Ayn Rand Explained

( 2 )


Ayn Rand (1905-1982) is unique in human history. Scorned by the established critics, she wrote brilliant popular novels that have become permanent best-sellers, and founded a comprehensive philosophical and cultural movement which, decades after her death, is shaking the foundations of the post New Deal American political order.

Ayn Rand Explained gives a comprehensive survey of Rand's wide ranging contributions: her literary techniques; her espousal and then rejection of ...

See more details below
Paperback (Revised Edition)
BN.com price
(Save 25%)$19.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $5.98   
  • New (6) from $12.02   
  • Used (4) from $5.98   
Ayn Rand Explained: From Tyranny to Tea Party

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price
(Save 42%)$19.95 List Price


Ayn Rand (1905-1982) is unique in human history. Scorned by the established critics, she wrote brilliant popular novels that have become permanent best-sellers, and founded a comprehensive philosophical and cultural movement which, decades after her death, is shaking the foundations of the post New Deal American political order.

Ayn Rand Explained gives a comprehensive survey of Rand's wide ranging contributions: her literary techniques; her espousal and then rejection of Nietzschean philosophy; her contradictory attitude to feminism; her dismissal of religious faith; her forays into ethics, epistomology, and metaphysics; the development of her political creed; her influence on--and yet hostility to - both conservatism and libertarianism.

The late Ronald E. Merrill, a graduate of MIT and the University of Oregon, was a scientist entrepreneur who ran his own business in the Los Angeles area. Ho wrote books or venture capital and sundry articles on science, business, and politics.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Enright, a psychotherapist and board member of the Atlas Society who is revising and updating Merrill’s 1991 The Ideas of Ayn Rand, examines Rand’s life, writings, and thought, as well as the often harsh critical reaction to her philosophy. From her traumatic experiences of growing up during the Russian Revolution, Rand discovered a “passionate love for independent, creative Man, and a hatred for all forms of collectivism.” Out of this, she developed Objectivism, best expressed in her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In her fiction, highly independent men struggle against a totalitarian world to produce great, creative work and achieve success. Taking reason as the ultimate guide, Rand concludes that “the only meaningful or justifiable values a man can choose are those which serve to sustain his life.” Viewed through this lens, capitalism becomes the best system for providing people with opportunities to develop their talents. This emphasis on individual excellence also means Rand rejected such values as altruism, decried religious ideologies, and called for a “pure” laissez-faire market economy. Enright shows how Rand’s ideas emerge from previous philosophers, explaining her view of selfishness as Aristotle’s concept of the “Great-Souled man,” “pursuing excellence and achievement” with nobility and vision. An exhaustive exploration of a controversial, much misunderstood writer and thinker. (Feb.)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812697988
  • Publisher: Open Court Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/20/2012
  • Series: Ideas Explained
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 811,996
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 The Controversial Ayn Rand l

