White-Red civil war.Set in the years 1922 to 1925, it describes the hardships of living in Petrograd under the Communists. The story is told through the lives of Kira Argounova, who is 17 at the beginning, and her two lovers, Leo Kovalensky, the son of an Admiral in the Czar's navy, and Andrei Taganov, a Party member who is an officer in the G.P.U. (forerunner to the KGB).Kira's father owned a textile factory before the revolution; Leo's family was considered aristocracy.This puts them on the wrong side of the revolution: they are not part of the workers' proletariat; they belong to the hated bourgeoisie class who "exploited the masses" before the revolution.

Rand's cold, stark descriptions of life in Petrograd illustrate the desperate hopelessness of life in the Communist system. Not being proletarians caused even greater hardships for the bourgeoisie. They were locked out of trade unions, and party membership was very difficult to attain without a significant transcendence into revolutionary thinking. They were the last hired and the first fired in the many purges that took place. Kira falls in love with Leo and they live together in Leo's father's house. They originally have three large rooms but eventually have to give two of them to other comrades because of the housing shortage. Their diet consists of millet and stale bread, and there is barely enough of that to stay alive. Being former exploiters of workers, they are assessed 50 times as much as proletarians for repairs on the building that Leo's father owned. Leo's father, by the way, was executed for "counter-revolutionary activity."

Kira maintains a dominant spirit of independence throughout the story. She pays lip service to the Party dogma to keep a job and to get a ration card, but she never buys into it.Leo does not even go that far: being openly hostile to the revolution eventually causes him to lose his job and they have to live on Kira's meager salary and rations. Kira begins a dangerous double life: she becomes a lover to Leo and Andrei at the same time. Leo enters into an even more dangerous profiteering business with a bureaucrat and a Party member. Through his affair with Kira and listening to her desire to live an independent life, Andrei begins to question his own commitment to the ideals of Communism.These are the elements that drive the story to its poignant and tragic conclusion.

Once I reached the halfway point of this book the rising action became so intense that I couldn't put it down. I developed strong feelings either for or against the major characters. Rand is not the least bit preachy in this book; the story is told through the characters, and it is a great illustration of life under a repressive regime. The characters are fictional but the background is true: Any Rand lived through it. Americans should read this book to see the dark side of so-called "social justice" once it is put into place by the ruling class. It could happen here.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I am a huge fan of Atlas Shrugged, and I also enjoyed Fountainhead.As I had heard We The Living was a quasi autobiography of Ayn Rand's life in the Soviet Union, my expectations were very high.However, although the depictions of life under communism and the Soviet Union were extremely important and revealing, the storyline and plot itself were very dull.Maybe that was the point--the banality and dullness of life under communism aside from all the brutality and meanness.Regardless, the story was not interesting and the characters were not interesting; it turned into a bizarre, trashy romance novel.In no way did this book come close to Atlas Shrugged or Fountainhead.Sadly, I gave it up at about half-way.Others may have gotten more out of this book, but I did not.If you want to read Ayn Rand, go with Atlas Shrugged--it is tremendous.

5-0 out of 5 stars We The Living- Today
The first Ayn Rand book I read was "We the Living", approximately 40 years ago.I then read many of her books, she remains my favorite author.I recently recommended my son read her book. He was confused by all the different last names, so I picked it up again. I was amazed at how I had actually forgotten about much of the plot of the book. I could not put it down.This was her first novel. Her husband and close friends advised her to write about her experience in Russia. This book was written in the early 1930's and finally published approximately 6 years later. There had been no first hand knowledge of the difficult life under the new United Socialists of Soviet Union.The living conditions for anyone other than the Party elites was very difficult.Reading about the living conditions, lack of food and corruption within the Red Party was most interesting.She actually wrote the book with her intent to awake Americans to the horrors and warnings of a Socialist America.What was most astounding was the
loss of hope by citizens living under the communist rule.The Party members lived liked Kings, however, everyone else starved, many in the streets. If you appreciate "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead", read "We the Living". You will be alarmed by the parallels to the changes that have occurred within our Republic.I could not put the book down, the ending was gripping and eye opening as to the end result of the Collectivism. You will appreciate the forward looking vision of Ayn Rand and be alarmed by the conclusion!

5-0 out of 5 stars Growing up with Ayn Rand
I first read "We the living" as a young teenager in 1975. This book floored me as most of my family and friends were communists and i was very influenced by them. Reading the book changed my views and i was dismayed to discover the brutality of the soviet regime. I am now older and wiser and have two children and five grandchildren and have rediscovered Ayn Rand. What an amazing woman she was. I wish everyone would read her books. If she had stayed in Russia they would have destroyed her and we would have been denied the pleasure of reading her books. God bless America where she was allowed her freedom. A truely remarkable lady.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for all who are concerned about the ideologies of today
Ayn Rand warns, in riveting fiction, of the fate that awaits those who succumb to the false promises of socialism. Unless you're asleep, it's hard to miss the similarity of language that steers the revolutionaries of early 20th century Russia and that of the current US administration. I couldn't put the book down. ... Read more

5. The Virtue of Selfishness (Signet)
by AynRand
Paperback: 176 Pages (1964-11-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451163931
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds man's life--the life proper to a rational being--as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with man's nature, with the creative requirements of his survival, and with a free society. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (141)

5-0 out of 5 stars Life altering book!
Rand believes in maximizing happiness. As she explains, happiness (long term and rational, not short term and destructive) is an end in itself! She calls her philosophy of life "Objectivism."

Anyone who believes someone else has the morally authority to confiscate their property must lack ego (self esteem) because they are giving up their liberty to the spending whims of someone else. Rand states that you can give your wealth to anyone or any group (i.e. the government) voluntarily, but no one (or group) has the moral authority to redistribute your property. Government only has the moral authority to protect you and your property. If you give anyone the moral authority to take property, they will corrupt it. She even explains how governments can raise taxes voluntarily to support necessary government institutions.

Selfishness, she explains, is inherent in our nature. Therefore, altruism is a morally bankrupt philosophy. To the extent one's selfless concern for the welfare of others is directed toward persons with poor values, you have rewarded bad behavior at the expense of a more virtuous exchange. In addition, sacrificing your happiness for others is a zero sum game, whereas capitalistic exchanges are a win-win for both parties. If on the other hand, you gain satisfaction (happiness) at transferring your time or wealth to someone else, Rand argues it isn't altruism, but another form of selfishness.

If these concepts fascinate YOU as much as they do me, you will love this book!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Get off the fence
This book nails down the problem we have as individuals.The first step is to see that we by nature want what we want but there are greater things that we acheive in our lives if we get off of the fence and choose those greater things by putting others before ourselves and learn to live in the way God designed us to live.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good but not enough
I was eager to read some of Rand's non-fiction so that I could have a better understanding of her philosophy and ethics. Her arguments are strong and obviously the product of a strong intellect, but I found her insights lacking in one crucial way. Her criticisms of other philosophies are based on literal interpretation. This would be quite fine if it were not for that fact that the statement and ideas she criticized weren't literal. Both Rand and Branden argue that philosophy is a psychological confession but never approached it from a psychoanalytic point of view.

The definition of Altruism she gives is exaggerated and, again, very literal; and while her criticism of this remains a good one, I am skeptical of it relevance to real people, their behavior and how Altruism has manifested in society.

While I agree with many of her arguments and ethics, I found her understanding of Human psychology (as well as Branden's) to be lacking and out-dated (even for the 1960's). However, the book is well worth reading and should be approached without fear (because there's nothing to fear) and an open mind.

3-0 out of 5 stars It's Hit Or Miss WIth This Book
I'll be honest; This book is over rated. While there are some essay's I completely agreed with, others just stuck in my craw.

For example, chapters 16 and 17 titled 'The Divine Right of Stagnation' and 'Racism' respectively, are spot on. I particularly like when she said, 'the need for thought and effort never ends.' and 'Life is growth. Not to move forward is to fall backwords.' I agree with the premise that we're only truly alive when we have something to live and work for.

Others, not so much. For instance in chapter 9 titled 'The cult of moral grayness' Rand asserts that the idea of viewing the world as 'neither black nor white but in shades of gray' is a way to avoid moral responsibility. In a way she's right, especially when she points out that 'there can be no gray without first black and white.' But what she doesn't understand is that even in a perfect world (which we don't live in)the two eventually overlap. We don't live on a coordinate plane where we can't skip over a points that don't jive with our philosophies by writing an asymptote into the equation. Black and white blend together to form gray, and we need to learn how to deal with the gray areas instead of just brushing them aside all together.

It's in this chapter that she also displays a lack of biblical understanding, by denouncing one of Jesus Christ's famous lines, 'Judge not lest ye be judged.' Rand seems to equate this with moral grayness, without putting into context. Jesus was essentially telling his followers mind their own business. Jesus never denied the existence of evil nor did he promote moral grayness; In fact he upholds the 10 commandments and preaches of a final judgement of everyone who has ever lived.

Another logical flaw I found was, that if man is an end to himself, as Rand asserts, why should he give a damn about the actions or preferences of another, so long as they don't effect him? Furthermore, while I agree that we should not be forced to help people, why should we care if an individual does, through his own conscious choice? Some people, choose to be altruistic, why should we think less of them for their selflessness?

This logical flaw shows up in chapter 7, "The psychology of pleasure." where Rand attacks the modern art movement. She seems to think that there should be only one way of artistically expressing oneself, and those that don't follow that method should be rejected. This sounds just a little pretentious if you ask me, and I don't even like modern art.

At the end of the day, what Ayn Rand and her objectivist followers fail to realize is that we as human beings are social animals. We need each other and the only way for us to survive is to work together and help each other. Sometimes that even requires compromise, non judgement, and *gasp!* altruism; the helping of other people for the sake of helping them.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK Introduction
The Virtue of Selfishness is a small collection of essays by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden previously published in either `The Objectivist' or 'The Objectivist Newsletter'. For those unfamiliar with the author Rand is a well-known mid-twentieth century novelist and political/philosophical commentator.The following comments pertain to the Penguin Centennial edition.

Ayn Rand is one of those uncommon personalities who are both revered and reviled.This small text provides a helpful introduction to some of Rand's political and ethical views. A strong proponent of individualism, Rand advocates rational self-interest as a guiding ethical principle, and posits a view of ethics wherein states of affairs are ascribed moral value based on their perceived contributions to desired end states. In addition to the discussion of ethics, the essays also provide a glimpse into some of the passionate rhetoric of the Cold War.

With regard to drawbacks I offer a few thoughts.First, this is a collection of short polemical pieces not a systemic philosophical treatise.While, this is not inherently bad, it does result in some repetition and makes it more challenging for the reader to get a clear understanding of her views.Second, from a stylistic perspective, Rand's heavy use of emotive language (e.g.thugs, looters mystics, etc.)and frequent self-reference detract from her argumentation. Third and finally, the Centennial edition is in pocket book format; while inexpensive it can be difficult to read.

Overall, despite its limitations this is helpful introduction to the work of Ayn Rand.I recommend it for readers seeking an insight into Rand's thought as well as students of Cold War history.
... Read more

6. Ayn Rand Box Set
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 1 Pages (2009-10-06)
list price: US$18.98 -- used & new: US$10.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451947673
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand box set
I needed to read Atlas shrugged for a school assignment and the boxed set was a great deal so I ended up reading them both. Taken as works of pure fiction these are very enjoyable works and I recommend them to anyone who wishes to get a deeper understanding of what Rand thinks the actual outcomes of her philosophical musings will be.

1-0 out of 5 stars BRILANTI sucks!!
It took about 2 to 3 weeks to get this "in-stock" book!Only after I contacted them asking about the order [through Amazon because there's no way I found to contact them] did I get an email. This was the slowest delivery possible! I won't use this seller again.Tracking information was not provided.

WORST SELLER ON AMAZON. Do not buy anything from these suckos.


BRILANT makes Amazon look b.....a...........d. & It looks like the comments/ratings are "fixed"!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great box set
Books are small enough to take in your purse despite the fact that they are lengthy novels.Type is still good size.For the price, this box set is great.

5-0 out of 5 stars A life-altering book
There are enough reviews about this book (Atlas Shrugged) out there that I don't need to say it all again.I will just say that this book changed my philosophy about life in quite a major way.Everyone should read it.While I don't agree with every part of Ayn Rand's ideology (I believe in God--I don't think she does), she has a very powerful way of showing us what motivates different people and it really helps to put all of the crazy things going on in our world into perspective.

I didn't have any problems with the text size.I will admit that it is small, but I guess I have decent eyes and I prefer packing around a small book.I highly recommend it!

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Impressed
The quality of these books are very poor. The spine instantly cracks and there are subscription style cards bound into the books.... The only saving grace of this product is the content, no matter how poorly it is treated. ... Read more

7. For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (Signet)
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 224 Pages (1963-12-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.88
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Asin: 0451163087
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Ayn Rand challenges the prevalent philosophical doctrines of our time and the "guilt", panic and despair they created. She was the proponent of a new moral philosophy - an ethic of rational self-interest - that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this new morality are set forth in this book. The author also wrote "The Virtue of Selfishness", "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal" and "Night of 16th January". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazon Buying
I frequently buy from Amazon. It is Always a good experience...less money, less time to wait for your product and exactly as described.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent Ayn Rand overview!
It helps to have read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, for anyone wanting to understand the immensely intelligent and sane world-view of Ayn Rand, but For the New Intellectual is a splendid overview of that philosophy and of the high points of those books.Not only does the volume provide important excerpts (e.g. the John Galt radio address from Atlas Shrugged, Ayn's philosophy in a nutshell and something unequalled in all of literature), but also has an introduction which alone would be worth many times the price of the book.I have given copies of this volume to friends and relatives as a good way to become acquainted with Ayn Rand.Her philosophical message is crucial today as never before.

