Alisa Rosenbaum was born in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city (renamed Leningrad) to attend the university, but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sale of her mother's jewelry, Alisa bought a ticket to New York. On arrival at Ellis Island, she changed into Ayn (after a name of some Finnish author, probably "Aino") Rand (taken from the brand name of her Remington-Rand typewriter). She moved swiftly to Hollywood, where she learned English, worked in the RKO wardrobe department and as an extra, and wrote through the night on screenplays and novels. She also married a bit-part actor called Frank O'Connor because he was 'beautiful' - and because her original visitor's visa had run out.
Rand sold her first screenplay in 1932, but nobody would buy her first novel We the Living (1936) a melodrama set in Russia. Her first real success was The Fountainhead (rejected by more than ten publishers before publication in 1943).
She started a new philosophy known as Objectivism, opposed to state interference of all kinds, and her follow-up novel Atlas Shrugged (1957) describes a group who attempt to escape America's conspiracy of mediocrity. Objectivism has been an influence on various other movements such as Libertarianism, and Rand's vocal support for Laissez-faire Capitalism and the free market has earned her a distinct spot among American philosophers, and philosophers in general.

Book List in Order: 8 titles

  • In print for the first time ever, author and philosopher Ayn Rand’s novel Ideal. Originally conceived as a novel but then transformed into a play by Ayn Rand, Ideal is the story of beautiful but tormented actress Kay Gonda. Accused of murder, sh...


  • In 1958, Ayn Rand, already the world-famous author of such bestselling books as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, gave a private series of extemporaneous lectures in her own living room on the art of fiction. Tore Boeckmann and Leonard Peikoff for...


  • This remarkable, newly revised collection of Ayn Rand's early fiction—including her previously unpublished short story The Night King—ranges from beginner's exercises to excerpts from early versions of We the Living and The Fountainhead....



  • Ayn Rand’s classic tale of a dystopian future of the great “We”—a world that deprives individuals of a name or independence—that anticipates her later masterpieces, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.They existed only to serve the state...


  • Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, charged with towering questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s magnum opus: a philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller—nominated as one of A...


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    When The Fountainhead was first published, Ayn Rand's daringly original literary vision and her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism, won immediate worldwide interest and acclaim. This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect...


  • Ayn Rand said of her fist novel, We the Living: "It is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. The plot is invented, the background is not....The specific events of Kira's life were not mine; her ideas, her convictions, her values, were and...