All of us have tried something and failed. The question then is, "How did this happen?" The answers are sometimes complex, but one central feature under each person's control is whether he or she can claim some amount of responsibility for their thinking, feeling, and behaving.
Self-responsibility and accountability are the heart of Branden's self-help book, especially the notion that each person is accountable for choices, decisions, actions, beliefs, values, management of time, choice of companions, and one's own happiness. At some level, this self-help book is a refreshing reality-based tonic.
Branden also talks about self-responsibility in organizations, which I found helpful. Less helpful, however, is his condemnation of welfare, because he does not take into account the lack of responsibility in the people who made the welfare system so "good." Also, he does not take into account the realistic difficulties that people in poverty have, nor the success stories of families who have emerged from poverty. In this sense, he presages O'Reilly. He would have been more consistent by talking about the destruction of responsibility by drugs and alcohol.
This is a short read. I hope you enjoy it.