Happy 110th Birthday Ayn Rand

Posted by sdesapio 4 years, 5 months ago to Books
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Ayn Rand's birthday is Monday, February 2nd.

I first discovered Ayn Rand at 24 when my girlfriend at the time, Angela, a woman nearly 10 years my senior, INSISTED I read The Fountainhead.

I remember being in a constant state of disappointment back then - not depression, but disappointment. I just found myself constantly disappointed in the people that surrounded me at the time. And, I didn't really know why. All I knew was that I loved my work, I wasn't happy, and I was stuck.

I couldn't put it into words. I couldn't articulate it. But, Angela saw it. And, she knew exactly what it was.

I devoured The Fountainhead. Or better stated, The Fountainhead devoured me. I was consumed. I think I actually read most of it with my eyes bulging and my mouth agape. At least, that's what it felt like.

I was speechless when I closed the back cover. I remember quietly rising off the couch... slowly standing... then, I simply stood... still.

I looked around the living room. I walked to the window. It was bright outside. And, I was new. The fog had been lifted.

3 years later I was running an IT Division for a dot com. 4 years after that, I started my own software company. 3 years after that we were doing 10 million a year.

7 years later, I was on the Atlas Shrugged Movie production team.


I don't know how many people I've recommended Rand to over the years. Suffice it to say, a lot. Thank you Angela.

Thank you Ayn Rand.

Happy Birthday.

So, when did you discover Rand?

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  • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 4 years, 5 months ago
    Hello Mr. DeSapio,
    Bravo Sir, bravo.
    Between 30 and 32 years ago I was starting my own tool and die shop and wondering why some of my associates were honorable producers struggling to prosper, while some were tyrants and looters and were prospering. I swore that I would never run a company like some I had worked at where the owner would step on anyone and everyone to make a buck and value for value meant nothing to them. Connections and contracts were their power of pull. Workers were expendable... replaceable. I heard Mark Scott on local talk radio extolling the virtues of Rand and I read AS. I knew right then that my self interest was directly tied to my reputation and that was of the utmost value to me and the future of my company. I began reading everything Rand I had time for, which opened an entire world of philosophy.

    Over the years I watched several of my associates and clients with less virtue develop well deserved reputations and get in legal trouble due to their disreputable dealings.
    I knew I had made the right choice.
    Carpe diem!
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  • Posted by  $  edweaver 4 years, 5 months ago
    Great story Scott! Thanks for sharing it.

    I just recently bought The Fountainhead and had not heard of Ayn until reading AS a couple years ago. Wish I would have found it when I was 24 instead 50. It changed my life now but would have changed my path at 24, that is if I was smart enough to listen to the message. Now I have to make time for The Fountainhead.
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  • Posted by awebb 4 years, 5 months ago
    I first discovered Ayn Rand in high school (the summer between my sophomore and junior year) when Atlas Shrugged was the summer reading for an AP English class.

    I won't say that reading it immediately changed my life. I didn't finish it, stand up, and proclaim "things are going to be different!" or anything dramatic like that. However, it did plant a seed. I literally could not stop thinking about the book.

    That winter I re-read it. Then I read all of her other works one by one. There was never a dramatic ah-ha! moment but the works definitely reinforced who I was and helped me find the strength to be who I wanted to be.

    I often wonder had I not taken that English class (and thus never read Atlas Shrugged), would I have found the courage to say "I"?

    Happy birthday Ayn Rand!

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  • Posted by nmj11104 4 years, 5 months ago
    I discovered Ayn Rand when my government teacher in high school told us not to waste any time reading her books. I didn't stop until I had gotten through them all.
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  • Posted by  $  winterwind 4 years, 5 months ago
    I read Atlas when I was 16, Fountainhead a year later. I found that here was someone who believed, as I believed, that the INDIVIDUAL is important, that the right values matter, and anything could be achieved. I started talking to people about Atlas, in particular, right away. I gave away copies of it [still do!].

    Well, I met this guy. We despised each other on sight, and I, refusing to be conscious of it, did everything I could to seduce him. Those were the days of skirts up to THERE, and I worked it.

    Yes, there were fireworks. But I said, if you're really going to be mine, you need to read this book. I gave him a copy of AS, and he went on a business trip.