Formidable Influence 3

Political Impact 5

Portraits and Memoirs 6

A Muse for Popular Art 9

The New Atlas Shrugged Wave 11

"In the Name of the Best within Us" 12

Against Relativism and Subjectivism 16

The Virtue of Selfishness 17

2 Who Was Ayn Rand? 19

Rand in Hollywood 20

The Atlas Phenomenon 22

The Objectivist Movement 25

Was Objectivism a Cult? 26

The Great Schism of Objectivism 29

Shrinking of the Movement 31

From Individualism to the Morality of Capitalism 34

3 Ayn Rand in Person 37

Partisan Accounts 40

Rand and Her Hangers-on 41

The Owner of Objectivism? 43

No One Owns Objectivism 44

Horrified by Hypocrisy 46

From the Political to the Personal and Back 48

Rand's Personality in Context 51

Ayn and Frank 53

4 The Young Nietzschean 57

Alone Against the World 57

The Evolution of Objectivism 59

The Randian Style 60

Nietzsche's Influence on Rand 62

The Nietzschean Vision 63

Literary Influences 68

Rand's Early Fiction 69

Red Pawn 71

Penthouse Legend 72

We the Living 74

The Theme 75

Trio for Heroes 75

A Cinematic Style 77

Textual Changes in We the Living 79

The Failure of Nietzsche 81

5 Scourge of the Second-Handers 83

The Enigma of Ideal 83

Think Twice 86

The Fountainhead 87

The Break with Nietzsche 89

A Traditional Antithesis 93

The Impossible Villain 94

Intellectual Snobbery 95

A Seamless Patchwork 96

Acquittal Unsatisfactory 97

The Embryo of Objectivism 98

Anthem 98

'The Simplest Thing in the World' 100

6 The Book that Changed the World 101

A Departure in Style 101

Plot, Plot, and Plot 103

The Technique of Philosophical Integration 104

Rand's Heroes: The Roots 107

Dagny Taggart and the Randian Woman 109

Francisco d'Anconia 112

Hank Rearden 112

Who If John Gait? 113

Bit-Part Heroes 114

The Villains 114

The Secondary Heroes 116

Thirty-Six Just Men? 118

Nathaniel Branden's Critique 120

Rand and Repression 121

The Randian Lovers 123

Paradox Resolved 125

Beyond the Taggart Terminal 126

7 Rand the Philosopher 127

Objectivism Versus Academia 128

Metaphysical Roots 130

An Epistemological Radical 132

Rand's Theory of Concepts 133

The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy 136

Epistemology in Practice 137

The Objectivist Ethics 139

Ethics and Values: Two Lines of Argument 140

The Randian Argument 142

Ends and Ends in Themselves 143

The Means Test 145

Rand and the Aristotelian Legacy 146

From Is to Ought: Is There Aught or Is All for Nought? 147

What Is the Meaning of 'Life' Anyway? 150

Some Objections to Objectivist Ethics 154

From Leaking Lifeboats to the Asteroid Test 155

The Gait-like Golfer 158

Robert Nozick Versus the Count of Monte Cristo 159

Human Nature and Its Consequences 160

The Ethics of the Future 161

From Theory to How-to 163

Objectivist Esthetics 163

Esthetic Difficulties and Definitions 165

8 Rand's Politics 167

A Political Odyssey 167

The Radical for Capitalism 169

The Goldwater Debacle 170

Roots of the New Conservatism 172

Rand's Critique of Conservatism 173

The Evolution of Libertarianism 175

The Essence of Libertarianism 175

Roots of the Political Conflict 176

Objectivism versus Libertarianism: The Case for the Plaintiff 178

Objectivism versus Libertarianism: The Case for the Defendant 181

Objectivism and the Theory of Government 182

Rand's View of Man and Society 184

The Final Decline 188

The Path Less Traveled 189

9 Ayn Rand's Revolution 193

A Second Crusade? 193

Or the Ivory Tower? 195

The Schoolroom or the Polling Booth 197

Back to the Future 199

What Is to Be Done? 200

Life Support Systems 201

The Tactics of Sanction 202

The First of Their Return… 203

Bibliography 205

Index 213

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2014

    Ayn Rand's legacy - misunderstood or misrepresented?

    Publisher's Weekly refers to Rand as a much misunderstood thinker. But in fact, it is more accurate to say that Rand's ideas are misrepresented and caricatured by her largely hostile leftist-oriented reviewers. These critics, alarmed by the growth in popularity of her novels and nonfiction writings, choose to issue ad hominem attacks on her personal life, accusing her of hypocrisy, while at the same time, falsely accusing her of denigrating the poor and advocating a dictatorship of the rich. As Marsha Familiaro Enright so skillfully explains in this updated version of Ron Merrill's original text (which was an excellent, but now dated, book), despite the clarity and precision of Rand's writings (or perhaps because of it), reviewers of her works rarely if ever describe the essentials of Rand's philosophy,Objectivism. Mrs. Enright attempts to set the record straight by illustrating exactly what Rand advocated and why she has been the target of a campaign of vituperation. But this is not a book that is completely uncritical of Rand and some of her self-appointed advocates, who may have done as much damage to her legacy as her most vociferous leftist critics. Enright also submits their positions for her critical analysis. This book is one of the few "objective" analyses of Ayn Rand's philosophy, the ideological movement it engendered, and the responses of its supporters and its critics.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2012

    Great Book

    Important addition to my library

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)