1-0 out of 5 stars Fantasyland for an isolated ego.
Yes, this is indeed Ayn Rand's worldview in a nutshell.Read this and you won't have to wade through any of her stupefyingly boring novels.Read this little book and you'll get to spend time in Rand's fantasyland of isolated egos, a world that resembles a godless mathematical machine made of flint in which humans only "deserve" to exist if they can meet the Darwinian demands of Supply and Demand.This book, like much of what Ayn Rand wrote during her benzedrine-driven career, provides the perfect excuses for every egomaniac banker on Wall Street who wants to grab all the loot they can get their hands on and pillage every retirement account that comes their way. For Rand and her followers, "deregulation of the market" has been a mantra they have all chanted these past ten years while they legally bled the country dry, fair and square.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Important Book
Although the writer has been deceased for a period of time, her writings are more relevant today than when thet were initially written. Her philosophy is known as Objectivism and gained large popularity in the 1960's. The initial treatise gives some the basics of her philosophy and it is an extension of the philosophy of Aristotle and St. Thomas and brought into our life today. This is evident when one reads the selected exerpts from her novels. The exerpts fro Atlas Shrugged are particularly timely as the work deals a Government that has expanded greatly and is freely imposing its will upon the producers within society. The ramifications are important no matter what ones political perspective is. This is difficult reading, yet will make reader think and wonder how her ideas, so relevant in the 21st century, could have been spawned by writings that began in 1938.

5-0 out of 5 stars A new philosophical highway vs. old philosophical cul-de-sacs
Ayn Rand presents her philosophy as an alternative to the two philosophical cul-de-sacs, which have dominated the field and every other branch of knowledge in modern times. This book opens with a fifty-page essay, which delineates the two most prevalent approaches in the history of western philosophical thought to the nature of man (ethics) and social organization (political philosophy).

These old approaches can ultimately be traced back to the dual leadership roles of the warrior chieftain and the witch doctor in pre-historic tribal times. Recently, they have taken on new clothing, but remain essentially the same.

In modern times, these approaches divide along the mind/body dichotomy initiated by Descartes. As in tribal eras, however, both approaches are still steeped in collectivism. Indeed, they are two sides of the same counterfeit coin.

Ayn Rand shows how these two approaches with their corresponding epistemologies are rooted in a philosophical archetype, which predates the forking point in Descartes. Indeed, even the severing of the forms from the sensible world in Plato is in full concert with this bifurcation.

Ayn Rand aptly names these archetypes the Witch Doctor and Attila, thus illuminating their essential qualities. The Witch Doctor communes with alleged forces beyond this world. Attila relies on brute force to control men and society. Both are united against their common nemesis--the producer.

The producer recognizes the inviolability of nature and reality and seeks to understand both through reason. It is on the producers that the Attilas and the Witch Doctors depend and against whom both unite in envy and hatred and their desire to rule.

The remainder of the book contains excerpted (philosophically relevant) passages from her novels. ... Read more

8. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
by Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan, Robert Hessen
Paperback: 416 Pages (1986-07-15)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.34
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Asin: 0451147952
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This collection of 26 essays constitutes a challenging look at modern society.

The foundations of capitalism are being battered by a flood of altruism, which is the cause of the modern world's collapse. This is the view of Ayn Rand, a view so radically opposed to prevailing attitudes that it constitutes a major philosophic revolution. In this series of essays, she presents her stand on the persecution of big business, the causes of war, the default of conservatism, and the evils of altruism. Here is a challenging new look at modern society by one of the most provocative intellectuals on the American scene. This edition includes two articles by Ayn Rand which did not appear in the hardcover edition: The Wreckage of the Consensus, which presents the Objectivists views on Vietnam and the draft; and Requiem for Man, an answer to the Papal encyclical Progresso Populorum. This collection of 26 essays includes twenty by Ayn Rand as well as three essays by Alan Greenspan, two by Nathaniel Branden, and one by Robert Hessen. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (130)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand's Capitialism: The Unknown Ideal

"Is man a sovereign individual who owns his person, his mind,his life,his work and its products- or is he the property of the tribe(the state,the society,the collective) that may dispose of him in any way it pleases,that may dictate his convictions,prescribe the course of his life,control his work and expropriate his products?Does man have the Right to exist for his own sake-or is he born in bondage, as an indentured servant who must keep buying his life by serving the tribe but can never acquire it free and clear?"

These are beautiful words that relate with me and my thinking and It is RATIONAL,the book is for rational People, A Must for Conservatives and Political Junkies. Capitalism -True Capitalism *No State Involved*- works, but as Ayn Rand puts it in her book so elegantly It's never been given the chance by a people and a media with The "Mob/Collective"*my choice of words here* mentality.the book is an excellent defense and seething rebuttal to common myths and outright lies about Capitalism.

5-0 out of 5 stars In Defense of Capitalism
This book is a set of essays, mostly by Ayn Rand.They explain, in clear language, the attacks on capitalism and the direct answers to those attacks.With the Obama administration attacks on the system that built America, this is required reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Who said Rand Isn't Accessible?
The essays in this book differ from those in many of Rand's other works because of its accessibility. Although many Objectivists will tell you to start elsewhere, I find that this book has many great arguments for capitalism that the lay man will understand, so START HERE FOR AYN RAND'S NON-FICTION.

Another remarkable feature of the book is its historical perspective. I was hesitant, at first, to get this book because the articles are written from the late forties to late sixties, however, the timeless quality of the articles really shine through. They are so well put together that they stand the test of time. Contributing author Alan Greenspan was the longest sitting chairman of the Fed, so that alone is enough to understand the importance that this book has for current and past economic policy in the United States.

Unlike many other essay collections, this book has a great progression of essays. You can read this book from start to finish, always adding onto the ground established by "What is Capitalism" until the entire picture opens up before you.

5-0 out of 5 stars indispensible
If you are new to Ayn Rand, this may not be the best place to start. Perhaps try For the New Intellectual as a nonfiction base, and Anthem if you perfer fiction. I found this book to be so incredibily powerful and important for many reasons. The theory of capitalism is laid out, given context using history relevence, and is compared to other modes of thinking, namely altruism. Rand makes fundamental arguements for the morality of capitalism in a philisophic sense, as well as making economic and governmental connections. She breaks apart altruism and its precipitation into government, ie. socialism/collectivism. The arguements made, and the thorough nature in which she makes them really made a connection with me and have had a huge impact on my political and philosophic views. There is really no better way of describing this book than by saying it is completely indispensible, especially for those entering adulthood, who are still forming themselves intellectually. This book sheds light on capitalism in a way that today is infrequently seen(unfortunately), and articulated by the best. You will not be disappointed here.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Most Excellent Book
Every page of this book is interesting.Although it was written 50 yrs ago, it reads as though it was written in 2010.It gives evidence and opinions regarding fascism, communism, marxism, vs capitalism; what has taken place, how it happened, and what will happen if we aren't very careful, and awake. It covers so much ground that it is difficult to list topics, but here goes; "There is no direction , no goal, no compass, no vision of the future, no intellectual element of leadership.Are there any 'emotional' elements dominating today's culture? Yes.One. "Fear"...... In a mixed economy, every government action is a direct threat to some men and an indirect threat to all.Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others. By what criterion of justice is a consensus-governnment to be guided?By the size of the victim's gang."......Britains' Socialized Medicine; the price that does not show up on the cost sheets of socialized medicine is the 'brain drain', the nations scientists left Britain due to the administrative jungle and the low pay and the controlling hand of the Treasury
in all university grants.

"Businessmen - who provide us with the means of livelihood, with jobs, with labor-saving devices, with modern comforts, with an ever-rising standard of living - are the men most immediately and urgently needed by society.They are the first victims, the hated, smeared, denounced, exploited scapegoats..... Doctors come next.It is precisely because their services are so crucially important and so desperately needed that the doctors are now the targets of the altruists' attack, on a world-wide scale.............. penalizing success, of sacrificing productive genius to the demands of envious mediocrity.

A mixed economy is a mixture of freedom and controls - with no principles, rules, or theories to define either.Since the introduction of controls necessitates and leads to further controls, it is an unstable, explosive mixture which, ultimately, has to repeal the controls or collapse into dictatorship.A mixed economy has no principles to define its policies, its goals, its laws - no principles to limit the power of its government. The ONLY principle of a mixed economy - which, necessarily, has to remain unnamed and unacknowledged - is that no one's interests are safe, everyone's interests are on a public auction block, and anything goes for anyone who can get away with it..... a mixed economy is rule by pressure groups. The only enemy is integrity.

"Liberals" deride any political concern with such large-scale matters as an entire society or an economy as a whole; they concern themselves with single, concrete-bound, range-of-the-moment projects and demands, without regard to cost, context, or consequences."Pragmatic" - not "idealistic" - is their favorite adjective when they are called upon to justiy their 'stance' as they call it, not 'stand'.They are militantly opposed to political philosophy; they denounce political concepts as 'tags', 'labels', "myths", 'illusions' - and resist any attempt to 'label' i.e., to IDENTIFY - their own views. They are anti-intellectual.The only remnant of their former 'idealism' is a tired, cynical, ritualistic quoting of shopworn "humanitarian" slogans , when the occasion demands it."

"The destruction of freedom is their common goal, after which they hope to fight one another for power"....... "And thus a country which does abhor fascism is moving by imperceptible degrees - through ignorance, confusion, evasion , moral cowardice, and intellectual default - not toward socialism or any mawkish altruistic ideal, but toward a plain, brutal, predatory, power-grubbing, de facto fascism.""At present, we are a disintegrating, unsound, precariously unstable mixed economy - a random, mongrel mixture of socialistic schemes, communistic influences, fascist controls, and shrinking remnants of capitalism still paying the costs of it all - the total of it rolling in the direction of a fascist state."

"No matter what the verbal camouflage, such is the actual meaning of any variant of 'TRANSORMED', or 'modified' or modernized, or 'humanized' capitalism.In all such doctrines, the "humanization" consists of turning some members of society ( the most productive ones) into beasts of burden."......"the 'rich-by-force, the rich-by-political-privilege, the type who has no chance under capitalism, but who is always there to cash in on every collectivist 'noble experiment.'It is the creators of wealth who are destroyed under this system."..............."Anti-ideology consists of the attempts to shrink men's minds down to the range of the immediate moment, without regard to past or future, without context or memory - above all, without memory, so that contradictions cannot be detected, and errors or disasters can be blamed on the victims."

"A political ideology is a set of principles aimed at establishingor maintaining a certain social system; it is a program of long-range action, with the principles serving to unify and integrate particular steps into a consistent course.It is only by means of principles that men can project the future and choose their actions accordingly."

"You would be surprised how quickly the ideologists of collectivism retreat when they encounter a confident, intellectual adversary.Their case rests on appealing to human confusion, ignorance, dishonesty, cowardice, despair.Take the side they dare not approach; appeal to human intelligence." ... Read more

9. Philosophy: Who Needs It (The Ayn Rand Library Vol. 1)
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 228 Pages (1984-11-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.92
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Asin: 0451138937
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The fundamentals of the author's philosophy, namely Objectivism, are set out in three of her other books: "For the New Intellectual", "The Virtue of Selfishness" and "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal". ... Read more

Customer Reviews (44)

4-0 out of 5 stars Rand's lectures on philosophy/psychology
Few writers are capable of eliciting as powerful a reaction as Ayn Rand.From abject hatred to total adoration, her writing has stirred both.In this volume, Rand gives readers her opinions on psychology and philosophy.Did you find Anthem and Atlas Shrugged personally moving and inspiring?If so, you will find the same here.Did they inspire less than wonderful feelings?If so, you'll like this volume even less than her fiction.I identify myself as someone who considers Anthem and Atlas Shrugged among the most important books in my life.

A gaping difficulty in this book for me personally, however, was the treatment of B.F. Skinner.The reaction is so obviously emotional, including personal attacks based on inaccurate information, that Rand misses the most crucial aspects of Skinner.She is so horrified by what she believes to be the implications of Skinner's writing that she launches on a personal attack that leaves any vestige of value in Skinner behind, as well as the factual record (to correct just one statement, Skinner and his wife did not raise their daughter in a box).She attacks Skinner for denying the "inner man," but Skinner never denied the existence of thinking.He simply referred to it as "covert behavior," (observable only to the person engaging in it).Skinner's only insistence was that covert behavior followed the same scientific laws as more overt behavior (see About Behaviorism, for example).Research into rule-governed behavior and concept-formation has borne out many of Skinner's fundamental assertions.He didn't want thinking to move over into the mystical, he wanted it to stay in the realm of the natural.Ayn Rand surely would have appreciated this if she had allowed herself to read more deeply into Skinner.

Skinner's writings over a whole career must be examined, as well as the implications of his writings in the decades of actual clinical and laboratory research since then.Skinner was not correct about everything he wrote.Going into the clinical applications of applied behavior analysis, for example, he was initially skeptical of the procedure now known as self-management (see Science and Human Behavior).Nonetheless, self-management techniques do work clinically.Any good scientist has to acknowledge the incorrect theory slain by the fact and assimilate the new information, as Skinner did.Skinner's work has INCREASED autonomy and individual skills and accomplishemnt.Applied behavior analysis, the science that grew from Skinner's writings, is a powerful system of teaching new skills that relies on careful data collection and objective reality.What is so wrong in this?Should we not take careful data and alter our teaching procedures based on data collected?That is all ABA is asking us to do:have a good knowledge of the research base and alter your techniques based on data collected.Sounds more like Hank Reardon than Jim Taggart to me.Human behavior is strongly influenced by the consequences of our actions.Will this be disputed?If not, then it is simply a matter of degree of determinism, and we have to look to the data, to objective reality, for our answers.ABA is a science that has demonstrated in thousands of controlled experiments that careful, data-based teaching can increase skill acquisition (essential for personal autonomy).As MacCorquodale wrote as far back at 1971:"Once the variables that affect behavior are firmly identified in scientific laws, man is free to alter his fate...by manipulating the variables that are already affecting his behavior for better or worse. . .Behaviorism is not really a bleak conspiracy to delimit man's choices and freedom by artificial constraint, any more than physics is a conspiracy against atoms."Did Skinner advocate a system that reduces personal freedom and helps to destroy the individual? Never.Disagree perhaps with his political thoughts, disagree perhaps with Walden Two as being a rural utopia as opposed to the industrial utopia, disagree with social planning as opposed to completely unplanned conditions as being the environment most likely to shape the behavior we are hoping for, but never suggest that Skinner wanted to destroy anyone's freedom. As Rand often writes when confronted with seeming contradiction:check your premises.

5-0 out of 5 stars Haven't had time yet
I have not yet had time to read this book but look forward to it. I'm quite familiar with her works and plan to read it when work slows down.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Active Mind is better than an Open Mind
History is vindicating Ayn Rand's warnings, which explains the current popularity of her novel Atlas Shrugged. In this collection of essays, all but one from the 1970s, she explains how philosophy shapes the mind and character of the individual and of nations. Discussing the forms that abstract theory take in daily life, Rand identifies the consequences that flow from ideas by evaluating the hidden premises at work in the life of the mind. The theoretical first part is backed up in the rest of the book by concrete examples of how concepts operate in a culture's subconscious, directing the course of history.

The two introductory essays emphasize the importance of philosophy. They are followed by those dealing with the Law of Identity, the primacy of existence and various analyses of the anti-conceptual mentality. Metaphysics (the study of existence) and epistemology (the means of cognition) are the theoretical foundations of philosophy, whilst ethics (morality) is its `technology' which influences character, determines actions and establishes the values that guide one's choices. Reason is a process whereby perceptual data are integrated into concepts. Recognizing the primacy of reason and applying it consistently is the primary means of survival. She shows how to distinguish truth from falsehood, i.e. intellectual achievement versus intellectual deception.

All evil philosophies are systematic rationalizations of vice characterized by hatred of reality, as Rand convincingly argues in the critical essays on Kant and his heirs like Hegel, John Rawls and BF Skinner. These include Pragmatism which rejects principle and future, Linguistic Analysis (deconstruction) which is not an integrated philosophy and Existentialism that proclaims the supremacy of emotion in a chaotic anti-world. All of these false philosophies, including Logical Positivism, are collectivist propagations of human sacrifice. All of them reject judgment, choice and reason, elevate emotions and accept determinism. The anti-conceptual mentality is tribal although there are anti-conceptualists that are predatory lone wolves intent on manipulating any type of group. Beware of catch-phrases like 'keeping an open mind' that legitimizes the irrational. Cultivate an 'active mind' instead - one that critically examines ideas.

Faith & Force, written in 1960, diagnoses the neurotic anxiety of western culture. This early essay is a lucid analysis of the postmodern mindset and a blistering attack on the worship of self-sacrifice which Rand calls altruism. She calls faith and force the enemies of freedom and reason and the enemies of modernity since they promote the notion of the human being as a sacrificial animal. It's true that religion can be evil but in this regard Rand is a bit biased in my opinion (or perhaps it's a problem of definition) as faith can also be beneficial to individuals and communities and has inspired sublime art and music. The chapters on the Establishment and Censorship demonstrate how statists undermine our cultural life. These two essays investigate the reasons for and results of conformity and timidity, agenda-driven cliques and parasitical groups that leech on taxpayers' money via government grants.

The antidote is discussed in the chapters Fairness Doctrine for Education and What Can One Do? that provide practical advice on how to counteract the destructive forces that undermine our civilization. Rand points out that the battle is primarily intellectual, that politics is merely the last consequence. Her advice for the defenders of freedom is to embrace intellectual honesty, constantly expand their knowledge and stand up for truth under the appropriate circumstances. Remaining silent in the face of lies is lethal; there are times when one has to speak out.

The final chapter discusses the American sense of life as a beacon of hope. The future may to a large extent be predicted by the present course of action, conscious convictions plus the sense of life of nations & individuals. In Europe the prevailing attitude is that man belongs to the state whilst in the USA the primacy of the individual has always been the popular view. Envy and admiration result from these opposing views. The author presciently recognized the 'progressive' coalition of academics and entertainers all those years ago, an unholy alliance echoing the European view that has become more influential in recent years. Rand's advice is to oppose toxic trends by steadfastly promoting the supremacy of reason.

For further information, I highly recommend Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks, Menace in Europe by Claire Berlinski, Our Culture: What's Left Of It by Theodore Dalrymple, Lives Of The Mind by Roger Kimball, The Unlearned Lessons of the Twentieth Century by Chantal Delsol, Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane, The Dragons of Expectation by Robert Conquest and Science, Faith & Society by Michael Polanyi.

5-0 out of 5 stars Choose Life
As history unfolds Ayn Rand's views are proving to be prophetic, which explains the current popularity of her great novel Atlas Shrugged. In this collection of essays, all but one from the 1970s, she deals with philosophy as the basic force that shapes the mind and character of the individual and of nations. Explaining the forms that abstract theory take in daily life, Rand discusses the profound consequences that flow from ideas by identifying and evaluating the hidden premises at work in the life of the mind. The ideal is to attain a conscious rational philosophy. The theoretical first part is backed up by concrete examples of how concepts operate in the subconscious of a culture and direct the course of history.

The two introductory essays focus on the importance of philosophy. They are followed by those dealing with the Law of Identity, the primacy of existence and various dissections of the anti-conceptual mentality. Metaphysics (the study of existence) and epistemology (the means of cognition) are the theoretical foundations of philosophy, whilst ethics (morality) is its `technology' which influences character, determines actions and establishes the values that guide one's choices. She shows how to distinguish truth from falsehood, i.e. intellectual achievement versus criminality. Reason is a process whereby perceptual data are integrated into concepts. Recognizing the primacy of reason and applying it consistently are the primary means of survival.

All evil philosophies are systematic rationalizations of vice characterized by hatred of reality, as Rand convincingly argues in the critical essays on Kant and his heirs like Hegel, John Rawls and BF Skinner. These include Pragmatism which rejects principle and future, Linguistic Analysis (deconstruction) which is not an integrated philosophy and Existentialism that proclaims the supremacy of emotion in a chaotic anti-world. All of these false philosophies, including Logical Positivism, are collectivist propagations of human sacrifice. All fear judgment, choice and reason, elevate emotions and believe in determinism. The anti-conceptual mentality is tribal although there are anti-conceptualists that are predatory lone wolves intent on manipulating any type of group. Beware of catch-phrases like `keeping an open mind' that lends legitimacy to the irrational. Cultivate an `active mind' instead - one that critically examines ideas.

Faith & Force, written in 1960, diagnoses the neurotic anxiety of western culture. This early essay is a lucid analysis of the postmodern mindset and a blistering attack on the worship of altruism or self-sacrifice. She calls faith and force the enemies of freedom and reason and the destroyers of the modern world that promote the notion of the human being as a sacrificial animal. Religion may be very evil but in this regard Rand is a bit biased in my opinion (or perhaps it's a problem of definition) as faith can also be beneficial to individuals and communities and has inspired sublime art and music. The chapters on the Establishment and Censorship demonstrate how statists undermine our cultural life. They study the reasons and results of conformity and timidity, agenda-driven cliques and parasitical groups that leech on taxpayers' money via government grants.

The antidote is discussed in the chapters Fairness Doctrine for Education and What Can One Do? that provide practical advice on how to counteract the destructive forces that undermine our civilization. Rand points out that the battle is primarily intellectual, that politics is merely the last consequence. Her advice for the defenders of freedom is to embrace intellectual honesty, constantly expand their knowledge and stand up for truth under the appropriate circumstances. Remaining silent in the face of lies is lethal; one has to speak up at the right time, keeping the response brief and rational.

The final chapter discusses the American sense of life as a beacon of hope. The future may to a large extent be predicted by the present course of action, conscious convictions and sense of life of nations & individuals. In Europe the dominant emotional keynote is that man belongs to the state whilst in the USA the primacy of the individual has always been the popular view. From these opposing attitudes flow envy or admiration for success. The author presciently recognized the 'progressive' coalition of academics and entertainers all those years ago, an unholy alliance representing the European view that has become more influential in recent years. Rand's advice is to oppose toxic trends by steadfastly promoting the supremacy of reason.

For further information, I highly recommend Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks, Our Culture: What's Left Of It by Theodore Dalrymple, Lives Of The Mind by Roger Kimball, The Unlearned Lessons of the Twentieth Century by Chantal Delsol, The Dragons of Expectation by Robert Conquest and Science, Faith and Society by Michael Polanyi.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful book.
Abstract principles are a part of our life whether we acknowledge it or not. That is the message of Ayn Rand's book, "Philosophy: Who Needs It."In a vigorous and thoughtful list of essays, Ayn Rand talks about how we must return to the original abstract principles that animate our thinking.This book is particularly significant today since capitalism is being challenged on a moral basis, especially from the radical environmental movement.This movement is trying to use emotionalism as a method of furthering their socialistic/communist principles.As Ayn Rand mentions, the socialists/communists could not win on a majority vote by providing the public with a clear statement of what their goals are.However, the socialists/communists--which are dressed up in the Green movement--instead confuse the public through evasions, contradictory statements, censorship, brainwashing them through the government-run school system, in order to get the public to subscribe to these views.

What I liked most in particular is Ayn Rand's statement that one has a right to live for one's own sake--and no one else.Rand's view is that capitalism and individualism must be argued on a moral basis, not on an economic one.The economic argument is that capitalism promotes economic growth, and thus, for this reason alone, it must be tolerated.Instead, Ayn Rand's view is that, regardless of the economics, one has a right to live for their own sake, and for the sake of others.A person cannot be compelled to be a slave nor enslave others.(The current welfare system, for instance, requires that one take on unearned obligations to others, and thus, one is living one's life for that of another.)Further, Ayn Rand also discusses how our current mixed economy system (read:Social Security, government-run schools, Medicaid) will eventually result in a dictatorship because in order to keep this sytem going, it requires subjecting the individual to the state.When the individual fails to comply, as is most certainly likely to happen as time goes on, the only way the state will be able to enforce the rule of altruism is at the point of a gun.

IN PRACTICE, Ayn Rand's views have been endorsed by reality.The freest states in America--the ones that believe in individualism, and limited government--have had the highest degree of population growth, economic growth (thus, more productivity from the most productive), and, I dare say, happiness (since they are able to pursue their happiness to the maximum extent, without government-control).
... Read more

10. Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A
Paperback: 256 Pages (2005-11-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451216652
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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After the publication of Atlas Shrugged in 1957, Ayn Rand occasionally lectured in order bring her philosophy of Objectivism to a wider audience and apply it to current cultural and political issues. These taped lectures and the question-and-answer sessions that followed not only added an eloquent new dimension to Ayn Rand's ideas and beliefs, but a fresh and spontaneous insight into Ayn Rand herself. Never before available in print, this publishing event is a collection of those enlightening Q & As.

This is Ayn Rand on: ethics, Ernest Hemingway, modern art, Vietnam, Libertarians, Jane Fonda, religious conservatives, Hollywood Communists, atheism, Don Quixote, abortion, gun control, love and marriage, Ronald Reagan, pollution, the Middle East, racism and feminism, crime and punishment, capitalism, prostitution, homosexuality, reason and rationality, literature, drug use, freedom of the press, Richard Nixon, New Left militants, HUAC, chess, comedy, suicide, masculinity, Mark Twain, improper questions, and more. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

1-0 out of 5 stars Read the excerpts below and judge this work for yourself
This book is certainly fascinating, but do not purchase it believing that you will be reading Ayn Rand's very own words.Over and over again, you will find that Robert Mayhew has "improved" upon Ayn Rand by deleting what he views as potentially embarrassing comments, or by adding his own words when he wishes she had said what, in fact, she hasn't.There are legitimate ways to edit and improve a spoken transcript--by the use of ellipses and bracketed insertions--which allow the reader to judge what is original and what is interpolated.But Mayhew doesn't take advantage of them.Instead, references to such things as smoking (which killed her) or to former colleagues (who were later purged from the Objectivist movement) are routinely consigned to Orwell's Memory Hole.Meanwhile, words which Rand did not say, and which sometimes entirely change the sense of her comments, are added without scruple.The effect is self-serving and dishonest, and cannot be defended as inconsequential, or as done for clarity or economy.What could easily have been a faithful record of a fascinating woman instead becomes a dogmatic tract.

But don't take my word for it.Read the following versions of Rand as she answers why, in her novel ATLAS SHRUGGED, there is no government in Galt's Gulch.The first excerpt is Mayhew's bowdlerized fabrication.(You can verify the text by using Amazon's "Look Inside" feature and searching for the word "gulch" which appears on p 75.)The second is a verbatim transcript of Rand's own much more interesting and controversial statement from the original 1972 Ford Hall Forum speech.



"Galt's Gulch is not a society; it's a private estate. It's owned by one man who carefully selected the people admitted. Even then, they had a judge as an arbitrator, if anything came up; only nothing came up among them, because they shared the same philosophy. But if you had a society in which all shared in the same philosophy, but without a government, that would be dreadful. Galt's Gulch probably consisted of about, optimistically, a thousand people who represented the top geniuses of the world. They agreed on fundamentals, but they would never be in total agreement. They didn't need a government because if they had disagreements, they could resolve them rationally.

"But project a society of millions, in which there is every kind of viewpoint, every kind of brain, every kind of morality--and no government. That's the Middle Ages, your no-government society. Man was left at the mercy of bandits, because without government, every criminally inclined individual resorts to force, and every morally inclined individual is helpless. Government is an absolute necessity if individual rights are to be protected, because you don't leave force at the arbitrary whim of other individuals. Libertarian anarchism is pure whim worship, because what they refuse to recognize is the need of objectivity among men--particularly men of different views. And it's good that people within a nation should have different views, provided we respect each other's rights.

"No one can guard rights, except a government under objective law. What if McGovern had his gang of policemen, and Nixon had his, and instead of campaigning they fought in the streets? This has happened throughout history. Rational men are not afraid of government. In a proper society, a rational man doesn't have to know the government exists, because the laws are clear and he never breaks them."


"Because Galt's Gulch is not a society; it's private estate. It is owned by one man who selects those who are admitted so carefully, and even then they have a judge as an arbiter if anything ever came up--only nothing came up among them because they were all men sharing the same philosophy. But in a general society, God help you! If you had a society which all shared one philosophy, that would be dreadful.

"Galt's Gulch would cons, probably have consisted of--I never named the number--let's say, optimistically, a thousand people who represent the top genius of the world. Even then, they would agree on fundamentals, but they would never be totally identical. And the reason why they didn't need any government is because if they had disagreements, they were capable of resolving them rationally.

"But now how do you project a society of multi-million nation, in which there can be every kind of viewpoint, every kind of brain, and every kind of morality, and you want no government? What do you think [pounding podium] I was talking about when I talked about the Middle Age? There is your no-government society, which leaves men at the mercy of the worst bandits possible, because when there is no government, every criminally inclined individual will resort to force, and every intellectually or morally inclined individual will be left helpless. Government is the absolute necessity if men are to have individual rights, for the simple reason that you do not leave force at the arbitrary whim of other individuals.

