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Philosophy: Who Needs It

(The Ayn Rand Library #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,824 ratings  ·  126 reviews
This collection of essays was the last work planned by Ayn Rand before her death in 1982. In it, she summarizes her view of philosophy and deals with a broad spectrum of topics. According to Ayn Rand, the choice we make is not whether to have a philosophy, but which one to have: rational, conscious, and therefore practical; or contradictory, unidentified, and ultimately le ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published November 1st 1984 by Signet Book (first published 1982)
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Jan 25, 2009 added it
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 ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, philosophy
Ayn Rand presents her philosophical views via this collection of essays, including letters and lectures / presentations, in an exploration of varying topics...

These statements in chapter 17 were of particular interest:
"Do not keep silent when your own ideas and values are being attacked.
Do not proselytize indiscriminately, do not force discussions and arguments on those who are not interested or on those who are not willing to argue it is not your job to save everyone's soul. If you do the thin
Otto Lehto
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
No small contribution to philosophy; in fact, no contribution whatsoever.

(It does get better by the end, though, and there are a couple of good essays between long, uninteresting diatribes against Kant, Hegel, American pragmatism and every other kind of philosophy not written by Ms. Rand herself.)

PS. If you want to read Ayn Rand at her best, read Virtue of Selfishness instead: it's succinct and doesn't stray too far from Rand's strengths (Romantic hero worship of strong individuals, and proselyt
Part VI of a multi-part review series.

Rand’s last work, but it’s just more of the same.

Peikoff’s introduction indicates that Rand showed, in Atlas Shrugged, that bad epistemology leads to “train wrecks, furnace breakouts, and sexual impotence” (vii). Good to know! Same introduction dismisses non-randian philosophy as “a senseless parade of abstractions to fill out the ritual at cocktail parties” and “a ponderous Continental wail of futility resonating with Oriental overtones” (viii).

Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 compl
Kelly Murray
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The bottom line is, we all live by a philosophy- whether or not we're aware of it. This book shows you why it's so important to know what kind of philosophy you're living and making choices by, and makes one aware of how their pattern of coming to conclusions affects everything about their being. A must read for anyone interested in understanding their inner workings better. ...more
Matthew W
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Easily the worst book I have read thus far by Rand. I grew respect for Rand after reading "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution." I found the "The New Left" to be enlightening as to why modern academia is an irrational and corrosive bad joke. Sadly, "The New Left" is the only book I can recommend by Rand that I completely agree with. Rand seemed to have a pathological hatred of Emmanuel Kant that gets old quite quick. I was also annoyed to see Rand besmirches her former influence Friedri ...more
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-non-fiction
It's actually pays to read Atlas Shrugged (1957) and to lesser extend Capitalism: the unknown ideal (1966) before reading this book because Ayn Rand made a lot of reference from these books to make her point across. It's hard to follow if you're not familiar with her other works.
You won't believe that the compilation of articles in this book was written in the early 70s in which Ayn's succinctly peeling off layer by layer the moral, cultural, societal, intellectual decays of her time in the US a
Nope. just not going to happen.
The only people I can see this book appealing to are one's with the same psychopathic tendencies and Rand herself.
This book would resonate with people looking for a way to make selfishness justifiable in every aspect of life, for those who have a complete lack of empathy and think compassion an unnecessary weakness... or those who have no idea what either of those actually are.
This was just too depressing to finish, especially when I realised there is a whole mess
Haider Al-Mosawi
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
K.A. Ashcomb
Oct 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Philosophy: Who Needs It is a collection of essays by Ayn Rand. In them, she summarizes her philosophical views and argues for rationality and unbiased observation, and brings up her objectivism philosophy. She sees philosophical principles important part of our lives, arguments, and communication. She argues that we should understand philosophy better to understand better how we all use it in our lives even in things like proverbs.

I agree with Ayn Rand on the importance of philosophy, using rat
John Martindale
May 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
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. Li
Michael Lewyn
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Someone with whom I was not getting along with once said "Who you are speaks so loud that I can't hear what you say." That would be an accurate summary of my feelings about this book. Rand's furious rhetoric speaks so loud that her message gets overshadowed; I get the impression that if Rand was alive today, her emails would be full of angry CAPITAL LETTERS to show how FURIOUS she is that people were too stupid to see the world the way she does.

Her treatment of 18th-c. philosopher Emanuel Kant i
Nerine Dorman
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
While I’m a big fan of Ayn Rand’s works I am, by equal measure, aware of the fact that she can and does froth a little when she hits particular topics. While my own knowledge of philosophy is still very sketchy at best, I did find this slim volume to be a somewhat useful supplement to her other titles that I’ve read, though don’t feel as if this collection of essays covered any fresh ground.

