In these essays, Ayn Rand reveals the hidden philosophic premises at work in the human soul. Her powerful mind ranges to every corner of the culture; her brilliant pen writes with the dispassionate clarity and passionate eloquence that are her literary trademarks. The book's theme is expressed in the title essay, originally given as an address to a graduating class at West Point. To the question: "Who needs philosophy?" Miss Rand answere: "Everyone." "A philosophic system," she writes, "is and intefrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought...or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions........" Philosophy, according to Ayn Rand, is the fundamental factor in human life; consciously or subconsciously, it is the basic factor that shapes the character of men, and the culture and destiny of nations. It shapes them for good or for evil, depending on the kind of philosophy they accept. Our choice, Miss Rand holds, is this : a philosophy of reason, rational selfishness, and laissez-faire capitalism--or a philosophy of irrationalism, altruism, and collectivism. Today's world, she believes, is being destroyed by these latter ideas. The philosophy of reason she offers as the alternative is called Objectivism.