"And your, euhh, so-called libertarian anarchism is nothing but whim worship if you refuse to see this point, because what you refuse to recognize is the need of objectivity among men, particularly, men of different views--and it is proper and good that mankind at large, or as a large a section as a nation--should have different views. It's good to have different views, provided you respect each other's rights. And there is no one to guard rights except a government under strictly objective rules.

"How would you like it if McGovern had his own gang of policemen and Nixon his own? And instead of presenting a campaign, they were fighting it out in the streets? What do you think that would do to you? The rest of us would be caught in the crossfire. Would that make any sense? And yet it certainly has happened throughout history.

"Ahh, a rational society, or a group of rational men, is not afraid of the government-- they, in a proper society as existed even in this country in the beginning, a rational man doesn't have to know that a government exists, because the laws are clear and he never breaks any. That is the proper way for men to live, and that's the proper government."


Yes, some of Mayhew's deletions are economical . . . even if he couldn't afford the standard ellipses.But removing words significant to Rand like "anarchism" is hardly helpful.And how in the world do you defend deleting Rand's remarkable statement that "it is proper and good that mankind at large, or as a large a section as a nation--should have different views. It's good to have different views, provided you respect each other's rights"?What, beside an instinct for doctrinaire uniformity, would motivate the deletion of Rand's own criticism of doctrinaire uniformity?

As for Mayhew's unacknowledged insertions--such as his changing Rand's "But in a general society, God help you! If you had a society which all shared one philosophy, that would be dreadful" to the entirely different "But if you had a society in which all shared in the same philosophy, BUT WITHOUT A GOVERNMENT, that would be dreadful"--they are a fraudulent disgrace.That inserted qualification vitiates a formulation which cannot be dismissed as a misstatement.Although Mayhew conveniently deletes her words, Rand actually repeated and expanded upon it.This statement of praise for diversity, unique in Rand's corpus, is gutted.

Ultimately, the criteria for judging this academic fiction are questions of respect--respect for accuracy, respect for posterity, respect for Ayn Rand, and respect for her audience.No reputable scholar since Spinoza or Erasmus would treat a text, its author, or her enthusiasts the way Mayhew has here.

In trying to protect Rand, who needs no defense, from readers he distrusts, Mayhew diminishes her, and he insults us.Nevertheless, I will not advise the curious not to read this work.Even a make-believe Rand is interesting.The reader should simply treat this fabrication as one would a Wikipedia article, as an entertaining but suspect approximation of the truth.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worse than pointless
Beware: In my opinion, the editing here sinks to the level of Mayhew/Peikoff telling you what *they believe Ayn Rand should have said* instead of giving you what she actually said. In principle this is Mayhew/Peikoff, using borrowed words from Ayn Rand to express their thoughts, not Rand expressing hers. The type of editing that should have taken place here is to eliminate "umms" and the like, not making an Ayn Rand puppet with Mayhew/Peikoff pulling the strings.

So I find this work exceedingly distasteful. I see no purpose whatever to the type of editing Peikoff/Mayhew indulged in -- unless that purpose is to supply official dogma to the unwashed masses. I take offense that the reader is given so little respect in being capable of judging Rand's public statements for himself and reflecting on what that may mean regarding her official statements. I could have tolerated editorial remarks from Mayhew; indeed, that might even be a valuable thing to have added, *as long as it was clear they were his remarks and not Rand's, and so long as I get Rand's whole answers, not his version where he gags her when she says something he doesn't like.*

Ayn Rand is an historic figure, and her words deserve to be treated as historic artifacts. ARI should exist to preserve and provide these historic artifacts for current and future generations, with an internal policy of "what is, is." It is irrelevant to that mission whether Rand said something they didn't like. They are no more in a position of authority regarding Rand than anyone who has thoroughly studied her works, they are therefore not in a position to be making calls about what the unwashed masses will and will not see. (Legally they are in this position, which is most unfortunate, but not ethically/morally.)

I find this work to be less than zero value, because one can never be certain whether one is reading Rand or Mayhew/Peikoff. Hence it gets 1 star.

Give us Ayn Rand -- straight -- not this whitewash.

1-0 out of 5 stars This Is Not Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A purports to be lightly-edited transcripts of answers Ayn Rand gave, often after lectures at the Ford Hall Forum.

A comparison has been done of many of these questions and answers.The liberties Robert Mayhew took with them are stunning.

1.Rand is rewritten to sound more certain and more clear.Convoluted answers are often truncated.

2.Answers are not included which would make Rand look bad.For example Rand's answer - now shown to be untrue - that no non-fiction writers influenced her after her arrival to America is not included.Nor is Rand's claim that she was working on another novel that would be out in a couple of years.

3.In one particularly egregious case Rand is asked what the government should do about marijuana, cyclamates and tobacco.The question and answer omit tobacco.(Rand, a life-long smoker who contracted lung cancer, coughed during the answer.)

4.Answers that reference people with whom Rand had a falling out are often not included and, if they are, the offending person is at times omitted without mention. For example, Mayhew deletes a favorable mention of an article written by Beatrice Hessen from a 1971 answer, which he transcribes on pages 173-174.Rand excommunicated Hessen's husband shortly before her death.

5. Rand is made to sound kinder and gentler, such as when she refers to retarded people as "botched," which is conveniently changed to "not properly formed."

Even Mayhew's changes that don't affect the meaning appear to be made for reasons known only to him.Words are italicized when there is no emphasis in Rand's original answer.

As Jennifer Burns says of this, and much other material, produced in conjunction with Rand's archives: it should be used with "extreme caution."

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but it gets old
This is a good book to gain some insight as to how Rand's theory would work in the real world, but it does get old. The first half of the book is much better than the second half when she gets asked about music, movies, the arts, etc. I love Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and objectivism, but after a while I found myself saying okay lady, "lighten up."

5-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A
A must read for anyone that is interested in what Ayn Rand thought about different topics. Excellent for someone's personal library. Everything about the purchase of the book was great and deserves a five star rating. ... Read more

11. Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right
by Jennifer Burns
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2009-10-19)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$5.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195324870
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days.Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand's private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand's journals, Jennifer Burns offers a groundbreaking reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought.
Goddess of the Market follows Rand from her childhood in Russia through her meteoric rise from struggling Hollywood screenwriter to bestselling novelist, including the writing of her wildly successful The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Burns highlights the two facets of Rand's work that make her a perennial draw for those on the right: her promotion of capitalism, and her defense of limited government.Both sprang from her early, bitter experience of life under Communism, and became among the most deeply enduring of her messages, attracting a diverse audience of college students and intellectuals, business people and Republican Party activists, libertarians and conservatives. The book also traces the development of Rand's Objectivist philosophy and her relationship with Nathaniel Branden, her closest intellectual partner, with whom she had an explosive falling out in 1968.
This extraordinary book captures the life of the woman who was a tireless champion of capitalism and the freedom of the individual, and whose ideas are still devoured by eager students, debated on blogs, cited by political candidates, and promoted by corporate tycoons. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tremendous research, fair treatment
After hearing a review of this work on NPR; I expected Ayn to be beat up by a liberal author.Instead, Jennifer Burns told the story in such a way that I could not feel she was anything but objective.The history of Ayn's life and her impact on the right with all its personalities and conflicts is well told.A very interesting and informative book.

1-0 out of 5 stars History, maybe; comprehension, none.
Ms Burns has written a rather amateurish history of Ayn Rand.

She's big on names and dates but very short on understanding Rand's
philosophy as it evolved. This wouldn't be so bad if she were
not in the habit of criticizing Rand for the 'inconsistencies' that
result from Burns' surface understanding of what Rand advocated.

Burns completely misunderstands Rand's rejection of Nathaniel Branden.
She uses Rand's insistence that teaching Objectivism and not permitting disputation
with paying students about its validity, as a major character flaw.
She damns with faint praise Rand's strength as a woman while condemning her for
believing that women make a choice to be subordinate.
Burns seeks approval from what she deems her audience by asserting Rand's atheism as a flaw rather
than the springboard from which rejection of the imposed values of others springs.

True, Burns' statement rejects being judgmental -- but her work seethes with antagonism. One
can almost hear in her writing the voice of Ellsworth Toohey, (a Rand character from The Fountainhead) admitting the truth of Rand's observation while slandering her for being correct.

I suspect that Ms Burns' teaches history from a relativist point of view rather than
presenting her own perspective and, more than likely, invites her students to
argue from ignorance and speculation.

Ms Burns uses the title " Ayn Rand: Goddess of the Market" to capitalize on Rand's name.
Had she titled it "A Minor Analysis of the Conflict Between Libertarian and Conservative
Concepts from the '30s thru the 80's"this book would have retained the obscurity it well deserves.

As an addition to the corpus of Ayn Rand literature, it is welcome -- if nothing else as a demonstration
of how 'second-handers' persist. I recommend that readers familiarize themselves with what Rand actually
wrote before turning to this volume -- which has a commendable bibliography.

Had I been her thesis advisor and of a conservative, religious bent, I would have approved wholeheartedly
of this effort. Such is the fear that Rand strikes in the hearts of those who aspire to independence
but still want a place next to Jesus in heaven.

5-0 out of 5 stars A major influence in a major part of my life -- but it's good not to be an objectivist!
I just finished reading this book; i could not put it down.however that may be because AR and Objectivism played such a big part in my life at a very important time in my life and this is the first book i have read that seems to actually be 'objective' about AR and her followers.

with my then-husband, we operated and ran the los angeles chapter of NBI in the 60's.when the 'break' with the brandon's occurred, we were astonished to find that unless we 'sided' with AR, we were excommunicated (their words).we refused to side with anyone.after that we were not even allowed to subscribe to the publications of AR and her cohorts. it was truly heartbreaking; we were being asked to take sides without knowing anything about anything except that AR had denounced NB. we could not do that, and so we were kicked out of an organization that we had been steadfastly loyal to for a number of years.

that is not to say that NB was such a saint either; he did his share of humiliating and abusing those who he felt were 'less' than he; even to the point of admitting to us one day that yes, he and AR did believe, as did Nietszche, that there were those who were 'more deserving' than others; more worthy of life, more elite.they believed in a hierarchy which allocated a special level of entitlement.AR and NB being a part of, if not THE, hierarchy of course.this said while sprawled on our sofa, chewing on radishes. he could be a charmer, but he could be a SOB just as easily.

by then, i was heading out the door and out of the realm of objectivism.i learned a lot from both AR and NB (i truly liked barbara and found her to be a classy, warm woman who did not need to intimidate and humiliate others in order to feel good about herself).they were my education and taught me how to think --- for myself.i had to pull away from them because they were poison to a young person trying to find her way in the world. i felt that my very soul was in danger of being completely sabotaged. it was their way or 'the highway' --- meaning:you were irrational, unethical, immoral --- not worthy of existing.on the other hand, they also gave me the greatest tools in the world --- how to think about thinking.how to approach ideas in a rational manner.and how to NOT let myself ever, ever, ever again be dragged into a cult such as objectivism had become.

AR was a brilliant, angry, disturbed, troubled woman.i loved her and loathed her.most especially, i loathed 'the movement' and all that it represented.a great example:one time i had worked for NB doing secretarial services for him (after the break) in l.a.i had typed up a letter he dictated, signed the letter (he was out of town) and mailed it.he came to our house the following saturday morning when my husband and i were having breakfast and still in our robes.he sat down, had coffee and then expressed his extreme displeasure with me."You used an exclamation point in the letter!" he practically screamed at me."What?" I responded, stunned and confused."You used an exclamation point!Do you know what an exclamation point is?""Well, it signifies an important statement, one that is strongly felt.""It's a scream!" he barked at me."And that tells me something about YOUR psycho-epistomology."

I looked at him like he was crazy.(i actually thought he was.)"But you said you had never been so happy in your entire life.i thought it was deserving of an exclamation point." i said."it was a strong statement and it was about your feelings and it was an exclamation."he went on to state that he was horrified and embarrassed beyond belief that that letter was sent with that piece of punctuation in it.that was when i realized, fully and clearly, as if a light went on in my head, that he and AR and everyone around them, were so full of their own self-worth (actually so full of crap) that they had lost sight of everything rational.that was when i became not only an ex-objectivist, but practically an anti-objectivist. i let NB know what i thought of his opinion and especially his nerve in blustering his way into our apartment only to insult me, while drinking my coffee (feel free to laugh).(i made really good coffee...smiles...)a few days later he apologized to me, but by then, i didn't care what he thought.

i have no doubt that both BB and NB have changed considerably in their methods of dealing with people since 'those days.'but nowhere near as much as I have.i threw off the yoke, the heavy burden, of trying to conform to all of the guidelines of objectivism and finally became my own, my authentic self.

i highly recommend this book for those who have read AR's books and especially those who were involved with Objectivism in the 60's.it kind of puts things in place and doesn't take sides or kneel down in abject adoration of its subject.it's a refreshing and clean read.and it helped me with a lot of my sad feelings about 'that time' in my life.Jan Richman Schulman (prev in l.a.: Jan Crosby)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not like her idealized characters
Not like her idealized characters

Burns' biography of Ayn Rand, the famous novelist and political philosopher, is extensively researched and quite readable.The book portrays Rand as an elitist tyrant dependent on amphetamines while dominating her circle known as the "Collective", pontificating about her philosophy, and excommunicating any member daring to speak critically of her ideas.Interestingly one of the members who signed an excommunication letter for a member of the circle was Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Board Chairman who in his own book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, describes himself as a "libertarian republican".

Rand was Russian born and a émigré from the Soviet Union, whose difficult experiences in Russia imparted a rabid hatred for socialism.In the United States she was emphatically anti-New Deal, and wrote her famous novel, The Fountainhead (Centennial Edition Hardcover), under the influence of her New Deal antipathy.She became the advocate of individualism and personal freedom, and formulated a social and metaphysical philosophy that she called "Objectivism", which is set forth in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (The Ayn Rand Library, Volume 6) written by her close acolyte Leonard Peikoff.Her most famous and last novel was Atlas Shrugged, which was intended to dramatize objectivism. Both books, still in print, have long been marketing successes, and enjoyed resurgence in sales after the crash of 2008.

