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1. Biography - Rand, Ayn (1905-1982):
2. The Ayn Rand Centennial Collection
3. Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of
4. Ayn Rand
5. Ayn Rand For Beginners (For Beginners
6. Himno/ Anthem (Spanish Edition)
7. The Early Ayn Rand: Revised Edition:
8. Ayn Rand
9. The Ayn Rand Column: Written for
10. Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life : The
11. The Ayn Rand Cult
12. Feminist Interpretations of Ayn
13. Three Plays
14. My Years with Ayn Rand
15. Ayn Rand Reader
16. The Fountainhead (Cliffs Notes)
17. The New Ayn Rand Companion, Revised
18. Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand
19. Letters of Ayn Rand
20. Ayn Rand Box Set

1. Biography - Rand, Ayn (1905-1982): An article from: Contemporary Authors
by Gale Reference Team
Digital: 23 Pages (2003-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0007SENUS
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This digital document, covering the life and work of Ayn Rand, is an entry from Contemporary Authors, a reference volume published by Thompson Gale. The length of the entry is 6871 words. The page length listed above is based on a typical 300-word page. Although the exact content of each entry from this volume can vary, typical entries include the following information:

  • Place and date of birth and death (if deceased)
  • Family members
  • Education
  • Professional associations and honors
  • Employment
  • Writings, including books and periodicals
  • A description of the author's work
  • References to further readings about the author
... Read more

2. The Ayn Rand Centennial Collection Boxed Set
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: Pages (2005-09-27)
list price: US$48.00 -- used & new: US$67.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452291917
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The stunning centennial editions of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, featuring the artwork from the original first editions, in a collectible boxed set. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ayn Rand Centennial Collection Boxed Set: Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead
I am in awe of Ayn Rand's talent. Atlas Shrugged is the BEST novel I've ever read. And I've read many, many books, both fiction and non-fiction. Atlas Shrugged will remain my favorite novel for the rest of my life. The presentation of what would become Objectivist philosophy is masterful and easily understood within the novel. And the philosophy is so appropriate as an antidote for the times we live in.

I have now purchased many of the other Ayn Rand books and look forward to reading them. ... Read more

3. Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A
Paperback: 256 Pages (2005-11-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451216652
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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After the publication of Atlas Shrugged in 1957, Ayn Rand occasionally lectured in order bring her philosophy of Objectivism to a wider audience and apply it to current cultural and political issues. These taped lectures and the question-and-answer sessions that followed not only added an eloquent new dimension to Ayn Rand's ideas and beliefs, but a fresh and spontaneous insight into Ayn Rand herself. Never before available in print, this publishing event is a collection of those enlightening Q & As.

This is Ayn Rand on: ethics, Ernest Hemingway, modern art, Vietnam, Libertarians, Jane Fonda, religious conservatives, Hollywood Communists, atheism, Don Quixote, abortion, gun control, love and marriage, Ronald Reagan, pollution, the Middle East, racism and feminism, crime and punishment, capitalism, prostitution, homosexuality, reason and rationality, literature, drug use, freedom of the press, Richard Nixon, New Left militants, HUAC, chess, comedy, suicide, masculinity, Mark Twain, improper questions, and more. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

1-0 out of 5 stars Read the excerpts below and judge this work for yourself
This book is certainly fascinating, but do not purchase it believing that you will be reading Ayn Rand's very own words.Over and over again, you will find that Robert Mayhew has "improved" upon Ayn Rand by deleting what he views as potentially embarrassing comments, or by adding his own words when he wishes she had said what, in fact, she hasn't.There are legitimate ways to edit and improve a spoken transcript--by the use of ellipses and bracketed insertions--which allow the reader to judge what is original and what is interpolated.But Mayhew doesn't take advantage of them.Instead, references to such things as smoking (which killed her) or to former colleagues (who were later purged from the Objectivist movement) are routinely consigned to Orwell's Memory Hole.Meanwhile, words which Rand did not say, and which sometimes entirely change the sense of her comments, are added without scruple.The effect is self-serving and dishonest, and cannot be defended as inconsequential, or as done for clarity or economy.What could easily have been a faithful record of a fascinating woman instead becomes a dogmatic tract.

But don't take my word for it.Read the following versions of Rand as she answers why, in her novel ATLAS SHRUGGED, there is no government in Galt's Gulch.The first excerpt is Mayhew's bowdlerized fabrication.(You can verify the text by using Amazon's "Look Inside" feature and searching for the word "gulch" which appears on p 75.)The second is a verbatim transcript of Rand's own much more interesting and controversial statement from the original 1972 Ford Hall Forum speech.



"Galt's Gulch is not a society; it's a private estate. It's owned by one man who carefully selected the people admitted. Even then, they had a judge as an arbitrator, if anything came up; only nothing came up among them, because they shared the same philosophy. But if you had a society in which all shared in the same philosophy, but without a government, that would be dreadful. Galt's Gulch probably consisted of about, optimistically, a thousand people who represented the top geniuses of the world. They agreed on fundamentals, but they would never be in total agreement. They didn't need a government because if they had disagreements, they could resolve them rationally.

"But project a society of millions, in which there is every kind of viewpoint, every kind of brain, every kind of morality--and no government. That's the Middle Ages, your no-government society. Man was left at the mercy of bandits, because without government, every criminally inclined individual resorts to force, and every morally inclined individual is helpless. Government is an absolute necessity if individual rights are to be protected, because you don't leave force at the arbitrary whim of other individuals. Libertarian anarchism is pure whim worship, because what they refuse to recognize is the need of objectivity among men--particularly men of different views. And it's good that people within a nation should have different views, provided we respect each other's rights.

"No one can guard rights, except a government under objective law. What if McGovern had his gang of policemen, and Nixon had his, and instead of campaigning they fought in the streets? This has happened throughout history. Rational men are not afraid of government. In a proper society, a rational man doesn't have to know the government exists, because the laws are clear and he never breaks them."


"Because Galt's Gulch is not a society; it's private estate. It is owned by one man who selects those who are admitted so carefully, and even then they have a judge as an arbiter if anything ever came up--only nothing came up among them because they were all men sharing the same philosophy. But in a general society, God help you! If you had a society which all shared one philosophy, that would be dreadful.

"Galt's Gulch would cons, probably have consisted of--I never named the number--let's say, optimistically, a thousand people who represent the top genius of the world. Even then, they would agree on fundamentals, but they would never be totally identical. And the reason why they didn't need any government is because if they had disagreements, they were capable of resolving them rationally.

"But now how do you project a society of multi-million nation, in which there can be every kind of viewpoint, every kind of brain, and every kind of morality, and you want no government? What do you think [pounding podium] I was talking about when I talked about the Middle Age? There is your no-government society, which leaves men at the mercy of the worst bandits possible, because when there is no government, every criminally inclined individual will resort to force, and every intellectually or morally inclined individual will be left helpless. Government is the absolute necessity if men are to have individual rights, for the simple reason that you do not leave force at the arbitrary whim of other individuals.

"And your, euhh, so-called libertarian anarchism is nothing but whim worship if you refuse to see this point, because what you refuse to recognize is the need of objectivity among men, particularly, men of different views--and it is proper and good that mankind at large, or as a large a section as a nation--should have different views. It's good to have different views, provided you respect each other's rights. And there is no one to guard rights except a government under strictly objective rules.

"How would you like it if McGovern had his own gang of policemen and Nixon his own? And instead of presenting a campaign, they were fighting it out in the streets? What do you think that would do to you? The rest of us would be caught in the crossfire. Would that make any sense? And yet it certainly has happened throughout history.

"Ahh, a rational society, or a group of rational men, is not afraid of the government-- they, in a proper society as existed even in this country in the beginning, a rational man doesn't have to know that a government exists, because the laws are clear and he never breaks any. That is the proper way for men to live, and that's the proper government."


Yes, some of Mayhew's deletions are economical . . . even if he couldn't afford the standard ellipses.But removing words significant to Rand like "anarchism" is hardly helpful.And how in the world do you defend deleting Rand's remarkable statement that "it is proper and good that mankind at large, or as a large a section as a nation--should have different views. It's good to have different views, provided you respect each other's rights"?What, beside an instinct for doctrinaire uniformity, would motivate the deletion of Rand's own criticism of doctrinaire uniformity?

As for Mayhew's unacknowledged insertions--such as his changing Rand's "But in a general society, God help you! If you had a society which all shared one philosophy, that would be dreadful" to the entirely different "But if you had a society in which all shared in the same philosophy, BUT WITHOUT A GOVERNMENT, that would be dreadful"--they are a fraudulent disgrace.That inserted qualification vitiates a formulation which cannot be dismissed as a misstatement.Although Mayhew conveniently deletes her words, Rand actually repeated and expanded upon it.This statement of praise for diversity, unique in Rand's corpus, is gutted.

Ultimately, the criteria for judging this academic fiction are questions of respect--respect for accuracy, respect for posterity, respect for Ayn Rand, and respect for her audience.No reputable scholar since Spinoza or Erasmus would treat a text, its author, or her enthusiasts the way Mayhew has here.

In trying to protect Rand, who needs no defense, from readers he distrusts, Mayhew diminishes her, and he insults us.Nevertheless, I will not advise the curious not to read this work.Even a make-believe Rand is interesting.The reader should simply treat this fabrication as one would a Wikipedia article, as an entertaining but suspect approximation of the truth.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worse than pointless
Beware: In my opinion, the editing here sinks to the level of Mayhew/Peikoff telling you what *they believe Ayn Rand should have said* instead of giving you what she actually said. In principle this is Mayhew/Peikoff, using borrowed words from Ayn Rand to express their thoughts, not Rand expressing hers. The type of editing that should have taken place here is to eliminate "umms" and the like, not making an Ayn Rand puppet with Mayhew/Peikoff pulling the strings.

So I find this work exceedingly distasteful. I see no purpose whatever to the type of editing Peikoff/Mayhew indulged in -- unless that purpose is to supply official dogma to the unwashed masses. I take offense that the reader is given so little respect in being capable of judging Rand's public statements for himself and reflecting on what that may mean regarding her official statements. I could have tolerated editorial remarks from Mayhew; indeed, that might even be a valuable thing to have added, *as long as it was clear they were his remarks and not Rand's, and so long as I get Rand's whole answers, not his version where he gags her when she says something he doesn't like.*

Ayn Rand is an historic figure, and her words deserve to be treated as historic artifacts. ARI should exist to preserve and provide these historic artifacts for current and future generations, with an internal policy of "what is, is." It is irrelevant to that mission whether Rand said something they didn't like. They are no more in a position of authority regarding Rand than anyone who has thoroughly studied her works, they are therefore not in a position to be making calls about what the unwashed masses will and will not see. (Legally they are in this position, which is most unfortunate, but not ethically/morally.)

I find this work to be less than zero value, because one can never be certain whether one is reading Rand or Mayhew/Peikoff. Hence it gets 1 star.

Give us Ayn Rand -- straight -- not this whitewash.

1-0 out of 5 stars This Is Not Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q&A purports to be lightly-edited transcripts of answers Ayn Rand gave, often after lectures at the Ford Hall Forum.

A comparison has been done of many of these questions and answers.The liberties Robert Mayhew took with them are stunning.

1.Rand is rewritten to sound more certain and more clear.Convoluted answers are often truncated.

2.Answers are not included which would make Rand look bad.For example Rand's answer - now shown to be untrue - that no non-fiction writers influenced her after her arrival to America is not included.Nor is Rand's claim that she was working on another novel that would be out in a couple of years.

3.In one particularly egregious case Rand is asked what the government should do about marijuana, cyclamates and tobacco.The question and answer omit tobacco.(Rand, a life-long smoker who contracted lung cancer, coughed during the answer.)

4.Answers that reference people with whom Rand had a falling out are often not included and, if they are, the offending person is at times omitted without mention. For example, Mayhew deletes a favorable mention of an article written by Beatrice Hessen from a 1971 answer, which he transcribes on pages 173-174.Rand excommunicated Hessen's husband shortly before her death.

5. Rand is made to sound kinder and gentler, such as when she refers to retarded people as "botched," which is conveniently changed to "not properly formed."

Even Mayhew's changes that don't affect the meaning appear to be made for reasons known only to him.Words are italicized when there is no emphasis in Rand's original answer.

As Jennifer Burns says of this, and much other material, produced in conjunction with Rand's archives: it should be used with "extreme caution."

