This philosophy is what lead libertarians to the current ideas of true freedom. This was a really easy to follow version. This book is revolutionary!
Ayn Rand was ahead of her time then and she is spot on now. If you are someone who feels like life is giving you a beating even though you are "doing what you should be doing" read this book. It gets into a lot of political views that are fantastic as well. I'm not super political but Ayn's words just ring true.
Worth a listen.
The title, The Virtue of Selfishness, is purposefully provocative. Don't allow the title to keep you from reading this gem of rational essays making the case for capitalism, individualism, and individual rights. While Rand is clearly critical of religion (my only real quibble with her philosophy of objectivism) this collection should be considered the antidote to the progressive/liberal playbook, Olinsky's "Rules for Radicals." Timely and full of the soul of the nation's founders.
I first read "The Virtue of Selfishness" way back in the 1960,s or maybe the 70"s. does not matter, listening to it now as I walk alone in the darkness each morning brings the truth back to me clearly. It is Number one on my list of great books I have listened to.
This is not a book with characters. It is about personal growth and being a "REAL" capitalist or as some liberal might put it dirty MONEY. Money is never dirty the people are dirty.
There were no characters, however she is a great narrator.
It should be on every teachers required reading list from 6th grade to a Ph.D.
This is a well put together chain of reason and logic. I believe that Socrates would have been won over by Ayn Rand with this one work. Ayn is very patient and very systematic in this presentation. I have spent time studying several popular philosophies, and traditional beliefs. There is so much built-in contradiction in so many philosophies that are explained with impenetrable mysteries that end in unreasonable statements. The clarity of Ayn Rand presents a startling contrast to all those philosophies. She asks only for clear reasoning, not for a leap of faith.
It is a frustrating experience to speak with someone who chooses not to think beyond a point. Art Markman points out in "Smart Thinking" that thinking uses a lot of energy and that the human brain is designed to conserve energy. This may explain the abdication of thinking and reasoning that so many choose when faced with the challenge of thinking all the way through a philosophical presentation.
Please listen to this several times before you decide Ayn Rand, Objectivist philosophy is just wrong. If you are a libertarian, but you have no philosophical underpinning for your beliefs, listen closely to Ayn Rand's challenging essays on Objectivism. If you get tired of thinking, take a break and come back to it, don't give up. Don't decide that your brain is not qualified to reason it out. To allow others to think for you to stop thinking things through and understand clearly what you believe is to throw yourself on the pyre of another's unreasoning sacrifice. It is blanking out. Make yourself valuable to yourself. Work for yourself. You get what you want by providing what others seek or need.
Whether you call it enlightened self interest or selfishness, you are attaining what you seek in a society of peers who reward others who produce what they want. Ayn Rand uses the term selfish to get your attention. To act selfishly, she indicates, it to make your own decisions based on your own resources, perspectives, goals. Helping others is an act of goodwill, not of duty. A charity is only a charity if contribution is voluntary. To give with another's money is taking, not giving.
Is it abusing others to give them a task or job and pay them what at the level they request? As soon as one is rewarded based on need versus based on what they earn, that entire society will parish. Reward for accomplishment is reasonable. One way to look at it is to say that the only thing worth more than gold is trust. I offer my pay (gold) to someone I trust to deliver something I want (plumbing or food, etc.). This is exactly what I offer to those who pay me, trust that I will deliver what I promise. My reputation and demonstrated skills result in the value of what I offer. The value is different to others based on their need or desire.
Ayn Rand lays these simple, reasonable principles end to end in a very logical presentation.
You may ask who will protect me or others from people or organizations who do not deliver what they promise. The role of a government is simple. It is to review the promise as presented (contract) and help enforce this promise for the weaker participant in the contract. Simpler contracts and straight forward trades make it easier for contract participants to understand what to deliver and when. Complex agreements will require help to define the agreement. As it stands now, all the rules, laws, subtleties to commitments makes it impossible for anyone to know where a commitment begins and ends without professional assistance. By complicating the contract with interfering laws and inferences, all parties enter into unknown risks, The one with more influence and professional assistance gains advantages in this system. Reducing government interference benefits the ones with limited means and influence.