Ayn Rand Books Have Influenced Generations of Political Thinkers




Ayn Rand Books:  Rand was a celebrated Russian-American writer. She wrote several nonfiction books on the subject of political philosophy, and she wrote four fiction novels. The most well known Ayn Rand books are "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged."


Ayn Rand Biography

Ayn Rand was born on February 2, 1905 in St. Petersburg, Russia. She died at the age of 77 on March 6, 1982 in New York City.

She was born into a comfortable life to a father who was a pharmacist and owned his own store. Rand loved writing from an early age and remembered writing screenplays and novels from the time she was eight years old.

When Ayn Rand was twelve years old, her comfortable and secure life in Russia came to an abrupt end when Vladimir Lenin took power and confiscated her father's possessions. The family fled to Crimea where Rand completed high school. During that period, Rand decided she was atheist and came to believe reason was the highest human virtue. Eventually, her family returned to their hometown and faced very harsh living conditions that left them without money for food at times.


Ayn Rand was among the first group of women allowed to attend the universities in Russia. She majored in history and during her course of study, she learned about Nietzsche, Plato and Aristotle, who all came to influence her later work.

In 1925, Ayn Rand was granted a visa to visit America, and once she saw Manhattan, she was determined to stay. She wanted to be a screenwriter so she headed to Hollywood where she struggled to pay her way until she met famed director Cecil B. DeMille who gave her a job as an extra in one of his films. That led to various jobs in the entertainment industry such as screenwriter and head of a costume department. Rand fell in love with an actor, and they were married, allowing her to become an American citizen. Rand tried repeatedly to get the rest of her family into the U.S. but they could not get permission to do so.


Ayn Rand Philosophy


The philosophy of Ayn Rand was heavily influenced by the events of her early life growing up in Russia.

She championed for individualism and the freedom to be creative. She taught that capitalism was the path to success for individuals and society. Rand was against collectivism and excess government influence and control in the lives of individuals. She came to develop her own philosophy she called Objectivism.

Ayn Rand described Objectivism as man's pursuit for his own happiness, reason being his only absolute, and productive achievement as his most noble activity. Rand was a proponent of realism and was against religion and mysticism. She felt individuals should exist for their own sake and not for the state or another person. She called this rational egoism. Ayn Rand was very opposed to any sort of statism such as fascism, communism, socialism, and dictatorship.


Ayn Rand Books - Fiction

  • "We the Living" was published in 1936. It was Ayn Rand's first novel to be published. In later years, Rand said this book was as close to an autobiography as she would ever write. The fictional novel is set in Russia and tells the story of the struggle between the state and the individual. Originally, the book was not a success and it went out of print. After other Ayn Rand books became popular, it was republished and made into a movie.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 4.5 stars out of 5.

The book can also be bought as an ebook in the flexible Amazon Kindle format (which works on PC, Mac, Android smartphone & tablet, iPad and iPhone)
- to check out the Kindle ebook on Amazon.com, please click this link: We the Living


  • "Anthem" was published in 1938. This is a work of dystopian fiction set in a future time when mankind has fallen into a dark age. In this new world, individuality no longer exists. Using the word "I" is punishable by death. Socialism rules and the government has complete control and suppresses all individual ideas. Rand was unable to get this book published in America until after she became a famous author of her other works. When it was finally published in the US in 1946, it went on to sell over 3.5 million copies.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 4 stars out of 5.

The book can also be bought as an ebook in the flexible Amazon Kindle format (which works on PC, Mac, Android smartphone & tablet, iPad and iPhone)
- to check out the Kindle ebook on Amazon.com, please click this link: Anthem

  • "The Fountainhead" was published in 1943. It became a literary success and made Ayn Rand famous. Over 6 ½ million copies have been sold all over the world. In 1949, "The Fountainhead" was made into a movie starring Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, and Raymond Massey. "The Fountainhead" is a blend of romantic fiction and philosophy. It is the story of individualism triumphing over collectivism told in the story of a young architect who is determined to hold onto his individuality and do things his own way.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 4 stars out of 5.

The book can also be bought as an ebook in the flexible Amazon Kindle format (which works on PC, Mac, Android smartphone & tablet, iPad and iPhone)
- to check out the Kindle ebook on Amazon.com, please click this link: The Fountainhead


  • "Atlas Shrugged" was published in 1957. It is the last novel Ayn Rand wrote and one she considered her magnum opus in fiction. "Atlas Shrugged" was one of the most successful Ayn Rand books, and one that Ayn Rand is most often remembered for writing. It is a blend of science fiction, philosophy, and romance. It is centered on the theme of objectivism that is common in Rand's work. "Atlas Shrugged" is set in dystopian America where many citizens are fed up and refuse to cooperate with excess government regulation and taxation. They go on strike and grind the world to a halt. Ideas are presented such as the inability for civilization to thrive when citizens are slaves to the government and that citizens need freedom to create and be individuals. Rand later said this novel was about the murder and rebirth of the human spirit.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 4 stars out of 5.