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but it gets old
This is a good book to gain some insight as to how Rand's theory would work in the real world, but it does get old. The first half of the book is much better than the second half when she gets asked about music, movies, the arts, etc. I love Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, and objectivism, but after a while I found myself saying okay lady, "lighten up."

5-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A
A must read for anyone that is interested in what Ayn Rand thought about different topics. Excellent for someone's personal library. Everything about the purchase of the book was great and deserves a five star rating. ... Read more

4. Ayn Rand
by Tibor R. Machan
Paperback: 163 Pages (2000-03)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$60.24
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Asin: 0820441449
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Machan's book explores all the major themes of Ayn Rand'sphilosophical thought. He shows the frequent strengths and occasionalweaknesses of Rand's mature philosophy of Objectivism, drawing on hisown, and many others', discussion of this challenging and iconoclasticthinker's ideas. Machan's treatment of Rand is a welcome addition tothe growing literature of serious scholarship on Rand's philosophicalwork. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not very informative
I gave it such a low score not because the book is badly written, or one cannot understand it, but rather because it is not very informative and I'm not sure to whom is it addressed.

If you are already have an interest for Objectivism or Ayn Rand, and might want to learn somewhat deeper into the subject, this book won't help you much. It is an introduction, but since it rarely explains where the claims of Objectivism comes from that it is not a very useful introduction. In this case one might do better going directly to another book.

If you are like me, and you only want to read one book on Objectivism because it was brought up in a conversation or something similar, this book will probably not satisfy you, since again, it makes claims that are not even remotely backed up.

The author spends most of the book saying that Rand gives way to an objective moral and ethical system. To me that sounded like the most interesting part of Objectivism, and yet the author never stops to explain how this is so. I wouldnt have expected the full outline of such a system in an introductory text, but it would have helped if even a little of the path was shown, or even delineated. Instead we are asked to believe (with no reason for it) that this is so, and we are kept this way through the whole book.

All in all, I found the book disapointing, and it was unable to answer my passing curiosity on the subject. If you are more interested on the subject, I would also recomend that you go for another book where a more indepth analysis is shown.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hastily put together but rather friendly and interesting
"Rand's Objectivism, of all the schools of contemporary philosophy, may well be the one that holds out the best, most ..........." Tibor R. Machan

Unlike most independent Ayn Rand scholars, who tend to consider themselves as superiorprofessionals correcting the childish blunders of an incompetent amateur,Tibor Machan, as the above quote suggests, is a respectful commentator whocorrectly recognizes that Ayn Rand was a major philosopher and that most ofwhat Randian scholars today can hope to accomplish is to polish up someaspects of her philosophical system, develop new applications of it andconfront the latest batch of criticisms from academia. As far as hispersonal philosophy is concerned, he seems to have accepted most of thefundamentals of Objectivism, and in most contemporary philosophicalbattles, he is generally on the right side, defending free-will againstdeterminism, ethical cognitivism vs. non-cognitivism, the free society vs.welfare statism and marxism, and the morality of business against leftistand conservative smears. I would therefore consider him an estranged friendof Objectivism, to be distinguished from the self-styled "sympatheticobservers" of the philosophy who in the next breath call Rand apseudo-philosopher.

Unfortunately, Machan tends to suffer from a lack ofsystem and hierarchy in his writings, and nowhere is this clearer than inthe present book. Compared to Peikoff's *Objectivism: The Philosophy of AynRand* or even Gotthelf's *On Ayn Rand*, which are beautifully structuredand clearly distinguish fundamentals from derivatives, Machan's *Ayn Rand*is much less integrated and systematic.

This lack of system of courseneed not be a reflection of Machan's own mental functioning, even though hedoes have a penchant for pluralism and eclecticism, but is probably due tothe way the book was put together: *Ayn Rand* is essentially a disjointedcollection of articles previously published in various reviews, newslettersand books. Chapter 4, "Rand's Rational Individualism", forinstance, is a slightly edited copy of chapter 10 of *The PhilosophicalThought of Ayn Rand*.

Machan's lack of enthusiasm for philosophicalhierarchy does sometimes affect his conclusions, though. For instance, whenhe states that "in some parts of his moral philosophy and in politics,Kant was closer to [Rand's] own ideas than are most otherphilosophers" (p117), he clearly shows his rejection of theObjectivist tenet that one cannot understand a statement out of the wholehierarchy of a man's philosophical ideas. This may also explain why hefeels sympathetic to the libertarians and leans to the "moraltolerationist" wing of Objectivism.

Anyway, I do recommend this bookas a good overview of Objectivism, and perhaps as a better *introduction*to this philosophy than Gotthelf's very compact volume (though the latteris a more reliable statement of the content of the philosophy). Machan makes interesting comments on the distinction between derivation anddeduction and he identifies a few contemporary philosophers whose views arevery similar to Objectivism. His more haphazard reflections on"Problems Left for Objectivism" however suffer from a lack offamiliarity with the more recent taped material and simplemisinterpretations of Objectivist tenets. (For instance, though he has read*We The Living*, he asks: "Cannot a work of art be quite excellent,yet... sad? Tragic?", perpetuating a common caricature of theObjectivist esthetics.) Finally, I must say I found some of the statementsin the book cryptic or highly dubious: "Rand's foundationalism can becharacterized as post-epistemological" or "Rand's approach isalso consistent with... an (almost) anything-goes, (almost) Feyerabendianlaissez-faire attitude towards the methods of factual investigation".

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book on Rand
This is the best introduction to Ayn Rand available.Because Prof. Machan was never a member of Rand's inner circle, he can write freely on her philosophy and discuss its strengths as well as weaknesses.Nonetheless, Prof. Machan clearly admires Rand and considers her an importantphilosopher.

There are a number of merits to this book: (1) Prof.Machan provides a clear overview of Rand's position on most philosophicalquestions, placing prominence on Rand's axiomatic concepts; (2) the bookcontains a solid discussion of Rand's works; and (3) chapter 7 - on variousquestions that Rand failed to consider - is excellent.

There are someweaknesses to the work as well. First, Prof. Machan doesn't spend enoughtime on Rand's theory of concept formation, which her followers consider hegreatest contribution to philosophy.Second, he is too kind to Rand whenit comes to her often unfair and inaccurate attacks on other philosophers. While he says that Rand caricatures other thinkers, the fact is that Randhad little knowledge of the history of philosophy and her discussion ofother philosophers is simply pathetic.Anyone who doubts this should readher essay, "For the New Intellectual." Third, like many of Rand'sadmirers, Prof. Machan overestimates Rand's originality.The fact is thatmost of Rand's ideas can be found in other writers.

In spite of itsflaws, this is generally an outstanding book.I recommend it highly. ... Read more

5. Ayn Rand For Beginners (For Beginners (Steerforth Press))
by Andrew Bernstein
Paperback: 112 Pages (2009-08-18)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1934389374
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Ayn Rand, author of the best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, is beloved by millions of readers, and equally despised by a significant number of detractors. Her novels and her revolutionary philosophy of Objectivism have acquired a world-wide following. They have also created legions of readers who are hungry for a deeper understanding of her writings.
Despite her undeniably significant contributions to the literary canon and the progression of philosophy, there has been no simple, comprehensive introduction to Rand’s books and ideas, until now. Ayn Rand For Beginners sheds new light on Rand’s monumental works and robust philosophy. In clear, down-to-earth language, it explains Rand to a new generation of readers in a manner that is entertaining, and easy to read and comprehend. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars A fairly basic introduction
This book was heavy on introduction to her novels which detracted from Ayn Rand's total message.
Be prepared to grit your teeth if you are a person of faith, but by golly!There is enough revealed about Ayn Rand in this book that a Bible student can see - - she was only writing from a prejudice.
Everything else she has to say about individualism, capitalism, private property, personal responsibility, and objective reasoning makes this book a great starting place.
Do not expect to appreciate Ayn Rand's unique philosophy from the way this book is written, but one should be able to read it in a couple of hours and have a good idea of which of her books to read next.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great summary!
Having been an Ayn Rand fan fora long time, I have had a hard time explaining her philosophy to others since it is quite complex.This book really makes it easy for me and will help me to better articulate her ideas and books to others.The graphics were very useful as well.I got it from the library but will be purchasing it since I will probably need to refer back to it often, especially in these politial times!I find more and more that I need to defend and explain simple capitalism to those around me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect introduction to Rand's philosophy
This is a wonderfully written book, with humor and wit, which is rare for an intro to philosophy. Anyone who is new to Ayn Rands, philosophy of objectivism, will enjoy this great read, and get acquainted.

3-0 out of 5 stars if you despise progress
Rand was a traumatized and hateful person, her early life led her to construct a fantasy world/cult that seems to resonate with "fiscal conservatives" and the like.It was amusing to see in the publishers review the statement about many people wish to find a deeper meaning in her screeds? good luck, she was simply a selfish, delusional zealot who would best be avoided.Society cant exist if everyone is a selfish unfeeling xenophobe whose only desire is to exploit and diminish their neighbor.If you agree with her mentality then you clearly have no right calling your self religious, caring or humane, none apply.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Objective, But Better Than Expected
AYN RAND FOR BEGINNERS is a brief (105 page) introduction to Ayn Rand and her ideas by Objectivist Andrew Bernstein.(The book contains plenty of cartoons and it took me about 65 minutes to read.) Sine Bernstein is an orthodox believer, you don't get an "objective" view of Rand, but I nonetheless found the book better than expected.In a small number of pages he discusses Rand's life, hits on the key themes (and characters) in Rand's novels, and says a little bit about her philosophy.

I do have a few nits to pick.First, is it really correct that most philosophers today believe reality is "socially constructed"?Second, while Rand's influence is growing, the "think tanks" to which Bernstein refers are funded by an organization associated with the Ayn Rand Institute.Third, Bernstein could have explained why most professional philosophers don't take Rand seriously and put in at least a word or two of criticism.

Bernstein recently published OBJECTIVISM IN ONE LESSON, which would be a good companion to this book.
... Read more

6. Himno/ Anthem (Spanish Edition)
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 119 Pages (2006-06-30)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$31.44
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Asin: 987123905X
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7. The Early Ayn Rand: Revised Edition: A Selection From Her Unpublished Fiction
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 528 Pages (2005-04-05)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 045121465X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This remarkable, newly revised collection of Ayn Rand's early fiction-including her previously unpublished short story The Night King-ranges from beginner's exercises to excerpts from early versions of We the Living and The Fountainhead. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Several quick reads as an Ayn Rand Appetizer or a dessert after The Fountainhead
The stories in this book all have the same qualities as the books Ayn Rand wrote during her mature years:that life can and should be an adventure ("Good Copy"), that men have a great capacity for heroism ("Red Pawn"), that no man can escape the consequences of his philosophy ("Think Twice").If you've been curious about Ayn Rand but hesitant to take on reading one of her large books (Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead) then try reading a couple of these short stories.If you enjoy them, you probably won't be able to wait to get started reading one of her books!If you've already enjoyed reading one of her books, these stories will give you a few more hours to spend with her and her ideas. ... Read more

8. Ayn Rand
by Jeffrey Britting, Jeffery Britting, The Overlook Press
Hardcover: 144 Pages (2004-07)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$5.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1585674060
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Ayn Rand made a profound impact as both a philosopher who founded a school of social thought, Objectivism, and as a novelist of penetrating insight and vision. Her works are founded on heroic ideals, demonstrating the maxim that, "man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress."

The photos and illustrations in this volume have been hand-selected from the Ayn Rand Archives, and most have never been published. They include personal mementos of a Petersburg childhood, her family and their home on Nevsky Prospect; photos from her early years in America; personal papers, including her list of the twelve publishers who passed on The Fountainhead; original newspaper articles, film posters, notes, drawings, and much more.

In a recent poll conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club, Rand’s Atlas Shrugged was voted the novel most influential to American readers. This latest volume of the acclaimed Overlook Illustrated Lives series gives her legions of fans an unprecedented chance to better understand the author they adore. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another quick reference guide by OVERLOOK PRESS
This book is part of a series of small books published by OVERLOOK PRESS. Each book is written by a different author that specilizes in the various 'poets-writers-philosophers', as stated in each title.

I own several of these OVERLOOK PRESS books and I love them all,but note that this is only my personal opinion.

