76 Facts About Ayn Rand


Ayn Rand is known for her fiction and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism.


In 1957, Rand published her best-selling work, the novel Atlas Shrugged.


Ayn Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge; she rejected faith and religion.


Ayn Rand supported rational and ethical egoism as opposed to altruism.


Ayn Rand was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and classical liberals.


Ayn Rand's fiction received mixed reviews from literary critics, with reviews becoming more negative for her later work.


Ayn Rand's writings have politically influenced some right-libertarians and conservatives.


Ayn Rand was the eldest of three daughters of Zinovy Zakharovich Rosenbaum, a pharmacist, and Anna Borisovna.


When Russian universities were opened to women after the revolution, Ayn Rand was among the first to enroll at Petrograd State University.


Ayn Rand was among these reinstated students and she completed her studies at the renamed Leningrad State University in October 1924.


Ayn Rand then studied for a year at the State Technicum for Screen Arts in Leningrad.


In late 1925, Ayn Rand was granted a visa to visit relatives in Chicago.


Ayn Rand made several attempts to bring her parents and sisters to the United States, but they were unable to obtain permission to emigrate.


Ayn Rand adapted the story as a stage play, but the Broadway production was a failure and closed in less than a week.


Ayn Rand started her next major novel, The Fountainhead, in December 1935, but took a break from it in 1937 to write her novella Anthem.


Ayn Rand became friends with journalist Henry Hazlitt, who introduced her to the Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises.


Ayn Rand questioned her about American history and politics long into the night during their many meetings, and gave Paterson ideas for her only non-fiction book, The God of the Machine.


In 1947, during the Second Red Scare, Ayn Rand testified as a "friendly witness" before the United States House Un-American Activities Committee that the 1944 film Song of Russia grossly misrepresented conditions in the Soviet Union, portraying life there as much better and happier than it was.


Ayn Rand wanted to criticize the lauded 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives for what she interpreted as its negative presentation of the business world, but was not allowed to do so.


In 1951, Ayn Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City, where she gathered a group of these admirers that included future chair of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, a young psychology student named Nathan Blumenthal and his wife Barbara, and Barbara's cousin Leonard Peikoff.


Later, Ayn Rand began allowing them to read the manuscript drafts of her new novel, Atlas Shrugged.


Ayn Rand began delivering annual lectures at the Ford Hall Forum, responding to questions from the audience.


Ayn Rand endorsed several Republican candidates for president of the United States, most strongly Barry Goldwater in 1964, whose candidacy she promoted in several articles for The Objectivist Newsletter.


When she learned of it in 1968, though her romantic involvement with Branden was already over, Ayn Rand ended her relationship with both Brandens, and the NBI was closed.


Ayn Rand published an article in The Objectivist repudiating Nathaniel Branden for dishonesty and other "irrational behavior in his private life".


Ayn Rand underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1974 after decades of heavy smoking.


Ayn Rand wanted her fiction to present the world "as it could be and should be", rather than as it was.


Ayn Rand often describes them as unattractive, and some have names that suggest negative traits, such as Wesley Mouch in Atlas Shrugged.


Ayn Rand considered plot a critical element of literature, and her stories typically have what biographer Anne Heller described as "tight, elaborate, fast-paced plotting".


In school Ayn Rand read works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Victor Hugo, Edmond Rostand, and Friedrich Schiller, who became her favorites.


Ayn Rand considered them to be among the "top rank" of Romantic writers because of their focus on moral themes and their skill at constructing plots.


Ayn Rand called her philosophy "Objectivism", describing its essence as "the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute".


Ayn Rand considered Objectivism a systematic philosophy and laid out positions on metaphysics, aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy.


In metaphysics, Ayn Rand supported philosophical realism and opposed anything she regarded as mysticism or supernaturalism, including all forms of religion.


Ayn Rand believed in free will as a form of agent causation and rejected determinism.


Ayn Rand considered romanticism to be the approach that most accurately reflected the existence of human free will.


In epistemology, Ayn Rand considered all knowledge to be based on sense perception, the validity of which she considered axiomatic, and reason, which she described as "the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man's senses".


Ayn Rand believed epistemology was a foundational branch of philosophy and considered the advocacy of reason to be the single most significant aspect of her philosophy.


Commentators, including Hazel Barnes, Nathaniel Branden, and Albert Ellis, have criticized Ayn Rand's focus on the importance of reason.


Barnes and Ellis said Ayn Rand was too dismissive of emotion and failed to recognize its importance in human life.