Ayn Rand Books - Nonfiction

  • "For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" was published in 1961. This was the first full-length nonfiction book published by Ayn Rand. It contains speeches from characters in her four fiction novels along with added commentary by Rand.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

  • "The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism" was published in 1964. This is one of the Ayn Rand books that are collections of essays. Many of these essays appeared previously in The Objectivist Newsletter. The essays cover topics such as the traits of a proper government, egoism, and the destruction of altruism from the point of view of Objectivist philosophy.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 4 stars out of 5.


  • "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" was published in 1966 and is another of the Ayn Rand books filled with her essays. This book also contains essays by Alan Greenspan, Nathaniel Branden, and Robert Hessen. This book examines the moral nature of capitalism. Rand supported laissez-faire capitalism, and felt it is a moral social system that nurtures individualism.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 4 stars out of 5.


  • "The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature" was published in 1969. It is a collection of essays by Ayn Rand on the subject of art. She explains to readers that there are two types of art: valid and invalid. Invalid includes photography because it merely records objects. Rand felt valid art should reflect the individuality of the artist and convey a sense of his philosophy. In addition, she says viewers of valid art come away with a message that is colored by their own philosophy on life.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 4 stars out of 5.


  • "The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" was published in 1971. It is another of the Ayn Rand books that contains essays first published in "The Objectivist." The message of these essays is that religion and other such powerful forces harm the natural evolution of humanity.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

  • "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" was published in 1979. Like many other Ayn Rand books, this work contains essays that were published in The Objectivist. In these writings Rand explores Objectivism, the theory of concepts, and the mental processes of conceptualization. It includes an essay by Leonard Peikoff that discusses Immanuel Kant's philosophical theories.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on Amazon.com, where users have given this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

The book can also be bought as an ebook in the flexible Amazon Kindle format (which works on PC, Mac, Android smartphone & tablet, iPad and iPhone)
- to check out the Kindle ebook on Amazon.com, please click this link: Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Expanded Second Edition

  • "Philosophy: Who Needs It" was published in 1982 and is considered that last book written by Rand since she was compiling it at the time of her death. This book contains essays on the subject of philosophy. Most of the essays in this book had been previously published in The Ayn Rand Letter. In this book Rand explains that philosophy plays an integral role in human activities and helps us to live meaningful lives.

Essays of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand books published after her death contained collections of essays she had published in her newsletters. Rand published The Objectivist Newsletter from 1962-1965. From 1966-1971, she published The Objectivist. In 1971, Ayn Rand started the Ayn Rand Letter and published it until 1976. Rand wrote many of the essays in these periodicals herself. They also included essays written by other notable thinkers of the period. Some of the essays were reprinted as pamphlets. Others were included in book collections. In 2001 the entire collection of essays were printed onto an Objectivism Research CD. Rand was a prolific writer and penned numerous articles and books during her lifetime. There were also many essays and books written about her, analyzing her philosophy of objectivism and analyzing her literary style of fiction writing.

Legacy of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand books have sold over 25 million copies and continue to sell well decades after her death. She has a worldwide following and her books are among the bestsellers in India and the U.S. Her ideas have influenced fellow writers, business owners, musicians, and politicians.

Ayn Rand books have actually influenced generations of thinkers all around the world. Her ideas continue to shape minds and prompt discussions. While she wrote only four fiction novels, two of those have become American Classics. Ayn Rand books are found in many public schools and universities and "Atlas Shrugged" is on many lists of the most influential books. Ayn Rand books, literature, and ideas are very much relevant today, and are distributed by organizations formed after her death.


The Ayn Rand Institute is a nonprofit organization established by the heir of Ayn Rand's estate after her death. Its mission is to promote Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. It distributes Ayn Rand books to schools and holds classes on Objectivism. The Institute organizes clubs on college campuses, provides financial assistance to graduate students, holds public lectures and makes media appearances. The organization takes a strong stand against religion in politics and is against teaching intelligent design in the public school system. They are also politically outspoken and have taken controversial positions in regards to terrorism, the Iraq War, Iran, animal rights, and environmentalism.

The Atlas Society is another organization that promotes Objectivism and the ideas of Ayn Rand. It split from The Ayn Rand Institute after a disagreement over whether Rand's philosophy was an open or closed system. The Atlas Society operates as an open system and offers information to the general public on the subject of Objectivism through its classes, conferences, pamphlets, and campus groups.


Ayn Rand books have touched millions of people, and thanks to the two active organizations that continue to share her books and spread her teachings, her philosophy of life will be read by university students for years to come.

 



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