Rand’s Objectivist philosophy — which calls for facts over feelings, reason over mysticism, individual over state, and selfishness before altruism — wouldn’t have reached the masses if not for her books. Her first best seller, The Fountainhead, weaved those Objectivist beliefs into the speeches of the book’s hero, architect Howard Roark. Roark, who faces trial for dynamiting a building that he designed after his architectural plans were changed behind his back, tells the jury that he lives on his own terms, with no obligation to men except “ to respect their freedom and to take no part in a slave society.”
How did a Russian-born novelist become such an influential “ thought leader” for American CEOs, entrepreneurs, and MBAs — and even Alan Greenspan? Consider the message behind Ayn Rand best sellers The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged , which speaks to anyone with ambition and a big ego: “ The gifted should do what’s in their self-interest. If you have a sharp mind, it is your moral responsibility to make yourself happy.” The weak are not your problem.
“ If you separate the government from economics, “ If you do not regulate production and trade”… You will have peaceful cooperation, harmony, and justice among men.”
Rand wasn’t the first to argue that government control destroys the entrepreneurial spirit . But it was Rand who went a step further to claim that men are morally obligated to fight for these freedoms.
“ I am for an absolute laissez-faire, free, unregulated economy,” Rand to CBS interviewer Mike Wallace in 1959.
Drafts of Atlas Shrugged were read by the young Alan Greenspan, who belonged to Rand’s exclusive “Collective,” a group that evangelized Rand’s writings and, in Greenspan’s case, politicized them. Greenspan managed the economic boom of the 1990s on the strength of these ideas, fighting regulatory controls that threatened the free market.
But with the Internet bust and corporate scandals that followed, even Greenspan relented as economists scratched their heads over what went wrong. “ An infectious greed seemed to grip much of our business community,” Greenspan told The New York Times in 2002.
Rand’s critics claim that the current financial crisis proves her theories unrealistic and selfish. “Her economic ideas were never really relevant or workable,” says Rick Wilson, a sociology instructor at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., which offers a class on Rand’s writings. “ The time we’re living through is just another example of that.”
And yet 51 years after Atlas Shrugged was published, Rand’s writing still wields considerable influence in businesses.
Change management lessons for business leaders <ul><li>No business theory has eternal PLC </li></ul><ul><li>Continuously challenging the status quo and constantly asking WHY will challenge prevailing assumptions and create new opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>It is a collaborative interdependent world….growth in “second life” converts dreams to reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Except the universal truth that man is born to learn and explore…the rest is continuously changing </li></ul><ul><li>Just that ……..you have got to be ….. </li></ul><ul><li>Hungry for Change ” </li></ul>
So in this interdependent, collaborative and intertwined world, where governments and physical frontiers are fast losing meaning,…build castles in the air… because it is only when you build them in the air will you be able to build them anywhere. And while you are at it remember to remember that…..
To transcend change You have to be hungry for change
Kamal Kapoor Change Management [email_address]