Book: Ayn Rand

I knew a little about Rand. I knew she was a philosopher and was from Russia, but that was about it. So I decided to try this biography by Jeff Britting and found it to be very interesting. She immigrated to America in her 20’s. She wrote books, plays, and movies. Her writings, even her fiction, always had an agenda, advocating her personal beliefs and philosophies. She opposed socialism and communism. She believed in objectivism, which asserts that reality is objective and outside of man (a good thing) and individualism, which asserts that man can determine the nature of reality using his mind, thus bringing glory to man (which is not such a good thing). Her beliefs tended towards being self-assertive, egotistical, and very man-centered. She believed she had the mental capacity to live like she believed, and unsurprisingly this made her rather arrogant; she was critical of most everyone who didn’t believe like she did. She had little use for family and had few friends, though she had some very close friends and was married for 50-some years.

This biography is very well-written. It shares her beliefs and works without being particularly approving or critical. The pace flows well through the various stages of her life. Perhaps the best feature of this book is the various pictures and memorabilia included. Instead of being jammed into one section all in the middle of the book, they are interspersed throughout the book, co-located with the pertinent sections. This makes for pleasant reading and viewing. Even though I personally disagree with much of Rand’s beliefs and philosophies, I highly recommend this book.

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