Ayn Rand was once asked if she could present the essence of her philosophy while standing on one foot. She answered: Metaphysics: Objective Reality; Epistemology: Reason; Ethics: Self-interest; Politics: Capitalism. I first encountered Ayn Rand through her works of fiction as a young woman barely out of my teens. Back then I was already an atheist, one with a great belief in science and reason. There was nothing in her "metaphysics" or "epistemology" that I found the least bit surprising or controversial--indeed in essentials I already agreed with her. Her ethics and her politics were a different story. I remember reading Atlas Shrugged and thinking "you crazy bitch." But she did touch off a revolution in my thinking, changing me from a liberal to a libertarian. Do I agree with everything within these pages? Well, let's say there is still much of it where I have doubts, and where I feel uneasy about her prescriptions. Her views are radical--and she knew it and was unapologetic about it. But at least at the time I picked this book up, I had literally never encountered her arguments. When I read it was (barely) pre-blogosphere, before the rise of talk radio or FOX News. What I knew of history and public policy from my New York City public education made Franklin Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson the heroes of our times. I had never heard a dissenting voice from that. I don't know that I--or readers new to this book--would find this such a fresh perspective now. But I did--and it really made me think and go read more.