Rand defends egoism as that what brings individual happiness and productive achievement to human life. She defends it as, too, rooted in rationalism.
One's goal in life, rationally, is one's own survival, and then the opportunity to thrive through productive work, which she calls the
central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result.
Happiness for Rand comes through the active life of producing value. The productive life can be a virtuous life, but it doesn't have to be.
In Rand's "commonsense" morality, she rejects a psychopathic focus on self-interest that is indifferent to the suffering of others, and advocates generosity and kindness if it serves one's personal interests, doesn't cost the giver too much (if it is affordable), and if the person in need of help is worthy of being helped.
Philosophers, however, have critiqued Rand's emphasis on individual happiness and productivity as leaving out vast swathes of what is traditionally part of ethics—unless these traditional parts serve individual self-interest. In the ethical tradition that Rand rejects, we don't help other people, forgive them, or show generosity to them simply because it serves ours needs or interests or doesn't inconvenience us; the focus normally is on the other person and what their needs are.
The society Rand envisions has been critiqued for putting too much emphasis on the needs of the winners and achievers and not enough on the ethical imperative many feel to value human—and animal and plant—life, not simply for its use value in the capitalist system, but for itself. Rand tends to miss the idea that anyone—even the greatest—is one accident away from vulnerability, and that perhaps people should be valued for being human beings, not for what they produce.