Ayn Rand biography

Ayn Rand

Playwright, Author

1905 – 1982


Who was Ayn Rand?

Ayn Rand was an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, who later in her career became an essayist and untrained philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, Rand moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead, which was made into a film of the same title by King Vidor.

In 1957, she published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism, and rejected ethical altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting a minarchist limited government and laissez-faire capitalism, which she believed to be the only social system that protected individual rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for some Aristotelians and classical liberals.

Famous Quotes:

  • I am leaving it as I found it. Take over. It's yours.
  • Senor d'Anconia said that you bore him, Mr. Taggart.
  • I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build.
  • Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.
  • Every aspect of Western culture needs a new code of ethics -- a rational ethics -- as a precondition of rebirth.
  • What is a demanding pleasure that demands the use of ones mind! Not in the sense of problem solving, but in the sense of exercising discrimination, judgment, awareness.
  • Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments. An artist recreates those aspects of reality which represent his fundamental view of man's nature.
  • Upper classes are a nation's past, the middle class its future.
  • The common good of a collective -- a race, a class, a state -- was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in men's hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle? The most dreadful butchers were the most sincere. The believed in the perfect society reached through the guillotine and the firing squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains the same. A humanitarian who starts with the declarations of love for mankind and ends with a sea of blood. It goes on and will go on so long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That permits the altruist to act and forces his victims to bear it. The leaders of collectivist movements ask nothing of themselves. But observe the results.
  • Love is an expression and assertion of self-esteem, a response to one's own values in the person of another. One gains a profoundly personal, selfish joy from the mere existence of the person one loves. It is one's own personal, selfish happiness that one seeks, earns, and derives from love.


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"Ayn Rand." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 30 Nov. 2020. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/ayn_rand>.

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Feb 2, 1905
Saint Petersburg
Also known as
  • Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum
  • Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum
  • Alisha Rosenbaum
  • ayn_rand
  • Rand, Ayn
  • Atheism
  • Jewish people
  • United States of America
  • Saint Petersburg State University
Lived in
  • Saint Petersburg
Mar 6, 1982
New York City
Resting place

on July 23, 2013

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