Ms. Rand's unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience. The fundamentals of her philosophy are set forth in this insightful piece of nonfiction.
©1961, 1964 Ayn Rand; ©1962, 1963, 1964 by the Objectivist Newsletter Incorporated; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks
In classical Rand fashion, she delivers a controversial rebuttal of societal norms. While I am sympathetic to her point of view, I think the book is mostly word play more than truly presenting a new view of ethics. She spends time redefining selfishness, only to come back and coalesce her view close to what is already the norm in society. For those not versed in Rand the content may seem outrageous and lead to a entertaining listen. For those versed in Rand, it is a primer in the underlying philosophy behind characters such as Howard Roark which was not explicitly discussed in the novel.
Although Ms. Rand can be very black & white about things (as most in this field tend to be) I found much of what she discusses in this book to be brilliant. I think it would be a better read, as her thoughts deserve more contemplation than the three seconds given between most sentences. WARNING: The narrator is extremely difficult to listen to! Her voice is boring and very cold, giving the impression that we are listening to something evil. If you've recently had some coffee and are in the mood to be challenged then this audiobook is for you. Overall good stuff.
As an enthusiastic student of Ayn Rand since my days at Princeton in the early 70?s (a member of a yearly trek of mathematicians and physicists to join a soiree of cohorts at Harvard backstage with Ms. Rand after her annual presentation at the Boston Forum) , this wonderfully read rendition of her masterpiece (primarily Chapter One: The Objectivist Ethics) rejuvenates my soul. I am a Medical Director of a very large Child and Adolescent Hospital currently adopting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as the foundation for treatment and intend to incorporate Ms. Rand's teachings of ethics and morality as the basis for accepting a comprehensive model of CBT. Her philosophy today is more compelling than ever and merges seamlessly into the primary evidence based treatment of dealing with emotional disturbance, the cognitive therapy model. Thank you for putting this on audio!
Ayn Rand's "The Virtue of Selfishness" is possibly the most liberating treatise on human living ever put to pen. This work should be at the top of the list of essential reading. Moreover, the world would be a far better place if more people chose to live a rational, conscious life.
Say something about yourself!
This philosophical treatise is pretty good. But even the author emphasizes that she has made her major points in the novel Atlas Shrugged. I agree that the message is much more clear in the novel and you don't really need to read this if you have read Atlas Shrugged.
I read this some time ago and found it interesting, but unsettling. After reading a lot of other philosophers, developing an independent view of my own, and coming back to it, I appreciated it much, much more. The problem with Rand is her dogmatism toward her views. My own belief is that ethical frameworks are like solutions to problems, some are better than others, but we can theoretically test for fitness of solutions, in the midst of practical difficulties. She is certain that her view is 'correct', rather than superior to the other views she criticizes, and this turns people off. So you have to look past that. The thing is, I happen to think her ethical framework is an exceptionally good solution, which I appreciate more after reviewing the solutions of many other philosophers. The other thing she does is make rambling inferences along the lines of: altruism is self-loathing, self-loathing is destruction, destruction is murder (sorry I can't remember a real one). Some I agreed with, and some I didn't, but the very mechanism is just sloppy intellectualism, and she can do better. These sound very critical for a 5 star review, but the point is to understand this bathwater so that you don't throw out the baby.
An excellent guide to understand the modern American minds. Add a dose of human compassionate and intuitiative moral compass... Enlightement
Very thought provoking. Better to read on paper. She is either way smarter than me, or has a hard time putting her thoughts together in a million words or less. I chose this book because I wanted to read something by Ayn. This was among the thinnest. I liked it, but I thought it was a bit pretentious. I'm sure Ayn was great fun at parties.
So much of what is presented here means to tear down the ethical standards accepted by generations upon generations and thrust forth a new ethical framework. What rubbed me the wrong way with these lectures is that the new framework offered has the same type inconsistencies and hypocrisies as the old. It is no more practical.
What is offered is that we should reject the idea that moral supremacy is sacrifice (i.e., altruism) and replace it with an system that values trade - nothing given freely and nothing accepted without cost (i.e., selfishness). Where the author goes wrong in my mind is that, whereas altruism is painted in a stark all-or-nothing way, selfishness is qualified. The new moral framework is to be built around the idea that mankind should be self-motivated but in a way that benefits man. Huh? Isn’t this being altruistic in some way?
Lot’s of good discussion here but I thought that some of her arguments largely begged the question (i.e., This new moral framework is better than the others because it is superior in this way, this way and this way). I didn’t finish – Still it was very thought provoking.
I'm a corporate training consultant and adjunct professor who loves to read! I'm always looking for the next big thing.
The Virtue of Selfishness is a collection of essays that Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden wrote as part of The Objectivist Newsletter in the 1960s. To this day, it boggles my mind that the Objectivist philosophy hasn't swept the nation--even the world. It seems to align with what so many people seem to want most in life: the pursuit of happiness, productive achievement, and reason. In my opinion, these are the tenants on which I base my own personal philosophy. As such, this book resonated strongly with me. To begin, I was instantly drawn to the title. How could selfishness be virtuous? In current society, selfishness is looked down upon. What makes this book so interesting is that Rand defines selfishness is a much more simplistic manner by stating that selfishness is nothing more than a concern for one's own interests. This is her new concept of egoism. Several of the essays expand upon this concept. These essays lead to further essays regarding the destructive nature of altruism and collectivism.
It is during these subsequent essays that I am struck by the reason the Objectivist philosophy has not swept the world. We are taught from a very young age that we need to care for others around us without expecting anything in return. Sharing is more important than selfishness. Meeting the needs of the collective are far, far more important than meeting the needs of the individual. This being Rand's book, all of these arguments (which seem to have their own validity) are completely invalidated. It would seem that there are too many people who want to pursue happiness, yet they do not want to be productive achievers or rely on logical reasoning.
If everyone would pursue their own personal happiness through productive achievement and reason, it seems reasonable that everyone would attain it. Wouldn't you agree? Read this book and tell me what you think.
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