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Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was a Russian-born American novelist, philosopher, playwright and screenwriter. She is widely known for her best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system called Objectivism.
Rand advocated rational individualism and laissez-faire capitalism, categorically rejecting socialism, altruism, and religion. Her ideas remain both influential and controversial.
Rand explained in a 1963 essay titled "The Goal of My Writing" that the goal of her fiction was to project her vision of an ideal man, and she developed her philosophy largely to support that goal.
In an article about Rand that appeared in The Economist in 1999, it is stated that "Rand’s novels sell some 300,000 copies a year, exhorting readers to think big about themselves, build big and earn big. New editions of all her books carry postcards for readers who might be inclined to learn more about Objectivism, the author’s credo, a blending of free markets, reason and individualism."
In 1985, Leonard Peikoff, a surviving member of "The Collective" and Ayn Rand's designated heir, established "The Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism" (ARI). The Ayn Rand Institute "works to introduce young people to Ayn Rand's novels, to support scholarship and research based on her ideas, and to promote the principles of reason, rational self-interest, individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism to the widest possible audience."
Ayn Rand on religion:
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