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Ayn Rand, Individualism, and the Creation of the Businessman-Superhero

A Russian-born immigrant, Ayn Rand's philosophy injected steroids into a distinctly American brand of individualism.

Since its publication in 1957, millions of readers have entered the world of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. The philosophical tome have developed a near-cult following over the years, and the author’s ideas continue to influence thinkers, politicians and businesspeople today. Yaron Brook, chair of the Ayn Rand Institute, sat down with Roundtable to discuss the author and philosopher’s continuing legacy.

In this segment, Brooks argues that Ayn Rand’s values appeal to a particularly American ethos–in contrast with European culture’s distrust of wealth accumulation.

“What makes America, America is a certain respect for wealth, but what Ayn Rand does is puts that on steroids, and elevates that in a way,” Brooks said.

Rand’s work, Brooks argues, enshrines the idea of the American self-starter.

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“Rand elevates [businessmen] to heroes,” Brooks said. “She took the American sense of life, the American spirit, and she gives it words and she gives it a context and she elevates it.”


Yaron Brook, Chair, Ayn Rand Institute

Watch the full discussion below: