Could someone briefly explain Ayn Rand's philosophy; objectivism?

I've read "Atlas Shrugged" and would like to attempt "The Fountainhead" soon, but before I do I would like a better understanding of what Objectivism is. Could someone briefly describe the main tenets of that philosophy?

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Reardon spent much of his life developing his metal just as another character spent much of his developing his engine (no names, don't want to ruin the book for others). In both, others try to guilt them into sharing their creation for the good of all instead of profiting (a virtue to many) but both refuse because to the heroes in the tale, charity is not a virtue and greed is not a sin.
Being compensated for your life's work is hardly unreasonable.

If I asked you to send me a check weekly with 70% of your pay in it, would that be reasonable? You'll note the comment inside the book where a reporter said something along the lines of "so this is lighter than steel, will outlast steel by a factor of ten and it is cheaper to buy?" And the reporter was told "oh, so you noticed that did you?"

Asking for payment is not wrong. Demanding something unearned, is.
Are you debating something I said because I don't see it in your comment

Her epistemology is that there is a reality independent of our senses, but which we can best detect through our senses. It does not seem to be a very sophisticated or developed theory of knowledge and certainly does not seem to betray any knowledge of or interaction with the field of epistemology and the many theories of knowledge from ancient to modern times.

Reality as a primary and independent of consciousness is Aristotle's discovery that Ayn Rand took as a foundation of her philosophy. Her own epistemological crowning achievement is her theory of concepts: concepts are objective, i.e. based on reality and formed by a rational method. This is her solution to the "problem of the universals". Check out Rand's "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" for details. And, it's only a ~100 pages long.

In between Aristotle and Rand are nearly 2500 years of philosophy, and I don't really see her engaging with any of that.

She chose to not "engage with any of that" because she considered and rejected it as being false. Was she right? You have to read her arguments.

Lack of engagement is a signal that a person doesn't have the intellectual rigor to be taken seriously.

Who cares? The bigger question is, does Ms. Rand's philosophy work? Yes, and not. Just like all of them.

To blithely make your claim implies that you can scale even higher heights.

I know little about Rand.  Did she engage with Aristotle?

Her notion of "happiness" appears to me to be related to the Aristotelian ideal.

The problem is that 'reality' (i.e. what is actually happening in the universe) is subjective to each of us and that subjectivity is due to the manner in which our senses percieve and our brain filters and prioritizes.  Then, on top of that, you have emotions thrown in for good measure.  Then, on top of that, you've got our experiences and education (about the world and life) filtering and coloring perceptions even further.  Then, on top of that, you've got your reaction to what you thought you saw; again colored by emotions, experiences, and education, and genetics (and epi-genetics).  In the end you have to ask "Did I just see what I thought I saw?".  The answer is "Yes" and "No".


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