Ayn Rand

Author of Atlas Shrugged and 20+ Books

Ayn Rand


Alisa Rosenbaum was born into a prosperous Jewish family in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg. The Rosenbaums fled to Crimea when the Bolsheviks requested the pharmacy owned by their father, Fronz. Alisa returned to the city to attend the university (re-named Leningrad), but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the opportunity to join them there. Alisa purchased a ticket to New York with money from the sale of her mothe... rs jewelry. Upon arrival at Ellis Island, she changed to Ayn (after some Finnish author's name, probably "Aino") Rand (which she said was an abbreviation of her Russian surname) and moved quickly to Hollywood, where she learned English, worked as an extra in the RKO wardrobe department, and wrote screenplays and novels throughout the night. She also married a bit-part actor called Frank OConnor because he was beautiful - and because her original visitor visa had run out. Rand sold her first screenplay in 1932, but no one would buy her first novel We the Living (1936) a melodrama set in Russia. Her first real success was The Fountainhead (rejected by more than ten publishers before it was published in 1943). She began a new philosophy known as Objectivism, opposed to all kinds of state interference, and her follow-up novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) describes a group trying to escape America's mediocrity conspiracy. Objectivism has influenced various other movements like Libertarianism, and Rand's vocal support for Laissez-faire Capitalism and the free market has earned her a distinct place among American philosophers and philosophers in general.READ MORE

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Popular quotes by Ayn Rand


He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. THe lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone- flowing. The stone had the stillness of one last movement when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. THe stone glowed wet with sunrays. The lake below was only a thin steel ring that cut the rocks in half. The rocks went on into the depth, unchanged. They began and ended in the sky so that the world seemed suspended in space, an island floating on on nothing, anchored to the feet of the man on the cliff.
His body leaned back against the sky. It was a body of long straight lines and angles each curve broken into planes. He stood rigid his hands hanging at his sides, palms out. He felt his shoulder blades drawn tight together. The curve of his neck, and the weight of the blood in his hands. He felt the wind behind him in the hollow of his spine. The wind waved his hair against the sky. His hair was neither blonde nor red, but the exact color or ripe orange rind... He stepped to the edge, raised his arms, and dived down into the sky below.

Sometimes after dinner, he would walk into the woods that began behind the house. He would stretch down on the ground on his stomach, his elbows, planted before him, his hands propping his chin and he would watch the patterns of veins on the green blades of grass under his face, he would blow at them and watch the blades tremble then stop again. He would roll over on his back and lie still, feeling the warmth of the earth under him. Far above, the leaves were still green as if the color were condensed in the last effort before the dusk coming to dissolve it. The leaves hung without motion against a sky of polished lemon yellow, its luminous pallor emphasized that its light was failing. He pressed his hips, his back into the earth under him, the earth resisted, but it gave way; it was a silent victory; he felt a dim, sensuous pleasure in the muscles of his legs.

I think the man who designed this should have committed suicide. A man who can conceive a thing as beautiful as this should never allowed it to be erected. He should not want to exist. But he will let it be built, so that women will hang out diapers on his terraces, so that men will spit on his stairways and draw dirty pictures on his walls. He's given it to them and he's made it part of them, part of everything. He shouldn't have offered it for men like you to look at. For men like you to talk about. He's defiled his own work by the first word you'll utter about it. He's made himself worse than you are. You'll be committing only a mean little indecency, but he's committed a sacrilege. A man who knows what he must have known to produce this should not have been able to remain alive.

Have you felt it too? Have you seen how your best friends love everything about you- except the things that count? And your most important is nothing to them; nothing, not even a sound they can recognize.

She thought how strange it would be if she ever said 'Hello' to him. One did not greet oneself each morning.

The leaves streamed down, trembling in the sun. They were not green, only a few, scattered through the torrent, stood out in single drops of green so bright and pure that it hurt the eyes; the rest were not a color, but a light, the substance of fire on metal, living sparks without edges. And it looked as if the forest were a spread of light boiling slowly to produce this color, the green rising in small bubbles, the condensed essence of spring. The trees met, blending over the road and the spots of sun on the ground moved with the shifting of the branches, like a conscious caress.

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