She examines why we need philosophy (of course we do) and the realisation that this is an integral part of
Brad Dugg
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a powerful book and there are few books that question our own faith and also give us an alternative way of thinking, this is one such book. A collection of essays by Ayn Rand edited by Leonard Peikoff, this books has all it takes for a must read book.

I was introduced to Ayn Rand with her novel "The Fountainhead" and in my exploration of Ayn Rand and her thought process, I supposed that this book "Philosophy: Who Needs It" would help me know more about Ayn Rand and her philosophy and also
José Antonio Lopez
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It was interesting to see how current still are Rand's concerns. The book also opened the door of other authors who she critique. Important to understand the roots of the opposite views.

Since the book is a collection of essays it is easy to read and reflect one at a time.

In the end the battle for freedom is an intellectual battle. Lots has been said about other sciences yet the enemies of freedom get stronger under the shade of indifference and ignorance. "Philosophy Who needs it" is an invitati
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
Have you read and studied philosophy in the past and still not learned much of how it applies to life or for that matter, remember much of anything related to philosophy save for some worn out names? This is the book on philosophy that reviews what it is and why we need it in every aspect of our lives.
Akash Salve
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best thing about this book is not that you will agree with every conclusion but you will be motivated to draw your own conclusions on sound basis of reason.
Jim Brown
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an interim review.

I find that portions of this book are absoutely profound and very profetic. Until I began reading Rand's book I thought I had a good grasp on my volcabulary but her book has proven me wrong. I have paused my reading and will do it on my computer as it will enable me to immediatley research some of the words she used that frankly I had never heard of before let alone understand their meaning. As such the book does NOT flow for me and I therefore find it at times difficul
Matt Smart
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Any Rand’s first two essays are worth the price of admission. Her central thesis is that philosophy underpins everything we do, say, or think whether we acknowledge this or not. It is therefore, in one’s own interest that they examine their core philosophical beliefs so that they may form their life in accordance to their own values, not the values that rub off from others. It’s witty and compelling.

Her essays

Philosophy: who needs it?
Philosophical Detection

Should be considered necessary read
George Mihailidis
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"The sense-of-life emotion which, in Europe, makes people uncertain, malleable and easy to rule, is unknown in America: fundamental guilt. No one, so far, has been able to infect America with that contemptible feeling (and I doubt that anyone ever will). Americans cannot begin to grasp the kind of corruption implied and demanded by that feeling."
So many times, while reading this book, I got the impression that Ayn Rand was talking about events taking place in America right now.
It's like, every
April Hawkins
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This is an excellent work by Ayn Rand. Not only is it about philosophy, it's primarily about why philosophy is important. She highlights instances in American life that need addressing with rational philosophy. She also predicts the rise of a dictator in the coming decades (Donald Trump?). Who knows, but I'm frightened enough to become more active in fighting those who want to destroy man's mind. ...more
Joe Michalak
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
While this doesn't necessarily acheive the same level as the novels, and at times is predictable, it does encourage one to think about the facets of any political belief. A reccomended next step is Walter Block's "Defending the Undefendable" (available as a free pdf on the Mises Institute website). ...more
Kayla DePriest
This edition was a copy of Ayn Rand's speech to West Point. Her priority in doing so was to enlighten the graduates on the topic of the power of philosophy and the need of it. She also expressed her concern about emotions playing a role in politics and life choices in general. It was a short and sweet read, which I appreciated. ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could share all of the important quotes from this book, but I will only share this one:

"We cannot fight against anything, unless we fight for something.... The philosophy we need is a conceptual equivalent of America's sense of life.... But isn't that a magnificent goal to fight for?"
Slowly chipped away it and I’m glad that I did. Each essay is well written and deserves to be fully understood. A great book that is extremely informative and well written. Ayn Rand is both a great writer of fiction and of nonfiction.
Mike C
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good intro to philosophy from the perspective of what philosophical questions, issues, and misconceptions are relevant to her philosophy. Though, there are lots of claims that are hard to buy on an initial read, without having read that which she opposes.
Skylar Burris
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
I rate it only two stars because it was just more of the same sort of thing to be found in her other books; it's not a necessary addition to her works. ...more
Shawn Raiford
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ayn Rand was an amazing thinker, and I am glad to have read this book! Awesome!
Bryant Blair
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. However, if someone is new to Rand's writings, I would recommend some of her other works as this book tends to go a little deeper on her philosophy. ...more
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