Please read my brief explanations as to why I enjoyed these OVERLOOK books....

~~~ First, I must point out that these small books are not complete biographies on the subjects. Rather,these books are short reference guides on each subject. (Great for beginners wanting to have a basic knowledge of each specific poet-writer-philosopher).

The most wonderful thing about each of these OVERLOOK PRESS books are the photos. Each book begins with the writer's early life, supported by wonderful photos (eg: where they were born, what their families looked like, etc). Then the chapters move on to explain the writer's basic philosophies.

Next, the OVERLOOK books recount some of the most famous (well-known) experiences that each writer experienced throughout their lives.

Lastly, each book gives a time-line of the writer's lives in an appendix towards the end of each book.

For example, this book I'm reviewing here is about AYN RAND.

Ayn Rand was a highly complex individual, and very difficult to pin down in one small book. Her philosophy (Objectivism) is difficult to explain in a few short chapters of a small book like this one. Therefore, if a reader is interested in reading specifically about Objectivism, then it would be best for them to buy a philosophy book on the subject first, before buying this brief OVERLOOK PRESS book.

However, if the reader is interested, as I was, in buying a book on Ayn Rand,...a bookthat shows what she looked like throughout her life and explains some basics about her life, then this book will not dissappoint.

3-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand broad-brush portrait
Slim, broad-brush portrait of Ayn Rand in words and numerous photographs in the "Overlook Illustrated Lives" series of biographies.The writing is too sympathetic, not surprising given that the author is the archivist at the Ayn Rand Institute, and unintentionally humorous in its over-the-top breathlessness, as in this description of the 12-year-old Ayn:

"The [Russian] revolution was her first confrontation with the 'ethics of altruism' (the view that service to others is the highest moral virtue), which she rejected instantly as an attack on men of 'intelligence, ability, and heroism.'"

Still not bad as a brief introduction to Rand's life and writings.As a lightning rod either adored or rejected, it is hard to find good, objective, not objectivist, writing about Rand.Other books I've read (that don't measure up that well, either):

The Ayn Rand Cult
The Passion of Ayn Rand

Your best bet is to skip the apologists and antagonists and go straight to the sources of all the anguish:

Atlas Shrugged
The Fountainhead

3-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand's Life In Brief
Jeff Britting (archivist for the Ayn Rand Institute) has written a brief (135 pages or so) biography of Ayn Rand.The book contains dozens of photos so you really aren't getting anything close to a full-scale biography.The book is less hagiographic than you might expect given Mr. Britting's employer--Rand isn't so much praised as her flaws ignored.The split with the Brandens is mentioned, but their importance on her philosophy neglected.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well-written, succinct, accurate
I approached this book with a bit of trepidation but was pleasantly surprised. Britting has written a succinct, accurate, and appropriately inspiring precis of Ayn Rand's life. His formula is pretty simple: he sticks scrupulously to the facts, and puts them in their proper perspective. You couldn't ask for more in 134 pages. In addition, the book contains some gorgeous photographs (of St. Petersburg; The Fountainhead dust jacket portrait of Rand; of "Galt's Gulch" in Colorado), and is chock full of intriguing trivia that I hadn't encountered (or dreamed of) in two decades' study of Objectivism: who knew that E.L. Doctorow wrote the ad copy for "For the New Intellectual"; that Rand's favorite painting was Dali's "Corpus Hypercubus"; and that she opposed Japanese internment during WW II?

I also think that Britting's treatment of Rand's HUAC testimony and her association and eventual break with the Brandens is a model of lucidity and fairness. He presents the facts in a way that is favorable to Rand, but the facts he presents are undeniably true and relevant to any judgment one might make about Rand on those issues. I don't see how one can call this "hagiography" unless, of course, one begins with an a priori animosity against Rand (and in favor of Lillian Hellman, the CPUSA, Josef Stalin, the KGB, and/or the Brandens) and wants to see that animosity expressed in print.

As I lack the relevant animosity, I don't see hagiography here; I just see a book well worth reading, and at a bargain price.

4-0 out of 5 stars Filling in the details
Rand was rather circumspect about her life, preferring to let her philosophy be demonstrated through her characters. What biographies there are come from the dubious sources of Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, who are responsible for both the hagiographic Who is Ayn Rand? and the highly critical Judgement Day and The Passion of Ayn Rand. But a reliable biography is a good source: less subject to manipulation, it is a more honest, realistic depiction of a philosophy than a character whose circumstances can be rigged to cast them in the best possible light.

Jeff Britting was an associate producer of the documentary Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life and took the accompanying photographs from the Leonard Peikoff-controlled Ayn Rand Archive, so he has a potential bias as well, though it doesn't particularly show.

But enough talk of biases. This book starts from the very beginning and fills in much detail about Rand's early life, back when she was still Alisa Rosenbaum and living in St. Petersburg. After the scant coverage in the above-mentioned biographies, it's hard to believe that such details are even available, discussing her relationship with her parents and sisters and providing photographs of her birth certificate, the building her family lived in when she was born, and numerous family photos. Fans probably know that her first fictional hero was a character named Cyrus from a boy's magazine of adventure serials. Britting fills in details about how she came upon Cyrus and even includes a drawing.

Such details and illustrations continue throughout: Rand at university, complete with her application photo, a picture of Lev Bekkerman, her first romantic interest, Rand in her museum guide uniform, and her desperation with her ideals conflicting so painfully with the Soviet police state. Even her parents realize that she can't survive for long unless she can get away.

The opportunity opens up in 1924, with an invitation from a cousin of her mother's in Chicago, and the scheming begins: her mother and sisters take politically correct jobs and endeavor to lead exemplary communist lives, all so that Rand can get a passport and leave the country. In early 1926, she manages to do so, shouting to her parents as the train leaves Leningrad, "By the time I come back, I'll be famous!"

The rest of the story is more familiar from the other biographies: moving to Los Angeles, meeting Cecil B. deMille and Frank O'Connor, and beginning her writing career. But the marvelous images continue: Rand's own sketch of Frank, deMille's handwritten access pass for Ayn, and her green card.

I could go on and on about little revelations here and there, but I'll flip quickly to the end, where toward the end of her life Rand begins writing her own screenplay of Atlas Shrugged. One depicted sheet shows thoughts she had on the casting, including such names as Martin Sheen (as Eddie), Tom Skerritt (Francisco), Ned Beatty (Taggart), Kate Jackson, and Julie Christie (no parts suggested for the women).

Some bits are certainly glossed over, such as Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden (mentioned but only very lightly and that it was with the consent of all concerned), and the mistreatment of her husband that the Brandens allege. However, those have been covered in gory detail elsewhere, and this is a brief biography.

But, brief though it may be, it manages to cover a great deal of ground in a mere 118 copiously illustrated pages. This is a must-have for any Rand fan. ... Read more

9. The Ayn Rand Column: Written for the Los Angeles Times
by Ayn Rand, Peter Schwartz
 Paperback: 134 Pages (1998-10)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$14.95
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Asin: 1561142921
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mildly Interesting
THE AYN RAND COLUMN is a collection of columns that Rand wrote for the LA Times in 1962.It also contains a number of other essays by Rand which, for the most part, haven't been published.Even longtime fans of Rand will find something new here.

No doubt Rand's uncritical admirers will insist that "the material is just as timely now as it was in 1962" but quite a bit of it is dated.Nonetheless, the book has its merits.Rand was a good writer and these columns highlight her ability to write short, punchy pieces that get to the point and occasionally make insightful and important points.There are also no diatribes against religion, "mysticism," religious people who worship death, etc. that tends to mar her more serious philosophical essays.Rand claimed never to compromise, but she certainly knew her audience.

So chalk up a minor success for the Ayn Rand Institute.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Truly Interesting Perspective
A long time admirer of Rand's work, I found this a refreshing perspective on her. While I'd come to know her characters and read her philosophical works, I really didn't feel I truly understood her until I read this book. I cannot compare it to letters or the like because I have not read them. But, this work is like looking in on practical applications of her philosophy. For example, her discussion of the value of Christmas to atheist such as herself is very enlightening. In addition, her discussion of the monopoly of force still rings in my mind years after I first read it. Being born in the 70's, growing up in the 80's & 90's, her philosophy brings me much joy compared to the pink socialism that I have seen throughout my life and been frustrated by. I think this work should be a supplement to any serious reader of Rand and would highly recommend this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rand Analyzes the Issues of Her Day in This Timeless Classic
What many regard as the most influential philosopher of the 20th century, Philosopher and Novelist Ayn Rand was known for crafting novels of Hugoesque proportions that presented the heroic elements of the ideal man, as well as writing epistemological treatises on the art of logic and the process of concept formation that focused on the most abstract and fundamental issues to man. In *The Ayn Rand Column*, Rand shifts to a different gear as she writes short crisp pieces on the current issues of her day.

*The Ayn Rand Column* contains over 35 pieces by Rand ranging from the brief, but concise pieces such as an "Introduction to Objectivism", "The Secular Meaning of Christmas", and "Why I Like Stamp Collecting" to the more lengthy "Textbook on Americanism", "Modern Management", and "The Fascist New Frontier." The collection also features an introduction by the book's editor Peter Schwartz, that helps ties the pieces together.

My favorite piece in the collection is Rand's "War and Peace" where Rand makes the case for why today's peace movements are *not* advocates of peace, but of gang-rule, statism, and thus dictatorship. Quoting Rand,

"Professing love and concern for the survival of mankind, these [peace] movements keep screaming that...that armed force and violence should be abolished as a means of settling disputes among nations, and that war should be outlawed in the name of humanity. Yet these same peace movements do not oppose dictatorships; the political views of their members range through all shades of the statist spectrum, from "welfare statism" to socialism to fascism to communism. This means that they are opposed to the use of coercion by one nation against another, but not by the government of a nation against its own citizens; it means that they are opposed to the use of force against *armed* adversaries but not against the *disarmed*..."

And after some discussion of the concretes events to support her claim, Rand concludes:

"...Let all those who are seriously concerned with peace, those who do love *man* and do care about his survival, realize that war cannot be outlawed by lawless statist thugs and that it is not war but *force* that has to be outlawed."

If I may make a brief philosophical assessment: Wow!

What is most illuminating about this collection is Rand's ability to dissect what, at first glance, appears to be a concrete, trivial issue--say the much-maligned "commercialized" gift-giving during Christmas--and shows how it relates to some timeless philosophical principle of vital importance (Sorry! You'll have to read the book for the principle). To use a popular metaphor, Ayn Rand was a woman who could see the forest (abstractions) for the trees (concretes), and vice-versa.

Though this book uses the issues of the 1960's to reveal the work of philosophy in action, it is of value to the modern reader of today, as the philosophical principles Rand elucidates are timeless.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all
If you would like a quick, easy-to-read introduction to Ayn Rand's philosophy...if you would like to see how Ayn Rand applied her philosophy...if you simply would like a glimpse into the objectivist world,then this is the book. This is a compilation of numerous articles onvarious issues that touched America, including the death of Marilyn Monroe.Some of the articles may shock you, but all require a second read-through.Keep in mind, though, that Ayn Rand was a narcissist who had aclosed-minded view of who her followers were and who they weren't; thatprevented her from portraying objectivism for what it is -- a great"philosophy of philosophy," a method of interpreting humanactions and a guideline for having your own ideas.

4-0 out of 5 stars More current events than philosophy, but still good...
As most of the essays in the book were written as newspaper op-ed pieces, they occasionally suffer from "current-itis"; i.e. they were designed with the assumption that the reader would have familiarity withthe events being discussed. To that end, I would recommend that people whowould like to get the most out of this book brush up a bit on theirearly-'60's history first.

With that caveat, however, I would stronglyencourage anyone with an interest in Ayn Rand's writing to read this book.It is a good example of how to put some of the more abstract parts ofObjectivist philosophy into real-world practice. Rand's book "TheRomantic Manifesto", for example, becomes more clear in the light ofher essay on the television show "The Untouchables".

Also, evenif one is not especially interested in period current events, there aresome essays of broader scope included after the columns. Of particular noteare her essay "The Fascist New Frontier" (an invaluable antidoteto the floods of Kennedy worship pumped out by the mass media), and herexplanation of why atheists can celebrate Christmas. I believe that bothlong-time Objectivists and people who are new to the philosophy can findsomething useful in this book. Furthermore, even if you have no interest inObjectivism, the book is still an enlightening look at a pivotal time inAmerican history. ... Read more

10. Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life : The Companion Book
by Michael Paxton
Hardcover: 191 Pages (1998-05)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$8.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0879058455
