I read Atlas Shrugged in grad school and became obsessed for a year or two - friends were board by Galt's speech, but I was intrigued. It was 1979 and I read it all, Rand and anyone she recommended, fiction, nonfiction, journals, periodicals, etc. When I read IOE, I knew I needed more grounding because the derivative concepts were all new to me. Imagine, I was a biological sciences major with a BA from Boston University, now studying at Memphis University and I was never required to take a course in logic, or rhetoric, or history of western philosophy.
I started reading the various commentaries and anthologies on western philosophy. But I had to make a living and so this avocation was hit or miss for the decades during which we raised our kids. My life partner was a women 13 years my senior who had the same essential sense of life. When the kids got out of college and on their own, we worked like dogs for about ten years and then threw in the towel of upward mobility to settle in a simple lifestyle in a rural area that is comfortable with lower monetary resources.
Then we started to study - also gardening, playing with the grandbabies, and admiration and contemplation of the natural world around us. On-line courses on western philosophy from Cambridge and Oxford, then repeated study sessions with Peikoff's lectures from around the mid-seventies, then everything published since grad school, and a re-read of almost everything else published by Rand and Peikoff.
The study isn't over at age 60. To know a truth, when you see it, is not the same as internalizing what you have discovered is true. (Listen to Peikoff discuss Plato, Aristotle, and then Ms. Rand - it's amazing because it's part of him.) I hope on this site that I can correct my errors and, maybe, point others to the place for answers.
The best questions come from Ms. Rand's fiction - most of the answers are their too, but knowledge is required to see those answers through the clouded lens of modern cultural influence.