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Publisher's Summary

Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds human life - the life proper to a rational being - as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with human nature, with the creative requirement of survival, and with a free society.

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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • St. Petersburg, FL, USA
  • 12-12-05

Good Luck!

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.

39 of 45 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • United States
  • 05-06-13

Rand Lovers Only

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.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Beyond brilliant

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!

53 of 73 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Roger
  • Orlando, Florida United States
  • 10-03-08

Read Atlas Shrugged Instead

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.

18 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Essential for Human living

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.

28 of 41 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Chesterton, IN, United States
  • 03-01-17

An excellent overview of enlightened self-interest

The speeches and essays included here challenge the reader to maintain an objective sense of morality and argue for adherence to capitalism as a moral economic reality. I found very little to disagree with in theory here...The rub always comes when unfettered capitalists use government power and influence to their own advantage/vested interest at the immoral expense of others...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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an imperative to read now!

in lieu of the recent election and how I've seen that people have a collectivist mindset this book is an absolute must to read

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Informative and thought provoking

Saying that Ayn Rand is informative and thought provoking is redundant since it has been said by so many in the past. In any case this book is no different in that aspect compared with her novels. The style and perspective are different here compared with her novels and while it's not boring like a text book it conveys as much or more information.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Difficult, but worth it...

This is one of the most difficult and worthwhile books I've ever read (or listened to). There are a lot of mistaken notions about what Rand does or doesn't believe. Please set those aside, because many of them aren't true and others are only half-true. In order to really understand what she believes, you need to read her non-fiction. This is a good place to start because while this book is certainly complex and challenging, its topics and terminology isn't nearly as esoteric as, say, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology." This book really questions a lot of long-standing beliefs and notions about morality. The term "selfishness" is defined differently by Rand, so listen for that (otherwise, the book won't make sense or might seem sadistic). She also points out some of the unreasonable presumptions inherent in altruism — for example, that something can be labeled as "good" solely on the account of having been done for others. That is not a valid basis for morality. Think of the large numbers of mentally ill patients who were lobotomized in years past with the justification: "it's for their own good." Even Adolf Hitler had explained away his murder of Jews, Romani, the mentally ill, homosexuals, and various other groups with the explanation that it was for the good of others (in this case, Germany). But, was it the right thing to do? Of course not. To do FOR others is not necessarily to do GOOD for others. Conflating these two causes problems, as Rand outlines in the text. While the explanations here are sometimes impressively crisp and passionate, it does suffer from brevity. The works in this book were originally articles, so they don't provide the depth necessary to really understand everything mentioned. When an explanation seems too brief or there's an allusion to another work, that is why: these are articles, not an in-depth explanation of the intricacies of her philosophy. I found it useful to supplement this text with: "Philosophy: Who Needs It." If you really wish to understand her philosophy, stick to her non-fiction works. Without knowing her intentions, her fiction can be interpreted many different ways and so it won't really help you to understand this book or her philosophy any better. By reading her non-fiction, you'll get a direct explanation from Rand herself on what she believes. This is definitely the book I'd recommend to start with. You may need to pick up a hard copy, as well (I did and found it helpful). It is enjoyable to listen to, but sometimes the topic is too deep or complex to listen to, it must be seen and sat with for a while. It's worth the struggle, though. After reading this, I felt relieved that it was over because it was exhausting to excavate my mental landscape to such a degree. But, when I saw how it changed my life, how it rippled out and positively benefitted me, I couldn't have been happier that I took the time to read her work. I surely don't agree with everything she says (either here or in her other works). But, I respect her intelligence and strength and I find her work beneficial and thought-provoking. That, to me, is very worthwhile and as such, I'd highly recommend it to others.

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Ayn Rand is awesome

If you are pro socialism after reading this book, then you have no right to call yourself a rational human being.