About This Author

Ayn Rand

Black and white photo of a white woman facing the camera with her body turned to the side.
Ayn Rand in 1943

Born

Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum February 2, 1905 St. Petersburg, Russian Empire

Died

March 6, 1982 Manhattan, New York, United States

Resting place

Kensico CemeteryValhalla, New York, United States

Pen name

Ayn Rand

Occupation

Writer

Language

English

Citizenship

1905–191719171917–19221922–19311931–1982

Alma mater

Petrograd State University

Period

1934–1982

Subject

Philosophy

Notable works

The Fountainhead Atlas Shrugged

Notable awards

Prometheus Award Hall of Fame inductee in 1987and co-inaugural inductee in 1983

Spouse

Frank O'Connor ( m.  1929; his death 1979)

Signature

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.

Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals.

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Discover Ayn Rand Quotes and Sayings

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. - Ayn Rand

Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.

Ayn Rand

alone
I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build. - Ayn Rand

I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build.

Ayn Rand

architecture
A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom. - Ayn Rand

A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom.

Ayn Rand

architecture
The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity. - Ayn Rand

The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.

Ayn Rand

success best
Government 'help' to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off. - Ayn Rand

Government 'help' to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.

Ayn Rand

government business
Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. - Ayn Rand

Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.

Ayn Rand

death
God... a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive. - Ayn Rand

God... a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive.

Ayn Rand

power god faith
Upper classes are a nation's past; the middle class is its future. - Ayn Rand

Upper classes are a nation's past; the middle class is its future.

Ayn Rand

future
Do not ever say that the desire to 'do good' by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. - Ayn Rand

Do not ever say that the desire to 'do good' by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.

Ayn Rand

good
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force. - Ayn Rand

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.

Ayn Rand

history government
Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. - Ayn Rand

Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.

Ayn Rand

legal government
The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. - Ayn Rand

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

Ayn Rand

power men government
Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values. - Ayn Rand

Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.

Ayn Rand

life happiness
Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values. - Ayn Rand

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.

Ayn Rand

happiness
When I die, I hope to go to Heaven, whatever the Hell that is. - Ayn Rand

When I die, I hope to go to Heaven, whatever the Hell that is.

Ayn Rand

hope
When man learns to understand and control his own behavior as well as he is learning to understand and control the behavior of crop plants and domestic animals, he may be justified in believing that he has become civilized. - Ayn Rand

When man learns to understand and control his own behavior as well as he is learning to understand and control the behavior of crop plants and domestic animals, he may be justified in believing that he has become civilized.

Ayn Rand

learning