For most of man's existence on Earth, the universe has been anything but benevolent. Famines, floods, and earthquakes have destroyed whole populations. The plague ravaged Europe during the Middle Ages. Even in the nineteenth century, two out of three people died as children. On the frontier, starvation was not that uncommon after a long winter or a drought.
The entrepreneurial spirit is the spirit of enterprise: ambition to succeed, initiative in taking action, alertness to opportunity.
Presented at The Objectivist Center 2003 Summer Seminar in Boston, MAI've been an attendee or organizer of Objectivist groups for a long time, back before the days of personal computers, email and the Internet. I lived in Boston for 17 years where I attended the Prometheus Forum, the Ford Hall Forum festivities, and events given by various campus clubs. With Howie Katz, I started a group that met weekly in my apartment for several years in the late 80's. Subsequent to that, I met monthly with a group of Objectivist friends at a Chinese restaurant in Acton for dinner and conversation. My husband and I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1994 where I was lacking in Objectivist companionship. I briefly attended an ARI campus group at Arizona State University. I say briefly because at the second meeting, it was suggested that we sign a loyalty oath stating that we would not monetarily support or read any information from the Institute for Objectivist Studies, now TOC, or David Kelley. I left in disgust, thinking, "I should start my own group!" After all, there must be some interest because the ASU campus group had 50 people at the initial meeting, many not students. But, I didn't know how to go about starting a group. As an independent thinker, I knew I wouldn't be sanctioned by ARI and I was not a student so a campus club didn't really interest me. In 1998, I attended the TOC Summer Seminar in Boulder, CO, where I met Bill Perry, Jim Kirk and Shawn Klein. Bill, Jim, Shawn and I started...
With only a little imagination, Atlas Shrugged may be read as a tale about ingratitude. Many passages make the point, but the most instructive one occurs in the scene from which Rand's novel takes its name. The participants are Rearden and Francisco.
Autobiography. By Benjamin Franklin. Numerous editions. In The Great Gatsby, in order to traduce the bourgeois tradition of boot-strapping, F. Scott Fitzgerald parodied the self-help program of Franklin's Autobiography. That alone would secure this work an honorable place in the pantheon of success literature. Ironically, though, three facts mitigate against considering Franklin's Autobiography a self-help guide. First, it is in fact an autobiography. Memoirs of Dr. Franklin, written by Himself was the title under which the work was long known. Secondly, the work was never intended to offer the public either advice on personal success or examples of it. Rather, the work was intended as a family memoir, having been composed for Franklin's son. Lastly, as a consequent of the second point, the "self-help" section of the Autobiography is less than 10 percent of the whole. Nevertheless, Americans have long looked upon Franklin's book as their first and greatest work on self-help, and that is how it is considered here. Now, advice on how to get ahead in the world has been offered at least since the time of the Sophists. What makes Franklin's Autobiography original is that it offers self-help instruction for the Enlightenment world. Written in 1771, it illustrates through Franklin's life the new ways in which Enlightenment society had opened up for people who were not well-born. Unlike earlier self-help works, that is, the...

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