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Rand's life unfolds in images, dialogue, and music in this "loving--but not fawning--documentary look at this fascinating figure of the 20th-century intellectual life" ("The Washington Post"). 32 color photos. 125 halftones. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars New Discovery
I had never heard of Ayn Rand till I spotted the DVD "A Sense of Life" in the local library the other day!!! I am a fan of documentary bios.,so wanted to take a look...film opened a new world to me...I had seen "The Fountainhead" with Cooper in the past..kind of a "soaper"...but this DVD brought a whole new perspective to me about a very interesting woman!!! I produce an access TV show where I live....I'm into film productions...found this a delight!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars An inspiring look at a philosophic genius.
This book is a fascinating portrait of Ayn Rand.It shows in engrossing detail the depth of her thinking and brilliance of her philosophy, Objectivism.

As a companion to the Oscar-nominated movie this book is agreat coffee table reminder of one of the greatest accomplishments of the20th century; Ayn Rand's creation of a fully integrated, non-contradictorycode of morality.

1-0 out of 5 stars <shrug>
The story of a woman who said she would stop the motor of the world - and didn't.

1-0 out of 5 stars Glossy but dumb
A Child's Golden Book of Ayn Rand... Why in the world would someone take the time and trouble to publish a book without acquainting himself with the facts of his subject's life?This book is a superficial, riddled witherrors and worthwhile only for the photos.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Celebration
Many in this review section argue about whether this book is biased as it doesn't show Rand's flaws, about whether objectivism is a cult, etc.

All of this misses the point.Whether or not she was a perfect person (ofcourse she wasn't), whether or not this book is biased (it probably is),Ayn Rand was right.Her basic philosophy was pretty much the only moral,consistent, and life affirming one ever produced (whether or not sheherself applied it perfectly).This book celebrates the only person everto figure it out, and express it eloquently.Whatever her flaws or thebooks flaws, the world certainly needs (not deserves!) this book more thanthe countless other pieces of garbage out there. ... Read more

11. The Ayn Rand Cult
by Jeff Walker
Paperback: 350 Pages (1998-12-30)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$39.00
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Asin: 0812693906
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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A half-century after the publication of THE FOUNTAINHEAD, AynRand's ideas remain both highly controversial and extremely influential.In THE AYN RAND CULT, Jeff Walker exposes the woman behind the ideas,questioning whether they are as original as her followers claimed. Helooks at the devoted following she attracted in the 1940s and 1950s, howit was shaped by her volatile and domineering personality, and whatremains of it today. Ultimately, Walker argues, her Objectivist movementcame to practice the opposite of the principles it espoused-individualismand objectivity-evolving into a dictatorial cult in which members sufferedarranged marriages, took new names in homage to Rand, and were tried andexcommunicated for expressing opinions different from Rand's. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (70)

1-0 out of 5 stars Misinformed
I'm still trying to figure out how Walker can say that Rand's works are filled with " 'vulgar Nietzschean' philosophy's" when Rand herself denounces Neitzsche's philosophies...

1-0 out of 5 stars A Believer But Not a Cult Follower
I only read a few excerpts.I won't put money in Mr. Walker's pocket.I was introduced to Atlas Shrugged late in life.I don't belong to a cult.I am one of the producers - a Dagny Taggart - a fierce individualist.I am one of those people who believe that if government continues to require producers to pay for the looters, the producers will stop producing or simply leave.All the people I know who love Ayn Rand's books and philosophy would never blindly follow anyone or anything.

1-0 out of 5 stars Subjectivist howlings on being ignorant
I couldn't finish it... this book is without purpose. The philosophy of Ayn is complete....... period. If your not an Objectivist, you are a parasite and "don't deserve the title of human".

1-0 out of 5 stars Waste of paper
Unreadable mix of sophomoric psuedo-journalism smears an often very unlikeable Rand with ludicrous charges of cultdom based on a small cadre of intense fans.Just because Ayn Rand was not a likable person often emulated by even less likable sycophants neither diminishes the value of her writings nor paints her followers as cult members.

See also The Passion of Ayn Rand, a biography of Rand written by Barbara Branden, the wife of the man she shared with Rand!

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read
I have read a few of Rand's books and thought they were OK, not great, not terrible, just OK.I was never attracted to the underlying themes in the books or Rand's "philosphy".I was fascinated, however, by the fact that somehow she has become an icon because of these books and wanted to learn more about her.This book pretty much tells it all-there is no fawning or sugar coating here.She was a nasty woman with some pretty deep rooted mental problems--intelligent, yes, but warped.I cannot for the life of me figure out why anyone with the qualities she admired such as intelligence, free thinking, individualism etc. would ever want anything to do with this cult.She must have had some really potent Kool-Aid. ... Read more

12. Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand (Re-Reading the Canon)
by Mimi Reisel Gladstein
Hardcover: 413 Pages (1999-02-01)
list price: US$82.95 -- used & new: US$39.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0271018305
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This landmark anthology is the first to engage critically the writings of Ayn Rand from feminist perspectives. The interdisciplinary feminist strategies of re-reading Rand range from the lightness of camp to the darkness of de Sade, from postandrogyny to poststructuralism. A highly charged dialogue on Rand's legacy provides the forum for a reexamination of feminism and its relationship to egoism, individualism, and capitalism. Rand's place in contemporary feminism is assessed through comparisons with other twentieth-century feminists, such as Beauvoir, Wolf, Paglia, Eisler, and Gilligan. What results is as provocative in its implications for Rand's system as it is for feminism. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars Rembrandt confetti
Rand's morphing in a feminist is the entire object of the book; hence the new term "Randian-Feminism." In "Looking Back," the essay "Ayn Rand: The Reluctant Feminist" is a nice piece of misinformation, since Rand was not a reluctant feminist. "Feminist Rereadings of Rand's Fiction" is a tiresome attempt to squeeze meanings out of scenes and characters of Rand's books that she mostly never meant. This is accomplished with a huge amount of psychobabble, qualifying it for the psychobabble award of the decade. They pedantically slice many of Rand's phrases, finding links between anything and everything in their content, however irrelevant, then assemble these into a new set of "meanings."They are like monkeys with scissors, cutting up a Rembrandt, and turning it into a Jackson Pollock. The last part, "Toward a Randian Feminism?" consists of views on Rand's feminist possibilities. Again, through pure psychobabble and distortion, various writers bend and stretch Rand into a ridiculous caricature feminist - even a camp feminist, thanks very much. This lame attempt to morph Rand into a feminist won't work in the end - like graffiti on her tombstone, it will eventually wash off.

1-0 out of 5 stars N. Branden's comments silly and layered with irony
Nathaniel Branden writes in his review: "...this book, criticisms of Rand and all, will do more to advance the cause of Rand's work than all their (actual Objectivists) true-believer praise and idiotic adulation."

Branden should review some of his own writings about making groundless, arbitrary assertions.Just exactly why or how is such a book superior in "advancing the cause"?As AR would have said: "No answer is given".

Secondly - anyone familiar with the 'personal history' of AR and Branden should find his use of the term "idiotic adulation" to be layered with irony.You couldn't find a more idiotic way to express 'adulation' for someone who is in the role of your mentor then ...well ... you know.

Sorry about that - but it had to be said.

Sciabarra is pretty obviously not too bright, and no comparison can be made between such a so-called 'scholar' and the truly educated and intelligent "poor souls at ARI".

Just another non-intellectual book on Ayn Rand that will be forgotten by the time Objectivism really takes hold.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent wide-ranging scholarly discussion
I'm a contributor to this anthology. This book covers a lot of new ground, bringing together people and perspectives all over the map, from different disciplines and backgrounds, and even three continents. Few things provide a more fruitful and explosive combination than Ayn Rand and feminism. While most contributors to the book are feminists, at least one, maybe two are anti-feminist (depending on how one would classify Camille Paglia). Most contributors are positive to Rand, in the sense that they/we feel that Rand contributed a lot of value (and that more value can be gained by engaging Rand and feminism with each other), but not in the sense of uncritical idolatry. Rand provokes a lot of polarized response: idolatry or condemnation. What Rand needs is a more balanced and scholarly treatment, and engagement with other thinkers and traditions in intellectual history, and this volume does provide that. Feminism has individualist and collectivist wings, and the collectivist wings have been too dominating recently; engaging with Rand can lead to a revival of individualist feminism. In my own contribution, entitled _The Female Hero: A Randian-Feminist Synthesis_, (ifi.uio.no/~thomas/po/female-hero.html) I apply and extend Rand's conception of heroism to women, leading towards a new radical individualist feminism which is interestingly also an ancient vision of female strength and power. Thus I compare and combine Rand with myths of Amazons, and writers who explore these ancient images of power, writers like Merlin Stone, Barbara Walker and Riane Eisler and scholarly accounts of ancient goddesses and heroines. I also discuss androgyny and postandrogyny, and non-patriarchal sexualities. My article is available on my web site. I would also recommend the web site of Chris Sciabarra (co-editor of the book), where you can find a subsite about the book, which includes highlights from reviews and discussions of the book, including the archives of a structured online seminar going through all the articles of the entire book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Many disciplines brought to bear ...
This anthology includes a marvelous variety of perspectives on Rand's philosophy as well as her fiction; to criticize this work based on the all-or-nothing behavior of the ARI or on (mis)perceptions of Rand's "egoism" is to fail to engage the actual subjects of the articles themselves.To address some of the arguments leveled in previous reviews:

This book does not claim to "promote" Rand, nor are its articles written from the perspective of the true believer.To disagree with Rand's Objectivism does nothing to address the contents of the anthology.As a matter of fact, several of the contributors themselves strongly disagree with and/or disapprove of Rand, for various reasons.

The editors do not claim Rand was herself a feminist, although the essays provide a framework for interpreting Rand from a feminist perspective.Further, Rand's self-identification as NOT a feminist does not mean that there is nothing in her work that can be applied to feminism, or from which feminism might benefit.

And to claim that the volume is trying to "cash in" on Rand's name is to ignore the entire scope of literary, philosophical, cultural, psychoanalytic, and feminist criticism.The work of the literary critic, for example, involves interpreting a text from a new perspective in order to suggest meanings or structures, to uncover parallels or contradictions, and to struggle with conceptual knots found in the text.One reading will differ from another, opening up different aspects of the text that may or may not have anything to do with the author; once a book has been written, anyone who reads it is free to interpret it as he or she sees fit.For the most part, the contributors here provide in-depth scholarly analyses and plenty of documentation to support their theses.By placing Rand in a sealed box, refusing to allow her work to be interpreted and discovered, and refusing to allow new minds to draw new conclusions from her stated premises, her devoted followers only guarrantee the death of Rand's ideas.

For those interested in current Rand scholarship rather than the repitition of Objectivist mantras, this anthology is superb.If you can't bear to hear any new thoughts on Rand, re-read Atlas Shrugged.If you hate Ayn Rand and think her philosophy is the root of all self-serving capitalist American evil, why the heck are you reading this anthology???Save your cult-baiting for the Down With Objectivism website.

4-0 out of 5 stars CULT?
The following of Ayn Rand is a not a "cult."As rational people, we should be able to draw the distinction.About this book: while it is certainly interesting, Rand was never a feminist.Though the authorstry, its a stretch.Nevertheless, its good reading. ... Read more

13. Three Plays
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 304 Pages (2005-04-05)
list price: US$8.99 -- used & new: US$4.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451214668
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Published together for the first time are three of Ayn Rand's most compelling stage plays. The courtroom drama Night of January 16th, famous for its open-ended verdict, is presented here in its definitive text. Also included are two of Rand's unproduced plays, Think Twice, a clever philosophical murder mystery, and Ideal, a bitter indictment of people's willingness to betray their highest values-symbolized by a Hollywood goddess suspected of a crime. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful plays that raise a question
Ayn Rand stresses a philosophy of Objectivism: people must pursue their objectives and let nothing stand in their way.
This seems to reflect the philosophy of Erich Fromm who wrote that people should be all that they can be, a theme that the US army accepted for its recruitment drive in the early 1980s. However, neither Fromm nor the Army went to Rand's extreme. Rand writes that people should be "selfish." Altruism, any concern for others, is "an evil," "a crime" against one's self. Thus she had a sexual affair with another man during her marriage, an affair that her husband knew about and suffered.
Paul Gauguin may have been a Rand hero. He abandoned his wife, children and lucrative job. He betrayed his friends and fled his country in his quest to paint, and he was successful. Another example, one mentioned in Rand's last play, is a man driving a car at ninety miles an hour to get to his destination. He runs over an old lady and doesn't stop or look back.
