Understanding Objectivism

New American Library has published a series of lectures about objectivism, seizing on the uptick in Ayn Rand interest among entrepreneurs.


(Photo: Natalie Castellino)

UNDERSTANDING OBJECTIVISM: A Guide to Learning Ayn Rand’s Philosophy
(New American Library)
Leonard Peikoff

Yogawear juggernaut Lululemon raised a few eyebrows last fall when word got out about the not-so-subtle Ayn Rand messaging on its shopping bags. Lulu, after all, embodies a sort of warm and communitarian capitalism; Rand’s objectivist philosophy, by contrast, preaches the pursuit of rational self-interest and the inherent morality of laissez-faire capitalism. Still, for all the media uproar, it’s fair to say that few of the shoppers walking out of Lululemon stores with $98 Groove Pants would have been able to answer the question “Who is John Galt?”—the catchphrase from Rand’s seminal novel, Atlas Shrugged —adorning their bags.

Rand, however, has long been a popular philosopher among the C-suite crowd—from Lululemon founder Chip Wilson to John Mackey, CEO of another touchy-feely-earthy company, Whole Foods, to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Seizing on the uptick in interest in Rand, New American Library has recently published a series of edited lectures by Leonard Peikoff, founder of the Ayn Rand Institute, to help expand our understanding of objectivism. Peikoff also helpfully answers the burning pop-culture question: If the movie E.T. is anti-adult and anti-science—as, by objectivist philosophy, it clearly is—does that make it inherently evil and irrational?