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I find "Early Ayn Rand" to be well edited and well organized with helpful introductions to each work by Leonard Peikoff. The introductions are so good that readers can skip "Art of Fiction" by Rand because "Early Ayn Rand" contains the same concepts in more concise form.
I disagree with Mr. Peikoff's recommendation to read Rand's novels first and these early works second. A serious thinker who wants to understand Rand and never read anything by her could best understand her philosophy by reading the works in chronological order, starting with "Early Ayn Rand" and ending with her masterpiece "Atlas Shrugged."
Most of the works in the "Early Ayn Rand" anthology were not intended for publication and therefore are best used to observe the process by which Rand developed her writing skills and her philosophy in steps over several decades. The works begin as short and entertaining theatrical bits but gradually get more philosophical.
Here are the works included:
(1) The Husband I Bought - first person with a protagonist who is a woman in love
(2) The Night King - first person with a protagonist who is a male thief
(3) Good Copy - action and romance
(4) Escort - very short
(5) Her Second Career - about the difficulty of succeeding in Hollywood
(6) Red Pawn - getting more philosophical now, about the stupidity of self-sacrifice
(7) We the Living (deleted sections) - not so great
(8) Ideal - written as a play, excellent philosophically
(9) Think Twice - written as a play, excellent philosophically
(10) Fountainhead (deleted sections) - excellent, Rourke's old girlfriend Vesta Dunning and their opposing philosophies
(11) The Simplest Thing in the World - common human trait of striving to put other people down
Regarding the "Audible" version: The narration by Bernadette Dunne is excellent. However, stories (2) and (3) should have been narrated by a man.
John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"
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