For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

ISBN: 0451163087
ISBN 13: 9780451163080
By: Ayn Rand

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About this book

This is Ayn Rand's challenge to the prevalent philosophical doctrines of our time and the "atmosphere of guilt, of panic, of despair, of boredom, and of all-pervasive evasion" that they create. One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philosophy--and ethic of rational self-interest--that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this morality--"a philosophy for living on Earth"--are here vibrantly set forth by the spokesman for a new class, For the New Intellectual.

Reader's Thoughts


This book by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, (author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead") consists of one brilliant essay analyzing the backward and mystical state of the humanities throughout all of man’s history, and the most philosophical selections of Rand’s fiction.This book is wonderful for studying some of the grand speeches Rand’s characters make without having to mark up your fiction copies, and for the sheer convenience of having all these noteworthy expositions in one book. Plus, the title essay is one of Rand’s finest, stressing the importance of thought, and the necessity of new thinkers to study her unique philosophy of Objectivism in order to replace the irrational intellectuals of the present--that a commitment to a philosophy of reason is needed to revolutionize the humanities and to provide the proper foundation for the special sciences.

Wiam Hannashi

an intriguing read .. not bad for a compendium.this book is a collection of excerpts from Ayn Rand's novels ('we the living','anthem','atlas shrugged' and 'the fountainhead') it's basically a condensed summary that explains perfectly Rand's philosophy of objectivism. in addition to the title essay .. it highlights the importance of rational thinkinghaving read 'the fountainhead' and intending to read the book 'atlas shrugged' soon. i think everyone should go through rand's novels before reading this book to make sense of of what she has to say and whyit is important. (it requires someone with an open mind, someone wise and clever)as for the terms "witch doctor" and "attila." they played an important role in the history of philosophy "These two figures-the man of faith and the man of force-are philosophical archetypes, psychological symbols and historical reality. As philosophical archetypes, they embody two variants of a certain view of man and of existence. As psychological symbols, they represent the basic motivation of a great many men who exist in any era, culture or society. As historical reality, they are the actual rulers of most of mankind's societies, who rise to power whenever men abandon reason." (Rand)"Who are to be the New Intellectual? Any man or woman who is willing to think. All those who know that man's life must be guided by reason, those who value their own life and are not willing to surrender it to the cult of despair in the modern jungle of cynical impotence, just as they are not willing to surrender the world to the Dark Ages of the brutes." ayn rand.


I got this book from my mom. It's cover is yellowed and pages somewhat tarnished but this book cuts to the core of Ayn Rand's philosophy. Like many of Rand's books she will stretch your vocabulary and your mind (have a thesaurus on hand) but this is one of the only books I know of where Ayn Rand outlines without the use of fiction her philosophy in a very straight-forward, this is what it is, context.

Matteo Anelli

A nice compendium with a great first part about the archetypes of society


My favorite quote from this book: "He will know that ideas divorced from consequent action are fraudulent, and that action divorced from ideas is suicidal."


This is basically a synopsis of the books "The Fountainhead", and "Atlas Shrugged". Rand discusses her philosophy, Objectivism, in terms of these two books. While this book would be helpful for someone to read in order to get a grasp on the philosophy behind these books (and perhaps understand the characters better) it is really not necessary as an end in itself. Either way, her two novels are well worth the read, with or without the aid of this book


The first 25 pages of this completely enthralled me. Rand's no-nonsense style deftly conveys a philosophy that seems both wise and clever. Her summarization of modern history places the center of an hourglass around the founding of America by the first "thinkers who were men of action." Current intellectuals have failed to keep pace with the advancements made by the producers in our modern world of the past 250 years. Humans are distinct from other animals because of our ability to conceptualize and we have a need to do so in order to survive in our world. The short history of the man includes an Attila class and a Witch Doctor class who eventually became obsolete with the advent of the business producer and the intellectual. As man learned to understand nature and science he also learned to use it, leading to rapid economic advancement. The Attila conquered without understanding the "somehow" of production. The Witch Doctor controls the Attila through the fear implied by alleged supernatural knowledge. "The first society in history whose leaders were neither Attials nor Witch Doctors, a society led, dominated, and created by the Producers, was the United States of America. The moral code implicit in its political principles was not the Witch Doctor's code of self-sacrifice. The political principles embodied in the Constitution were not Attila's blank check on brute force, but men's protection against any future Attila's ambition. The Founding Fathers were neither passive, death-worshipping mystics nor mindless, power-seeking looters; as a political group, they were a phenomenon unprecedented in history; they were thinkers who were also men of action. They had rejected the soul-body dichotomy, with its two corollaries; the impotence of man's mind and the damnation of this earth; thye had rejected the doctrine of suffering as man's metaphysical fate, tey proclaimed man's right to the pursuit of happiness and were determined to establish on earth the conditions required for man's proper existence, by the 'unaided' pwer of their intellect. A society based on and geared to the conceptual level of man's consciousness, a society dominated by a philosophy of reason, has no places for the rule of fear and guilt. Reason requires freedom, self-confidence, and self-esteem. It requires the right to think and to act on the guidance of one's thinking -- the right to live by one's own independent judgement. Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a fee mind and a free market are corollaries." My only reservation involved Rand's apparent view on religion.