In ethics, Ayn Rand argued for rational and ethical egoism, as the guiding moral principle.


Ayn Rand said the individual should "exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself".


Ayn Rand referred to egoism as "the virtue of selfishness" in her book of that title.


Ayn Rand condemned ethical altruism as incompatible with the requirements of human life and happiness, and held the initiation of force was evil and irrational, writing in Atlas Shrugged that, "Force and mind are opposites".


Ayn Rand considered laissez-faire capitalism the only moral social system because in her view it was the only system based on protecting those rights.


Ayn Rand opposed collectivism and statism, which she considered to include many specific forms of government, such as communism, fascism, socialism, theocracy, and the welfare state.


Ayn Rand's preferred form of government was a constitutional republic that is limited to the protection of individual rights.


Ayn Rand worked with conservatives on political projects, but disagreed with them over issues such as religion and ethics.


Ayn Rand rejected anarchism as a naive theory based in subjectivism that would lead to collectivism in practice.


Except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals, Ayn Rand was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her.


Ayn Rand asserted her ideas were derivative of previous thinkers such as John Locke and Friedrich Nietzsche.


Ayn Rand took early inspiration from Nietzsche, and scholars have found indications of this in Ayn Rand's private journals.


Ayn Rand considered her philosophical opposite to be Immanuel Kant, whom she referred to as "the most evil man in mankind's history"; she believed his epistemology undermined reason and his ethics opposed self-interest.


Ayn Rand was critical of Plato, and viewed his differences with Aristotle on questions of metaphysics and epistemology as the primary conflict in the history of philosophy.


Ayn Rand was not an academic and did not participate in academic discourse.


Ayn Rand was dismissive of critics and wrote about ideas she disagreed with in a polemical manner without in-depth analysis.


Ayn Rand was in turn viewed very negatively by many academic philosophers, who dismissed her as an unimportant figure who need not be given serious consideration.


Reviews of the Broadway production were largely positive, but Ayn Rand considered even positive reviews to be embarrassing because of significant changes made to her script by the producer.


Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged was the second most popular choice, after the Bible.


Ayn Rand provided a positive view of business and subsequently many business executives and entrepreneurs have admired and promoted her work.


Ayn Rand's image appears on a 1999 US postage stamp illustrated by artist Nick Gaetano.


Since 2002, the Ayn Rand Institute has provided free copies of Rand's novels to teachers who promise to include the books in their curriculum.


In 2017, Ayn Rand was added to the required reading list for the A Level Politics exam in the United Kingdom.


Ayn Rand is often considered one of the three most important women in the early development of modern American libertarianism.


Ayn Rand faced intense opposition from William F Buckley Jr.


Ayn Rand has influenced some conservative politicians outside the US, such as Sajid Javid in the United Kingdom, Siv Jensen in Norway, and Ayelet Shaked in Israel.


In 2015, Adam Weiner said that through Greenspan, "Ayn Rand had effectively chucked a ticking time bomb into the boiler room of the US economy".


Lisa Duggan said that Ayn Rand's novels had "incalculable impact" in encouraging the spread of neoliberal political ideas.


In 2009, historian Jennifer Burns identified "three overlapping waves" of scholarly interest in Ayn Rand, including "an explosion of scholarship" since 2000.


In 2020, media critic Eric Burns said that, "Ayn Rand is surely the most engaging philosopher of my lifetime", but "nobody in the academe pays any attention to her, neither as an author nor a philosopher".


That same year, the editor of a collection of critical essays about Ayn Rand said academics who disapproved of her ideas had long held "a stubborn resolve to ignore or ridicule" her work, but he believed more academic critics were engaging with her work in recent years.


In 1987, the Ayn Rand Society was founded as an affiliate of the American Philosophical Association.


Yet, throughout literary academia, Ayn Rand is considered a philosopher.


Ayn Rand said most commentators view her ethical argument as an unconvincing variant of Aristotle's ethics, and her political theory "is of little interest" because it is marred by an "ill-thought out and unsystematic" effort to reconcile her hostility to the state with her rejection of anarchism.


Ayn Rand attributed the attention she receives to her being a "compelling writer", especially as a novelist, noting that Atlas Shrugged outsells Rand's non-fiction works and the works of other philosophers of classical liberalism.


Ayn Rand endorsed The Objectivist Forum, a bimonthly magazine founded by Objectivist philosopher Harry Binswanger, which ran from 1980 to 1987.