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!!!
I read the book three years ago. Now, listening to it has made an even stronger impression on me. Contrary to another review, I found it easier to follow the arguments by listening, even "on the go." Peikoff's arguments are tight and insightful. What is most impressive is how far the book goes in integration of the branches of philosophy and the truths within them. If you have ever read much 20th century philosophy, you may be familiar with the arbitrariness, the groundlessness, of virtually every piece of work done in the field. And you'll also find Peikoff's philosophy here alien from what you've experienced. Yet it is this work that starts with reality and proceeds to solve the problems that the mess of 20th Century philosophy has found intractable.
My only qualms are the narrator's frequent mispronunciations. Most irritating is her mispronuncation of "processes" as "prah-cess-eez." There's no "eez," however many people butcher the word; that pluralization is used for Latin-based words whose singular ends in "is," e.g., "basis," "thesis." The purpose is to eliminate a messy buzz at the end of plurals ("baseses"? Like that?), so the "is" becomes "es" and is pronounced "eez." And oddly, about 40% through the book, she suddenly begins pronouncing it correctly--but not consistently. Another is her mispronunciation of "Aristotelian."
Other than those qualms, I like the narrator.
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!
The lifting of the vail from over my eyes.
Altruism is a recipe for relinquishment of control over yourself to others and failed dreams.
I am an Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff fan. I could not make it past the first chapter or two of this audiobook. The concepts are broken down into such primitive elementals that attention flags. Do you really want to know how a child classifies a table? I suppose these elementary concepts are all put together again to establish the philosophy of Objectivism that we all know and love, but I just could not endure the punishment of listening to it all.
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.
"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!
If you’re seeking a cool appraisal of objectivism, this isn’t it. As Rand’s appointed bulldog, the author asserts her ideas unchallenged as though handed down by a prophet. That’s not to say you won’t find this an articulate treatise, provided you can stomach Peikoff’s ludicrous overuse of the poncy Latin term ‘qua’. Just don’t expect objectivity in ‘Objectivism’.
As for Rand’s philosophy: it’s been said she was a better philosopher than novelist. That may set the bar rather low, but it’s debatable on this evidence whether she cleared it. The one interesting part of her philosophy is of course her politics. As an antidote to the neo-Marxist credo that has now swallowed up the West (except, ironically, for its money-making economics), she has no parallel, and comes across like Thatcher on steroids. The trouble is that, to lend weight to her opinions, she used the age-old trick of presenting them as the logical corollary of philosophical axioms. This would be fine if human logic always corresponded to empirical reality. Certainly it doesn’t here. Indeed, some of Rand’s most forcefully stated ‘truths’ of perception and cognition are the exact reverse of science. Hence her key argument is undermined by too much cleverness.
On the bright side, reader Johanna Ward captures Rand’s humourless sermonising well – her pleasant voice softening its sharp edge – and sounds throughout as though she follows the torrent of postulates.
I can only recommend chapter 10 of this slightly tedious work, but the book’s worth hearing if you need to disabuse yourself of the belief that philosophy is something other than the bastard offspring of sophistry and rhetoric. I couldn’t help getting the impression that Rand’s oeuvre is one long justification of her selfish, randy life in America, and revenge on the Europeans who forced her to flee there. Since she famously dismissed unsubstantiated assertion as the squawking of parrots, it’s fitting that her ideology be reduced to a volley of qua’s.
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