    When he got back, I asked him, well? what do you think?
    He said There's nothing to think about. She's right, of course.

    So when you meet us, and see how devoted we are to each other, and think about your own relationships, consider: does this person have values that I can honor my whole life?

    We've been together over 40 years - 2/3 of our lives. I do not live for his sake, nor he for mine - but we have lived for our sake.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 5 months ago
    I was at an event and someone used Ayn Rand as an epithet, as if meant stupid, disgusting, and everything good reasonable people disagree with. I have heard this meany times, but on this occasion I asked the guy why. He didn't have a clear answer. I asked which book I should read to get a flavor why everyone hates it. He hadn't read any.

    So I got the first Rand book I found on the library shelf, which happened to be Fountainhead. I figured I'd hate it and never get through such a huge book. I was shocked to find I loved it. I read AS and loved it.

    Since then I've occasionally asked people about Rand, and I've found there are many people who like her work. People are usually quiet about it because so many people think the books are about supporting politics, when in fact they condemn politics.

    They've had a huge impact on me b/c no when I see Toohey-like behavior or Wynand-like behavior I have a model for it. I understand they're not necessarily acting like that because they're trying to scheme or cheat to get their dream. Maybe they're dream has been knocked out of them, and now they're just trying to keep other people from living their dream. Maybe they're like Peter who just got a thrill out of messing with people-- getting them fired, getting them hired somewhere else, getting the janitor to react to the boss-man, or whatever. Doing something Toohey-like doesn't make you a devil. It's a trap that people can fall into, some people more severely and frequently than others.

