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Ayn Rand and the World She Made

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I think I'll skip this. I'm already starting to seethe just from the first paragraph...

  • "well-meaning sense of duty" - as if the ends justify the means
  • "the gifted individual - Ayn Rand" - notice the misuse of the abstract "individual" to apply to a specific individual (in order to diminish), and throwing in "gifted" to help frame the inevitable strawman of "the productive vs. the non-productive"
  • "live according to her own high wattage lights" - materialism straw man, anyone?
  • And obviously, her life under communism will be used to explain the source the philosophy... and "thus" invalidate it.

... or am I reading too much into this? :D

Edited by brian0918
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I'll read the book I'm certain but I take deep offense to describing those who were in Rand's inner circle and those who choose Objectivism now as a "cult" by the author on the amazon page link.

I think the Branden era had attributes in common with cults of personality (not religious cults) because of the Brandens. The three appearances of the word cult on the amazon page all reference the past not the present.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

From the London professor's review:

"Rand's principal work is Atlas Shrugged, which tells the story of John Galt, a businessman who, irritated by regulations that impede getting rich, goes off in a huff to a secret valley, taking many of the business community with him"

Um.... homeboy never even READ THE BOOK.

I would love to see someone who actually READ THE BOOK try to come up with an intelligent arguement against it.

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  • 4 months later...

I am currently reading this book. Has anyone else who is actually reading or has read this book want to discuss it? I have a largely positive impression of it so far but I am just now coming up on some "fireworks" (Atlas Shrugged has just been published and I think Rand's relationship with Branden is about to get problematic).

Positive or negative, I am mostly interested in the opinions of people who have read this book.

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I love aesthetic experiences written by the detractors. "The World She Made", as if she succeeded in changing the way we think.

I attempted to convert some libertarians to Objectivism, or at least, to understanding that reason and egoism are virtues. I do believe I explained quite clearly why altruism is evil, the difference between altruism and "helping people", that philanthropy is not bad as long as it's not the moral standard, and why most things that altruism is falsely attributed to (serve the military, obey the Hippocratic Oath, put off decisions for the benefit of your wife and kids, etc.) are actually you working in your rational self-interest. I explicitly stated that altruism is not the same as "helping people". I still received resposnes like "But... wait, what's so bad about helping people?"

Even people who mostly agreed with me saw me as having a pessimistic view of human nature.

Edited by Black Wolf
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  • 12 years later...

Frederick Cookinham has given the following notice on Facebook today: 

I just got an email with some sad news. My friend Anne C. Heller has died of cancer at 71. She was the author of AYN RAND AND THE WORLD SHE MADE (2009), the second biography of Rand after THE PASSION OF AYN RAND (1986), by Barbara Branden. The email came from Anne's husband, David De Weese.
I first met Anne in 2003. She came to one of my Ayn Rand-themed walking tours. She said that she was thinking of writing a biography of Rand; she had not made up her mind. She took all five of my Rand tours, and we had a lot of fun for the next six years, sharing information on Rand. She said when we met that she did not know much about Rand. I said that this was a good thing. Barbara's strength was also her weakness as a biographer: she had been close to Rand for 18 years, and then had a rather explosive parting of the ways. So you couldn't beat Barbara for access and knowledge of her subject, but she had her own agenda. She was too close to her subject. Anne would be coming to the subject with a fresh pair of eyes, as we proofreaders say. No ax of her own to grind. In 2009, Anne published a fair and objective biography. I like to say that in a world of Rand idolators and Rand bashers, some of us aspire to be Rand scholars, and present the public with accurate and complete information on the life and thought of a world-famous writer.
Anne next wrote a biography called HANNAH ARENDT: A LIFE IN DARK TIMES. I heard Anne being interviewed on the radio about her new book. The interviewer said that Rand and Arendt had nothing in common. Anne set him straight. Rand and Arendt were both world-famous twentieth century Jewish women writers. They both came to America as European refugees from totalitarianism.
Edited by Boydstun
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