The Virtue of Selfishness

The Virtue of Selfishness

by Ayn Rand

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A collection of essays that sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, Ayn Rand's controversial, groundbreaking philosophy.

Since their initial publication, Rand's fictional works—Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged—have had a major impact on the intellectual scene. The underlying theme of her famous novels is her philosophy, a new morality—the ethics of rational self-interest—that offers a robust challenge to altruist-collectivist thought.

Known as Objectivism, her divisive philosophy holds human life—the life proper to a rational being—as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with man's nature. In this series of essays, Rand asks why man needs morality in the first place, and arrives at an answer that redefines a new code of ethics based on the virtue of selfishness.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101137222
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/1964
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 419,599
File size: 587 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Born February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938. It was with the publication of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) that she achieved her spectacular success. Rand’s unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience. The fundamentals of her philosophy are put forth in three nonfiction books, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Virtues of Selfishness, and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. They are all available in Signet editions, as is the magnificent statement of her artistic credo, The Romantic Manifesto.

Date of Birth:

February 2, 1905

Date of Death:

March 6, 1982

Place of Birth:

St. Petersburg, Russia

Place of Death:

New York, New York


Graduated with highest honors in history from the University of Petrograd, 1924

Table of Contents

The Virtue of Selfishness Introduction
1. The Objectivist Ethics, Ayn Rand (1961)
2. Mental Health versus Mysticism and Self-Sacrifice, Nathaniel Branden (1963)
3. The Ethics of Emergencies, Ayn Rand (1963)
4. The "Conflicts" of Men's Interests, Ayn Rand (1962)
5. Isn't Everyone Selfish?, Nathaniel Branden (1962)
6. The Psychology of Pleasure, Nathaniel Branden (1964)
7. Doesn't Life Require Compromise?, Ayn Rand (1962)
8. How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?, Ayn Rand (1962)
9. The Cult of Moral Grayness, Ayn Rand (1964)
10. Collectivized Ethics, Ayn Rand (1963)
11. The Monument Builders, Ayn Rand (1962)
12. Man's Rights, Ayn Rand (1963)
13. Collectivized "Rights", Ayn Rand (1963)
14. The Nature of Government, Ayn Rand (1963)
15. Government Financing in a Free Society, Ayn Rand (1964)
16. The Divine Right of Stagnation, Nathaniel Branden (1963)
17. Racism, Ayn Rand (1963)
18. Counterfeit Individualism, Nathaniel Branden (1962)
19. The Argument from Intimidation, Ayn Rand (1964)

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The Virtue of Selfishness: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the review from library journal and chuckle. Rand predicts a range of phenomenon including 'leftist intolerance for individualism' and the idea that colletcivism should be voluntary. It is ironic that the Library Journal review, which scorns her, also confirms her opinion. Do not be fooled. This work may not be objective, but its logic is accurate and cutting. I highly recomend this book. If you think you will disagree with it, then I challenge you to read it. What are you worried about, that it might change your mind? Read it all the way through, and weigh the truth of the work against reality, not propaganda. You may well learn a truth about yourself you would not have trusted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read the bad reviews that some people have given this book, or Ayn Rand herself, and I see that they do not understand Ayn Rand or her philosophy at all. She addresses all of their arguments clearly and logically. But, if you haven't read Ayn Rand before, as these "bad reviewers" obviously haven't; do not start with this book. Read: Anthem,The Fountainhead, or best of all, read Atlas Shrugged. This is why I gave it one star for being comprehensive, because her other works give her philosophy so much more vividness. In the end; her logic is hard to refute, and it is thought provoking in the highest degree. So give it a shot...the mental stimulation is well worth it.
CsAngel More than 1 year ago
This book can change the way you think about virtues. It uses language literally and explains clearly the difference between how the word "selfishness" is perceived and what it actually means. Ayn Rand has taught me to think very carefully about the difference between good and evil and her philosophy provides a clear outline for judging values in all aspects of life. Please note: this requires you to use your brain. I do disagree with one example in the book written by Nathaniel Branden concerning homosexuality. The wider abstraction he was making was logical, but the example used in this case could - in my opinion - be disproved.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read 'The Virtue of Selfishness' when I was in high school, shortly after reading Aristotle's 'De Anima' and some other works in philosophy. I thought then, and still do now, that she was addressing some of the most important philosophical issues in a unique, intelligent way. I loved reading it and was very happy to find someone who could defend rational egoism. Inspired by this book and a few others, I continued to study philosophy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book spells out the underlying philosophy behind Rand's great fiction novels, Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead. The Virtue of Selfishness makes an extremely convincing argument for individualism that I have not seen intelligently argued against. The book is a series of short essays that are readable and entertaining in one sense and thought provoking and intellectual in another, achieving a strong balance between the desire to learn and the desire to tear your hair out that other philosophical writing can induce. Nearly all the points that Rand and Branden make throughout address counter-arguments and utilize real life examples, vital to any credible persuasive writing. I had my doubts about Rand before I read any of her stuff, but now that I've actually given her work a chance it has changed my outlook and understanding on life. This book is the ideal start to delving into Ayn Rand's non fiction work.
ague on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great book. You cannot just listen to the critics of rational self-interest as they mostly don't know what they are talking about.
AshRyan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By way of review, I thought I would simply provide some brief excerpts from one of the essays in this collection, "The Argument from Intimidation", so that readers can get a glimpse of her reasoning and writing style. As an added bonus, these excerpts are relevant to some of the other reviews here:"[The Argument from Intimidation] is used in the form of an ultimatum demanding that the victim renounce a given idea without discussion, under threat of being considered morally unworthy..."All smears are Arguments from Intimidation: they consist of derogatory assertions without any evidence or proof, offered as a substitute for evidence or proof, aimed at the moral cowardice or unthinking credulity of the hearers..."A moral judgment must always follow, not precede (or supersede), the reasons on which it is based."When one gives reasons for one's verdict, one assumes responsibility for it and lays oneself open to objective judgment: if one's reasons are wrong or false, one suffers the consequences. But to condemn without giving reasons is an act of irresponsibility, a kind of moral 'hit-and-run' driving, which is the essence of the Argument from Intimidation."This book also includes Rand's groundbreaking essay on moral philosophy, "The Objectivist Ethics", as well as applications of her theory of rational egoism to produce original analyses of topics such as "Racism". A truly exceptional it for yourself and make up your own mind!
rnavarrete on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
ayn rand is a great author. She speaks like a prophet and changes my aspects.
jimmaclachlan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rand is always worth reading, even if I never entirely agree with her. She makes me think a lot & always broadens my vocabulary. Don't pick this up without a dictionary & a lot of quiet time. It's not a quick read, but something I read in small doses over several months. She makes a very valid point for selfishness & being aware of her views on it have helped me understand myself & others much better. Really an amazing departure from the politically correct but logically supported & thought through.
antiquary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A libertarian friend says Rand has good ideas but writes badly,. I find her the reverse: she writes well but has impractical ideas.
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