Politically Rand supported Senator Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, but as an atheist she disliked the Republican Party's right-wing turn to religion.When the Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 in reaction to President Nixon's imposition of wage and price controls, Rand continued to support Nixon in reaction against the Libertarian Party's platform of anarchism, and furthermore jealously rejected the new reactionary party as a competitor to her personal influence.

Most readers are acquainted with Rand's philosophy through the two novels, which are lengthy, speechy and ponderous but readable. But Rand did not resemble the heroic characters that personified her philosophical ideas in her novels, and readers of this biography will find striking contrasts between Rand the real person and Rand's heroic characters.

3-0 out of 5 stars Symbolism of inverted civilisation
It always depends on what one would like to read between the lines. And I was pleased to read about absolute spiritual void of Ayan Rand at her discovery of America. Girl who made nothing from nothing. And they bought it! Or she found fools to sell it to ? As American dream or othernightmare.Of course someone would say her theorywas for new-comer great but it usually is,among those who trust without having their own knowledge. Who can? When she called out her Declaration of independence, one has to muse that it was rather late ,ignoring original and perhaps indicative of something completely ???and who really care- perhapsjust Alan Greenspan. Theories of theorists some do marihuana somedo economic halucinations with those who count themselves inteligent. As he said at Congressional inquiry to 2008 financial meltdown - No one really could see that it will go that way. Ayan Randway ? One is really smitten by those prophets of profitwho beg or visualiseeconomy into oblivion as government sponsores handoutsto entertaindigitalisedmasses. Good read. ... Read more

12. The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 192 Pages (2000-01-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452281547
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A newly published resource taken from a famous lecture course given by Ayn Rand

In 1958, Ayn Rand, already the world-famous author of such bestselling books as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, gave a private series of extemporaneous lectures in her own living room on the art of fiction. Tore Boeckmann and Leonard Peikoff for the first time now bring readers the edited transcript of these exciting personal statements. The Art of Fiction offers invaluable lessons, in which Rand analyzes the four essential elements of fiction: theme, plot, characterization, and style. She demonstrates her ideas by dissecting her best-known works, as well as those of other famous authors, such as Thomas Wolfe, Sinclair Lewis, and Victor Hugo. An historic accomplishment, this compendium will be a unique and fascinating resource for both writers and readers of fiction.Amazon.com Review
In 1958, a year after the publication of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Randgathered a group of student readers and writers in her living room for aseries of 12 four-hour lectures about fiction. The Art of Fictionevolved from that course. Though Rand's Romantic Manifesto wasalso partly based on the same lecture series, this book omits (for the mostpart) Rand's discussions of other art forms. Its gist is a case forfiction that is "Romantic" (deriving from a belief in free will) ratherthan "Naturalistic" (allowing for fate).

It is hard to be ambivalent about Ayn Rand. Rand spoke in absolutes, andeither you buy it or you don't. There is plenty of fiber and nutritiousmaterial in this book, but the Rand agnostic may find it hard todigest. Rand's ego is enormous and her dismissiveness petty most every stepof the way. "In regard to precision of language," says Rand, who uses herwork throughout the book to exemplify her points, "I think I myself am thebest writer today." But woe to any other author, excluding Victor Hugo,Mickey Spillane, and, with reservations, Dostoyevsky. "To see how not towrite," advises Rand, "read [Thomas Wolfe's] descriptive passages."Sinclair Lewis, she says, is a "perceptive but superficial observer." JamesJoyce? "He is worse than Gertrude Stein. ...He uses words from differentlanguages, makes up some words of his own, and calls that literature."

Still, Rand does have some useful things to say to the fiction writer.Perhaps most important is her emphatic belief in the concrete. "In order tobe completely free with words," she intones, "you must know countlessconcretes under your abstractions." It is only the concrete, she adds, thatwill lead the reader to your abstractions, your themes. Along relatedlines, Rand believes firmly that "If a writer feels that he was unablefully to express what he wanted to express, it means that he did not knowclearly what he wanted to express"--no more blaming it on writer's blockfor you! And remember: "A good style is one that conveys the most with thegreatest economy of words." This means that "when you draw a character,everything that you say about him acquires significance by the mere fact ofbeing included in your story." The bottom line is that "Art isselectivity." --Jane Steinberg ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Art of writing fiction
This is an excellent book for fiction writers ... a prospective writer should also read "Romantic Manifesto". ... The aft of writing fiction is about structured analysis of any fiction in terms of Theme, Plot-Theme, Plot, Characterization and Style ... The importance of subconcious and sense of life to the work of art has been properly brought out... Those prospective writers who, for some or other reason, have got stuck at some level can find this book very useful in propelling them further on right path .. It would interesting for someone novice to read this and see whether he / she can scientifically write book knowing what each element means and its relation to other elements ...

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading even if you do not write books
This book is based on a recording of Ayn Rand lectures delivered in 1958 in which she discussed how to write fiction: what are theme, plot, characterization and style, and how to improve and enliven them. Her basic teaching is that people need to observe what they see very carefully, think about it, and let the impressions be stored in their in their subconscious. When they write, they should allow their thought to flow freely from their subconscious.
What are the steps? First, pick a theme, what you want to write about. State it clearly, in no more than two sentences. The plot, which comes next, dramatizes the theme, preferably with actions and conflicts.
All of Rand's writings reflect her philosophy that people need to have a purpose and move step by step toward that purpose. Thus, a fiction writer needs to know the end of the novel before she starts. Then the writing must move forward toward that purpose/end, with clear concrete statements rather than abstractions.
Rand offers examples on virtually every page, sometimes several pages long. She offers her views on about a dozen writers.
Some readers may be bothered by two things. First, she seems to overuse her own books as examples, as if she was quoting from the Bible. Second, she insists that fiction must convey the kind of life that a reasonable person would like to live. Thus, when Dostoevsky portrays a life of pain and suffering, but does not project "what he (Dostoevsky) considered good," he was "didactic" (only a teacher), but a flawed novelist. What he wrote was good, but it was not fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Take two a day against writers block
Recently, I found myself stuck in the middle of a short story i was writing. Then a friend of mine told me about this book, and her tips and insights have lead me to completely understand why i was stuck at that point, and how to get out of it. Another awesome book by Ayn Rand.

5-0 out of 5 stars a must read for aspiring writers and readers
I think many of us who write face common challenges. Many of these stem from our preconceived notions of "how" writing should be done. Ayn Rand confronts many of these challenges in this book. It won't make you a good writer, but by really practicing her suggestion--if you agree with them--you can become a more productive writer. I think that is key to becoming a good writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most insprational advice on writing fiction
I only became aware of this book when I was browsing through some books about writing fiction. I recently decided that I would like to be a writer but many of the books I read about writing were not very helpful. When I say The Art of Fiction by By Ayn Rand, I instantly knew that this was the resource for me. I just finished reading Atlas Shrugged for the third time and she is one of my favorite writers. When I received the book I though what could she possible teach me in less than 200 pages, well apparently she can teach you everything you need to know about starting off as a writer. I will mention that it helped a lot that I have read all of her novels before reading this book. She makes lots of references, and takes many examples from her own writing, I felt like I was discovering for the first time while I like her work so much. I would suggest this book to everyone, but especially to those who enjoy Ayn rand. This book is priceless to me. ... Read more

13. Ayn Rand For Beginners (For Beginners (Steerforth Press))
by Andrew Bernstein
Paperback: 112 Pages (2009-08-18)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.73
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Asin: 1934389374
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Ayn Rand, author of the best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, is beloved by millions of readers, and equally despised by a significant number of detractors. Her novels and her revolutionary philosophy of Objectivism have acquired a world-wide following. They have also created legions of readers who are hungry for a deeper understanding of her writings.
Despite her undeniably significant contributions to the literary canon and the progression of philosophy, there has been no simple, comprehensive introduction to Rand’s books and ideas, until now. Ayn Rand For Beginners sheds new light on Rand’s monumental works and robust philosophy. In clear, down-to-earth language, it explains Rand to a new generation of readers in a manner that is entertaining, and easy to read and comprehend. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars A fairly basic introduction
This book was heavy on introduction to her novels which detracted from Ayn Rand's total message.
Be prepared to grit your teeth if you are a person of faith, but by golly!There is enough revealed about Ayn Rand in this book that a Bible student can see - - she was only writing from a prejudice.
Everything else she has to say about individualism, capitalism, private property, personal responsibility, and objective reasoning makes this book a great starting place.
Do not expect to appreciate Ayn Rand's unique philosophy from the way this book is written, but one should be able to read it in a couple of hours and have a good idea of which of her books to read next.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great summary!
Having been an Ayn Rand fan fora long time, I have had a hard time explaining her philosophy to others since it is quite complex.This book really makes it easy for me and will help me to better articulate her ideas and books to others.The graphics were very useful as well.I got it from the library but will be purchasing it since I will probably need to refer back to it often, especially in these politial times!I find more and more that I need to defend and explain simple capitalism to those around me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect introduction to Rand's philosophy
This is a wonderfully written book, with humor and wit, which is rare for an intro to philosophy. Anyone who is new to Ayn Rands, philosophy of objectivism, will enjoy this great read, and get acquainted.

3-0 out of 5 stars if you despise progress
Rand was a traumatized and hateful person, her early life led her to construct a fantasy world/cult that seems to resonate with "fiscal conservatives" and the like.It was amusing to see in the publishers review the statement about many people wish to find a deeper meaning in her screeds? good luck, she was simply a selfish, delusional zealot who would best be avoided.Society cant exist if everyone is a selfish unfeeling xenophobe whose only desire is to exploit and diminish their neighbor.If you agree with her mentality then you clearly have no right calling your self religious, caring or humane, none apply.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Objective, But Better Than Expected
AYN RAND FOR BEGINNERS is a brief (105 page) introduction to Ayn Rand and her ideas by Objectivist Andrew Bernstein.(The book contains plenty of cartoons and it took me about 65 minutes to read.) Sine Bernstein is an orthodox believer, you don't get an "objective" view of Rand, but I nonetheless found the book better than expected.In a small number of pages he discusses Rand's life, hits on the key themes (and characters) in Rand's novels, and says a little bit about her philosophy.

I do have a few nits to pick.First, is it really correct that most philosophers today believe reality is "socially constructed"?Second, while Rand's influence is growing, the "think tanks" to which Bernstein refers are funded by an organization associated with the Ayn Rand Institute.Third, Bernstein could have explained why most professional philosophers don't take Rand seriously and put in at least a word or two of criticism.

Bernstein recently published OBJECTIVISM IN ONE LESSON, which would be a good companion to this book.
... Read more

14. The Journals of Ayn Rand
by Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff
Paperback: 752 Pages (1999-08-01)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$11.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452278872
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Rarely has a writer and thinker of the stature of Ayn Rand afforded us access to her most intimate thoughts and feelings. From Journals of Ayn Rand, we gain an invaluable new understanding and appreciation of the woman, the artist, and the philosopher, and of the enduring legacy she has left us.

Rand comes vibrantly to life as an untried screenwriter in Hollywood, creating stories that reflect her youthful vision of the world. We see her painful memories of communist Russia and her struggles to conveyy them in We the Living. Most fascinating is the intricate, step-by-step process through which she created the plots and characters of her two masterworks, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and the years of painstaking research that imbued the novels with their powerful authenticity.

Complete with reflections on her legendary screenplay concerning the making of the atomic bomb and tantalizing descriptions of projects cut short by her death, Journals of Ayn Rand illuminates the mind and heart of an extraordinary woman as no biography or memoir ever could. On these vivid pages, Ayn Rand lives. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

1-0 out of 5 stars Worthless
Harriman edited and altered Rand's journal entries without noting it.This makes this book worthless.And this kind of dishonesty from Harriman is, to use one of Rand's favorite words, evil!

1-0 out of 5 stars Valueless
For her recently published book, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, Professor Jennifer Burns was granted access to the Ayn Rand Archives; this included access to Ayn Rand's journals.

She found that Rand's journals had been edited by David Harriman in ways that are "significant and problematic."Burns said Harriman's changes "significantly alter Rand's meaning" in a number of cases, transforming the tentative and evolving ideas in Rand's notes into "a slick manufactured world in which all her ideas are definite, well formulated, and clear."In effect, Burns is saying that the published Journals are valueless as a scholarly source.Scholars and other readers who take Rand seriously will have to wait until a full and accurate version of the Journals becomes available.Until then, stay away from this travesty.

1-0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
Ayn Rand lived and breathed truthiness long before Stephen Colbert invented the term.She defined reality as she wanted to see it, despite the fact that reality did not support her perception.Ayn Rand was a deeply flawed individual and this is reflected in her writings.If you are a psychology student, there may be some value for you here in how far astray from reality human perspective can wander.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Important Book About an Amazing Woman
If you happen to be an intellectual struggling through the travails of achieving very long-range goals, then this book has a mother load of precious gems for you to mine. You have to work at it, though. You have to want it. You have to already know what it's like to sit day after day in front of a white piece of paper and force yourself to work—especially to solve difficult mental problems on your own. Serious intellectual work is tough going, and this book will show you just how tough it was even for one of the brightest minds the world has ever known, yet it will also help you to see how that same mind overcame those challenges.

For me, reading this book was a little like having Ayn Rand come back as a ghost to hover over me, urging me on in my struggles to be a fiction writer, promising me that I will succeed if I work hard enough, employ good study methods, always engage my own values, and above all use reason as my guide.

This book is not for everyone. Though David Harriman did a remarkable job of selecting the right content and sorting it for clarity and readability, it remains just what the title states: Ayn Rand's personal journals. It is not a diary. There's nothing here about personal hobbies, romance, or life's milestones. Only her writing notes were included so that the reader can see a straightforward record of the orderly mental processes that she applied to her work.

Personally, I found this book to be challenging, informative, and highly inspirational — a fascinating look into a fascinating mind.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Companion to the Letters
The JOURNALS OF AYN RAND is an important addition to the large body of work by and about Ayn Rand.This work is put out by Rand's Estate, which worked with scholars associated with the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI).JOURNALS contains an introduction and notes by editor David Harriman which are, for the most part, helpful.There is a forward by Leonard Peikoff which is pretty much what you would expect.

