Philosophy, Who Needs It / Ayn Rand: In

ISBN: 0672527251
ISBN 13: 9780672527258
By: Ayn Rand

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Reader's Thoughts

Haider Al-Mosawi

While this book is a great reference to understanding Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, its true value is in explaining what philosophy is and why it's important. An extremely important lesson in today's world, especially when so many discussions are fruitless exchanges of opinion, without knowing - let alone questioning - basic philosophical assumptions.

Ben Weeks

I haven't read the whole book as Goodread's entry for this work suggests. What I have read is a 12 page pamphlet from the Ayn Rand Institute of the same title. I found it one rainy day while I was working a shift at a bookstore. It was one of those days that makes stepping out of the door a strain on your will, but upon finding this talk, I was glad I did. In the talk, which Ayn Rand gave to West Point's graduating class of '74, she clarifies the need for people to have a personal philosophy, lest the be torn aside by the world. That much I can agree with. When she begins her diatribe against Kant I being to lose her. It seems like Ayn is upset with the current state of the world in '74 and has given Kant the role of whipping-boy for all the failures that she's attributed to the baby-boomers. That much aside, I can agree with her on the point that to evade any personal philosophy is to let yourself run emotionally naked through a world that only seeks to satisfy our most base needs and urges.

Mat Anderson

I prefer Rand's fiction as a vessel for communicating her ideals.

Петър Стойков

На мен лично ми бе изключително трудно – докато оформях начина си на мислене, трябваше практически сам да измислям базисната постановка на идеите, в които вярвам, тъй като не я откривах в нито една философска книга, в нито една лекция по философия...Прочети цялото ревю:

Matt Faus

The first few chapters of this book are incredible. They do an outstanding job of describing the obligation of every person to analyze their personal philosophy to become the person they want to be.The "Egalitarianism and Inflation" chapter had the best description of inflation due to government I've ever read.The rest of the book is very zealous prose of Rand bashing other thinkers or ways of life.


Ayn Rand is completely misunderstood in the popular culture- she was not a heartless selfish individualist without a care for her fellow man. Ayn Rand was a principled philosopher in the tradition of Aristotle- who realized that human beings are ends in themselves and can only flourish by being free to act according to the dictates of reason and conscience. Ayn Rand isn't opposed to love, to friendship, to organized groups of people with a common purpose. She was opposed to coercion in all forms, and as such Ayn Rand was an optimist and a champion of human dignity. Unlike most modern intellectuals, Ayn Rand realized that pure capitalism is good and natural and right. We are men, not ants- and free market capitalism, not socialism or communism, is part of our nature. Let human reason flourish, let markets flourish, and humanity will flourish. I'm not saying I agree with everything she said- I'm just saying that her world is not some kind of dark, dog-eat-dog, man-against-man hell. In fact, her world is one of human flourishing and human dignity where men are free to participate in their own creation- to become persons of character, worthy of love, confident in their own human goodness.

Andrej Drapal

It is simply amazig how Ayn uses her rather narrow vcabulary of concepts to explain thought and lifestyle situations with chrystal precision. This is not any kind of comprehensive philosophy, but stll far the best positioning of a man vesrus a collective. There are few chapters that are outdated, but overall you can simply derive values valid for any situation.

John Martindale

I was Curious about Ayn Rand's philosophy, so I checked out this book. Having finished it, Rand seems to me a mix of Nietzsche and Rush Limbaugh.Every chapter she rants against altruism i.e the Christian ethic, thinking its the root of all evil, stunting civilization and the brain. She passionately hates Immanuel Kant. like a hyper-Charismatic who thinks there is a demon behind every bush, so she see Kant behind every bush, practically every chapter she can't help but make another stab at hi. Little did I know before this book, Kant is the villain who managed to deceive the world with his blasphemous (against reason) teaching of duty and altruism and now were all going to hell (the wastelands of irrationalism)Because Kant is so vague, he managed to slip his anti-reason poison in all our minds without us knowing it!! Even right now, you who are reading this are under the sway of Kant!!!! shutter and repent and turn to almighty reason (well, her version of reason that is)Interesting that one of the main conservative philosophers is a militant atheist and is pro-choice. She thinks pride is a virtue, and so does nothing to hide her ego and arrogance, making her writings rather untasteful to me. She is not the kind of person you would want to have a conversation with! Rush Limbaugh at least says he is only right 98.8% of the time, Ayn Rand would not even humble herself with that 1.2% of error, she could make it on the short list of stuck up, full of themselves people.But with all that aside, I loved what she shared on politics, she indeed was a genius, there is no doubt about that


This book changed my life! The first work I read by novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, (author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead") is the stunningly clear rationality I’d always been searching for in her philosophy of Objectivism. Objectivism, according to Miss Rand is: "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."Rand's ability to reduce the most complex of issues to simple-to-understand fundamentals is unparalleled in history, except for perhaps, Aristotle.This particular book focuses on proving the crucial need of philosophy in everyone’s lives, of the necessity of a reality-based philosophy knowable by reason, and that regardless of whether or not one has a conscious philosophy that everyone operates by some kind of philosophy. Reading this book was the most important thing I’ve ever done, and I can’t recommend it more highly.