Thus the main character in the first of her three plays, her only successful play, was a thief and rapist, an embezzler like the recently imprisoned Bernie Madoff. He wanted money and let no one stop him. Rand asks her readers to decide if they think that the rapist is the ideal man. She admits that he is her ideal.
The second play is similar. It did not appear on stage. Many people have an ideal in life, but when the opportunity arrives to achieve it, they refuse it. Rand's play shows examples of how many people in all social strata fail. One is handed his goal but refuses it because at the last minute he prefers money instead, another because of his wrong-headed idea about religion, another because his wife does not want what he wants, another because of sex, while still another, as so many people, has a goal that is so abstract and amorphous that when he sees the chance to obtain his goal, he does not recognize it. Two characters do what Ayn Rand's thinks is right: one kills himself to attain his objective; the other lets a person die.
The third play, which was also never on stage, is a cleverly constructed murder mystery. The murdered man is an altruist. He helps people with his enormous wealth by giving what he feels is appropriate, but never ask what the person wants. Everyone in his house, every suspect, except one, hates him for his help. Ayn Rand wrote that anyone who truly understands her philosophy can figure out who is the murderer, but most people, she admits, are stymied.
These are the only plays that Rand wrote. They exude her philosophy in fascinating dramatic ways. Readers are challenged to decide whether they agree with her.

4-0 out of 5 stars Exit Stage Left
Best known for her philosophy of Objectivism that permeates her novels, Ayn Rand also infused her stage plays with the same ideals and philosophical dilemmas.This collection of three plays, only one of which has been produced, is uneven and amateurish at times, but it highlights Rand's deepest beliefs in how people act.For any fan of her writings, "Three Plays" is a must read, but one does not need to be overtly familiar with her works to enjoy these words crafted for the stage.

The first play, "Night of January 16th", is the only play to have been produced (however unhappy Rand was with the resulting changes) and also perhaps the strongest of the three.It is a courtroom drama where the jury is drawn from members of the audience, a situation which guarantees a different ending based on how the audience perceives the 'testimony' given by the characters.Another aspect that makes this play unique is that there are few, if any, truly likeable characters.In trying to determine if the murder victim was killed by his wife or his lover, the reader may find it hard to like or believe either woman.

The second play, "Ideal", is the weakest of the collection, in which a beautiful Hollywood star is suspected of murder and seeks refuge from the police among a variety of her fans.All of these fans have written her letters pouring out their souls and their devotion to her, but all fail her in the end.It is a clunky piece, with descriptions, plot devices, and numerous location changes which makes it hard to picture this play being performed on stage, perhaps one of the reasons it was never produced.

The final play, "Think Twice", is described as a philosophical murder mystery, and plays out like a closed-room mystery, where almost everyone in the house is a suspect.The course of the play examines whether what a person thinks and says matches their actions.It doesn't flow quite as smoothly as "Night of January 16th", and would lend itself well to some modernization if it were ever to be produced.This collectin of plays is helped tremendously by explanations from the author herself, especially regarding "Night of January 16th", which offer insights into what she was hoping to achieve with these plays.

3-0 out of 5 stars A court-room thriller, a murder mystery and a miss
This omnibus edition contains the scripts to Ayn Rand's three stage plays: "Night of January 16th" (1933), "Ideal" (1934) and "Think Twice" (1939) (the latter two plays were never produced and are reprinted from "The Early Ayn Rand"). These are some of Rand's earliest works and are uneven in quality, but are still interesting reads, particularly for an Ayn Rand completist.

"Night of January 16th" is a court-room thriller with a twist. Rand wrote two endings to this play, one where the defendant is found guilty, and one where the defendant is found not guilty, and a jury made up of audience members decides which is used. The court case itself centers around Karen Andre, a woman who may have murdered her married lover or who may have merely been trying to stop him from committing suicide, when she was seen fighting with him on a 50th storey balcony. According to the play's introduction, written by Rand, the evidence for and against Andre is meant to be balanced, so that the verdict of the jurors is based on the juror's values rather than any solid evidence. After reading the play, I can't see how anyone could possibly have found Andre guilty and this has nothing to do with my values at all. Andre is clearly meant to embody Rand's philosophy and in my opinion, all of the evidence is stacked in her favour. However, according to Rand, when this play was performed only about 60% of juries voted for Andre's acquittal. Go figure.

"Ideal" is the weakest of the three plays in this edition. When the play commences, it appears that Hollywood goddess Kay Gonda has just murdered a man and is on the run from the law. During the course of the play she visits six of her fans, who superficially share her high (Objectivist) values with her, seeking assistance and instead discovers that each of these people is more than willing to betray these ideals. I am not surprised that this play was never produced. For starters, it has far too many speaking roles in it to make it financially viable (over 23 roles in total), but also, it's repetitive and boring. The same thing essentially happens six times (Kay Gonda visits a fan, finds them to be a disappointment and leaves) and after the second or third time, I just lost interest.

"Think Twice" is described on the back cover as "philosophical murder mystery" and is the best of the three plays. It was written several years after the first two plays and by the time Rand got around to this, her writing had improved considerably. In this play Rand manages to both outline her philosophy (it is this philosophy that is the motive for the crime) and to write a pretty good murder mystery that kept me guessing right up until the end. I am surprised that this play was never produced because it is much better that "Night of January 16th", which actually was produced.

Overall, these are not Rand's greatest work. If you are new to Ayn Rand, I recommend starting with either "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged". However, if you have already read all of Rand's other fiction, these play are well worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great plays
Any Rand has been overlooked the past few years - she no longer appears on reading lists and I dont think her philosophy is covered in college courses. That is too bad - she is a great writer and her philosophies are worth exploring.I did not know she wrote plays, so I was surprised to find this book. I read the first of three, entitled Night of January 16th.It is a great play with an interesting twist.She wrote it so when it is performed, 12 people from the audience become the jury - their desicion affects the outcome of the play.I think that is a great idea and I wish someone would produce her work.I recommend this to anyone who has read anythig by Rand and is looking for some new material to study.Her writing is, as always, on point and her ablility to make a play needs to be explored more often.I hope more people read it and take a liking to her novels. ... Read more

14. My Years with Ayn Rand
by Nathaniel Branden
Paperback: 432 Pages (1999-02-26)
list price: US$32.50 -- used & new: US$19.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787945137
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Previous Praise for Nathaniel Branden"Relentlessly revealing. . . the myth of Ayn Rand gives way to a full-sized portrait in contrasting colors, appealing and appalling, potent and paradoxical. . . . it takes a special kind of nerve to write such a book."--Norman Cousins, author of Head First and The Healing Heart

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is one of the most influential books of the twentieth century-its popular impact ranked second only to the Bible in a major poll. Millions know Rand as one of this century's great thinkers, writers, and philosophers, yet much about the private Ayn Rand remains shrouded in mystery.

Who was Ayn Rand?

My Years with Ayn Rand charts the course of the clandestine, tempestuous relationship between the enigmatic author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and Nathaniel Branden-her young disciple and future pioneer of the self-esteem movement. In this book, discover the real Ayn Rand through the eyes of the man who became her soul mate and shared her passions and philosophical ideals.

Their tragic and tumultuous love story began with a letter written by Branden as an admiring teenage fan and Anded, more than twenty years later, with accusations of betrayal and bitter recriminations. My Years with Ayn Rand paints an unforgettable portrait of Ayn Rand-whose ideas, even today, can generate a maelstrom of controversy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nathan is a Survivor
I could not put this down. It was almost like reading a non fiction account of the characters of Atlas Shrugged or the Fountainhead - all put into a real life story. Ayn Rand was not lying when she said that Nathaniel Branden is the male embodiment of her philosophy. Behind any differences that may have developed in the lives of these characters and the tragedies they overcame(especially Nathaniel)emerges the sincere, completely accounted for objective account of what happened through the eyes of one of the characters. I enjoyed how Nathaniel included exactly how he felt throughout his entire life in addition to exact accounts of conversations on almost every page. I think the principle that illuminated my mind most in this book was one that I naturally derived from the life of Nathaniel. Here is a man who was exposed to a great woman (Ayn Rand) and presented with a body of knowledge. He essentially never stopped growing, and never stopped confronting new situations and learning more - always building upon the knowledge he had. The beauty of the story is how Nathaniel puts into practice the valuing of his own moral judgment above others throughout the story and achieves his happiness/sanity through doing just that. Nathaniel is torn before assuming full responsibility for guiding his life with his own moral judgment. We can all relate to this. This all culminates with his decision to leave Ayn and Barbara and marry Patrecia, a gorgeous, jubilant model who the reader immediately fell in love with after seeing her picture and reading her thoughts. She tragically dies at a high point in the story, though Nathaniel carries on and marries another attractive woman and writes more books. I do not care what the Ayn Rand Institute has to say about Nathaniel Branden. He is one who has not gave up in pursuing his ecstasy. It is apparent that how we seek that ecstasy, and the consistence/confidence (self esteem) we put in our ability to achieve our unique form of it through our own moral judgment to sustain the creation of that ecstasy is what makes us successful individuals. I learned a lot from this book. I doubt a memoir by any other psychologist could be this fascinating. I truly enjoyed this book - it is a memoir which says that happiness is truly possible to the man who honestly pursues it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Revised Judgment
A lot has been said about the memoirs of Nathaniel Branden.JUDGMENT DAY, published in 1989 in part as a response to his ex-wife's 1986 memoir/biography THE PASSION OF AYN RAND, presents a somewhat different take on Ayn Rand.Instead of the repressed genius of Barbara Branden's book, we get a Rand who, although a genius, was conventionally nasty and ungrateful (worst of all to Nathaniel Branden).

Branden also tries to settle some scores, not only with Rand, but with his cousin, Leonard Peikoff, and his ex-wife.Personally I don't find this particularly edifying.Nor am I interested in learning about how Rand was in the sack.

Nathaniel Branden revised this book in 1999, using the more modest MY YEARS WITH AYN RAND as a title. It's a bit more toned down with respect to others (in particular his ex-wife and cousin), but the description of Rand is basically the same.

Of the three books, I think Barbara Branden's biography is the best.Those interested in Rand should start there.

4-0 out of 5 stars A memoir Ayn Rand's followers need to read.
I read Fountainhead when I was 18 and soon followed it with Atlas Shrugged. I liked Fountainhead for its individualist philosophy. Roark became my hero. I read Atlas Shrugged and was appalled at Rand's extremist views. Anyone who differs from her ideas is evil according to her. She spews venom and hopes to convert readers to her ideas with the force of her contempt.

I decided to read Branden's memoir in an appempt to gain more insight into what made this lady so bitter and angry. Its clear she lived only in amake believe world of ideas. She did not see reality as it was. She believed she was the personification of all her ideal values. Yet her need for adulation , her childish need to seek total acquiescence from her followers show she was far removed from her idea of a Hero.
Branden does a good job of humanising this self styled demi goddess. You just need to read this and you never need to be tempted again to read the churlish, self righteous sermonising of Rand.

2-0 out of 5 stars read it and bathe
This book was lying around the house, undoubtedly the result of the peregrinations of someone in the family through the remainder bins. I think I should clarify that the book I am reviewing, Judgment Day, is actually an earlier version of "My Years with Ayn Rand." I guess Branden got tired of being judged, or maybe needed to display Rand's name more prominently on the cover--or realized the Christian implication of his title.

I also should state that I couldn't care less about Branden, Rand, Objectivism, the Self-Esteem Movement, Libertarianism, or any other person or idea associated with the people involved in the book--a point I mention because many reviewers seem to feel strongly about some or all of the above. I did read the Fountainhead, many years ago, when I was 14, which seems to be a favorable age for finding prose like "Howard Roark laughed" not laughable. For a year or so I thought the book was great; then I lost interest. Personally, I think I developed greater literary sensitivity and a more adult appreciation of human psychology, but I don't want to patronize the many adults in the world who think everything Ayn is fine. Therefore, to anyone who needs to know--as Rand-people need to know--whether I'm "for" them, the answer is "no," which I guess means I'm against them.

I gave this book any stars at all because I believe it would speed the clear-eyed adolescent admirer of Objectivism to a better realization of the implications of all that hero-worship and examining premises stuff. I cannot imagine anyone finishing this book without having shuddered in disgust at least once. Was it possible Branden actually wrote a cautionary tale in the form of an apologia? Is he that clever?

