- Mass Market Paperback: 173 pages
- Publisher: Signet; Mass Paperback Edition edition (November 1, 1964)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780451163936
- ISBN-13: 978-0451163936
- ASIN: 0451163931
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2,292 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Virtue of Selfishness: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition Mass Market Paperback – CLV, November 1, 1964
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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.
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The book itself deserves five stars. I've noticed patterns and even complete lines that were later found in Atlas Shrugged but it is an amazing worship to the human individualism and might. If someone asked me what this book is about, I might answer "why, you and I, the humans, are great".
Howard Roark is an amazing character, far better than Francisco D'Anconia, John Galt or Henry Rearden. It feels like someone you can identify with and it is impossible not to love. On the other side, Toohey was the best defined villan in the industry of literature. By the end of the book you hate his guts and you want him to die a slow and painful death.
The only "problem" with this book is that there is no real completion. There is no real happy ending. There is only a bitter sweet conclusion. You wish it could go 200 pages more so the fate of one character in special would change. Compared to Atlas Shrugged where these is a finality to everything as everyone either dies, goes insane or simply loses, here it feels like it is missing an act.
The most representative example is Wynand. The good guy gone bad gone good who in some way you feel pity for. In the movie he committed suicide. In the book he doesn't. And by the end of the book, my only concern was with him.
You know how in some books one person sacrifices himself all for the right reason?
You know how in others one person betrays for all the right reasons?
Now combine these two and you will have a tragic character, one that you love and want to hate but you can't.
In any case, that's beside the point of this review. If you consider the human animal is insignificant in front of a god or nature, if you consider that people are equal because of their existence and not competence, if you consider that need comes before competence and that ego is a bad thing, that pride is evil, then DO NOT read this book.
It will just annoy you. This is a book for those who love themselves, who love the best in human nature and who want to celebrate this. It is the American Dream.