Peikoff, as Rand's foremost interpreter, here reveals both the abstract fundamentals of objectivism and its practical applications, with much new material that Rand offered only in private conversations with Peikoff.
©1991 Leonard Peikoff; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
"A revelation. Peikoff is an extraordinary communicator....He brings the most difficult intellectual ideas within the grasp of the general reader....An awesome intellectual experience." (Detroit Free Press)
If you identified with the heroes of Atlas Shrugged and want to fully explore the philosophical principles on which they were based, this is a great book. There are quite a few good books and lectures available on Ayn Rand's philosphy of Objectivism, but this is by far the best. It starts with the foundation of human understanding and develops the philosophy using self-evident logic and reason. The author does an excellent job of capturing Ayn Rand's compelling philosophy for living a non-contradictory life. If you're going to read only one book about objectivism, this is the one to read and was fully endorsed by Ayn Rand.
As some have already noted this book can be heavy to listen to, especially on the first go. I find it works best in conjunction with a physical book. The book for deep study & margin-scribbling, & this audio form is great for me as a refresher after a few years. I think it works best if you approach the audio like a series of lectures & don't try to get every detail or nuance the first time. Peikoff's clear writing/presentation lends itself well to that format.
As always Ayn Rand's philosophy is honest in its terms, thorough in its reasoning, and profound in its implications.
The only downside is that the narrator speaks with a very smug tone, especially when reading sections referring to the works of other philosophers or philosophical fallacies. It's disconcerting to hear Ayn Rand's ideas in Peikoff's sincere words with such a sneering voice.
Great, great philosophy, it changed and improved my life for the better. Beware two things. First, at least for me was not very easy to grasp every concepts and the overall significance. I had to listen several times. Secondly puts in doubt the cardinals beliefs of your religion whether it'd be Christian, or otherwise. Thanks Ayn Rand!!!
The book is presented very well, with one minor caveat: the narrator breezes through difficult abstractions too quickly at parts. Perhaps it is the terse nature of a philosophy text. Make sure to have your rewind button handy!
I'm a project management and analytics consultant based of Seattle. I love to SCUBA dive and seek out adventure in other ways in my spare time.
The applied Objectivist virtues where the rubber of philosophy meets the road of our lives.
Her reading of this essential Objectivist text gives it a serious energy and cadence that from reading it I didn't impart. The sound quality and her voice are good; she is precise and gives the impression of being knowledgeable about the subject. She is far better than most I've heard on audible.
In one setting of 20 hours this is probably not advised but for a daily commute of an hour each day you can zoom through this. I played at 1.25x speed which is enough of a pickup to still understand the crucial details of the material but I wouldn't advise going much faster unless you are a savant.
The title of the book says it all: this hashes out Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism in a formal fashion. If your goal is to learn about Objectivism, this will be a most essential resource. As such, my critique is of her philosophy as a whole, not of the ability of the book to reach its stated goal of explaining her philosophy, which it certainly does.
The good: Rand's philosophy points out that, historically, societies have been marked not by the natural theory of Aristotle's laws of logic and nature, but by the idealist theory of Plato's forms and ideas based on the transcendent and supernatural. Rand believes that humanity has suffered greatly on this account, at the expense of the material values all around them.
This analysis of hers is correct, in my opinion. However...
The bad: Rand's historical critique of philosophy is incomplete at best, and criminally omissive at worst. She simply does not demonstrate that she actually understands the forces moving the philosophies, and cultures, that she critiques.
In her criticism of the Middle Ages, for example, she's happy to point out the errors of the Church and religion as a whole with regard to the preservation of culture and philosophy. She frequently uses the Middle Ages as the ideal form of suffering caused by rejection of Aristotle and objective reality.
A more sophisticated analysis will show that there were many forces moving the extreme despotism of the Middle Ages, and that ascribing a single cause to it is naive. It would almost be forgivable, if it didn't directly contradict the account of history. Thomas Aquinas, a Roman Catholic theologian, almost solely brought Aristotle's works to public light and fame. Through scholasticism, Aquinas gave Aristotle more public recognition than Aristotle made for himself in his day.
Although the scholastic movement was soon superseded by more religious skepticism, Aquinas codified and made official the scientific method that Aristotle had created. Aristotle believed the world could be known and understood, but Aquinas actually provided a holistic worldview in which Aristotle's thinking fit very well. The idea that God could be known through studying his creation was a most integral development in bringing science into a codified and systematic form.
Rand leaves out major details like this, and many others, silently dismissing any evidence to the contrary of the beliefs she is stating, and slightly modifying the evidence she does use to create a narrative that seems to have precedent, but under stricter investigation falls apart.
I'm saying these critical things about Rand as a major fan of hers. In the past 6 months, after reading Atlas Shrugged, I've purchased and listened to about 80% of her works. They have absolutely changed my life for the better, especially her ideas on the producer's right to his own work, and man's right and precedent to acquire happiness in material existence.
Her philosophy of objectivism is best understood in light of her definition of subjectivism. That is, in order to understand her philosophy of objectivism, it's more important that you understand her antithesis: Her antithesis defines her philosophy, and you must subscribe to the factuality of objectivism's antithesis to get anything from her work.
Rand's application to real world instances of "failure to follow objectivism" are skewed by her personal views, and usually only half correct, although the general theory is indisputably extant in our world and cultures.
"Compulsory listening for today's political leaders"
The book starts off with a kind of "meta-philosophy" in which it philosophizes about philosophy itself -- which I found very abstract -- but as the book progresses, it becomes more and more concrete and practical, with many hands-on real life examples of how Objectivism could and should be applied in everyday situations.
It covers a wide range of topics such as ethics, law, business, economy, politics, love, sex, art, literature, journalism and more.
Even though the book is written by Leonard Peikoff, a female narrator is appropriate because these really are the thoughts of Ayn Rand. While listening, I got the impression that Johanna Ward enjoyed narrating this work just as much as I enjoyed listening to it.
I will definitely listen to this audiobook often, and I recommend it to anybody who is looking for solutions to the political-social-economic problems we face on a personal and a global level.
Well done to Blackstone Audio and to Audible!
Report Inappropriate Content