Rand wrote out her notes in complete sentences, so there is a good deal of lengthy philosophical and other matters contained in this book.One of the best parts her notes for a work Rand started after THE FOUNTAINHEAD, called THE MORAL BASIS OF INDIVIDUALISM.It's over 60 pages long.Particularly revealing are the notes for an early story called "The Little Street" which is highly Nietzschian in tone, as even the editor had to admit.(Peikoff's forward attempts to downplay the influence of Nietzsche on Rand's thought.)

One thing I found interesting is that most of the journal entries are before 1955.However, Rand didn't start writing philosophical essays until after that.JOURNALS includes some notes for the articles that make up INTRODUCTION TO OBJECTIVIST EPISTEMOLOGY, but that's about it. Editor Harriman tells us that Rand made only brief outlines for her philosophical essays, and felt that publishing them wouldn't add much.I would like to take Harriman's word for it.But was there no benefit to publishing these outlines?This might be a minor point, but for the fact that there are reasons to question the accuracy of the JOURNALS.Prior to this book, some small portions of Rand's journals were published by ARI-associated scholars.In an entry dated January 20, 1947, the previously published version contains a reference to Albert J. Nock, which is left out in the version published in JOURNALS.There are other changes as well, such as the removal of "duty" in a passage on ethics.[Sciabarra,"Bowlderizing Ayn Rand", Liberty, Sept. 1998.]This isn't a big deal to fans and casual students, but to scholars attempting to sort out the influence of other thinkers on Rand's thought, it is a big problem. ... Read more

15. The Romantic Manifesto
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 200 Pages (1971-10-01)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.81
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Asin: 0451149165
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Underlying this treatise is the objectivist philosophy which has placed Ayn Rand in the mainstream of American thought. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand is a great writer
This book is wonderful for an artist or an Ayn Rand lover, she is just truly a master of expression.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting essay about art and its value on our lives
I bought this book looking for tips and "inspiration" for my own writing, and I got more than that, this book is a clear view about the philosophy or Rand and the purpose of the romantic literature, it brings interesting questions about the decline of this movement and the causes that started it, also I would strongly reccomend it to anyone that wants to start writing since a great part of this book deal with the core concepts of a proper work of fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Romantic Manifesto
Everything about the purchase of this book was great and deserves a five star rating. One's personal library concerning philosophy and the importance of understanding art from a different perspective would be incomplete without this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complicated But Good
I'm aware that Ian is regarded as one of the greatest writers, if not the greatest female writer's ever known, but I found it very difficult to get through her book. However, I did enjoy reading it and I did gain some insight for my efforts. It's been some time since I read her book and I still find myself thinking about many of the things she talked about: That's not true with most books I read. My advice is to have a dictionary by your side while reading Ian's book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and thought-provoking
This is a compelling work on the nature and meaning of art. Besides containing Rand's manifesto, it is also a highly entertaining piece of criticism and analysis of art, culture and psychology.

In the introductory chapter: The Psycho-Epistemology Of Art, Rand defines art as a selective recreation of reality according to the artist's metaphysical value judgements. Art brings one's concepts to the perceptual level of conscience and enables one to grasp them directly as if they were precepts.

Chapter 2, Philosophy And Sense Of Life, deals with the "merciless recorder" that is the integrating mechanism of the subconscious mind. The next chapter, Art And Sense Of Life, opens with a fascinating observation on a hypothetical painting. Here Rand further explains the concept of a sense of life as it manifests in art. She argues that the emotion involved in art is automatically immediate and that it holds a deeply personal value-significance to the person experiencing it.

Art And Cognition is devoted to the question: What are the valid forms of art, and why? Here the author explores literature, painting, sculpture, music and architecture in turn. I find her speculations on music particularly thought-provoking.

Rand refers to Aristotle in discussing the attributes of the novel in Basic Principles Of Literature: theme, plot, characterization and style. Chapter 6 provides a definition of Romanticism, which recognizes volition, as opposed to Naturalism which denies it. She identifies determinism as the basic premise of naturalism in The Aesthetic Vacuum Of Our Age and hails the appearance of the novel in the 19th century as the vehicle of Romanticism.

Other essays include discussions on bootleg romanticism and moral treason in art, whilst the actual manifesto appears in chapter 11: The Goal Of My Writing and chapter 10: Introduction To Ninety-Three. This essay is an abbreviated version of the introduction she wrote for a 1962 edition of the book by Victor Hugo. The Romantic Manifesto concludes with The Simplest Thing In The World, a short story that illustrates the nature of the creative process.

Throughout this fascinating book, Rand provides examples of different manifestations of art plus informed criticism of personalities and a wide variety of works like Anna Karenina, Thomas Aquinas, The Avengers, Balzac, Dostoevsky, Lord Byron, Camille, Günter Grass, Salvador Dali, Don Carlos, Dumas, Flaubert, Ian Fleming, Gone With The Wind, Goya, O Henry, Alfred Hitchcock, Victor Hugo, Boris Karloff, Fritz Lang, Ira Levin, Michelangelo, Edgar Allan Poe, Friedrich Schiller, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Jan Vermeer, HG Wells, Thomas Wolfe and Emile Zola. Both high and popular culture is covered.

One does not need to agree with Rand's analyses and manifesto to find this a most stimulating and highly entertaining read. Many of her insights are valid and quite relevant to the state of culture and civilization today.

Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement ... Read more

16. Letters of Ayn Rand
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 704 Pages (1997-02-01)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$16.02
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Asin: 0452274044
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Ayn Rand's letters were written to be read. This witty and penetrating collection of her correspondence with Hollywood luminaries, political writers, philosophers, family members, artists, businessmen, and fans offers an unparalleled look at the past 50 years of her life and career. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Get to Know the Real Ayn Rand
I must confess, when I first received Letters of Ayn Rand from my sister as a birthday present, I wasn't very motivated to read it.I had read most of Ayn Rand's novels and a few books and essays about her life, so I thought it would be very similar to what I already knew about her.Was I pleasantly surprised!Reading her personal letters written to everyone from literally the boy and girl next door to Frank Lloyd Wright and Barbara Stanwyck gave me an insight into Rand's personality and values that can't be found elsewhere.What comes out in her letters is how seriously she takes not only her own ideas, but the ideas of others.The book is organized chronologically, so one can trace the development of her ideas as well as her successes (and a few disappointments). I was also very surprised to learn how actively involved she was in the marketing of her novels.She wasn't just passively standing by hoping people would read her novels; rather, she gave suggestions to the publisher and edited marketing materials.I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating personality and incredible mind behind The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Other Side of Ayn Rand
This collection of Ayn Rand's letters is an interesting and important addition to her works.It was edited by Michael Berliner, then-executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.(ARI advocates the "Official Objectivism" of Leonard Peikoff.)For those who know Rand through her at times shrill writing and the self-serving accounts of former insiders, this collection presents a valuable "other side" to Rand.Written over a period of 55 years, we read love letters to her husband, letters to friends and fans, and letters to politicians.In fact, Rand corresponded with some of the most famous people of the century, such as Alexander Kerensky, H. L. Mencken, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Barry Goldwater, to name a few.The philosophical portions of the letters are quite meaty, and Rand obviously put a great deal of effort into her correspondence.

Not surprisingly, the only letters to Nathaniel Branden included were written before he became her associate.The end result is that Branden's contributions to Objectivism are downplayed, which is typical of the material produced by the ARI.(For example, even though Rand approved of Branden's writings published prior to their split, they do not appear in THE AYN RAND LEXICON or other post-split collections.)

The most interesting selections are the letters to Isabel Paterson and the distinguished philosopher John Hospers.In order to get permission to quote Hospers' comments contained in Rand's letters, the editor was obliged to include a statement from Hospers.As Hospers says, Rand occasionally misrepresented or misunderstood his point, so printing only Rand's letters to Hospers makes him "look like a bloody fool. . . . And that isn't quite fair, is it?"

5-0 out of 5 stars It's a shame someone has to die...
...in order for a book like this to be published.But finally we get a real look into the private life of a fascinating author and philosopher.Having just finished a number of years at PSU, it seems clear that Objectivism is making headway as a serious philosophical view.

I'm more interested in music myself than philosophy, but I did notice that in the study of philosophy the Ball that Miss Rand got rolling so many years ago has gathered quite a bit of size and speed.Her ideas made sense to me both before and after I studied Logic, Semantics, and Philosophy.In fact, after studying the "big boys," as one professor of mine called them, I definitely saw a need for a philosophy that states that things are what they are!!

Anyway, I'm devouring this book!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Maybe worthwhile for Rand scholars....
Perhaps I was just coming down off of an Ayn Rand high when I read this, but whatever the case, this collection of correspondance just doesn't deserve a place beside Rand's self-published work, which is in sufficient abundance to make a collection like this unwarranted.

If you are thoroughly absorbed into Rand's Cult of Personality (amazingly effective even after her death), then you will probably enjoy this work.There was certainly a time where I would have devoured every letter.If, on the other hand, you have been impressed and affected by The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, We The Living, or Anthem, I would strongly suggest working through Rand's nonfiction before diving into this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular!
Ayn Rand is the author of numerous philosophical works, fiction and non-fiction alike. She is best known as the founder of her unique Objectivist philosophy, which is essentially concerned with individual men acting in their own rational self-interests, coupled with a strong moral defense of free-market Capitalism. Her ideas are very complex, yet easily grasped by the interested reader.

“Letters of Ayn Rand” is a wonderful book for Rand fans, however I think many of the ideas will be lost on newcomers. “Letters” contains almost 60 years worth of personal letters Miss Rand wrote during the course of her lifetime. We have a very wide range of recipients for her letters here, everyone from philosophers, heads of state, newspapermen, literary agents, Hollywood types, fans, political organizations, you name it. Rand was just as eloquent and blunt with her letter writing as with her “serious” writing.

I very much enjoyed following Rand’s career through these letters. We start with a young Russian woman trying to settle in to American life, through a writer’s struggles to get her work published, and ending with the writings of an established philosopher ahead of her time. Rand fought tooth and nail to get both “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” published as written, however we learn that she was not entirely against having editorial assistance. Rand understood the editor’s job of providing constructive criticism of her work; however she always stood tall and insisted on making any sort of changes to her works personally. She never tolerated any sort of editorial “rewrites” of her novels or her original screenplays, etc.; Rand fought many tough battles with editors, publishers, film producers, etc. during the course of her writing career for the purpose of having her work stand as written by her hand ALONE. This was very difficult to do back in the 40s and 50s (probably more so today), as witnessed by her numerous letters to the powers-that-be.

Rand was brutally honest with everyone she wrote letters to, including family members and adoring fans. Rand was helping to support a niece during the girl’s troubled high school days. Rand then found out that the girl and her caretakers weren’t being up front with her, and subsequently told her relatives in no uncertain terms that Rand’s assistance for the girl is NOT charity and that her help is NOT unconditional. In other instances, fans of Rand who misinterpreted her books were shown little sympathy; not because Rand was against teaching fundamentals of her philosophy (she acted as a teacher far more often than not), but because the letter-writer seemed to have purposefully missed Rand’s crucial philosophical points. Rand had no patience for those who would claim to be fans of “The Fountainhead”, yet ask her to support causes that did not match the ideas of her novels. Her voice is always clear, and her uncompromising use of reason and logic are unmatched.

There are some complaints from other reviewers regarding the choice of publishing Rand’s numerous letters to philosopher John Hospers. The argument revolves around the choice of not publishing Hospers’s responses to Rand, and that the letters presented here are “one-sided”. While I can understand the argument, the fact is that this book is intended to be “Letters of Ayn Rand”, not “Letters of John Hospers”. It is made clear to the reader that Rand and Hospers had numerous conversations other than their written correspondence, and Rand’s letters to Hospers are only a small portion of their conversations. Therefore, EVEN IF Hospers letters were published alongside Rand’s, the discussions between the two would remain incomplete. I myself have no problem reading Rand’s letters to him without having the other side published, mostly because I trust Rand to have been honest with her rebuttals of Hospers’s ideas.

Another complaint revolves around the lack of letters to / from Nathaniel Branden. The philosophical split between Rand and Branden is well known, however I think the choice to ignore their (probable) arguments within these pages was a sound one. Certainly, Rand and Branden’s long term working relationship included far more than dissenting letters between the two of them. Branden and Rand worked side by side for many years, and I find it unlikely that the details of their split are to be found strictly in the form of “letters” to each other. It is much better for both parties in my opinion to refrain from detailing their split, as Rand is not longer with us to defend herself. Truly, I would love to know what went on to cause their split, but I would rather know nothing at all than hear only one side.

I came away with a better understanding of many of Rand’s ideas, which is significant because I have already read the bulk of Rand’s published works. Rand arrives at her conclusions in a different manner within her letters, and the “different” approach presented here served to make clearer her attitudes towards life and politics. Certainly, it was a blessing to read her answers to specific questions, as there are ideas within her work that are difficult to grasp when told from only one angle.

This book is a treasure trove for all Rand fans, but is not for beginners. Rand makes many references to characters and events within her philosophical novels that come across as cryptic to readers not familiar with the material. After reading “Letters of Ayn Rand” in full, the Rand “novice” would come away with a rudimentary, patchwork feel for her ideas at best, so I cannot recommend this book unless you have already read “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” at the very least. ... Read more

17. Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Expanded Second Edition
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 320 Pages (1990-04-26)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$10.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452010306
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Today man's mind is under attack by all the leading schools of philosophy. We are told that we cannot trust our senses, that logic is arbitrary, that concepts have no basis in reality. Ayn Rand opposes that torrent of nihilism, and she provides the alternative in this eloquent presentation of the essential nature--and power--of man's conceptual faculty. She offers a startlingly original solution to the problem that brought about the collapse of modern philosophy: the problem of universals. This brilliantly argued, superbly written work, together with an essay by philosophy professor Leonard Peikoff, is vital reading for all those who seek to discover that human beings can and should live by the guidance of reason. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (51)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Solution to the Conceptual Mess In Philisophy
If you've studied other philosophers and found yourself wondering why their ideas are so detached from the real world and the truth, then Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology will tell you why. Therein she presents her original (and groundbreaking) theory of concepts.

Thanks to this book I am able to think clearer than ever before. I highly recommend it to those interested in philosophy and its truths.