I think not. I think Branden was trying to rehabilitate himself. Yet he remains so thickly encased in his own sense of self-importance that he cannot place himself in the position of any other human being. Therefore, when he describes a cousin who fails to understand him as "a eunuch," or lists his first wife as not the victim but the perpetrator of her own pain, I think he does not realize that a lot of readers will read the subtext rather than the text, and think, "What an unsympathetic creep." And, I should add, an unsympathetic creep who has made his living for the past 25 years as a psychologist in Southern California (which helps explain, now that this East Coast writer thinks about it, the mental disequilibrium of Los Angeles).

Here is an analogy I bet no one has made: The person Branden most reminded me of was our past beloved president, Bill Clinton. There is the same broad intellectual ability, charisma, and extroversion, wrecked by a sense of personal infallibility, an adolescent ego that sees his own life writ large across the cosmos, and, most damaging, an inability to take personal responsibility for bad decisions and suffer the negative consequences thereof. This guy (for those who don't know what I'm talking about) for over 20 years couldn't manage to extricate himself from a wacky mother-son romance (while married to a woman his own age) with Ayn Rand, that for at least half that time he didn't want. Couldn't help himself; didn't want to hurt her; didn't want to hurt the movement; didn't know which way was up; surrounded by moralists and enemies; help, get me outta here! His house of cards fell down around him when Woman Number 3 entered the picture and the bed just got too crowded. Studliness hath its price: Branden's not the first middle-aged guy who lost it all toa young bimbo, but true to type, he acted, and writes, like he was and is. I suppose in the days of the Patriarchs love meant never having to say you're sorry, but, as Rand and Branden spent most of their lives lamenting in a very Gloria Swanson-way, life has gotten smaller since then.

I took off 3 stars because the writing is boring and repetitive, there is almost no character development in spite of pages and pages of self-analysis and breast-beating (or chest-thumping), and most of the characters are very unpleasant. I will say that Wife #1, Barbara, seems like a real piece of work who I'd be interested in knowing better--that Nathaniel got away with this book without having her sue his tail off is testimony in that single fact to more strength of character on her part than her ex-husband displayed all the times of his life, added up.

1-0 out of 5 stars Smear and exploitation of Ayn Rand (read The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics for the whole story)
This book is a smear job against Ayn Rand so that Nathaniel Branden can clean up his own tarnished reputation while cashing in on Ayn Rand's fame.

James S. Valliant, in his book The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against the Brandens, thoroughly dissects the claims made by the Brandens against Ayn Rand. He then references Ayn Rand's own personal journals to systematically demonstrate how Barbara and Nathaniel Branden deceived and exploited Ayn Rand for years for their own illegitimate aims. Even after Ayn Rand's death, the Brandens continue to cash in on Ayn Rand's self-made fame and her original philosophy of Objectivism. ... Read more

15. Ayn Rand Reader
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 512 Pages (1999-01-01)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452280400
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Fountainhead, which became one of the most influential and widely read philosophical novels of the twentieth century, made Ayn Rand famous. An impassioned proponent of rational self-interest, individualism, and laissez-faire capitalism, she expressed her unique views in numerous works of fiction and non-fiction that have been brought together for the first time in this one-of-a-kind volume.Containing excerpts from all her novels--including Atlas Shrugged, Anthem, and We The Living--The Ayn Rand Reader is a perfect introduction for those who have never read Rand, and provides teachers with an excellent guide to the basics of her viewpoint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reading Ayn Rand
I am an objective Ayn Rand reader. All her books inspire thought. Even when my newly acquired 'English' was so meager I still enjoyed Fountainhead (my first encounter with her works). She has remarkable insights to the workings of society however her emotional side lacked substance. Still, 70% of her teachings are completely valuable and can only enrich your existence. Her teachings are in the form of story telling which keeps you interested in her philosophies. Give her a try with her Ayn Rand reader, you will be impressed.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book should be read by ALL.
A truly great condensation of Ayn Rand's work. It should be read by EVERY AMERICAN. Then go on to read other Rand books. The best way to understand what is going on with our government, most of which makes no rational sense.

3-0 out of 5 stars Wanted to read more
I agree that some of Ayn Rand books are lengthy and it's overwhelming to think about reading 1000 pages.However, I found that in reading the fewchapters of the selected books that I wanted to read more of each individual book.Reading only a few chapters of several books wasn't satisfying.It's better to buy the whole book from the start.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read clarifies Barry Obama,s strategy
The rebirth of our economy is JOB ONE and the principles enumerated in this compilation is food for the RIGHT and a good recipe for Barry

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Synopsis of the Wisdom of Ayn Rand.
Pseudo-sophisticated philosophers beware!"Edited by Gary Hull and Leonard Peikoff, here is a rare and illuminating glimpse into the legendary writer's (Rand's) evolution as an artist and philosopher."With that bold statement from the back cover of the text dangling as a morsel of hubris so as to hook the buyer; The Ayn Rand Reader certainly does make good on the promise.

Whether you are seasoned reader or a neophyte into Rand's writings this text delivers the main points of her Objectivist Philosophy in a survey style covering her observations, feelings, and convcitions regarding Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, and Esthetics.Ayn Rand was an impassioned proponent of reason, individualism, and laissez-faire capitalism; as such she deserves to be called the greatest philosopher of the Twentieth Century and arguably of all time.

Persons genuinely interested in Rand or simply curious about her doctrines will not be disappointed with this text.I rate it at five stars with no reservation.

... Read more

16. The Fountainhead (Cliffs Notes)
by Andrew Bernstein
Paperback: 144 Pages (2000-06-20)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$2.56
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Asin: 0764585584
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The novel that made Ayn Rand famous, The Fountainhead is perceived as a modern classic. Taking place in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, it chronicles the efforts of architect Howard Roark to achieve success on his own terms. It is Rand's first book to carry forth her anti-communist ideals, that individuals should think and believe independently and not allow their lives or careers to be dominated in any way by the beliefs of others. And as Roark's designs create a rub against the acceptable styles of the day, he continually is faced with selling out to the masses. But continually he refuses, and his career becomes one marked by his capacity to hold fast to his own intellectual and artistic innovation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Penetrating Insight
Bernstein provides a penetrating insight to this brilliant novel of ideas.Included are:a brief synopsis, a list of characters, a character map, critical commentaries on each of the four parts (with glossaries of important terms), detailed analyses of the major and minor characters, and an essay on Ayn Rand's writing style.There are even review questions, essay questions, and practice projects.The only complaint I have is that Bernstein doesn't describe the differences between the novel and the movie script--and there are differences.In some respects, Objectivist philosophy is an outgrowth of (and considerable improvement over) Nietzsche's philosophy.Bernstein points out on p. 59 that Rand kept a quote from Nietzsch at the head of her manuscript which says that there is "some fundamental certainty that a noble soul has about itself, something which is not to be sought, is not to be found, and perhaps also, is not to be lost."

5-0 out of 5 stars great companion to Fountainhead
This book really helps a reader see "the big picture". I read it when I was about 60% of the way through the book when I grabbed the Cliff Notes. It's a good way to do it; I wouldn't have been able to grasp the overall concept of Fountainhead without it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful
Bernstein clears up many misunderstandings or deliberate distortions by unsympathetic critics. Rand's style of writing may be jarring to those who prefer Naturalism. It is worth reading or re-reading Rand with a guide and/or commentary. However, don't deprive yourself of the experience of entering and immersing yourself in Rand's world, which requires reading the novel. Use the guide sparingly as clarification is needed. Unfortunately, Bernstein sometimes refers to future events in chapters not yet read - be forewarned.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very helpful.
Dr. Bernstein is becoming a prolific writer. This helpful assistance for those studying The Fountainhead will not dissapoint. I could've used this more than twenty years ago, when first reading that wonderful novel. Be glad it's available for you today.

5-0 out of 5 stars A huge surprise
I have read the Fountainhead many times and I was pleasantly surprised by this cliffs notes summary and analysis of the book.It includes a short biography of Ayn Rand but the bulk of the book is spent on detailed goingover of Ayn Rand's plot, theme, and characters.It is fascinating to readan intelligent analysis of the characters I love.The gems of the book arethe two critical essays; The Literary Integration of the Fountainhead andAyn Rands Writing Style.This book is written by an Objectivist authorand is definately worth buying. ... Read more

17. The New Ayn Rand Companion, Revised and Expanded Edition
by Mimi Reisel Gladstein
Hardcover: 176 Pages (1999-08-30)
list price: US$69.95 -- used & new: US$62.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0313303215
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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An essential guide to the life and works of Ayn Rand, the book chronicles and summarizes her writings, presents information about her national and global impact--and the response to it--and provides the most comprehensive bibliography published to date. Written by an independent scholar who is not part of either the Ayn Rand establishment or the Ayn Rand detractor camp, The New Ayn Rand Companion builds on the foundation of the original. New materials about Rand's poshumous publications, the latest biographical information, and summaries of books and articles about Rand, published since her death, have been added. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars SCHOLARLY?I THINK NOT
Scholarly?I think not.I looked up a reference to myself on page 19: and this alleged "scholar" did not trouble to ask herself how a French-Canadian politician born in the 1930s, Maurice Champagne-Gilbert, could have authored a French children's adventure story first published in 1914 ("La vallee mysterieuse," which I translated).(In fact the story was written by Maurice Champagne, 1868-1951.) If she makes a careless mistake like that (which could have been avoided by simply reading the front cover, or opening the book and glancing at the front matter), what other mistakes has she made?

That she relied on the "assistance" of either Nathaniel or Barbara Branden hardly inspires confidence.The Brandens are about as objective about Ayn Rand as Hitler was about the Jews; though fortunately their unscholarly pseudo-histories have been fully exposed in James Valiant's "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics."

There may be some value in compiling a list of absolutely everything that's been written about an author.But I doubt it ... especially in this case, given that most of Ayn Rand's critics either have an ax to grind, or don't think there's an objective reality.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must" for all serious Ayn Rand fans and scholars.
Now in a completely revised, updated, and expanded edition, Mimi Gladstein's The New Ayn Rand Companion continues to be a critically important, essential guide to the life and works of author/philosopher AynRand. Gladstein chronicles and summarizes Rand's writings, presentsinformation about her national and global impact (and the response to it)and provides the most comprehensive bibliography published to date.Gladstein is neither an Ayn Rand enthusiast or detractor and thereforetakes a scrupulous, scholarly, methodical, and emotionally neutral approachto her meticulous research as she covers the complete Rand corpus. Newmaterials about Rand's posthumous publications, the latest biographicalinformation, and summaries of books and articles about Rand published sinceher death have been added to make The New Ayn Rand Companion a"must" for all serious students of her writings.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Guide to Things Randian and Objectivist
The first edition of this book was published within a couple years of Rand's death, so there is much updating to be done (although that earlier edition did benefit from a preview of Barbara Branden's biography of Rand,then still in progress). In addition to The Passion of Ayn Rand, many ofRand's private journals and letters have now been published, and a numberof important secondary sources as well, such as Chris Matthew Sciabarra'sfull-throttle philosophical and historical study Ayn Rand: The RussianRadical. Almost every work of significance pertaining to Rand is describedor at least mentioned, making this volume a reference of first resort forRand studies.

What's covered here? Let Gladstein answer: "Theorganization of this Companion follows a logical heuristic: Who? What? andSo what? 'Who is Ayn Rand?' is the question answered partly by the briefbiographical chapter. The main body of this book, however, responds to thequestion, 'What has she written?' That is covered in the chapters on herfiction, her nonfiction, and in the compendium of characters. 'So what?' isthe question that calls for critical reaction and that is provided in thechapter on criticism."

The author also provides a comprehensivebibliography of works by and about Rand. Even such obscure pieces as DavidM. Brown's hitherto unheralded survey of "The Critics of BarbaraBranden" (published in the May 1988 issue of Liberty magazine) areincluded.

Gladstein has much that is both positive and on-point to sayabout Rand's character, her fiction, her nonfiction, and the variouscritical assessments of her work. She doesn't shy away from negativejudgments when such are appropriate, either.

On Rand Herself:"Regardless of what pressures were brought to bear, regardless of howmany of those in power told her that she must change her style, regardlessof what obstacles she found to 'doing it her way,' Rand remained true toher purposes in writing." "Intellectually, she could best anyonein argument.... Bennett Cerf concurred, 'You can't argue with Ayn Rand.She's so clever at it, she makes a fool out of you.' " Rand's personalshortcomings are mentioned, as well as the troubling circumstances thatsurrounded the Objectivist Crackup in 1968; but Gladstein does not dwell onsuch matters. Of course the works cited, the most important of which is ThePassion of Ayn Rand, tell the whole story of Ayn Rand's often triumphant,sometimes tragic life.

