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The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism Hardcover – 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Cobden Press / Laissez Faire B; 1st. edition (2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0981953611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981953618
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Theodore Keer on December 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
With all the news this year about Ayn Rand -- the record-smashing sales of her decades-old novels, her name on Tea Party placards, the publication of her collected interviews, and not just one but two mainstream biographies -- perhaps the most exciting is the publication of this book, presenting for the first time in print the lecture series Rand authorized Nathaniel Branden to disseminate to teach her philosophy.

While the two recent Rand biographies describe her from an outside viewpoint -- her place on the American Right and among libertarians worldwide, the popularity of her fiction, and the extreme reactions, positive and negative, she provokes in readers -- neither memoir actually delves into the details and the essence of her philosophical system. Yes, you may know that she stood for "reality, reason, enlightened self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism." But if you don't know what she meant by the "fallacy of the stolen concept," or if you can't explain the meta-ethical "indestructible robot" thought-experiment on which she grounds her argument for the secular objectivity of ethical truths then you do not understand her philosophy. Christopher Hitchens holds that you cannot refute an argument which you have not stated in its own strongest form. Nathaniel Branden says, "One does not know a philosophy if ones knows merely its conclusions, but not the reasoning that led to them." Whether you want to attack or defend or merely learn Ayn Rand's philosophy, this book will provide you with all the essential points upon which to base your judgments and enough concrete examples to make sure your understanding is well grounded.

Yet, for all its value, the book does have its complications.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roger E. Bissell on December 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In 2009, I had the great privilege and honor, as editor of Nathaniel Branden's classic lectures on The Basic Principles of Objectivism, of helping to steer them toward book publication. Originally delivered internationally during the 1960s live and via tape transcription, under the auspices of the Nathaniel Branden Institute, this series of 20 lectures was the first systematic presentation of Ayn Rand's philosophy of which she personally approved.

The Basic Principles lectures were first sold commercially as LP recordings by Academic Associates beginning in 1969 and were later distributed as CDs by Laissez Faire Books and by The Objectivist Center (now The Atlas Society). With their hardbound and soft cover publication in January of 2010, however, they have forever escaped their confinement in the "oral (and aural) tradition" of the Objectivist movement and exist now as a tangible entity that one can hold in one's hand and take in with one's eyes and, most importantly, study in a much more convenient manner.

Later systematic treatments of Objectivism, such as Leonard Peikoff's 1976 lectures, revised and published in 1991 as Objectivism: the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, had certain refinements and content not present in Branden's version, but the same is true of Branden's lectures as well. His pioneering material on self-esteem and its philosophical importance is a prime example. Also, his first lecture and the final two are quite inspirational bookends to the series and provide a very good historical and spiritual contextualizing of the philosophy.

The title selected for Branden's book highlights not only the intellectual core of the series, but also the intuitive, spiritual heart of Rand's philosophy, and its source in her early childhood experience and thinking.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mindmatters on March 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Accept no substitutes. This is the original lecture series that spread the "gospel" of Ayn Rand to the masses and by far, the best! Like him or not, Nathaniel Branden's contribution to Objectivism is second to only one -- Ayn Rand. He wields Occam's razor with all the grace and dexterity of a surgeon holding a scalpel. Even if you're not a fan, buy this book anyway. It'll give you a deeper understanding of the philosophy and a greater appreciation for it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Goglia on February 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As reader of Ayn Rand's and the Objectivist philosophy , I find these NBI lectures invaluable.Written with such clarity and intelligence, Dr. Branden lectures are a refreshing contribution to Objectivism and the interest it continues to have since the first publication of Ayn Rand's classic novel, The Fountainhead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Manhattan on November 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a transcript of the 20 lecture series Branden gave, which Ayn Rand supervised. She had to have been pleased with every word of it since she sat in the audience and applauded each lecture.
My husband was at the first public lecture in the series...there were so many people attending that they couldn't all fit in the hall rented for the lecture. Ayn Rand took a copy of the first lecture and read it to people who'd been moved to a second room. Then she and Branden switched rooms and did their question and answer sessions with the opposite audience.
As far as I know, this was the first time her ideas were pulled together and presented as a formal philosophy.
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