4-0 out of 5 stars Correction Needed
My grading of Ayn Rand`s "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" shows a bi-polarity: a-priori and upon analytic insight it is only worth one star and should be avoided by the vulnerable that might find their intellect injured by reading it; a-posterior and upon empirical insight it is possible to correct Rand`s objectivism and return logic to an intuitionism that is worth five stars to any reader that is able to understand the corrections.

I am an optimist, and so I give this very dangerous book four stars; but by subtracting one star note that you have been warned!

According to Rand`s objectivism, deduction, induction, and concept-formation are all that is needed to acquire objective knowledge. Rand`s "concept-formation" is to first differentiate (or particularize) a set into units and then to integrate (or generalize) over the set. Rand (1990, page 28) limits concepts to a bi-polarity and writes: "The process of observing the facts of reality and of integrating them into concepts is, in essence, a process of induction. The process of subsuming new instances under a known concept is, in essence, a process of deduction." Rand correctly connects induction and deduction with the proclivities of generality and particularity, respectively, but in doing this she turns concept-formation into an empty bi-polarity that holds nothing else but induction and deduction.

Rand`s Chapter 8 puts a great deal of emphasis on the "Law of Identity," and something must be said about this. This law is only vaguely formulated if you check with the literature. Nevertheless, the Law of Identity is considered a law of thought, and is typically stipulated as a prelude to deductive logic. It is sometimes presented as a tautology, which says something to the affect that proposition A equals proposition A, or A=A for short. As a tautology that applies to grammar and logic, the fact that A=A, is very unilluminating. I can only guess that Rand uses this tautology because it enforces a type of literalism that applies when concepts are used in language and in logic. This seems to be an okay convention. However, I don`t believe we can assume that objectivism is pristine enough for such enforcement, and so the use of this law is on very thin ice.

Note the duplicity in Leonard Piekoff`s contribution in the same book (pages 88-121), where departure from the Law of Identity is blamed for Kant`s analytic-synthetic dichotomy. However, in passing judgment, Piekoff changed the meaning of the Law of Identity given as the simple tautology that merely resides in abstract thought. Piekoff (page 99) writes: "The fact that certain characteristic are, at a given time, unknown to man, does not indicate that these characteristics are excluded from the entity - or from the concept. A is A; existents are what they are, independent of the state of human knowledge; and a concept means the existents which it integrates. Thus, a concept subsumes and includes all the characteristics of its referents, known and not-yet-known."

We discover that the Law of Identity is meant to apply to the bi-polarity offered by concepts! This can only mean that the Law of Identity underwrites the most significant synthetic that is the giver of all pristine facts, represented by the time-sense polarity: {analytic a-priori <> empirical a-posteriori}! If a concept emerges from the polarity and comes with an utterance that asserts that A=A, we know automatically that the middle-term that unites the polarity`s left-hand side and right-hand side is found undeclared by the utterance. Mere tautology that asserts that "concept is concept" is only wallpaper and comes no where close to declaring the middle-term that holds the polarity together, and it gives us no license to take the middle-term for granted. In other words, the middle-term that holds all concepts together is found undeclared by objectivism. The Law of Identity is used as an excuse to enforce a brand of circular reasoning that will evade any mention of this weakness. I ask the question: what is it? The objectivist answers: it is what it is!

Objectivism is found unable to avoid Kant`s dualism, but I agree with Piekoff that this dualism is unnecessary. To find a hint of what the middle-term might be, note that Piekoff`s (page 113) writes this about the dichotomy: "To introduce an opposition between the logical and the factual is to create a split between consciousness and existence, between truths in accordance with man`s method of cognition and truths in accordance with the facts of reality. The result of such a dichotomy is that logic is divorced from reality (logical truths are empty and conventional) - and reality becomes unknowable (factual truths are contingent and uncertain). This amounts to the claim that man has no method of cognition, i.e., no way of acquiring knowledge."

We may conclude that the undeclared middle-term fills in the noted gap not filled by objectivism, and this act of filling is needed for cognition and knowledge! Yet Rand (page 87) writes, "The motive of all the attacks on man`s rational faculty, is a single basic premise: the desire to exempt consciousness from the law of identity." The best she can do to defend her covert circular reasoning offered by objectivism is to point to "attacks" and "desire." Rand spent her life defending rationalism from the likes of collectivists, from Kant, from altruism, and from mysticism, and this effort was made by an objectivism that concealed its own circularity. At best she can only offer her emotions for acting the way she did, and that is the key to the undeclared middle-term that mystics have no trouble understanding.

The synthesis of deduction and induction that is necessary for Rand`s concept-formation shows reciprocity in the best tradition of Taoism, and it reveals naked emotionality! Revealed emotion informs on the middle-term that holds the bi-polar concepts together permitting the passing of objectivism over to intuitionism.

Yes, it is true, words are concepts that emerge from concept-formation as indicated by objectivism. However, the concepts are now recognized as Kantian synthetics that reach across the third antinomy (representing the rift offered by the One and Many of Greek philosophy), they are not products of Rand`s "law of identity" that is also conveniently found ignoring the very emotive middle-term that holds concepts together. Rather, it is the middle-term that signifies the changeless identity. It is the authentic synthesis that supports the identity that unites the analytic and the empirical. Even the facts of reality, that pass over to human concepts, come as authentic synthetics that are open to less than perfect interpretations. This simple modification corrects Rand`s epistemology. The Many now reconcile themselves with the One, and this implies that knowledge is vastly additive as predicted by objectivism, but coming with a proviso that emotion must become more fully integrated with logic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Take this seriously...and the rest falls into place
I was a straight-A student in high school and college, but I didn't learn to think until I read Ayn Rand. Her philosophy (specifically her epistemology, which deals with how you know what you know) answers those thorny but important questions that put my philosophy professors in a tizzy. Does the fact that a pencil in water looks broken mean you can't trust anything your senses tell you? Do words (concepts) correspond to something to reality, or can you use them as politicians do, to mean anything you want? Can you know anything for certain?
Of Ayn Rand's nonfiction books, this one was definitely the most challenging to get through: I had to rethink so much of what I "knew." In the long run, though, it was the most worthwhile. Her demonstration of how to think showed me how to use reason to deal with people and the world. Because of her theories, I see the world as a place that I can understand, and where I can not only survive but ultimately achieve my own happiness. If you've read Atlas Shrugged, think of the scene where the heroine wakes up in a sunlit valley, smiles, and asks, "We never had to take any of it seriously, did we?" The ideas in ITOE are the foundation for that kind of smile.

5-0 out of 5 stars The World Needs THIS Concept Formation Theory
I am borderline disgusted as to how few college professors actually take into account or even question how one really learns. Rote memorization will only remain in the brain for so long without any context or differentiation/integration done on its definition/characteristics. It's how I learned everything I've learned and forgotten through high school and several semesters of college. For this reason, I cannot recommend this book enough, especially chapter 3, which details the process of measurement omission/concept formation. It addresses the fallacies of how modern philosophers (the leaders of the anti conceptual movement) attempt to equate a concept with its definition, not realizing that a concept subsumes ALL possible existents with X characteristics. I enjoyed this book a lot, because it made me realize that my teachers do not know how to teach, and formed most of their knowledge by mere associative memorization of one concrete based on another - effectively producing the least conceptual understanding possible, let alone desire to learn more. You may laugh, but when you are forced to memorize 15 different types of tissue under a microscope and given absolutely no guidance whatsoever as to integrate/differentiate them other than their colors and prettiness, you will be very glad to have read this book and realize that your lack of understanding is by no means any fault of yours and that the professor has not a clue either. Upon reading this, the college student may realize how much of a responsibility it actually is to learn something given today's college professors theory or lack of theory of learning, and how much they really DO NOT know based on memorization techniques hailed by professors in the name of time saving which will get them nowhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent basic guide to Objectivist Epistemology.
First off, in my opinion, this is not a book for those who have obsolutely no back ground of study in philosophy.I strongly suggest that one read a book on the basic principles and concepts of philosophy before reading this book.Empistemology is the area of philosophy that deals with how knowledge is obtained.It deals with the issue of concepts, the validity of man's knowledge and how it relates to man's ability to recognize reality.As anyone who has studied Objectivism to any degree, the term "reality exists" has important meaning.Objectivist epistemology is based upon the premise that man is capable of knowing reality and it is not some mystical concept.In conclusion, this is a book that must be read more than once to understand fully the material.Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Never Trust a Politician, Martial Art Myths, Season of the Warrior: a poetic tribute to warriors, PR-24 Police Baton Advanced Techniques). ... Read more

18. The Passion of Ayn Rand
by Barbara Branden
Paperback: 442 Pages (1987-09-18)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$9.95
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Asin: 038524388X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Barbara Branden, who knew the legendary writer for 19 years, provides a consummate portrait of this private and complex woman. Highly perceptive and objective, this is the only existing biography of one of the 20th century's most remarkable and controversial figures. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (50)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are often cited by people as seminal works in the developmentof their personal world view. What is this philosophy expounded by Rand called objectivism? Alsoknown as "enlightened self-interest," it has become the basis for much of libertarian politics. Rand hasrarely been viewed neutrally: she is either seen as a prophet of reason or the destroyer of traditional values;the promoter of personal happiness and self-worth or advocate of mindless greed.

Her childhood, shewould have argued, was, irrelevant to the person she became.Later writings revealed a contempt for the "intellectual hostess" indifferent to the world of ideas. Thisstemmed, perhaps, from her early environment, her father completely indifferent to her, and hermother's active social life. She was a precocious child and valued intelligence above everything else;intelligence was to become inextricably linked in her world to virtue. She was bored by school; it wasentirely too easy, and she began writing stories as a form of self-entertainment. A recurring theme evenin the early stories was the battle between good and evil. Reason became the overarching element inher life. One day she simply decided to become an atheist. "I had decided that the concept of God is degradingto men. Since they say God is perfect, and man can never be that perfect, then man is low andimperfect and there is something above him-- which is wrong, [and since there was:] no proof of the existenceof God; the concept is an untenable invention."

She wanted todefine a moral ideal and to "project through fiction, the living reality of that ideal." She had a brief interestin Nietzsche, but after discovering his anti-reason stance, discarded him. Clearly the trauma ofgrowing up during the turmoil and privations of the Bolshevik revolution made a deep impression.

By age eighteen she had already fully defined her philosophy and never deviated from it: "My philosophy,in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purposeof his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

In her first novel, We theLiving appeared a Nietzschean statement that implied she supported the use of force. She had it removedfrom later editions and stressed repeatedly that, "Whatever may be open to disagreement, thereis one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanctionto forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate. . . .no man may start. . . the useof force against others."Many of Rand's detractors have misinterpreted her use of the word selfish. Rand despised the typicalinterpretation because it meant defining one's values and thoughts based on making an impression onothers. What she meant by the use of the words selfish and ego was an individual objectively (henceObjectivism) defining for oneself self-sufficiently what those convictions, values, and judgments wouldbe independent of what others thought. Altruism was destructive because it meant that people operatedand made decisions for the group. This led to a group-think mentality that disvalued the individual.

This conflict is exemplified in The Fountainhead between Howard Roark and Peter Keating who representthe two extremes: the individualist versus the collectivist, and that evolved into a political philosophy.This raises another point as to why conservatives view her as such an icon. Corporations, it seemsto me, are basically very hierarchical, tyrannical, and autocratic in their structure (despite protestationsto the contrary) and they function for the benefit of their stockholders. That, I suggest, is a collectivistand not an individualist function. They function in the interest of a group. Individualists within such anorganization, those with the selfish ego proclaimed as an ideal by Rand, would not be tolerated becausethey would behave in a non-collectivist manner.Her first interest in politics was sparked by the Roosevelt campaign, and she voted for him in the firstelection because he seemed the most tied to free enterprise, but by the end of his first term had decidedhe was too collectivist-oriented and went to work for Wilkie, but became disillusioned with him quitequickly. When later it was suggested that by working for the Wilkie campaign she was making a sacrificein violation of her "selfish" principles, she replied somewhat ingenuously, I think, that it was really an actof supreme selfishness, fighting for a world in which she would be able to freely write her ideas.

All her life she opposed religion and faith-based beliefs, arguing that "Religion. . . is the first enemy ofthe ability to think. . . .Faith is the worst curse of mankind [her italics:], as the exact antithesis of thought."Religion was the embodiment of evil, an "explicit and implicit rejection of reason." Her attitude with regardto emotion was interesting as well. She argued that all emotion was the result of cognition. "If asmall baby sees someone pointing a gun at him, he will not react with fear; he may smile, thinking he isbeing giving a new toy. If an adult sees someone pointing a gun at him--he will feel fear: he knows thegun is dangerous and may kill him." This means that emotions and the subconscious should be availableto the conscious mind and that behavior and emotion should and can result from conscious thoughtand that "free will consists of the choice to think or not to think. Even psychologists who have admiredher work regard this as a dangerous simplification.

The filming of The Fountainhead became a struggle for her to maintain the integrity of the script shehad written. Frank Lloyd Wright was asked to design the set buildings representing Howard Roark's designs,but he demanded a huge fee and complete set and script control, something that would have effectivelymade him the director. It was refused. Ultimately the studio's set designer did the buildings andsimply patterned them after ugly modern buildings. Ayn was not happy. The movie also came under attackfrom the Johnson Office, Hollywood's self-censorship body, which was effectively controlled by theCatholic Church. It was not the "rape" scene they objected to, but rather Roark's speech to the jury, thepriest who challenged it claiming it was too "materialistic." The Johnson Office was not supposed topass judgment on a film's philosophy, so Ayn called him on it and he was forced to back down.Atlas Shrugged continued the expression of her philosophy in fictional form. I'll say little about thecontent because a review will follow in a later issue, but one important concept, according to Brandon, isher view of the "impotence of evil." Evil is irrational and to be fought but not to be taken seriously. "Evilis to be despised, not hated or feared." The moral issues are fought between the good and the good(shades of Rushworth Kidder?). Ayn said, "the alleged victories of evil are made possible only by the flaws or theerrors of those who are essentially good. Evil, left to its own devices, is impotent and self-defeating. . .[taking:] the burden of sin upon yourself --as God does-- it amounts to the sanction of evil. The power ofreligion consists of the power of morality--that's what holds people to religion--and I wanted to show thatreligion's monopoly on values does not belong to religion but to philosophy."