    I'm so grateful for her books for helping me these unhealthy behaviors for what they are and avoid falling into them.
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  • Posted by DennisKebrdle 4 years, 5 months ago
    I was about 40 when I discovered Atlas. My wife bought me the book to take on the plane to Venezuala where I was meeting with a dealer. as I walked over to him, picking me up in Caracas, he stood tall, smacked his chest and exclaimed "Francisco D'Anconia!". had to laugh. Been an active fan for about 25 years and troll for converts every day in this insane world. I've given out over 100 copies of the book and I pass out copper coins daily. Happy Birthday Ann! you live on with us forever
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  • Posted by  $  RickyBobby131 4 years, 5 months ago
    About 30 years ago I was listening as usual to Neal Boortz on AM Radio in Atlanta and he rattled off a book he was telling a caller to definitely not read because if he did he'd recognize what's going on with our government and freak out. Of course he was trying to get people to read Atlas Shrugged in reality and it worked on me. After reading I finally understood what I had been feeling for a long time and became a staunch Ayn Rand fan. A few years ago my wife bought me the book on DVD (50 Disks) when I began working a consulting project which I drove 8.5 hours to, and 8.5 hours back from about every other week for a year. I listened to Atlas Shrugged 5 complete times while driving and each time I heard something new and enlightening. Thank you Ayn Rand.
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    • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 5 months ago
      Great, RickyB!
      I listen to AS on every cross country drive and it not only keeps me alert, it inspires me for action on arrival. A much better way to get from Atlanta to LA than being frisked and degraded by DHS goons.
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  • Posted by edbarkley1 4 years, 5 months ago
    I'm 77 now and started reading Ayn in my early 20's. As with everyone else above she struck a nerve that made so much sense. I'm looking at my ragged collection in my library now...Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Anthem, We the Living, The Virtue of Selfishness and Philosophy: Who Needs It. Please provide coordinates to the Gulch. I've been ready for 50 years.
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  • Posted by bonomo123 4 years, 5 months ago
    Discovered Atlas Shrugged in my early 20's. Devoured the book in 4 days..it defined and reinforced who I am. Forty years and hundreds of books later I can honestly say no other book has had that same impact on my life.
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  • Posted by  $  ArthurFay 4 years, 5 months ago
    I am 72 years old, and when I was 19 (1962), a good friend recommended Atlas Shrugged. Reading and discussing it with him and subscribing to The Objectivist Newsletter solidified my understanding of Objectivism, and I've been an Objectivist ever since.
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  • Posted by terez 4 years, 5 months ago
    Happy Birthday Smart and Creative Lady. I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 19. My best friend turned me on to her. I then read The Fountainhead afterwards.
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  • Posted by Austexk 4 years, 5 months ago
    As we celebrate Ayn Rand and all the intellectual ammunition she gave so many of us, I also wish to acknowledge Nathaniel and Barbara Branden who, during those golden years of NBI in NYC, taught me so much that has informed me in turning my life into a great adventure and made so many of my dreams come true. Cheers to three great minds! Kerry
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  • Posted by DoctorObvious 4 years, 5 months ago
    Growing up in the 60's and 70's and having a dad who taught high school English, I was aware of Ayn Rand my entire life, but truly began to appreciate her insight and wisdom in the past two decades. Her truthfulness is immortal.
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  • Posted by Mamaemma 4 years, 5 months ago
    I read Atlas for the first time at 16 when my mother recommended it to me. It didn't change my life; what it did was define who I was, put into words my soul. So for the rest of my life I have longed for Galts Gulch and cherished the people who hold the values that I hold.
    Needless to say, both my children read Atlas and Fountainhead in their teens.
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  • Posted by samnjoeysgrama 4 years, 5 months ago
    My gym teacher, Ms Epps at Washington High School in KCK loaned me her copy In 1966. I went on to read everything she wrote, subscribed to the Objectivist Newsletter, read everything written about her, and my philosophy and politics remain essentially the same after 50 years. Thank you Ayn Rand (and Ms Epps).
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  • Posted by  $  Ingeborg 4 years, 5 months ago
    A friend of mine started discussing Ayn Rand's principles with me without naming Ayn Rand. When he discovered I was thinking along the same lines, he challenged me to read The Fountain Head. When he told me that he had the book but I would need to find how to get my hands on a copy I was thoroughly intrigued and after reading The Fountain Head I couldn't stop as I had finally found someone who either confirmed my premises or challenged my questions.
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  • Posted by Carlton040 4 years, 5 months ago
    I first discovered Ayn Rand in 1968 when I was 23 years old. I read Atlas Shrugged and it became the foundation that I lived by. I have never anything that gave me a better life vision.
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  • Posted by agneaux 4 years, 5 months ago
    I first read "The Fountainhead" when my mother sent it to me when I was a grad student at UAF (U. Alaska - Fairbanks) in 1979. I couldn't put it down, and went on to read "Atlas Shrugged" and many other works by Ayn Rand. I think I can honestly say it changed my life for the better, and I truly saw the truth for the first time. I went on to join the LP in 1982 and ran for Congress the same year in Louisiana, was the LA state treasurer for the LP, and served as a 5-state rep. on the National Committee for about a year. Since then I've been working and raising a family, which now includes grandchildren. I may run again but I fear it may be too late to stem the rising tide of Socialism and appeasement in the US.
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  • Posted by teresitalyn 4 years, 5 months ago
    I read Atlas Shrugged at 16 in High School and became an early cynic. I voted twice in my life, never for a politician, only a businessman, who I knew wouldn't stand a chance due to the funding in our 2 party system. I decided to be self employed as soon as possible. Am happily retired now and am President of non-profit who helps smart, motivated Mexican kids stay in school or get vocational education when family circumstances might not allow it, through arranging sponsorships. Our choice who we help, not the government's.
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  • Posted by SteveBuckstein 4 years, 5 months ago
    I was first introduced to Rand's work when a college classmate gave me a copy of "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" in 1968. It was like a light bulb going off in my mind. Still one of my favorite non-fiction books. For those who only know Rand's fiction, I highly recommend this book to flesh out her economic thinking.
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  • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 5 months ago
    You, too, asked? Back around 1970 a co-worker and I discussed politics and logic across the aisle at work and he lent me a copy of AS.

    It took me about 60 pages to 'get into the story' the first time, but by the time I'd finished the book, its content has profoundly changed my way of thinking about myself and my personal rights and legitimate power over Myself.

    Years later, I returned the gift by describing the est Training I took in the early 1980s, and that seriously changed the way He related to his new co-workers and how we were affected by other people's reactions and relations to the real world around us.

    Two of the most profound influences on our lives. Priceless.

    And _I_ have had to wait over 40 years to see AS on the Big Screen. Thanks to everyone, including me, myself, who did anything to help make that happen!
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