On Rand's Fiction: "Rand's major literaryworks follow similar plot patterns. In each, an exceptionally able andindividualistic protagonist battles the forces of collectivism andmediocrity that are threatening or have destroyed the nation or theworld." "Rand's heroes are tall, straight and strong. As withtheir feminine counterparts, defiance is a keystone to theircharacters." "The major theme of Rand's fiction is the primacy ofthe individual. The unique and precious individual human life is thestandard by which good is judged." Mention is also made of suchleitmotifs as "recurring whip imagery" and "romanticizedrapes" that are "symbolic of the head-on clash of two strongpersonalities." (Gladstein is quick to add that readers of"raised consciousness about the nature of rape might find thissymbolism unpalatable," but neglects to state clearly that thevigorous sexual encounters in Rand's fiction cannot be taken as actualrape-not if the text itself is to be admitted in evidence.) Gladstein'ssummaries of Rand's stories are uniformly excellent.

On Rand'sNonfiction: "Montaigne, author of the book Essais which created thegenre of the essay, defined the essay as 'an attempt,' a brief discussionas opposed to a thesis or dissertation. [The essays of The Virtue ofSelfishness] are just that-compressed discussions, forays into theirsubjects. As such, they are appealing to interested nonacademic ornonspecialist readers as well as to the more serious student ofObjectivism." "Rand says capitalism is the only moralpolitico-economic system in history, a system that has been a great boon tohumankind [TDO thinks Gladstein means "mankind" here].... Herpurpose [in Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal] is to clearly identify thebenefits of capitalism while also exposing the nature of its arch enemy,altruism." "One of Rand's greatest gifts is her ability to cut tothe heart of a contemporary event or issue and analyze its philosophicalimplications." "The specific referencts of [The ObjectivistNewsletter] were events of the early sixties. What makes themintellectually satisfying today is that the basic premises Rand uses tocriticize government, education, or literature apply now as they didthen."

The chapter on "Criticism of Rand's Works"includes a summary of every work about Rand that has been published, andmentions a great many of the critical articles. As you can imagine, thecriticism is a very mixed bag, as assessments of Rand run the gamut in toneand objectivity. To her great credit, Gladstein's sensibility incriticizing the criticism is almost infallible. Any palpable blunders inThe New Ayn Rand Companion? One or two.In the introduction the authorstates that Rand "presented herself as representative of her fictionalideal: rational, objective, uncompromising, unswerving. Her followers canfind no imperfections. This tends to create a situation in which all whoare not fully in accord with Rand are seen as part of the opposition."The gist of the observation is correct, but some qualification should havebeen made. Elsewhere in the book Gladstein herself documents the growth ofmore tolerant wings of the Objectivist movement, including the birth of TheInstitute for Objectivist Studies (now The Objectivist Center) and thepublication of David Kelley's Truth and Toleration. (Alas, the Companionwent to press just around the time The Daily Objectivist was being founded,so TDO's rapid ascendancy as the premier arbiter of non-orthodoxObjectivist thought, displacing Kelley's organization, is not mentioned atall. Hopefully this omission will be rectified in the thirdedition.)

Another little glitch we could mention appears in thedescription of Hank Rearden. "Although [Rearden's] feelings forFrancisco d'Anconia are strained by Francisco's superficial public image,their friendship grows until Rearden finds out that Francisco had beenDagny's lover." But in fact the great breach in the friendship occursearlier in the novel, when Rearden realizes that Francisco had had themeans to prevent a disaster from befalling Rearden Steel but chose not toprevent it. The discovery of Francisco and Dagny's past romance onlyincreases but does not inaugurate the tension between the two men when theyfinally next encounter each other in Dagny's apartment. Anyone who has readAtlas Shrugged a million times cover to cover would be familiar with thissequence of events.

However, these points are trivia. Ninety nine pointnine nine percent of the time Gladstein is completely accurate, not tomention astonishingly concise given the wealth of information she presents.She acknowledges the assistance of a number of major figures in theObjectivist movement, including Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Nathaniel Brandenand Barbara Branden, Peter Saint Andre, Michelle Marder Kamhi and LouTorres. Anyone with any serious interest in the work of Ayn Rand and itsgrowing influence on our culture should own a copy of The New Ayn RandCompanion.--David M. Brown, Editor, The Daily Objectivist(www.dailyobjectivist.com) ... Read more

18. Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right
by Jennifer Burns
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2009-10-19)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$5.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195324870
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Worshipped by her fans, denounced by her enemies, and forever shadowed by controversy and scandal, the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand was a powerful thinker whose views on government and markets shaped the conservative movement from its earliest days.Drawing on unprecedented access to Rand's private papers and the original, unedited versions of Rand's journals, Jennifer Burns offers a groundbreaking reassessment of this key cultural figure, examining her life, her ideas, and her impact on conservative political thought.
Goddess of the Market follows Rand from her childhood in Russia through her meteoric rise from struggling Hollywood screenwriter to bestselling novelist, including the writing of her wildly successful The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Burns highlights the two facets of Rand's work that make her a perennial draw for those on the right: her promotion of capitalism, and her defense of limited government.Both sprang from her early, bitter experience of life under Communism, and became among the most deeply enduring of her messages, attracting a diverse audience of college students and intellectuals, business people and Republican Party activists, libertarians and conservatives. The book also traces the development of Rand's Objectivist philosophy and her relationship with Nathaniel Branden, her closest intellectual partner, with whom she had an explosive falling out in 1968.
This extraordinary book captures the life of the woman who was a tireless champion of capitalism and the freedom of the individual, and whose ideas are still devoured by eager students, debated on blogs, cited by political candidates, and promoted by corporate tycoons. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tremendous research, fair treatment
After hearing a review of this work on NPR; I expected Ayn to be beat up by a liberal author.Instead, Jennifer Burns told the story in such a way that I could not feel she was anything but objective.The history of Ayn's life and her impact on the right with all its personalities and conflicts is well told.A very interesting and informative book.

1-0 out of 5 stars History, maybe; comprehension, none.
Ms Burns has written a rather amateurish history of Ayn Rand.

She's big on names and dates but very short on understanding Rand's
philosophy as it evolved. This wouldn't be so bad if she were
not in the habit of criticizing Rand for the 'inconsistencies' that
result from Burns' surface understanding of what Rand advocated.

Burns completely misunderstands Rand's rejection of Nathaniel Branden.
She uses Rand's insistence that teaching Objectivism and not permitting disputation
with paying students about its validity, as a major character flaw.
She damns with faint praise Rand's strength as a woman while condemning her for
believing that women make a choice to be subordinate.
Burns seeks approval from what she deems her audience by asserting Rand's atheism as a flaw rather
than the springboard from which rejection of the imposed values of others springs.

True, Burns' statement rejects being judgmental -- but her work seethes with antagonism. One
can almost hear in her writing the voice of Ellsworth Toohey, (a Rand character from The Fountainhead) admitting the truth of Rand's observation while slandering her for being correct.

I suspect that Ms Burns' teaches history from a relativist point of view rather than
presenting her own perspective and, more than likely, invites her students to
argue from ignorance and speculation.

Ms Burns uses the title " Ayn Rand: Goddess of the Market" to capitalize on Rand's name.
Had she titled it "A Minor Analysis of the Conflict Between Libertarian and Conservative
Concepts from the '30s thru the 80's"this book would have retained the obscurity it well deserves.

As an addition to the corpus of Ayn Rand literature, it is welcome -- if nothing else as a demonstration
of how 'second-handers' persist. I recommend that readers familiarize themselves with what Rand actually
wrote before turning to this volume -- which has a commendable bibliography.

Had I been her thesis advisor and of a conservative, religious bent, I would have approved wholeheartedly
of this effort. Such is the fear that Rand strikes in the hearts of those who aspire to independence
but still want a place next to Jesus in heaven.

5-0 out of 5 stars A major influence in a major part of my life -- but it's good not to be an objectivist!
I just finished reading this book; i could not put it down.however that may be because AR and Objectivism played such a big part in my life at a very important time in my life and this is the first book i have read that seems to actually be 'objective' about AR and her followers.

with my then-husband, we operated and ran the los angeles chapter of NBI in the 60's.when the 'break' with the brandon's occurred, we were astonished to find that unless we 'sided' with AR, we were excommunicated (their words).we refused to side with anyone.after that we were not even allowed to subscribe to the publications of AR and her cohorts. it was truly heartbreaking; we were being asked to take sides without knowing anything about anything except that AR had denounced NB. we could not do that, and so we were kicked out of an organization that we had been steadfastly loyal to for a number of years.

that is not to say that NB was such a saint either; he did his share of humiliating and abusing those who he felt were 'less' than he; even to the point of admitting to us one day that yes, he and AR did believe, as did Nietszche, that there were those who were 'more deserving' than others; more worthy of life, more elite.they believed in a hierarchy which allocated a special level of entitlement.AR and NB being a part of, if not THE, hierarchy of course.this said while sprawled on our sofa, chewing on radishes. he could be a charmer, but he could be a SOB just as easily.

by then, i was heading out the door and out of the realm of objectivism.i learned a lot from both AR and NB (i truly liked barbara and found her to be a classy, warm woman who did not need to intimidate and humiliate others in order to feel good about herself).they were my education and taught me how to think --- for myself.i had to pull away from them because they were poison to a young person trying to find her way in the world. i felt that my very soul was in danger of being completely sabotaged. it was their way or 'the highway' --- meaning:you were irrational, unethical, immoral --- not worthy of existing.on the other hand, they also gave me the greatest tools in the world --- how to think about thinking.how to approach ideas in a rational manner.and how to NOT let myself ever, ever, ever again be dragged into a cult such as objectivism had become.

AR was a brilliant, angry, disturbed, troubled woman.i loved her and loathed her.most especially, i loathed 'the movement' and all that it represented.a great example:one time i had worked for NB doing secretarial services for him (after the break) in l.a.i had typed up a letter he dictated, signed the letter (he was out of town) and mailed it.he came to our house the following saturday morning when my husband and i were having breakfast and still in our robes.he sat down, had coffee and then expressed his extreme displeasure with me."You used an exclamation point in the letter!" he practically screamed at me."What?" I responded, stunned and confused."You used an exclamation point!Do you know what an exclamation point is?""Well, it signifies an important statement, one that is strongly felt.""It's a scream!" he barked at me."And that tells me something about YOUR psycho-epistomology."

I looked at him like he was crazy.(i actually thought he was.)"But you said you had never been so happy in your entire life.i thought it was deserving of an exclamation point." i said."it was a strong statement and it was about your feelings and it was an exclamation."he went on to state that he was horrified and embarrassed beyond belief that that letter was sent with that piece of punctuation in it.that was when i realized, fully and clearly, as if a light went on in my head, that he and AR and everyone around them, were so full of their own self-worth (actually so full of crap) that they had lost sight of everything rational.that was when i became not only an ex-objectivist, but practically an anti-objectivist. i let NB know what i thought of his opinion and especially his nerve in blustering his way into our apartment only to insult me, while drinking my coffee (feel free to laugh).(i made really good coffee...smiles...)a few days later he apologized to me, but by then, i didn't care what he thought.

i have no doubt that both BB and NB have changed considerably in their methods of dealing with people since 'those days.'but nowhere near as much as I have.i threw off the yoke, the heavy burden, of trying to conform to all of the guidelines of objectivism and finally became my own, my authentic self.

i highly recommend this book for those who have read AR's books and especially those who were involved with Objectivism in the 60's.it kind of puts things in place and doesn't take sides or kneel down in abject adoration of its subject.it's a refreshing and clean read.and it helped me with a lot of my sad feelings about 'that time' in my life.Jan Richman Schulman (prev in l.a.: Jan Crosby)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not like her idealized characters
Not like her idealized characters

Burns' biography of Ayn Rand, the famous novelist and political philosopher, is extensively researched and quite readable.The book portrays Rand as an elitist tyrant dependent on amphetamines while dominating her circle known as the "Collective", pontificating about her philosophy, and excommunicating any member daring to speak critically of her ideas.Interestingly one of the members who signed an excommunication letter for a member of the circle was Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Board Chairman who in his own book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, describes himself as a "libertarian republican".

