This collection of essays was the last work planned by Ayn Rand before her death in 1982. In it, she summarizes her view of philosophy and deals with a broad spectrum of topics. According to Ayn Rand, the choice we make is not whether to have a philosophy, but which one to have: a rational, conscious, and therefore practical one, or a contradictory, unidentified, and ultimately lethal one.
Written with all the clarity and eloquence that have placed Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy in the mainstream of American thought, these essays range over such basic issues as education, morality, censorship, and inflation to prove that philosophy is the fundamental force in all our lives.
©1982 Leonard Peikoff, Executor, Estate of Ayn Rand; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"For those who want to understand the philosophic implications of our era, this collection by Ayn Rand is an excellent place to begin." (News-Leader)
"Although this omnibus volume...is written for an audience of believers, readers unfamiliar with [Rand's] novels might find it a useful starting point." (Publishers Weekly)
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"Deep and provocative"
This is not light listening. It is best on long trips, as it is difficult to follow some of the deeper arguments if you take it in 20-minute commute segments. It is a great book, actually a collection of essays, but like any philosophy it takes some thinking to follow. Though I cannot say I subscribe to Ms. Rand's views on all things the clearness of her arguments are difficult to refute. Ms. Rand is pretty rough on both the right and the left and points out the hypocrisy in both positions. If you are not willing to examine your political beliefs then stay away as they will be challenged. Finally it should be noted that most of these essays were made in the late 60s and early 70s. Ms. Rand promotes that America is great because of its beliefs, but that it is vulnerable because it does not understand the premises behind those beliefs. I suspect she would look at America today as an opportunity for greatness lost.
"Definitely a great book!"
This is an excellent book. I just bought it in hard copy as well so that I can read it. Very deep and thought provoking in a way that is constructive. Too often, philosophy is about trying to put together disintegrated units which out of context make absolutely no sense and contradict themselves. This book is for people who want to apply philosophy to the real world, the world of our senses (which is all we really have in the end anyways), and to this life in an integrated fashion for the purpose of actually learning something useful.
This is truly a timeless as well as a timely book. Really applicable for the changes that the world is going through today. A highly recommended listen.
"A rational individual needs intellectual ammo"
I believe that this is the 4th Ayn Rand book a person should read/hear. 1st is Atlas Shrugged, likely the most important book ever written. Next Capitalism-The Unknown Ideal and The Virtue of Selfish can be read in either order, but Ms Rand does reference the latter in the Capitalism.
I believe that if enough people read all 4 this country could still reach its incredible potential.
"A necessity for all men to read"
If you are not familiar with Ayn Rand, I suggest you start with this book. It is a great overview of her ideas, and is absolutely true in stating the need of philosophy for all men. Happy reading!
"Superb practical philosophy!"
This was well worth the money. I recommend this one for anyone, like me talking to my sister for instance, that has trouble explaining the appeal of philosophy. It is really practical to guide your daily choices in the context of real world issues and comes across rationally and without pretention of authority. Very much my cup of tea!
"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...."
The format of this book - a number of essays written by Rand and compiled in the 1980's - provides something of a short cut for those, like me, who prefer concise works of non-fiction.
The author makes frequent use of quotes from characters in her own novels by way of an explanation. This might seem a bit conceited, but we should remember that those novels were intended to form the clearest expression of her philosophy. Plato wrote dialogues, Rand wrote novels. She probably wouldn't have blanched at that comparison.
In addition to being an good introduction to objectivism these essays provide an insight into Rand's view of the history of philosophy, in particular the adversarial nature of two distinct schools of thought - personified on the one hand by John Locke, and by Emmanuel Kant on the other. I could criticise Rand's polarised view of these two schools, as others have, but I think it is a large part of what makes this book so enjoyable.
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