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The Virtue of Selfishness (Signet) by Ayn…
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The Virtue of Selfishness (Signet) (original 1964; edition 1964)

by Ayn Rand

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2,529255,846 (3.47)19
The provocative title of Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness introduces an equally provocative thesis about ethics. Traditional ethics has always been suspicious of self-interest, praising acts that are selfless in intent and calling amoral or immoral acts that are motivated by self interest. Ayn Rand's view is exactly the opposite. This collection of nineteen essays is an effective summary of Ayn Rand's philosophy, which holds the value of the individual over and above that of the state or any other "collective." The thread running through all of the essays is Rand's definition of selfishness as "rational self-interest," with the idea that one has the right to assure one's own survival, to pursue happiness, and to own the fruits of one's labor without having to sacrifice any of these to others against one's will.… (more)
Member:ProgWizardry
Title:The Virtue of Selfishness (Signet)
Authors:Ayn Rand
Info:Signet (1964), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

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The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand (1964)

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I promised a friend who likes Ayn Rand that I’d read at least 50 pages of whatever Rand book he selected. He picked this one and I made it to 65 pages (the first 4 essays, three by Rand and one by Nathaniel Branden) before abandoning it. To a large part, I don’t really understand what Rand and Branden are getting at. (Some parts I did get, and of those I agreed with some but not with most of it.) Honestly, though, even when I’m having trouble grasping a philosophical work, I can still get a sense of whether I “like” it or not. In this case, not so much. Glad to have given it a shot, though, it’s clear a lot of people find a lot of wisdom in it.
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
12/9/21
  laplantelibrary | Dec 9, 2021 |
The prose is clearly written. But, as a person who has experienced parenthood, the ideas expressed are indeed egoistic. But they are in no way a pattern for an individual who is a social animal. It is a rationalization of sociopathy. Do read it, so as to gain an insight into the actions of the totally self interested and absorbed. Neither of the authors chose, or could be brought to, reproduce. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 15, 2021 |
Even if you've never experienced the full Randian oeuvre, just think about what this book represents. Read that title and ponder a society in which altruism is regarded as the greatest vice and selfishness the highest virtue. In which a handful of "talented" supermen rule and prosper, while many if not most are left behind or abandoned. In the world around us, does not much of what is heartless, destructive of the planet and demeaning of human dignity follow from this value system?

Some reviewers of Rand's books note here that they became devoted followers as teenagers and outgrew the ideology as young adults. Good for them. I dabbled a bit with Objectivism in earlier years and moved on. Since then, Rand's persistent followers have attained critical mass in the leadership of one of our two political parties. (Paul Ryan may have had to disown Rand's "atheist philosophy" out of expediency in 2012, but nobody who is familiar with his past statements can be fooled by the disavowals.) Is it coincidence that the rise of the Randians coincides with the Republican Party making itself unfit to participate responsibly in government?

For better or worse, these ideas cannot be ignored. And since most readers will never make it through The Fountainhead--much less that didactic doorstop, Atlas Shrugged--this book is as good as any to experience the great lady at her most accessible. ( )
  STLreader | Aug 15, 2020 |
The star's for this: she writes a novel and then quotes one of the characters at length in this book. What chutzpah.

It's even better than the academics who cite things they haven't written yet.

Why have I picked it up? I'm sleeping badly. It made me closely examine what's in the bookshelf in the room in which I am generally living at the moment.

Oh yes. I see what's happened. Many years ago when I first moved into this house, I very sensibly put all the philosophy out in the spare bedroom where nobody would ever have to look at it. Kant. Heidegger. Rand. Nietzche. Machiavelli. Robert Audrey (yes, even worse, there is anthropology). There's Voltaire and Jung and Freud. There's Jerry Rubin, books on Jesus and books on drug communes. You get the drift.

Of course, guests would have to live with it, but at the very least it would ensure that they moved on at a decent pace. Little did I know it would be my place of residence later on.

Major reorganisation of bookshelves to take place. Novels. Poetry. Comics. Things to dream by. ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rand, Aynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Branden, NathanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The title of this book may evoke the kind of question that I hear once in a while: "Why do you use the word 'selfishness' to denote virtuous qualities of character, when the word antagonizes so many people to whom it does not mean the things you mean?"
Quotations
Psychologically, the choice "to think or not" is the choice "to focus or not." Existentially, the choice "to focus or not" is the choice "to be conscious or not." Metaphysically, the choice "to be conscious or not" is the choice of life or death.

Value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep--virtue is the act by which one gains and/or keeps it.

The virtue of Rationality means the recognition and acceptance of reason as one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of values and one's only guide to action. It means one's total commitment to a state of full, conscious awareness, to the maintenance of a full mental focus in all issues, in all choices, in all of one's waking hours.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

The provocative title of Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness introduces an equally provocative thesis about ethics. Traditional ethics has always been suspicious of self-interest, praising acts that are selfless in intent and calling amoral or immoral acts that are motivated by self interest. Ayn Rand's view is exactly the opposite. This collection of nineteen essays is an effective summary of Ayn Rand's philosophy, which holds the value of the individual over and above that of the state or any other "collective." The thread running through all of the essays is Rand's definition of selfishness as "rational self-interest," with the idea that one has the right to assure one's own survival, to pursue happiness, and to own the fruits of one's labor without having to sacrifice any of these to others against one's will.

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Book description
collected articles on the ethics of objectivism.
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