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Understanding Objectivism: A Guide to Learning Ayn Rand's Philosophy Paperback – March 6, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael S. Berliner is co-chairman of the Board of Directors at the Ayn Rand Institute and senior advisor to the Ayn Rand Archives. He is the editor of The Letters of Ayn Rand.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 1st edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451236297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451236296
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #625,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Excellent course given in the 80s now in book form. Describes what is and isn't philosophy and the practical reasons we need philosophy. You can hate skyscrapers and love Beethoven and this would not preclude you from being an objectivist. Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's best student gave this course. Here is a chance to see how well he presents her ideas. The people who attack him have never heard him and this a chance to form your own opinion.
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I attended these lectures when they were originally given in NYC in 1983. Now that I have had the opportunity to read them at a slow pace, I realize that there was a lot of material that I didn't fully understand at the time. Reading the lectures, I can now appreciate how brilliant they really are. For anyone who missed these lectures this book is "required" reading.
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I had read Peikoff's OPAR years ago, liked it, but found myself struggling to understand much of it. I'm not sure if I'm more learned now, or if this is just a better read, but it drew me right in and never lost me. I really didn't realize how brilliant Peikoff is until I read these lectures. He helped me to truly grasp and understand many concepts like I never have before. All the material on how to concretize a principle was amazing, and I'm sure it's affected my own teaching style. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read the last chapter first and if you are new to applying the philosophy, I would recommend this. The last chapter addresses what I think stops many people from going further into the study of Ayn Rand's philosophy - the current state of the world and how to live in it and how to judge people. Dr. Peikoff is honest and benevolent and is a wonderful teacher. Berliner did an excellent job of editing the taped course. After reading the last chapter, you will be motivated to continue your study of the rest of the book which I am still chewing. Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
This is heavy, detailed stuff, "chewing" the very principals and primaries of the philosophy. Suggested reading after you have read Peikoff's previous works.
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It's a great pleasure to be able to return to the lectures I attended 30 years ago. I can hear Leonard's voice in every sentence. This material in this form is just what has been lacking for so many years. It's an important step toward bringing Ayn Rand's achievement into better focus for the many fans of her works. In addition, for those that were lucky enough to attend the NBI lectures, this is an opportunity for a "tune-up" and a reinvigorating experience.
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Leonrd Peikoff's Understanding Objectivism ofers many valuable insights into better understandings of fundemental Objectivist concepts. As a transcription of a recent lecture series and a precursor to his highly anticipated and just released DIM Theory, this book addresses several common misconceptions and learning a better understanding of Objectivist philosophy.

The book begins with several Objectivist student demonstrations which Dr Peikoff then elaborates on their errors and proper understandings. He then goes into much greater technical details of Objectivist epistemology which may not be of interest to those who don't consider them as interesting as Ayn Rand's Objectivist fiction and her artistic expressions of romantic realism. But his technical details are of great value to anyone who's interested in the so called mechanics of Objectivist epistemology, psychology, politics, economics, and aesthetics.

Dr Peikoff not only corrects the common errors of many Objectivist students, Ayn Rand admirers and adversaries, academics, and just palin casual observers, he also includes himself in several examples. He points out how his extended conversations with Ayn Rand herself helped him unlearn many of his own misconceptions and acheive a much clearer level of rational thought. I'll continue to re-read this book along with Ayn Rand's Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology which it extrapolates on.
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I attended the original lecture course, but if you know a little about Objectivism and want to know more, this book is an inexpensive way to learn. I think you can still buy the course from the Ayn Rand Institute bookstore, but some people prefer to read and so do I. So I am in the process of 'taking the course' again and I find it very stimulating.
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