An experience with a philosopher that motivates me to commit to earn a business degree in the hope of becoming a future leader of a global, free enterprise society. When I was in high school, spending my summer in Bulgaria, I was looking for a romance novel to take with me to the Black Sea beaches. My dad suggested Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. I took his advice and discovered much more than a love story in the pages of the book. The novel helped me understand markets and the role of profits. I saw entrepreneurship as a major engine of human progress and the most effective source of wealth creation. And I realized that it must be defended as consistent with human nature and the principles of justice. I had seen markets portrayed as casinos where one wins at the expense of another. I had heard profits explained as results of exploitation. Ayn Rand showed me that the free enterprise system was based on the "recognition of individual rights" and personal responsibility. The book showed me how, in a series of peaceful, voluntary transactions, the productive individual uses the power of reasoning to understand his environment and to reshape it in the "image of one's values." Earned success is the entrepreneur's path for personal fulfillment. Profits indicate that entrepreneurs have made the world a wealthier place by turning resources of lower value into consumer products of higher value. There is no choice between an economy that produces for the people and one that works for profit. They are the same thing. The only way entrepreneurs can benefit themselves is by serving the rest of us. Seeking profit is the most efficient way to answer the questions "what, how, and for whom" to produce. It allows individuals to pursue their dreams and to achieve happiness by their own honest efforts. Markets reward ingenuity, providing incentives for the entrepreneur to be creative. Rand's characters in Atlas Shrugged taught me that happiness was not just about material well-being. Personal fulfillment is impossible without self-respect and seeing value in one's character. Individuals thrive only if their creative energies are uninhibited. To achieve happiness, we must be free to think and act in accordance with our values. Free enterprise means freedom of choice - the best environment for moral behavior, character development, and pursuit of happiness. Business is often disparaged as a greedy and soulless occupation. It must be glorified for unleashing the creative potential of millions of ordinary men and women. Atlas Shrugged motivated me to study business and become a future leader of a global, free enterprise society.
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