Ayn Rand on Unsolicited Advice

Another favorite passage of mine from Atlas Shrugged that doesn’t qualify for the blockbuster category is a statement by Francisco d’Anconia. Jim Taggart, who is about to enter his senior year of college, tells Francisco that the millions of dollars he’s about to inherit are not for his personal pleasure but, rather, are a “trust” that should be used to benefit the underprivileged and the poor.

Francisco replies: “It is not advisable, James, to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener.”

I’ve almost never appreciated unsolicited advice. I try to model that by not giving advice without first asking whether it’s welcome.

The passage tangentially reminds me of an Allan Sherman song titled “Good Advice.” I still remember the refrain:

And that was good advice, good advice,

Good advice costs nothing and it’s worth the price.