By this time she had become disillusioned with political conservatives: they did not know how to fightan intellectual battle. "What was needed was a moral justification for freedom that would be the antithesisof faith, altruism and collectivism. Rand gave America a moral sanction: "the philosophical demonstrationthat to live for one's own rational self-interest, to pursue one's own selfish, personal goals, touse one's mind in the service of one's own life and happiness, is the noblest, the highest, the most moralof human activities." Conservatives would write about economic and political issues, but they did so froma religious and altruistic morality that was an anti-capitalist morality.Brandon and her future husband became acolytes of Rand, enamored of her ideas. But Brandonalso was not a little dismayed by Rand's attitudes to "irrational" art: Beethoven was too filled with atragic sense of doom; Rembrandt had a "grim, unfocused malevolence" and Shakespeare tragicallyfailed to portray human beings with free will. Brandon remarks that those artists who became Rand'sfollowers and adopted a completely rational approach to art lost their sense of originality and their art became"thin and tight."

Barbara Brandon is an unlikely biographer as she writes at length about the affair that her husbandNathaniel had with Ayn Rand, an affair that was to be very destructive to them all.Ultimately, in her affair with Nathaniel Brandon, Ayn surrendered to an emotion that she tried to categorizeas a rational response to a situation, but it was to have enormous negative effects on her andthose around her. "Ayn was a strikingly unsophisticated woman. . .she had lived an oddly sheltered life,locked within the confines of her special view of reality." When Nathaniel fell in love with another womanand refused to rekindle the affair that Ayn had suspended, she became enraged, cut him off from all theObjectivist activities and began a campaign against him to get revenge. Brandon herself suggests thismight not have been a bad thing because Ayn had become such a "cult" figure that the movementneeded to be eliminated.

This is a fascinating biography of an intriguing and influential personality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reason and Passion
A lot has been written about this book, and I'm not inclined to add much to the discussion. For whatever its flaws, it remains the only full-length biographical study of Ayn Rand. Barbara Branden's perspective as an insider who knew Rand better than almost anyone else has its advantages, but also its drawbacks.

Two biographical studies of Rand are due this year, one by Anne Heller and another by Jennifer Burns.

5-0 out of 5 stars Barbara Branden's Passionate Biography of Ayn Rand
Barbara Branden was associated with Ayn Rand from 1950 until 1968, when she and her husband had their tragic split with Rand.In 1986, she published this biography of Rand.In light of the split between the Brandens and Rand, I don't think anyone would claim that this is the "last word" on Rand.Yet it is a well researched biography based on approximately 200 interviews of people who knew Rand at various times in her life.Branden also interviewed Rand extensively before their split.

Unfortunately, Branden didn't have access to Rand's papers, nor was she able to interview some of those who knew Rand best from the time of the split until Rand's death in 1982.

For reasons I've discussed on the web, I don't think James Valliant and others have undercut the description of Rand presented here.

4-0 out of 5 stars An inside look at a great woman, amazing novelist and a profound philosoper
I am currently a law student who has an undergraduate degree in philosophy.I have spent much of my adult life studying Objectivism and integrating many of its principles into my life.I am not an "Objectivist," but I do consider myself a student of the philosophy.

This book is not a fanatical denouncement of Rand, as some of the reviewers giving it a 1 star have claimed.Those that have read this book and have calmly reflected upon it, have absolutely no valid justification in giving it a 1.The author points out her own experiences with Ms. Rand, and gives her own interpretation as to Ms. Rand's psychology.The overall feeling of the book towards Ms. Rand is one of honest admiration, sincere fondness, and regretful sorrow.The theme throughout the book is that Ms. Rand struggled, achieved profound success, and experienced deep tragedy.

Persons giving this book a 5 star rating, then going on to attack Ms. Rand's philosophy are despicably dishonest.The author's treatment of Objectivism is very positive.The only objections she has towards the philosophy are some of its applications to psychology (regarding free will and the origin of emotions).The author only really denounces the minority of individuals in the Objectivist movement that lack independence.If you want to understand Objectivism, read and think for yourself.But do not understand it through this biography, or the weak context-dropping reviews on this site.I suggest starting with some of the fiction if you aren't familiar with philosophy or the non-fiction if you are (either way, read the fiction eventually!)Then judge for yourself whether this philosophy is a great, complex, and powerful achievement, with positive practical application to all realms of man's life, or whether it is the 'over simplification' which the pseudo-intellectuals ramble on about in their reviews.

I give this book a 4 because it doesn't adequately discuss Objectivism, which is central to understanding Ayn Rand.The author does make clear that any claimed problems in Ms. Rand's psychology were not a result of Objectivism, or vice versa.Ms. Rand was a great woman that gave to this world amazing works of fiction, and a philosophy which has already significantly impacted our culture.I do not know if everything said is correctly interpreted, or if every relevant context was given, but I do not believe that the author was being dishonest.If you want to get an inside look at Ms. Rand, read this book, and make sure to read some other sources too.Do not judge her philosophy based on your conclusion on this book, and do not judge her completely based just on what you have read in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Closure
If you wish to continue hero worship or hatred of Ayn Rand, don't read this book.If you want a balanced view of this great Philosopher and Writer, it is a must read.I made an important decision after reading this book.I took my copies of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" and donated them to a local library.It gave me closure.It is a happy ending to the story that psychologist Nathaniel Branden was to go on professionally and evolve beyond Objectivism.He puts out an excellent tape called "The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand."All praise to Barbara Branden for this book.Highly recommend reading Nathaniel Branden's "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem," his opus.Enjoy hearing the good parts of Objectivism combined with an understanding of human emotion in that book. ... Read more

19. Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (The Ayn Rand Library, Volume 6)
by Leonard Peikoff
Paperback: 512 Pages (1993-12-01)
list price: US$21.00 -- used & new: US$11.01
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Asin: 0452011019
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The definitive statement of Ayn Rand's philosophy, written by the preeminent Rand exponent and scholar. Illustrated with excerpts from her published works, complete with an abundance of new material that Rand communicated only in private conversation with Peikoff, this book illuminates Objectivism--and its creator--with brilliant clarity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (77)

5-0 out of 5 stars #17 The best book ever penned on philosophy.
For a very in depth understanding of Philosophy, Ayn Rand made Leonard re write this book completely 4 times...so it is really her book. Before reading Objectivism the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (OPAR) you should read all of her non fiction...it is heavily referenced. OPAR is the only full description of her philosophy, objectivism and it is the best book ever penned on philosophy. Among fixing all the philosophical mistakes of the last 2000 plus years including the mistakes even Aristotle made, she even solved the problem of universals. Ayn Rand allows you to clearly follow and understand how you can know if an abstract idea, concept or philosophy is true or not by starting at the axiomatic level and working up!

4-0 out of 5 stars Objectivist Philosophy and Ethics
"There is only one primary vice, which is the root of all other human evils:irrationality".That quote from this volume might sum up Ayn Rand's entire philosophy, Objectivism.Leonard Peikoff, another adherent of Objectivism, in this book argues the major tenets of that philosophy, including discussions of consciousness, reality, objectivity, reason, and art, and discusses the difference between emotion and emotionalism, as well as why it is important for people to have a philosophy at all.

There is an in-depth discussion of ethics, and Peikoff asserts the importance of virtue.Objectivism advocates following the evidence wherever it leads, regardless of consequences, and the book also examines the age-old discussions of whether the ends justify the means and whether "white" lies are moral.

Politically, the author asserts that subjectivism always leads to statism, to the point that he advances a sort of the slippery-slope argument.However, there have been some politicians such as Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Rudy Giuliani in New York City that have been able to reverse the slippery slope to a degree.

There has been a renewed interest in Ayn Rand on the part of conservatives in the last year.Conservatives will not be able to swallow Rand's philosophy whole, but the book is still a great study of some of the most important issues in philosophy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy, clear and simple
Hey, I'm a Rand fan. But that isn't why I like this book. The reason I like this book is that it is the most accessible and comprehensive exploration of philosophy mine eyes have ever laid upon.

What I mean is that when you browse the philosophy section of any bookstore, you'll find hundreds of books written to other philosophers on obscure niche topics couched in a lot of jargon. Peikoff keeps out of this specificity to show you "the forest, not the trees" of philosophy, through the eyes of Ayn Rand.

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to get a grasp of what philosophy is all about, who also doesn't want to get bogged down in the minutae of arguments. I'd also recommend this for anyone who is interested in politics, either in thought or action.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Tool
If you want to find a solid, accessible tool for understanding Objectivism, this is it.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Philosophy of Objectivism
If you take this book for what it really is - a presentation on the basics of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, then you will learn a lot in spite of Leonard Peikoff's annoying writing style.Unfortunately, Peikoff writes as if his thumbnail sketches of the various aspects of Objectivism are the last word on anything and you are a moron if you don't find his arguments persuasive. ... Read more

20. The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought (The Ayn Rand Library)
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 368 Pages (1990-06-30)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$9.30
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Asin: 0452010462
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Here is the final collection of articles and speeches by the bestselling and world-renowned novelist, essayist, and philosopher. ... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic collection of essays to anyone interested in Ayn Rand and her Objectivist philosophy.
I am sure some of you have noticed a renewed interest in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged lately because our present economy has many of the same irrational policies that she mentioned in that great book.This collection of essays has not only the late Ayn Rand's work but also has additonal essays by Leonard Peikoff.Sadly, it seems collectivism (socialism)has gained some recent popularity.However, there is still a majority of people who believe individualism, freedom and capitalism is always better than socialism. This series of essays covers a wide variety of topics.This book is broken down into three parts.Part one explains the philosophic base of Ayn Rand's Objectivism. The second series of essays explores the cultural factors in a society and the final part deals with the politics involved in collectivism.The epilogue has an intellectual memoir by Leonard Peikoff.Even though I do not consider myself an objectivist, many of the philosophical conclusions Ayn Rand writes about in this series relates directly to the present day problems.If you are interested in the role philosphy plays in not only the individual, but society as a whole, you will love this series of essays. Rating: 5 Stars.Joseph J. Truncale (Author:Season of the Warrior: a poetic tribute to warriors, Martial Art Myths, Never Trust a Politician, Use of the Monadnock Straight Baton, PR-24 Police Baton Advanced Techniques, Police Yawara Stick Techniques).

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read for ANYONE
Another wonderful publishing from the brilliant Ayn Rand. Highly recommend buying this one, maybe buying 4 or 5 and giving them so intelligent folks for x-mas.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand on a Range of Topics
Ayn Rand gained great fame in the mid-20th century with her novels, but if you are more of a non-fiction reader than a fiction reader, "The Voice of Reason" is a superb collection of essays that provides a good grounding in Objectivism, Rand's philosophy that held that reason is the highest value and the ultimate guide to ethics and life.

The book is divided into sections concerning philosophy, culture, and politics.The essays cover a wide range of topics--some of the ones I found most compelling were the essay contrasting Plato and Aristotle, the essay describing who and what is the final authority in ethics, the essay skewering "psychologizers", and the essays on health care that show why government-run health care is a monumentally bad idea.

Some libertarians like to claim Rand as one of their own, but there is an air-clearing essay describing the difference between Objectivism and libertarianism.

Unless you are a hard-core Objectivist, you will find areas in which you disagree with Ayn Rand, but the book would be appreciated by any intellectually curious person who would like to explore Objectivism.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Publisher's Weekly" offers a bad description.
Rand did not advocate "monopoly capitalism", she REPEATEDLY advocated "laissez-faire capitalism", i.e. "leave-alone" capitalism. 'No gov tinkering. Like economist Milton Friedman, she argued that monopolies cannot happen sans government tinkering and rigging the free market system to fail in its natural checks and balances behavior.

3-0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking book.
This book is a collection of Essays and articles that Ayn Rand wrote.

Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982) immigrated from Russia to the United States and supported the philosophies of its founding fathers. Her main philosophy is the freedom of the individual. She is against any government control of the people. Only when the people are given freedom can a nation thrive. Ayn Rand was puzzled at how Americans took this freedom for granted, and some even opposed it. She believed that America has distanced herself from the beliefs of its founding fathers.

"Who is the Final Authority in Ethics?" Ayn Rand argued that morality is part of life so to speak, and it is there for all of us to grasp, and therefore should not be dictated by religion, politics, government or any other controlling agency.

Rand held that the only moral social system is laissez-faire capitalism. Contrary to what most believe (or want us to believe), Rand was against monopolies.

Though many admired Ayn Rand for her philosophies and concern for the individual (harming an individual for the good of the many is not justified), many opposed her. Noam Chomsky declared Rand to be "one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history." Conservative commentator William F. Buckley declared: "Ayn Rand is dead. So, incidentally, is the philosophy she sought to launch dead; it was in fact stillborn."

Rand firmly believed in the philosophy of Aristotle (and was very influenced by it), and argued that many scholars throughout the ages have changed the meaning of Aristotle's philosophy to advance their own agendas. I found this quite intriguing. Though I read Aristotle back in school, I honestly cannot remember his philosophy. I can't wait to delve back into Aristotle's writings.

Rand was an atheist, and she criticized religion (for it controls the individuals), but encouraged altruism. Religion therefore should be a means of doing good and being kind to one another, but without the control it places on individuals. Believing in God places control on the individual's life.

She is known for her best-selling novels and for developing a philosophical system called Objectivism. The essence of Objectivism is "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

Ayn Rand has some really thought provoking ideas. In her book `Atlas Shrugged,' she wrote, "The entire history of science is a progression of exploded fallacies, not of achievements." She also asked, can we change the world, or is everything is as it should be? In other words, can we change ANYTHING around us, or do we merely think we can change (or have changed) it by taking already existing paths? Interestingly, in many religions, including all three major monotheistic religions--Christianity, Islam, and Judaism--on the creation of the world, God said to the universe be, and it was. If we follow this beginning, then everything is and always has been. In other words, we cannot change anything but merely go on the many paths available to us (and this makes us think that we have changed something). I find this idea very interesting.

This book is an excellent introduction to Rand's philosophy. I did find some articles confusing and hard to read and understand. This book isn't an entertaining read, but rather an informative and though-provoking book to read like a textbook. ... Read more

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