Roslyn Ross

Rand is a pleasure as always. So glad she said finally explained to me the draw of chess! Was a little disappointed with her response to Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity. She complains that no one has refuted him by defending man's mind, yet she doesn't really do much to defend man's mind. She just makes fun of all the dumb he things he says in his book and is appalled that anyone would fall for it. But people DO. And they need a better response than the one she provides. Guess that's where I come in, but wouldn't have minded more help from her!

Христо Блажев

Айн Ранд създава интелектуално бойно поле във “Философията: кому е нужна”Айн Ранд не може да не бъде полемична, не може да не бъде противоречива, не може да не бъде провокативна. Но във “Философията: кому е нужна” тя е нещо повече – тя е агресивна, настъпателна и гръмогласна. Убедена в собствената си философия, сигурна в моралното превъзходство на идеите си, опряна удобно на величествените романи “Изворът” и “Атлас изправи рамене”… И от този пиадестал тя сипе огън и жупел връз всеки, който според нея застава на пътя на капитализма и цивилизацията, едно тъждество и тържество на разума над духа.


Readers who have read Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand will naturally find the gist of most of her essays here familiar, for they precede and obviously inform Peikoff's distillation. This collection of Rand's essays present her characteristic precision in zeroing in for epistemological defeat the fundamental essence of the anti-life "morality" in play in the field. It also finally addresses a pet peeve of mine -- the marginalization of philosophy as a "handmaiden" of religion.If there's one downside to this work, it's that, 40 years later, its critique of the state of rationality in human society, the continued primacy of altruism and its derivations, is not any less relevant, but rather alarmingly more. Anyone poisoned or about to be willingfully poisoned by a dive to ideological daydreams such as "utopian" socialism might do their minds (and finite lives) much good by waking up, reading Rand, and breathing the real.


Abstract principles are a part of our life whether we acknowledge it or not. That is the message of Ayn Rand's book, "Philosophy: Who Needs It." In a vigorous and thoughtful list of essays, Ayn Rand talks about how we must return to the original abstract principles that animate our thinking. This book is particularly significant today since capitalism is being challenged on a moral basis, especially from the radical environmental movement. This movement is trying to use emotionalism as a method of furthering their socialistic/communist principles. As Ayn Rand mentions, the socialists/communists could not win on a majority vote by providing the public with a clear statement of what their goals are. However, the socialists/communists--which are dressed up in the Green movement--instead confuse the public through evasions, contradictory statements, censorship, brainwashing them through the government-run school system, in order to get the public to subscribe to these views.What I liked most in particular is Ayn Rand's statement that one has a right to live for one's own sake--and no one else. Rand's view is that capitalism and individualism must be argued on a moral basis, not on an economic one. The economic argument is that capitalism promotes economic growth, and thus, for this reason alone, it must be tolerated. Instead, Ayn Rand's view is that, regardless of the economics, one has a right to live for their own sake, and for the sake of others. A person cannot be compelled to be a slave nor enslave others. (The current welfare system, for instance, requires that one take on unearned obligations to others, and thus, one is living one's life for that of another.) Further, Ayn Rand also discusses how our current mixed economy system (read: Social Security, government-run schools, Medicaid) will eventually result in a dictatorship because in order to keep this sytem going, it requires subjecting the individual to the state. When the individual fails to comply, as is most certainly likely to happen as time goes on, the only way the state will be able to enforce the rule of altruism is at the point of a gun.IN PRACTICE, Ayn Rand's views have been endorsed by reality. The freest states in America--the ones that believe in individualism, and limited government--have had the highest degree of population growth, economic growth (thus, more productivity from the most productive), and, I dare say, happiness (since they are able to pursue their happiness to the maximum extent, without government-control).

Brent McCulley

In "Philosophy: Who Needs It," Ayn Rand, through a collection of some of her lectures and essays which were compiled posthumously, revisits a lot of her objectivist philosophy that is more eloquently outlined in her book The Virtue of Selfishness. Nevertheless, this compilation was quite a delight to read, as there were little gems scattered throughout the book, that made the collection well worth the 200+ pages. Notwithstanding Rand's seething loath for Kantian epistemology and metaphysics - which she makes abundantly clear throughout the first twelve or thirteen essays - Rand has a affable quality in her writing, despite her coarse prose, which often comes off as arrogance.Even still, the books treatment of reason, as the foundation for metaphysics is made clear the first ten essays, but she takes the last four or five essays dealing with political-theory, and discussed subjects from economics and moral cause vs. duty of an individual citizen. Since a lot of this book is just re-hashed objectivism, if one has already read her other works which make her philosophy very clear such as The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, this book would still be worth the purchase for the last essay alone, entitled "Don't Let It Go." A clarion call to Americans, who value individualism, reason, and integrity, to be the change, lest our ominous future of chaos and tyranny befall us before it's too late.-Brent McCulley (10/4/13)

Shea Mastison

This book was a little weaker the second time around. Rand manages to stay as vitrolic as ever; and her approach to philosophy makes you wonder if she wasn't perhaps a gladiator in a prior life. Her letter to Boris Spatsky is particularly powerful because it shows the arbitrary nature of statism, as well as the dangers inherent in all forms of collectivism. On the downside, her final essay is a little too nationalistic for me; but perhaps it was a different time in America. You can never go wrong, reading Rand. If this book is accessible to you; grab it.

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