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who was ayn randAyn Rand is America’s most controversial individualist. She was a bold woman who produced brilliant works fusing fiction and philosophy. Her best-selling novels, like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, have sold millions of copies and continue to influence independent thinkers and celebrities the world over, from Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales to Angelina Jolie and Hugh Hefner.

Rand cut a striking figure, with her long-stemmed cigarette holder and intense gaze. Known for her fearless denunciations of irrationalism, Rand issued blistering critiques of powerful leaders, from the Pope to President Nixon. She could not be pigeon-holed as “Right” or “Left,” although she was known for her scathing attacks on Communism and all forms of collectivism.

She penned philosophical non-fiction works of such originality and power that she was credited by a small group of stunned intellectuals as having single-handedly solved an ancient philosophical puzzle. Yet the elite of her day refused to accept her as a legitimate philosopher. She derided them and their ideas; they returned the favor.

The new philosophy which she founded through her books and essays is called Objectivism. It is a philosophy that celebrates the power and potential of the individual, and reveals the principles necessary for developing a flourishing


NEXT: Introduction to Rand's ideas  What did Ayn Rand believe?


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