First and foremost, I tried to read Atlas Shrugged. I got it after 150 pages. By page 450, the only thing I could think was, "Why should I keep reading this?" I set the tomb aside and decided that my education in Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, would be better served through her non-fiction. Now I know Objectivism's theories, applications, practices, consequences, weaknesses like the back of my hand and frequently apply these values to my political-economic decision-making. And this was all before I picked up this little ditty here.I regularly keep up with Objectivist blogs such as Voices of Truth and other op-eds on the Ayn Rand Institute for Individual Liberty's as well as the Objective Standard Newsletter and other laissez-faire capitalism journals and blogs like the Mises Institute site and Hayek.


I am only basing my rating on the essay that opens the book. Since more than half is comprised of excerpts from her other books, I decided to hold off so I could appreciate them in their native context (and I've already read 'Atlas Shrugged').As someone who once was a bleeding-heart liberal (aren't we all during college?), reading Rand has certainly challenged some ideals I've held. After reading 'Atlas Shrugged' a few years ago, I came out with much to think about, but my one complaint was "it never considers the value in charity". And perhaps I overlooked the message when I read the aforementioned book, but this title directly discusses the concept and why she disagrees with its value. Again, I left the essay with much to think on, and that to me is the sign of a great read.

♥ Ibrahim ♥

That was the lousiest book I have ever read on philosophy and trying to educate a beginner, a new intellectual on philosophy. I would choose Durant instead or Sophie's World by Gaarder which is actually a work of art.


"Capitalism demands the best of every man - his rationality - and rewards him accordingly." Ayn Rand is badass. She says some scary things (writing off entire countries as "savages", advocating "conquering nature") and she has a tendency to run tangents to dark, misguided places, but if you moderate her ideas with a healthy amount of common sense, they just might do your life some good. People will tell you Rand's a bad writer but they're wrong. The title essay of this collection gives voice to many thoughts I've had and never put into words properly, thoughts I've had but never found the words to defend. The rest is made up of choice quotes from all her major fiction works, making this a punchy, essential little volume.

Brent McCulley

Rand's For the New Intellectual consists of various philosophical examinations of her novels, as well as a philosophical historiography hitherto. Her analysis of history in light of her Attila the Hun / Witch Doctor dichotomy, albeit broad-brushing, certainly got my historical gears turning given the implications of Rand's own Objectivism.Her summary of Attila as the existentialists, the brutes, dictators, and demagogues is contrasted with the With Doctor--the moralists, priests, and shamans. Using this dichotomy, Rand paints the runs into a dialectal analysis of various philosophers from Aristotle up to the present, utilizing Attila and the Witch Doctor tags to gauge the swing of the pendulum as it alternates between the dichotomous two. There is, Rand unequivocally states, a better way than this false dichotomy.In short, an intriguing read, although if one has read Rand's novels, the extensive block quotations from her books to show the philosophy of each fiction work respectively is simply superfluous. Even still, Rand's historiographical analysis of the philosophical trends is still worth the read.Brent McCulley


"I swear - by my life and my love of it - that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." There is a quality in Ayn Rand's writing that I find supremely attractive: the unflinching, unapologetic assertion of the sanctity of the individual human mind and that any system of thought, government, or economy which seeks to destroy the individual man's reliance on his own rationality is evil. Ayn Rand is not the first writer to speak of these things; Emerson, Thoureau, Nietzshce, and Steinbeck are all writers that I favor for a similar sentiment expressed. At points I vehemently contend with her, at other points I unreservedly agree - but that's the point isn't it, to think for myself. I took up Rand's book because I knew nothing about her writing except that most people who say something about her are almost angry with her and those who like her are angry at everyone else. For my part: I am not angry and I think that though there are merits to the philosophical criticisms of her shortcomings these do not eclipse the value of her work.


Maybe I just don't get it, but I found the passages taken from Rand's novels to be pedantic and deathly dull. The history of philosophy sections at the beginning were quite interesting and well thought out.

Don Weidinger

emperor naked America culturally bankrupt, vacuum of intellectual conversation, too many dogged dogmas, witch doctors of morality all same head shrinkers, don’t look judge be-certain, sliding down road that has destroyed other countries, kill excellence reverence happiness, reason as means to gain knowledge, truth as recognition of reality, rational process is moral process, reason purpose self-esteem, soul and body with free will, controller dreads reason commands not convinces, no attainments via force.

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