Rand was Russian born and a émigré from the Soviet Union, whose difficult experiences in Russia imparted a rabid hatred for socialism.In the United States she was emphatically anti-New Deal, and wrote her famous novel, The Fountainhead (Centennial Edition Hardcover), under the influence of her New Deal antipathy.She became the advocate of individualism and personal freedom, and formulated a social and metaphysical philosophy that she called "Objectivism", which is set forth in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (The Ayn Rand Library, Volume 6) written by her close acolyte Leonard Peikoff.Her most famous and last novel was Atlas Shrugged, which was intended to dramatize objectivism. Both books, still in print, have long been marketing successes, and enjoyed resurgence in sales after the crash of 2008.

Politically Rand supported Senator Goldwater's presidential candidacy in 1964, but as an atheist she disliked the Republican Party's right-wing turn to religion.When the Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 in reaction to President Nixon's imposition of wage and price controls, Rand continued to support Nixon in reaction against the Libertarian Party's platform of anarchism, and furthermore jealously rejected the new reactionary party as a competitor to her personal influence.

Most readers are acquainted with Rand's philosophy through the two novels, which are lengthy, speechy and ponderous but readable. But Rand did not resemble the heroic characters that personified her philosophical ideas in her novels, and readers of this biography will find striking contrasts between Rand the real person and Rand's heroic characters.

3-0 out of 5 stars Symbolism of inverted civilisation
It always depends on what one would like to read between the lines. And I was pleased to read about absolute spiritual void of Ayan Rand at her discovery of America. Girl who made nothing from nothing. And they bought it! Or she found fools to sell it to ? As American dream or othernightmare.Of course someone would say her theorywas for new-comer great but it usually is,among those who trust without having their own knowledge. Who can? When she called out her Declaration of independence, one has to muse that it was rather late ,ignoring original and perhaps indicative of something completely ???and who really care- perhapsjust Alan Greenspan. Theories of theorists some do marihuana somedo economic halucinations with those who count themselves inteligent. As he said at Congressional inquiry to 2008 financial meltdown - No one really could see that it will go that way. Ayan Randway ? One is really smitten by those prophets of profitwho beg or visualiseeconomy into oblivion as government sponsores handoutsto entertaindigitalisedmasses. Good read. ... Read more

19. Letters of Ayn Rand
by Ayn Rand
Hardcover: 720 Pages (1995-06-01)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$63.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0525939466
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Ayn Rand's letters were written to be read. This witty and penetrating collection of her correspondence with Hollywood luminaries, political writers, philosophers, family members, artists, businessmen, and fans offers an unparalleled look at the past 50 years of her life and career. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Get to Know the Real Ayn Rand
I must confess, when I first received Letters of Ayn Rand from my sister as a birthday present, I wasn't very motivated to read it.I had read most of Ayn Rand's novels and a few books and essays about her life, so I thought it would be very similar to what I already knew about her.Was I pleasantly surprised!Reading her personal letters written to everyone from literally the boy and girl next door to Frank Lloyd Wright and Barbara Stanwyck gave me an insight into Rand's personality and values that can't be found elsewhere.What comes out in her letters is how seriously she takes not only her own ideas, but the ideas of others.The book is organized chronologically, so one can trace the development of her ideas as well as her successes (and a few disappointments). I was also very surprised to learn how actively involved she was in the marketing of her novels.She wasn't just passively standing by hoping people would read her novels; rather, she gave suggestions to the publisher and edited marketing materials.I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating personality and incredible mind behind The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Other Side of Ayn Rand
This collection of Ayn Rand's letters is an interesting and important addition to her works.It was edited by Michael Berliner, then-executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.(ARI advocates the "Official Objectivism" of Leonard Peikoff.)For those who know Rand through her at times shrill writing and the self-serving accounts of former insiders, this collection presents a valuable "other side" to Rand.Written over a period of 55 years, we read love letters to her husband, letters to friends and fans, and letters to politicians.In fact, Rand corresponded with some of the most famous people of the century, such as Alexander Kerensky, H. L. Mencken, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Barry Goldwater, to name a few.The philosophical portions of the letters are quite meaty, and Rand obviously put a great deal of effort into her correspondence.

Not surprisingly, the only letters to Nathaniel Branden included were written before he became her associate.The end result is that Branden's contributions to Objectivism are downplayed, which is typical of the material produced by the ARI.(For example, even though Rand approved of Branden's writings published prior to their split, they do not appear in THE AYN RAND LEXICON or other post-split collections.)

The most interesting selections are the letters to Isabel Paterson and the distinguished philosopher John Hospers.In order to get permission to quote Hospers' comments contained in Rand's letters, the editor was obliged to include a statement from Hospers.As Hospers says, Rand occasionally misrepresented or misunderstood his point, so printing only Rand's letters to Hospers makes him "look like a bloody fool. . . . And that isn't quite fair, is it?"

5-0 out of 5 stars It's a shame someone has to die...
...in order for a book like this to be published.But finally we get a real look into the private life of a fascinating author and philosopher.Having just finished a number of years at PSU, it seems clear that Objectivism is making headway as a serious philosophical view.

I'm more interested in music myself than philosophy, but I did notice that in the study of philosophy the Ball that Miss Rand got rolling so many years ago has gathered quite a bit of size and speed.Her ideas made sense to me both before and after I studied Logic, Semantics, and Philosophy.In fact, after studying the "big boys," as one professor of mine called them, I definitely saw a need for a philosophy that states that things are what they are!!

Anyway, I'm devouring this book!!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Maybe worthwhile for Rand scholars....
Perhaps I was just coming down off of an Ayn Rand high when I read this, but whatever the case, this collection of correspondance just doesn't deserve a place beside Rand's self-published work, which is in sufficient abundance to make a collection like this unwarranted.

If you are thoroughly absorbed into Rand's Cult of Personality (amazingly effective even after her death), then you will probably enjoy this work.There was certainly a time where I would have devoured every letter.If, on the other hand, you have been impressed and affected by The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, We The Living, or Anthem, I would strongly suggest working through Rand's nonfiction before diving into this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spectacular!
Ayn Rand is the author of numerous philosophical works, fiction and non-fiction alike. She is best known as the founder of her unique Objectivist philosophy, which is essentially concerned with individual men acting in their own rational self-interests, coupled with a strong moral defense of free-market Capitalism. Her ideas are very complex, yet easily grasped by the interested reader.

“Letters of Ayn Rand” is a wonderful book for Rand fans, however I think many of the ideas will be lost on newcomers. “Letters” contains almost 60 years worth of personal letters Miss Rand wrote during the course of her lifetime. We have a very wide range of recipients for her letters here, everyone from philosophers, heads of state, newspapermen, literary agents, Hollywood types, fans, political organizations, you name it. Rand was just as eloquent and blunt with her letter writing as with her “serious” writing.

I very much enjoyed following Rand’s career through these letters. We start with a young Russian woman trying to settle in to American life, through a writer’s struggles to get her work published, and ending with the writings of an established philosopher ahead of her time. Rand fought tooth and nail to get both “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” published as written, however we learn that she was not entirely against having editorial assistance. Rand understood the editor’s job of providing constructive criticism of her work; however she always stood tall and insisted on making any sort of changes to her works personally. She never tolerated any sort of editorial “rewrites” of her novels or her original screenplays, etc.; Rand fought many tough battles with editors, publishers, film producers, etc. during the course of her writing career for the purpose of having her work stand as written by her hand ALONE. This was very difficult to do back in the 40s and 50s (probably more so today), as witnessed by her numerous letters to the powers-that-be.

Rand was brutally honest with everyone she wrote letters to, including family members and adoring fans. Rand was helping to support a niece during the girl’s troubled high school days. Rand then found out that the girl and her caretakers weren’t being up front with her, and subsequently told her relatives in no uncertain terms that Rand’s assistance for the girl is NOT charity and that her help is NOT unconditional. In other instances, fans of Rand who misinterpreted her books were shown little sympathy; not because Rand was against teaching fundamentals of her philosophy (she acted as a teacher far more often than not), but because the letter-writer seemed to have purposefully missed Rand’s crucial philosophical points. Rand had no patience for those who would claim to be fans of “The Fountainhead”, yet ask her to support causes that did not match the ideas of her novels. Her voice is always clear, and her uncompromising use of reason and logic are unmatched.

There are some complaints from other reviewers regarding the choice of publishing Rand’s numerous letters to philosopher John Hospers. The argument revolves around the choice of not publishing Hospers’s responses to Rand, and that the letters presented here are “one-sided”. While I can understand the argument, the fact is that this book is intended to be “Letters of Ayn Rand”, not “Letters of John Hospers”. It is made clear to the reader that Rand and Hospers had numerous conversations other than their written correspondence, and Rand’s letters to Hospers are only a small portion of their conversations. Therefore, EVEN IF Hospers letters were published alongside Rand’s, the discussions between the two would remain incomplete. I myself have no problem reading Rand’s letters to him without having the other side published, mostly because I trust Rand to have been honest with her rebuttals of Hospers’s ideas.

Another complaint revolves around the lack of letters to / from Nathaniel Branden. The philosophical split between Rand and Branden is well known, however I think the choice to ignore their (probable) arguments within these pages was a sound one. Certainly, Rand and Branden’s long term working relationship included far more than dissenting letters between the two of them. Branden and Rand worked side by side for many years, and I find it unlikely that the details of their split are to be found strictly in the form of “letters” to each other. It is much better for both parties in my opinion to refrain from detailing their split, as Rand is not longer with us to defend herself. Truly, I would love to know what went on to cause their split, but I would rather know nothing at all than hear only one side.

I came away with a better understanding of many of Rand’s ideas, which is significant because I have already read the bulk of Rand’s published works. Rand arrives at her conclusions in a different manner within her letters, and the “different” approach presented here served to make clearer her attitudes towards life and politics. Certainly, it was a blessing to read her answers to specific questions, as there are ideas within her work that are difficult to grasp when told from only one angle.

This book is a treasure trove for all Rand fans, but is not for beginners. Rand makes many references to characters and events within her philosophical novels that come across as cryptic to readers not familiar with the material. After reading “Letters of Ayn Rand” in full, the Rand “novice” would come away with a rudimentary, patchwork feel for her ideas at best, so I cannot recommend this book unless you have already read “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” at the very least. ... Read more

20. Ayn Rand Box Set
by Ayn Rand
Paperback: 1 Pages (2009-10-06)
list price: US$18.98 -- used & new: US$10.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451947673
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (27)

4-0 out of 5 stars Ayn Rand box set
I needed to read Atlas shrugged for a school assignment and the boxed set was a great deal so I ended up reading them both. Taken as works of pure fiction these are very enjoyable works and I recommend them to anyone who wishes to get a deeper understanding of what Rand thinks the actual outcomes of her philosophical musings will be.

1-0 out of 5 stars BRILANTI sucks!!
It took about 2 to 3 weeks to get this "in-stock" book!Only after I contacted them asking about the order [through Amazon because there's no way I found to contact them] did I get an email. This was the slowest delivery possible! I won't use this seller again.Tracking information was not provided.

WORST SELLER ON AMAZON. Do not buy anything from these suckos.


BRILANT makes Amazon look b.....a...........d. & It looks like the comments/ratings are "fixed"!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great box set
Books are small enough to take in your purse despite the fact that they are lengthy novels.Type is still good size.For the price, this box set is great.

5-0 out of 5 stars A life-altering book
There are enough reviews about this book (Atlas Shrugged) out there that I don't need to say it all again.I will just say that this book changed my philosophy about life in quite a major way.Everyone should read it.While I don't agree with every part of Ayn Rand's ideology (I believe in God--I don't think she does), she has a very powerful way of showing us what motivates different people and it really helps to put all of the crazy things going on in our world into perspective.

I didn't have any problems with the text size.I will admit that it is small, but I guess I have decent eyes and I prefer packing around a small book.I highly recommend it!

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Impressed
The quality of these books are very poor. The spine instantly cracks and there are subscription style cards bound into the books.... The only saving grace of this product is the content, no matter how poorly it is treated. ... Read more

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